Weight Loss, Insulin and Obesity: 5 Common Denominators
Updated: Jul 28, 2022
The idea for this blog came after reading some of the more popular books in the weight loss genre—The Obesity Code, Why We Get Sick, and the original Adkins' Diet Revolution. Often times as humans, we focus on differences but I found many core elements reappearing in this collection of works. In highlighting them, hopefully this will reveal some useful information.
1. When you decrease total calorie intake, your body decreases metabolic rate
Everyone has heard or used the phrase “fast metabolism or “slow metabolism.” Also, I am sure many folks have heard the phrase “Eat less, move more” as a form of diet and weight loss advice. However, when you restrict calories in order to lose weight your body begins to think it is in starvation mode and slows your metabolism—thus making it harder to lose weight. These authors are advocates that ironically you should increase the total daily calories in order to lose weight.
2. Fat should be the primary macronutrient
Increasing your calories to lose weight is conditional on one thing; fat consumption should be increased. But won’t eating fat make you fat? The answer is no. Dietary fat is thermogenic, meaning your body burns energy to generate heat. Increasing dietary fat seems to play a huge role in making you feel more full for longer. Also, of the macronutrients (fat, protein, and carbohydrate) fat is the only one that has little to no effect on raising insulin levels.
3. Insulin resistance is the key player
Through some combination of diet and family history, some people have a hard time processing sugar and carbohydrates. As a result, the response from the body is to make more insulin. The problem is that insulin is a GROWTH hormone. When the insulin machine is turned on, the fat burning machine is turned off. While insulin is complicated, there are many interventions to break this cycle of increased weight gain and worsening insulin resistance.
4. Lots of other hormones are involved
More recently, there has come to be a greater understanding of the complexity of obesity. There is a whole set of hormones that regulate hunger in the brain when food hits the stomach. There is a whole set of hormones that regulate movement of food from the stomach through the intestines. Your fat cells make a hormone called leptin that has widespread effect. Elevated cortisol (stress-hormone) has multiple negative impacts. The list keeps on going, and I only mention it to say that most experts can agree that though this is not something that can undone overnight with a quick fix, there are several common sense strategies to reset these hijacked hormones.
5. Exercise alone will not make you lose weight
I love this one. I think this is very empowering information, because this is where most people stumble/get defeated/give up. Many people in this country are sold on the idea that they need a gym membership, new workout clothes, a personal trainer, and to spend all their days in the gym to lose weight. While we know that exercise is certainly good for you (brain, mood, energy, joint pains, sleep, longevity,) many people can attest to the fact that despite their best efforts to “get their steps in” or “move more” the weight loss stalls. I think it is powerful to know that putting the right things in your body is going to have the most profound effect on weight loss, while walking, biking, swimming should be something to be enjoyed—not a chore.
Today, there are an overwhelming amount of opinions and products designed to help people lose weight and there is certainly more than one way to skin a cat. However, if you find yourself frustrated or confused it may be time for a change. While I do not agree with everything in these books, they certainly challenged and maybe even changed some of my previously held beliefs. If you are thriving, keep doing what you are doing. If not, I hope this information helps.
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