In general, our friends and family members are not making great decisions when it comes to what they consume on a regular basis, and this is one of the biggest reasons why America is struggling to lose weight and has such a problem with obesity.
Fortunately, we can change things. There’s no reason to lose hope. First, it’s important to understand why people are not losing weight. Once we do this, we’ll be prepared to set up some actionable steps that can help us overcome these struggles. As God said “My people perish for lack of knowledge,” and nowhere is this truer than with obesity and weight gain.
Not Losing Weight – To Feel Is to Be
One thing important to take note of is that we spend most of our lives sedentary. We also take a ton of medications. This has only helped Americans to lose their connections with their own bodies.
Mayo Clinic Proceedings journal reported that 68.1 percent of United States citizens take at least one prescription every day. More than half (51.5%) of these individuals take two prescriptions, and 21.2 percent of these individuals take five or more prescriptions every day.
As a result of this, there is a scary trend occurring where most people can’t even “feel” anymore. That’s because there are so many medications affecting their nervous system. These mask symptoms that often result from sedentary lifestyles and obesity. Most people have forgotten what it means to be alive, and be a part of their surroundings.
Here’s an example: try to remember how it was when you were a kid and you ate too much cake and ice cream at a birthday party. How did your stomach feel? You got sick because your body was untainted by toxins. It was pure.
Today, however, there are so many toxins in people’s digestive systems that they have become desensitized to these poisons. They don’t even suffer the pain of overeating or eating too many junk foods. No wonder they are struggling to lose weight!
Not Losing Weight – The Importance of Listening to Your Body
There is a Navajo proverb that says, “If you want to see what your body will look like tomorrow, look at your thoughts today.”
There’s an important reason why you cannot let your body become numb and why it is dangerous to continually put toxins into your body. God designed us so that fevers, stomachaches, rashes, and headaches would be red flags. These would be clues and warning signs that tell us that the balance of our bodies has been challenged.
Today, however, these natural red flags are masked with makeup, prescription medications, and other “Band-Aids.” People want to avoid being bothered by unsightly acne, pesky acid reflux, skin rashes, or leaky gut. This is true even though these are the results of making poor health decisions.
Judith Orloff, MD said, “Your body is a richly nuanced intuitive receiver.” Therefore, the importance of you being aware of your “body's signals” cannot be emphasized enough as you continue your path toward optimal health and wellness. According to Orloff, it is critical to keep watch for what she refers to as the “5 Warning Signs That Your Body Sends.”
- Feeling out of focus, oddly numb, off-center, or detached
- Feeling toxic: as if you’re about to get sick or come down with the flu
- Experiencing symptoms that you can’t explain that last for years at a time. Some people might have a knot in their stomach, an empty feeling in their core, an achy heart, or a lump in their throat
- Feeling exposed without a defense
- Feeling tired all the time
Essentially, as Americans continue to ignore these warnings signs, they lose connection with their bodies, and they lose the ability to sense the warning signs. They become literal toxic waste dumps.
They suffer from imbalanced hormones and have excess inflammation all the time. This puts them at serious risk for many chronic diseases like heart disease. In the end, these are the symptoms that contribute to struggling to lose weight, continuing the cycle even more.
Not Losing Weight – The Major Reasons Why People Have Trouble Burning Fat
Hormone Imbalance and Toxicity
Hormone imbalance and toxins from the environment are intricately intertwined. This is one of the reasons that chronic disease (like diabetes and obesity) has been linked with toxic overload. One of the most alarming examples of this was observed and discovered by the American Diabetes Association.
Researchers looked at the connection between insulin resistance and organic pollutants. Adult volunteers were tested in the 2016 study, and it was found that 80 percent or more of the volunteers had low levels of six POPs (persistent organic pollutants) in their blood streams.
Oxychlordane was one of the six POPs found in the bloodstream. This is actually an insecticide that is used for citrus crops and corn crops. It is used on domestic gardens and lawns as well. All six POPs also had diabetes strongly associated with them.
