Happy New Year! If losing weight is your New Year's resolution then I have some helpful information to share with you. Most people try to lose weight by restricting calories and going to the gym and working out too hard and too frequently without allowing their body to ease into being more active. What happens? They lose some weight quickly but then plateau and eventually gain it back and more. Why? Most people who have weight to lose have 4 things in common: They have system wide inflammation, exhausted adrenal glands, have many toxins in their body, and are deficient in nutrients. Not what you were thinking, right? Let me explain the mechanisms and how it leads to weight gain... Inflammation can come from a variety of sources such as infections in the body, certain genetic predispositions to autoimmune conditions and inflammation, eating and drinking processed highly inflammatory foods and/or wheat, dairy, and fried foods, feeling chronically stressed and especially by having a leaky gut where the mucosal lining of the digestive tract is porous. Inflammation is at the root of every disease and chronic condition. You WILL NOT be able to lose weight if you have a high level of inflammation in the body. Your body retains the fat for protection. Once you eliminate the high inflammation foods from your diet, heal any infections and restore optimal gut health you are ready to start working on the second issue, exhausted adrenal glands. If someone were to come up behind you and scare you, how big would your reaction be? And how long would it take to calm down? If you have a big reaction that is slow to calm down, it's safe to assume your adrenal glands are exhausted. We live in a world where chronic stress and sugar consumption is rampant and over time they deplete our adrenal glands by putting us in "Fight or flight mode" too frequently which cause spikes in cortisol levels which make us retain fat. So, managing stress and eliminating sugar and high fructose corn syrup while healing the adrenal glands is absolutely necessary to lose and maintain weight loss. Working out too hard or too frequently is further stress to your adrenal glands, so you must listen to your body and do shorter sessions (Interval training) or stick to walking or yoga until your body can handle more. If you are exhausted after exercise, you did too much. Exercise should only rejuvenate you. So listen to your body instead of watching the clock at the gym. Do you know the purpose of fat cells? Our body is so smart that when toxins (chemicals, heavy metals, pesticides from food and drink, etc.) are ingested and get into the bloodstream, the fat cells engulf the toxin to take it out of the bloodstream to protect the heart and brain from that toxin. The more toxins you ingest/ breathe, apply to skin, etc., the larger your fat cells become. So eliminate chemicals, plastics, pesticides, and consume organic as much as possible. Wine and coffee are huge sources of pesticides in the U.S. These pesticides are fake estrogens which disrupts your endocrine system and hormones and predisposes you to estrogen positive cancers. The breast cancer rate around Napa Valley is much higher than anywhere else in the U.S. and hysterectomies are becoming quite common in wine enthusiasts. Coincidence? The 4th issue in weight gain is nutrient deficiencies. Obese people are severely malnourished. Their bodies lack the vitamins and minerals to have their body functioning as it should. They are either not getting the nutrients in their food or their body isn't able to unlock the nutrients for a variety of reasons. They often crave larger amounts of food because their body is trying to get the needed nutrients. Not only is there no nutrition in processed foods, but it actually requires your body to use it's back up nutritional reserves to break down the processed food, so you quickly enter a deficit if processed foods are a staple in your life. So starving yourself by restricting calories will only lead to further deficits and increased weight gain, not to mention stress the adrenals more. 100 calories of processed food without nutrients is certainly not the same as 100 calories of anti-inflammatory foods which are full of nutrients our body needs, so stop counting calories and focus on eating anti-inflammatory, whole foods. Your car can't run without the proper fuel and neither can your body. Take time for yourself to manage stress and to heal your adrenals. Massages, walks, prayer and meditation and yoga can be more helpful to your weight loss plan than over doing it at the gym in the beginning. Work smarter not harder and you'll achieve a healthy weight and a healthy body. Have a Happy & Healthy New Year!