It’s easy to resolve to lose weight or improve your BMI. But when the rubber (or fat) meets the road, it may not be that easy. The key is to locate the underlying reasons why people have trouble losing weight, and then weight loss becomes easy.
BY: Dr. Claude Matar
Every January, 7 out of 10 Americans decide to improve their health. We think about losing a few pounds and getting in better shape. Maybe improve the BMI (Body Mass Index). However, change isn’t always easy, especially when it comes to eating habits and lifestyle routines. Even worse is finally buckling down, starting a diet and exercise program and still not losing the extra weight—or quickly regaining what you’ve lost!
Understanding how and why the body gains weight, especially as we get older, is an important first step to winning the battle against fat. It will help you avoid the common mistakes that people make when they try weight loss programs.
Yes, It’s True: Bodies Change As We Age
Bodies change over time, both externally and internally. For many older adults, internal changes include an increase in fat around the mid-section, which is unsightly and dangerous, along with a decrease in both muscle and bone density.
As our estrogen (women) or testosterone (men) levels start to drop, the fat will begin shifting to the body’s mid-section. Body fat, especially belly fat, if not addressed effectively using natural means, can put you at a higher risk for a multitude of health issues including diabetes, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, strokes and breast cancer in menopausal women.
Body Fat and Calories
As a general matter, body fat increases when you eat more calories than you are burning up. A calorie is a unit of energy – the amount of energy we get from what we eat or drink. For example, one apple = 75 calories = 75 units of energy. The body needs calories (energy) to survive.
Calories are “burned” through a process called metabolism. During metabolism, the oxygen in your body releases the energy units from the food you ate or fat you store. This energy is used by the body for digestion, breathing, thinking, circulation and many other functions. How many calories your body uses to keep itself running depends on various factors, including age, sex, body size and activity level.
Food, Energy and Fat
Food is primarily meant to provide energy for your body to work. If this is in doubt, try not to eat anything for a while and you will feel your energy decrease dramatically (initially, then it rises again as the body adapts to using its own fat for metabolism). So why is some food converted to fat instead of energy?
When the body has excess energy, it stores the energy in a dense form so it can be, one, carried more easily and two, used at a later time when it is needed. That dense form of energy is what we call “fat.”
Back in the old (really old) days, we needed fat to survive harsh winters, long hunts and failed hunts. Today, our hunting consists of walking into the kitchen and foraging through the fridge for something to eat. But the amount of energy that is being used is somewhat less than chasing, killing, skinning, carving, preparing and storing a buffalo.
The problem is, even when people eat less, they still get fat. That is when trying to lose weight can get frustrating, illogical, hopeless and even depressing. If you are eating less, why are you still fat?!?!
The reason is that even though you are eating less, your nervous and endocrine systems are still generating signals that no energy is needed so your body continues on with its fat preservation mode. This can be diagnosed and corrected easily using natural means that works for most people.
Turning On the Fat-Burning Switch
When your nervous/endocrine system generates the signal that energy shouldn’t be used, your body holds onto (and adds) to its fat reserve. When your nervous system gets the signal that energy is needed, it converts the fat (and any new food) to energy.
If you try to force a change in these signals by depriving the body of the food it needs (or thinks it needs)—also called low carb diet, or low fat diet, low calorie diet, etc.—your body will start to shut down (insufficient energy) and losing weight will only become more difficult. You will feel hungry, tired and in most cases have strong food cravings for foods you shouldn’t eat. At one point you will give up and get back to your old habits and routine and simply gain more weight.
When you take drugs or get shots to lose weight, you are overriding the body’s own signals to eat and store what it eats (body fat) for later use.
Bypassing these signals can weaken the body’s natural ability to manage its weight for years to come. This is evidenced by the fact that once you are off the pills and shots, your body will again demand whatever food it believes it needs to work properly.
When it comes to weight loss, trying to suppress or ignore the body’s internal mechanisms regarding food intake, use and storage will only lead to weight loss (and health) failure.
Changing the Signals
The easiest, healthiest and best way to lose weight—and keep it off permanently—is by changing the signals themselves, so that your body only wants and needs the food that it can actually use to build abundant energy and stable health.
