When 'Eat Less, Exercise More' Doesn't Work
Many patients have come to Dr. Lum after they have tried many diet and lifestyle interventions to lose weight. Extreme calorie restriction, diligent exercise, the use of appetite suppressants, even surgery are promoted as permanent weight loss solutions.
It can be frustrating when so much time, money and effort are spent and you still not have reached your goals. It is important to know that when this happens, there is a reason.
Too often, difficulty losing weight is attributed to an undefined, but inevitable, genetic component or a simple lack of self-control. These assessments are unscientific, are incredibly offensive, and in the majority of cases, are completely inaccurate.
I routinely find biochemical roadblocks that prevent weight loss regardless of how extreme a diet a patient implements. These biochemical roadblocks can be fixed.
Proper Organ Function is Crucial for Weight Loss
There are three major organ systems that are especially important to weight loss and could be why you have reached a plateau.
Liver, Adrenal, and Thyroid Function are the foundation of healthy fat loss.
The liver and the adrenal glands are rarely addressed when treating weight loss issues. The thyroid, on the other hand, is usually treated as the only thing you need for overall metabolic balance.
The truth is that these organ systems need to all be functioning properly for weight loss to happen.
3 Organ Systems Key to Healthy Weight Loss
The liver is the organ that burns fat in your body. When this task is compromised you can have a long-term problem burning fat.
Many patients with problems losing weight have 'pre' fatty liver disease or already have a fatty liver (NAFLD -non-alcoholic fatty liver disease.) Fatty liver disease typically causes no obvious symptoms and is not usually not screened for at routine check-ups.
If this is the case, the liver is simply under too much strain to perform its function of fat burning properly.
As you can see below, a standard American diet can set up patients for a domino effect of poor organ function.
Factors that Contribute to
Fatty Liver Disease &
The adrenal glands also have an important role in weight loss. We all are aware that chronic stress is bad for us but few know just how much damage we are doing when our bodies are in a constant state of 'fight or flight'.
Picture our bodies with a battery that needs charging to keep up our energy levels.
Constant stress means that our 'battery' is constantly being drained without it ever fully recharging.
The adrenal glands get more and more depleted the longer we stay in this state. This means that the body loses its ability to adapt even to everyday activities.
If adrenal exhaustion is severe enough it will take more than decreasing external stressors to rebalance it. Adrenal function is key for weight loss and overall health - it is responsible for enabling the entire body to maintain homeostasis.
The thyroid gland is becoming more well known for its role in the body's fat burning process. Whether the thyroid is too high or too low - medication is often recommended to fix this imbalance. It takes more than a pill to fix the underlying problem of thyroid dysfunction.
A doctor must find out why the thyroid is low. Low thyroid function can have many causes. It could be essentially a gut problem - the body has lost its ability to break down food which leads to rampant nutrient deficiencies.
Other Causes of Weight Loss Difficulty
An infection in the gut or elsewhere (like SIBO or Epstein Barr virus) in the body can cause the thyroid to be imbalanced and lead to difficulty losing weight.
Chronic infection is the number one cause of all thyroid problems as they bombard the entire body and place a constant biochemical strain on many organ systems.
Along with chronic infections, there often is high chemical and/or toxic metal load further complicating the issue.
Functional Medicine is Different
The application of functional medicine in treating complex cases is paramount in achieving lasting results.
Weight loss is important, but your well being is much more than numbers on a scale - balancing the entire body to restore it to health is the ultimate goal. Often times balancing the body is the missing piece for those who have difficulty losing weight.
Using functional medicine to create harmony in the body is the safest and, in most cases, the most effective method of long-lasting weight loss results.