with the demands made on it. This is highly individual: what works for you may not
work for your friend, but the important thing is that you understand what works for
you.

To understand this, you need to know that almost every major system in your
body relates to your metabolism and your ability to lose weight and keep it off,
specifically your central nervous, limbic, thyroid, endocrine, digestive and immune
systems. Parts of your metabolic blueprint are genetically predisposed, while
others are highly influenced by your nutrition, emotional state, stress level and
lifestyle.

So this means you need to get healthy on all these levels before you can lose
those stubborn pounds. Think of it this way. Let’s say your body is like a garden
and weight loss is the precious rose plant you’ve been cultivating that just won’t
bloom. You’ve sprayed it and pruned it and applied Miracle-Gro, and even
though you’ve seen a few buds, the darned thing still won’t blossom — in fact, it’s
withering. Then one day you read a book about organic gardening and you begin
to pay more attention to the whole plant, not just its flower. So treat yourself like
that precious rose and begin to pay some loving attention.

Step 1
The first place to start is your expectations, including your self-image — because
no matter how much someone tells it to, a red rose can’t naturally bloom yellow...
and shouldn’t have to!

Step 2
The second step is asking the question, what kind of eater are you? Some men
and women simply can’t begin to take the necessary measures to heal their
physiology without first addressing their emotional attachment to food. Once you
have a clear idea of how you eat, you can begin to peel back another layer to
understand why.

Step 3
Third, we have to address your appetite and metabolism. Healthy leanness
results from burning fat and building muscle. The key processes of a functioning
metabolism on the macro level include digestion and elimination and on the micro
level involve various forms of cellular “work,” such as membrane repair, cell
division and endocrine function. A well-functioning metabolism has three jobs:  1)
to convert energy from the food we eat into work and heat (on both a cellular and
a muscular level); 2) to eliminate any toxins or unnecessary nutrients in the form
of waste; and 3) to store glucose in the form of glycogen and extra energy as fat
for future use. All of these functions are interrelated and interdependent; one
cannot function properly without the support of the other two. And as research
increasingly shows, our nutrition serves as the backstop for the whole game. That’
s why the saying “you are what you eat” is no joke.  

A well-functioning metabolism is supported by regular, good nutrition. No matter
how often you hear that “a calorie is a calorie,” it is just not that simple:  what,
when, and how you eat do matter. And nothing shuts down metabolism faster
than starvation and deprivation. Your body immediately switches into hoarding
mode: conserving fat and burning the liver’s glycogen reserves for energy. Once
the reserves of glycogen are depleted, your brain sends out intense hunger
signals that will not be denied. This is the source of so much failed yo-yo dieting
and repeat weight gain.

Step 4
The fourth step is to recognize the role hormones plays with weight gain.  The
major player in this scenario is insulin. Insulin is a primary hormone that is directly
affected by your diet. It determines whether blood sugar gets used right away for
immediate energy or stored as fat instead. Any disruption in the insulin-regulating
mechanism, such as insulin resistance, has an instant effect on some of the
lesser metabolic hormones such as leptin and Ghrelin. Human growth hormone
(hGH) and DHEA are steroid hormones that play a role in ramping up metabolic
function. Chronically high or low levels of cortisol, the stress hormone secreted
by the adrenal can lead to a higher percentage of fat accumulation — especially
around the abdomen. Adrenal fatigue, a very common condition in women, is
associated with static high levels of cortisol and can lead to intense cravings and
binge eating. The simple significance of this is that no diet will succeed if you are
under tremendous stress — no matter what you do. A simple saliva test can
reveal whether cortisol levels are in line.

And let’s not forget estrogen, progesterone, and testosterone. An imbalance in
the ratio between estrogen and progesterone triggers cravings, as anyone who is
familiar with premenstrual binges can attest. Add the negative effects of too much
cortisol and you begin to understand why women accumulate abdominal fat
during perimenopause. If a woman is testosterone deficient, which can occur with
poor nutrition or during perimenopause, she lacks the ability to build muscle
mass no matter how much she works out.

And finally, the infamous thyroid hormones may also be playing a lead role in
your unique physiology. Women often ask me if recent weight gain is due to a
thyroid imbalance. But very often, it is an imbalance between other hormones
that is affecting the thyroid.


(Nine steps to weight loss that is healthy, effective, and lasting PART 2 will be
available in The Center: Natural Health Specialists April Newsletter)

PART 2 will include the following topics:
Step 5: Examining your neurochemistry
Step 6: The role of  inflammation in weight gain
Step 7: Building muscle and losing fat
Step 8: Eliminate the toxins
Step 9: Putting it all together:  Your guide to successful weight loss
Nine Steps To Weight Loss That Is Healthy, Effective, and
Lasting (PART 1)
Articles & Facts
From The Center: Natural Health Specialists
*Article submitted by Jennifer Kaumeyer, Naturopathic
Physician