When the signals are changed, your “fat-burning switch” will also be reset. Once the signals are changed and your fat-burning switch is reset, your body will automatically get rid of stored body fat.
The “Fast Energy” Mechanism
Here’s something else you may not know: your energy needs to be quickly available when it is needed. Fat takes a long time to convert to energy that you can feel. So does food. Your body solves this problem by changing food into a molecule called ATP. The ATP molecule has a lot of energy that can be released very quickly. These molecules are stored inside the cells. When you need energy, they can be used right away. What is it that causes the release of energy from the ATP molecules inside the cells? Water!
More Water, Please
When your cells don’t have enough water (dehydration), you will feel tired, lethargic and have difficulty focusing. When your cells have a sufficient supply of water (hydration) you will feel more alert, vital, focused and energetic. In regards to weight loss, when you are hydrated on a cellular level, you burn fat!
The Missing Ingredient
Right now you may be thinking, “Great! I’ll start drinking more water!” or “That doesn’t make sense. I drink water all day long. I am not feeling more energetic and I am definitely not losing weight!”
That’s because water does not operate alone. It cannot remain in the cells of your body unless it combines with other substances. These other substances are minerals. Without minerals, any water you drink will go right through you.
People have actually had heat strokes while drinking a lot of water! The reason is that the water did not go into the cells where it was needed due to a lack of minerals. Water alone is not enough for effective cellular hydration! The missing link is minerals. Minerals cause water to move in and out of the cells causing the release of energy.
Other Weight Loss Barriers
Your body needs both sufficient oxygen and water (water + minerals) to burn fat. In my years of helping people get healthy and achieve permanent weight loss, these are two of the five most typical barriers to weight loss. There are three other weight loss blocks that can make losing weight difficult, if not impossible: inadequate nutrition, body toxins and poor sleep.
Your Body Needs Nutrients
There are 89 essential nutrients the human body must have or it will fail to operate and eventually get sick and die. We call these “essential” because the body cannot make them on its own and they are vital for bodily functions. A well-balanced food plan must account for every one of these nutrients with every meal. This can be easily accomplished when one consumes the right proportions of vegetables, fat, carbs and protein. This is instrumental in controlling both hunger and cravings between meals, both of which are natural results of incomplete and improper nutrient intake. In fact, the effect of the right balance on cravings and hunger can be indeed magical when the body is also well hydrated with water and minerals.
Body Toxins Prevent Weight Loss
Pollutants can come simply from living in a big city like L.A. or living near an industrial area. In the household it can come from your gas stove, gas clothes dryer, gas water heater, and gas furnace. It can come from your carpeting and furniture that is made with particle boards (pressed wood), from your household cleaners, detergents, paints, dry-cleaned clothes or even from your copy machine at work.
There are over 80,000 man-made chemicals that are legally used in and on our food supply, such as pesticides. There is also a whole lot of over the counter meds and prescriptions meds that do not fully leave the body after consumption but stay in the fat cells for tens of years. Most of these chemicals are fat soluble and once inside of the body, they tend to be stored indefinitely in your fat cells. A lifetime of such exposure and accumulation can make it very difficult to lose weight as burning the fat can force these toxins to circulate in your blood—wreaking havoc on your vital organs.
Solution: Fat Detoxification to allow these toxins to get to the liver through the lymph circulation system, which makes them into water-soluble chemicals that can then be urinated and sweated out of the body. Once that is done weight loss plateaus can be eliminated and your weight loss journey can be much smoother and more enjoyable.
Sleeping and Weight Loss
Proper sleep increases your fat burning hormones and lack of sleep increases your fat preserving hormones. This can cause about 1,000 additional calories to be consumed each day (that the body does not need) between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. and each night after dinner—mainly in the form of simple carbohydrates. This sets the stage for present weight gain and future diabetes. You do burn fat while sleeping if your food plan is structured correctly and that can be a huge advantage on your weight loss journey.
Dr. Claude Matar is a medical doctor, naturopath and certified nutritionist who has devoted his life to finding the actual underlying causes of ill health and helping people regain their health naturally without use of drugs or gimmicks. Dr Claude’s practice is based in Pasadena, California. For more information, call 626.844.4686 or visit www.pasadenaweightlosscenter.com.