In part 1 I covered three important topics when it comes to managing weight. They were optimal thyroid function, exercise, and making good food choices. In this newsletter, I will continue with two more factors that should be considered when it comes to the topic of maintaining a healthy body weight.

1. Toxicity
The exposure to toxins and the inability to eliminate them can contribute to weight gain. Fat cells are storehouses for toxins. The greater the toxic load on the body, the more the body will actually make fat cells to house those toxins. That is why it is extremely important to avoid toxins as much as possible, not to mention the possibility of them causing various diseases. A good place to start is eating a clean diet devoid of artificial ingredients. There are thousands of chemicals allowed in our food supply. They have no health value in the body. In fact, the opposite is true. Some chemicals, like artificial colorings, were actually derived out of chemical warfare research. It is astonishing to me they are still legal to put in foods. Eat food as close to its natural state as possible, and organic when you can. There’s nothing good about chemicals like pesticides in the human body.

Even though one might be very conscious regarding their diet, it is impossible to avoid all toxins. The atmosphere is loaded with impurities. Toxic emissions from autos and industry and spraying for mosquitoes with known nerve toxins are just a few of the sources we are confronted with. There are many other sources but I’ll just list a few of the common ones: pharmaceuticals, tap water, vaccines, cosmetics, household cleaning chemicals (average home has 62 of them), and insecticides. In a future newsletter I will address ways to eliminate these toxins from the body.

2. Stress control
Stress can play a big role in weight management and Americans, as a general rule, are experiencing a great deal of stress. Working Americans put in more hours and take less time off than any other industrialized country. They are also wrapped up in consumerism and over consumption, which can add to the stress. Stress is a good thing if it is short term and beneficial (like running away from an alligator), but on a continual basis it leads to physical and mental decline and an expanding waistline. According to Dr. Sapolsky of Stanford University, the feelings associated with chronic stress are of feeling no control over the situation, not seeing a way out of the situation, seeing things as getting worse, and feeling there isn’t any support system in place.

Stress shunts blood away from the midsection of the body and sends it to the arms and legs to prepare for quick movement. This shuts down metabolism, decreases enzyme output and stops the burning of calories. Stress increases the output of betatrophin which blocks the enzyme that breaks down fat. Also, the constant secretion of cortisol (stress hormone) contributes to weight accumulation, especially around the midsection and puts an additional burden on the liver which is attempting to break down the excess hormone. Chronic stress desensitizes the body to cortisol and enhances a pro-inflammatory response. What happens is a vicious cycle of effects causing effects until a strategy of interruption is put into place.

To help from feeling overwhelmed by stress, here are a few suggestions:
1. Exercise. If you are exhausted, I recommend easy forms of exercise, like Tai Chi or yoga.
2. Get enough rest. The body recharges and repairs during sleep. If stress is interfering with sleep, there are natural aids that can help.
3. Meditation. Sitting quietly and focusing on the breath can lower cortisol levels.
4. De-clutter. People with a lot of clutter are 77% more likely to be overweight. Looking at clutter makes it impossible to relax. Good news is it doesn’t matter if you or someone else does the de-cluttering as long as it gets done. Some suggestions to help:
a. Buy less. Don’t buy things you don’t need.
b. Handle things only once.
c. If buy something new, get rid of the old.
d. Only have one of an item.

It is easier to implement a healthy weight program when the stress is minimized. Exercise can be gradually increased and the urge to consume comfort food and drink for stress relief will diminish.

Dr. Dennis K. Crawford