It was found that POP exposure puts people at risk for a higher body mass index and waist circumference. This perpetuates the idea that diabetes and the obesity cycle is definitely occurring in America today and has been at its worst for the last 20 years.
The Lancet, a world-renouned journal, recently published results from this study. The results were “a surprise for many people working in diabetes research, because most studies to date have focused on the effects of genetics and the westernization of dietary habits and lifestyle, while ignoring the potential effect of xenobiotics.”
The article also suggested that, “more than 90 percent of POPs comes from animal foods in the general population without occupational or accidental exposures.”
This is why it is so important to choose your meats wisely. Ultimately, you are eating what the animal did. That’s why you should choose grass-fed beef that is organic and has cancer-fighting properties when you can. If you don’t, you’ll be eating POP-ridden trash feed that has been genetically modified and used to fill up the animals that you eat for dinner.
In addition, watch out for where your kids play. Often, parks and schoolyards have pesticides and POPs sprayed on them. These organophosphates, say the Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility, disturb growth hormones and the neurotransmitter balance in the body. They have been linked to ADHD and autism and many other neurodevelopmental disorders.
Here’s a good rule to follow: if the grass that your kids are going to play on looks lush, green, and perfect, it’s probably been sprayed with pesticides and toxins, so don’t allow them to play there.
In order to properly keep off the pounds, you must have an optimal functioning digestive system. The digestive system is responsible for the nutrients being absorbed into your body and for waste removal. Of course, poor digestion has also been linked to numerous problems, including toxic overload, diarrhea, not losing weight, and constipation. Here are some specific diseases that have been linked to excess BMI and poor health:
- Yeast overgrowth, especially Candida
- Food allergies/sensitivities
- Celiac disease/gluten intolerance
- Leaky gut
Certain causes of bad digestion include eating lots of processed and unhealthy fats, living a stressful life, and living a sedentary lifestyle. Additionally, there’s another common marker for poor digestion: antibiotic use. This has been linked to dysbiosis, yeast infections, and constipation.
Antibiotic use is on the rise. In fact, four out of five U.S. citizens have been prescribed antibiotics. This means that antibiotic prescriptions make up 17 percent of all prescriptions on the market today.
The so-called benefits that antibiotics offer do not mean that they are worth it when you look at the countless risks that have been associated with them. It is much better to take a natural approach to healthcare before resorting to antibiotic use.
Nearly every chronic disease is linked with inflammation, which means that it is essentially America’s number one silent killer. It’s the main reason why reducing inflammation is one of the five primary targets of the Healing Foods Diet.
As far back as the 1990s, it was found that inflammatory peptides like TNF-alpha and leptin (both hormones) are secreted from adipose cells. Since that time, there has been substantial research looking at the connection between low-grade systematic inflammation and obesity.
“Meta-information” is the phenomenon that represents this connection. University of Ulster, UK researchers have been examining this phenomenon and have found that inflammation goes down when obese people and overweight people lose weight.
They published an article in Nutrition Research Reviews which showed that those people who lost 10 percent of their body weight had the best improvements in inflammation. The researchers also found that lowering inflammation itself has great positive effects on weight loss.
Not Losing Weight – Is There Such a Thing as a Slow Metabolism?
The NHS (National Health Service) of the United Kingdom says that your metabolism is: “All the chemical processes that go on continuously inside the body to keep you alive and your organs functioning normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food.”
Your BMR or basal metabolic rate is the minimal amount of energy that your body needs to maintain and carry out all of its chemical processes. In fact, your BMR accounts for 40 percent to 70 percent of what you require every day in terms of energy. But this depends on your lifestyle and your age. Therefore, a low BMR represents an example of someone who has a slow metabolism.
