Have you ever gone on a very low calorie diet, exercised like a fiend, and been dismayed to see that the scale hadn’t changed one ounce?
I don’t care how much you tell yourself to ignore the scale, putting all of that effort into something without a return on that investment is like getting punched in the stomach.
Why does this happen?
Contrary to popular belief, fat accumulates on the body for many reasons. Most weight loss experts, however, focus just on calories and ignore the other important reasons for weight gain. We will talk about all of the known reason why we gain fat in future articles, for now we are going to talk about one specific cause…
Yes, they are real. Toxins exist in large quantities in our lifestyle. They are found in:
- Our food supply (hormones, pesticides, herbicides, xenoestrogens, etc.)
- Our water supply (plastics, petrol chemicals, chlorine, etc.)
- Our air supply (petrol chemicals, pollution, exhaust)
In a nutshell, toxicity is everywhere!
As we were evolving, we were exposed to the occasional toxic berry or mushroom as we frolicked about grabbing whatever edible-looking plant we could find. If those toxins didn’t kill us, then our bodies would enjoy a long vacation before we would be exposed to another toxin simply because they just weren’t that common. Never in the history of our evolution have we been exposed to the level of pollution that we are exposed to today.
So what does this have to do with weight gain?
Scientists have known for some time that toxic exposure can decrease metabolism and promote fat storage. Our body is under constant assault by air, land and water. When the liver and kidneys can’t keep up, the body wants to get those toxins as far away from the organs as possible, so it kicks up fat storage to sequester the toxins and then it locks those fat cells down.
So how do we get rid of them?
The first step of getting out of a hole is to stop digging. You have a lot of control over the amount of toxicity that you are exposed to. Admittedly, some toxins are going to get into your body, that’s just a fact of living in our polluted world. You do, however, have a lot of control over what I call “Optional Toxicity”. You can limit your exposure by:
- Buying Organic. It is a fact, organic fruits and vegetables have fewer toxins than conventional produce! It is worth the extra money to buy organic. If you can’t afford all organic produce, look at the post, High Pesticide Fruits and Vegetables and The Clean Fifteen. This will give you a list of the least polluted of the non-organic fruits and vegetables. To put it into perspective, if you choose the wrong produce, and eat from what the USDA calls the “Dirty Dozen” then you will consume approximately 10 pesticides on an average day. If you choose from the 15 cleanest produce, you will only be exposed to 2 or less. If you eat organic, you can virtually eliminate this exposure altogether.
- Eat organic and free-range meat and eggs. Now that these types of foods are readily available at most grocery stores, there is no reason not to choose the healthier alternative.
- Purify your water. Purchase a carbon-block filter to purify your water. Any filtration is typically better than no filtration, however, I would recommend at least investing in a .1 micron carbon-block filtration system. These systems typically cost less than $100 and they are easy to attach to most standard faucets. They remove most of the toxins, in addition to the rocks and fish (i.e. the particulates) that are floating in your water.
- Purify your air. Indoor air pollution is a much bigger problem than outdoor air pollution. Get a really good air purifier, they are typically more expensive than the cheap ones, but they are far more effective. In addition to a good air filter, make your home a “No Shoes” zone and open your windows once a week for 5-10 minutes to flush the air (especially in the winter).
Decreasing your exposure to toxins is 80% of the puzzle when toxicity is causing weight gain and/or preventing weight loss. Over the last year, I have seen many clients and patients who suffer with toxic bodies that almost completely shut down their capacity to burn fat.
The next step of getting out of a hole is to begin the process of slowly and carefully climbing out of the ditch. How do we do that? Dealing with toxicity is a complex topic, so I will give you some very simple recommendations that you can implement in the next newsletter!