This year, you resolve to lose weight. You eliminate the junk food and hidden sugars from your diet. You start reading food labels. You switch to an all organic, plant-based eating style. You start exercising. You watch your portions and fill up on fiber- rich foods such as: fruits, vegetables, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds. Maybe instead you choose to go Paleo, and eat plenty of local, clean sources of protein like grass fed beef and pastured eggs. Yet, somehow you still can’t shed those stubborn pounds! If so, you may be struggling with weight loss resistance. Until the underlying factors which are preventing you from losing weight are properly addressed, even the best diets will fail.
Numerous factors can interfere with the ability to lose weight and lower body fat. Medical factors, such as: hormone imbalances, unhealthy gut flora, food sensitivities, stress and toxin overload are common causes of weight loss resistance. Addressing these problems with your health care practitioner while shifting to a nutrient dense diet tailored to your specific needs is the first step. The use of heat therapies such as far infrared sauna is another valuable tool for addressing weight loss resistance and improving overall health.
Weight loss will be difficult to achieve if thyroid hormones, insulin and cortisol levels are not optimal. Imbalances in reproductive hormones, such as estrogen, progesterone and testosterone can also cause weight loss resistance. Your physician or other healthcare practitioner can order testing to determine if a hormone imbalance is present and if treatment is indicated.
New research on the human microbiome shows that the type of microflora in the gut can influence one’s ability to lose weight. Some microbes have an increased capacity to extract calories from food. Others have a role to play in mood, appetite and detoxification. Probiotic supplements, fermented foods and strategies to enhance digestive function can all be employed to shift the balance to a healthier population of gut microbes.
An elimination diet which focuses on reducing the overall inflammatory load on the body can promote weight loss and enhance overall feelings of wellbeing. Here, commonly eaten foods such as gluten, dairy, corn, soy and sugar are removed from the diet for a period of time. This approach can uncover hidden food triggers which may be causing weight loss resistance as well as other symptoms, such as headaches, joint pain, fatigue and digestive discomfort.
Stress reduction therapies such as yoga, deep breathing, massage and other mindfulness practices can lower the stress response, as can the use of botanicals such as adaptogenic herbs. Adaptogens are herbs which enable the body to better tolerate stressors of all kinds. They are nontoxic, normalizing and nonspecific in their ability to promote a better physiological response to stress. Adaptogens are best chosen according to their energetic properties and actions, with the help of an experienced herbalist.
Nutraceuticals like those used in a structured detox program can enhance the body’s ability to remove stored toxins. A two to four-week cleanse which includes: supplemental fiber, a protein shake, probiotics, herbs and amino acids to enhance glutathione production, promote bile secretion and aid in the removal of toxins via phase I and phase II detoxification in the liver is an incredible tool for addressing weight loss resistance.
Far Infrared Sauna
Heat therapy, such as the use of far infrared sauna can also promote detoxification and fat loss. Studies on far infrared sauna have shown that it improves cardiometabolic health, lowers blood pressure, reduces inflammation, increases the number of calories burned and removes stored toxins through the skin, such as heavy metals and fat soluble environmental contaminants. Multiple sessions are recommended to see a significant change.
In 2015, the completion of a 20-year study in men found that increased frequency and duration of sauna use was associated with better cardiovascular health, a decreased number of deaths from cardiovascular events and all-cause mortality. While this study looked at Finnish sauna, far infrared sauna would have similar if not better outcomes due to its deeper heat penetration.
Heat therapy such as far infrared sauna may also enhance collagen production, which can improve the structure and look of the skin. Unlike other rapid weight loss programs and fad diets which can dehydrate the body and cause skin to sag and look older, a sensible weight loss plan which includes a safe, scientifically formulated detoxification program and far infrared therapy is an anti-aging investment.
Make this the year you give yourself the gift of health. The practitioners of the Vitality Center at New Morning Market can help you to create a plan to address weight loss resistance, reduce stress and feel great! Come visit us soon!
Alison Birks, MS (AHG) CNS, is a state licensed Nutritionist and Herbalist who has has been in practice since 1997. She specializes in weight management, gastrointestinal disease, Celiac disease, diabetes, cardiovascular health, women’s hormonal health, stress-related disorders, food allergies, sensitivities and special diets. New Morning Market’s Vitality Center, located on New Morning Market’s second floor, offers therapeutic massage, facials, nutritional counseling, an infrared sauna, and more in a soothing, holistic, and private setting. All services available by appointment. See our practitioner list to schedule or book infrared sauna sessions by visiting: www.NewMorn.com/Vitality. Gift cards and discounted prepaid packages are available for the holiday season.