Actually, however, it doesn’t seem that having a lower BMR means gaining weight. According to NHS research:
“Numerous studies involving thousands of people worldwide have failed to find evidence to support the widely held belief that overweight people must have slower metabolic rates. In fact, the opposite appears true: overweight people may actually have a higher metabolism than their leaner counterparts, reflecting the energy requirements of maintaining a larger body size.”
This is rather interesting. It shows that a common scapegoat for those who are horribly obese and overweight is a low metabolic rate. According to Mayo Clinic doctor Donald Hensrud, M.D., “There is such a thing as a slow metabolism. But slow metabolism is rare, and it's usually not what's behind being overweight or obese — that's usually a matter of diet and exercise.” Instead, Hensrud says that these are the biggest reasons for not losing weight:
- A family history and genetics
- Too little exercise and a sedentary lifestyle
- Eating too many calories
- Bad habits that are unhealthy, like not getting enough sleep or skipping breakfast
The NHS agrees:
“Research has also shown that people tend to eat more than they think they do. When asked to write down everything they've consumed in a day, many people tend to report eating far less than they actually do. More often than not, the reason you’re putting on weight is not because of a slow metabolism, it’s because you’re eating and drinking more calories than you're burning. It may be hard to accept, but staying on top of the number of calories you eat is key to losing weight and keeping it off.”
Not Losing Weight? A More Practical Approach
According to the NHS, calorie restricting diets should be avoided. Instead, it is suggested that you take a balanced eating approach when attempting or struggling to lose weight. Furthermore, exercise can help tremendously.
Calorie restricted diets, on the other hand, make your body break down its own muscle so that you have enough energy to live day to day. Naturally, when this happens, your BMR is lowered because your muscle mass decreases, and this only slows down your metabolism. This is why many people will gain weight immediately after stopping a calorie restricted diet.
Everyone aims for an abundant life, and this is all about balance. Balance is something that most Americans need to work on. Just look at how most people spend their days and what they allow to enter their bodies by way of food and drink and you'll see reasons why they are not losing weight.
Have you ever struggled with not losing weight, even when you were doing everything “right?” What finally made a difference for you?
- Orloff J. How listening to your body can improve your life. Huffpost Healthy Living (Internet). Available at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/judith-orloff-md/better-life_b_893593.html.
- Jones OA et al. Environmental pollution and diabetes: a neglected association. Lancet. 2008; 371(9609): 287-8.
- Lee DH, et al. A strong dose-response relation between serum concentrations of persistent organic pollutants and diabetes: results from the national health and examination survey 1999–2002. Diabetes Care 2009; 29(7):1638–1644.
- Greater Boston Physicians for Social Responsibility. In Harm's Way: Toxic Threats To Child Development. Cambridge. 2000.
- Lang IA, et al. Association of urinary bisphenol A concentration with medical disorders and laboratory abnormalities in adults. JAMA 2008; 300(11): 1303-1310.
- Qatanani M, et al. Mechanisms of obesity-associated insulin resistance: many choices on the menu. Genes & Dev 2007; 21: 1443-1455.
- Forsythe LK, et al. Obesity and inflammation: the effects of weight loss. Nutr Res Rev 2008; 21(2): 117-33.
- CBS News. CDC: 4 out of 5 Americans prescribed antibiotics each year. 2013. Available at: http://www.cbsnews.com/news/cdc-4-out-of-5-americans-prescribed-antibiotics-each-year/
- Mayo Clinic. Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories. 2011. Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/metabolism/WT00006.
- Mayo Clinic. Is it possible to be overweight because of a slow metabolism? Available at: http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/slow-metabolism/AN00618.
- NHS. How can I speed up my metabolism? 2013. Available at: http://www.nhs.uk/livewell/loseweight/pages/how-can-i-speed-up-my-metabolism.aspx.
- Zhong W, et al. Age and Sex Patterns of Drug Prescribing in a Defined American Population. Mayo Clinic Proceedings 2013; 88(7): 697-707.