We live in a complex world, made better, and, sadly, made worse by chemicals. Our toxic load from exposure to the wide range of chemicals in our environment from food to household products to personal care and beauty products, to nature itself is wreaking havoc on our metabolic system.
Our bodies were not designed to process this vast array of chemicals. Want proof? Look no further than the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Report on Human Exposure to Environmental Chemicals .
In the latest report, scientists at the CDC found that nearly everyone they tested was riddled with a host of nasty chemicals. These included flame retardants stored in fatty tissue and Bisphenol A, a hormone-like substance found in plastics, excreted in urine. Even babies are contaminated. The average newborn has 287 chemicals in her umbilical cord blood, 217 of which are poisonous to nerves or nerve cell.
Houston, we’ve got a problem!
Weight gain can have many underlying causes.
It’s not just a matter of over eating the wrong foods. One important link being researched is the affect of toxins on weight regulation.
While many women are able to lose significant weight by reducing stress, shifting towards whole foods and those with a low glycemic load, if these efforts haven’t resulted in the desired weight loss, it’s time to explore whether issues with toxicity are at play.
Unfortunately, even with your best efforts to avoid toxins, research shows that even before you lived even one day on this earth, you were likely exposed to over 200 industrial pollutants including lead, mercury and PCB’s through umbilical cord blood.
As you continue to interact with your environment, exposure to other heavy metals, chemical toxins, medications, pesticides, herbicides, additives, hormones, and antibiotics in our food supply continue to stress our detoxification system.
Infections, mycotoxins, yeast, bacteria and viruses can all play a role as well.
As if environmental toxins weren’t enough, internal or endogenous toxins that are created from the bacteria and yeast in your gut can also affect your metabolism due to the affects on your body’s detoxification system.
How toxins affect your weight.
- Toxins can affect many hormones involved in your metabolism including insulin, leptin (an appetite suppressant), ghrelin (an appetite stimulant), thyroid, cortisol and many others.
- Toxins can also increase inflammatory mediators which can then affect insulin resistance, leptin resistance, and appetite.
- Toxins can affect mitochondrial function by damaging certain enzymes that affect fatty acid oxidation and thermogenesis, reducing your body’s ability to burn fat.
- Toxins increase the workload of your liver.
- Toxins alter circadian rhythm and the autonomic nervous system.
According to one of my functional medicine heros, Mark Hyman, MD, research confirms the disturbing fact that environmental toxins can not only make you fat but can cause diabetes as well.
Inside the body, these toxic chemicals disturb our ability to balance blood sugar and metabolize cholesterol.
Over time, the changes can lead to insulin resistance.
In our quest to conquer the two biggest epidemics of our time, diabetes and obesity, we’ve got to turn our attention to the heavy burden environmental toxins put on our bodies.
It’s essential to optimize your body’s ability to rid itself of toxins.
If your body’s detoxification tools aren’t up to snuff, waste builds up.
Over time, the damage is similar to what happens when trash collectors go on strike and don’t pick up the garbage off the streets. The waste piles higher and higher. The neighborhood becomes a breeding ground for illness.
Hyman says it’s important to remember that there is a lot you can do to enhance your body’s natural ability to detox.
Here’s my summary of what Hyman recommends:
The body has four main exit routes for toxins: pee, poop, perspiration and pranayama (Sanskrit for breath).
Hyman calls these the quadruple “P.” Every moment of every day your body is relying on the quadruple “P” to mobilize, transform, and excrete toxins.
Here’s his quick primer on how to make the most of each exit route:
Pee: Your kidneys are responsible for flushing waste from the blood.
Make sure you drink plenty of water, at least eight 8-ounce glasses of filtered water a day. Humans are predominately composed of water (about 66 percent by weight for men, about 60 percent for women).
One of the first signs of dehydration is the color of your urine.
Your urine should be mostly clear or with only a slight tinge of yellow. (If you take vitamins, keep in mind that some nutrients, especially riboflavin, cause your urine to turn bright yellow.) But, if your urine is dark yellow or has a strong odor, you’re probably not drinking enough.
Poop: One or two well formed bowel movements every day is one of the best ways to give toxins a one-way ticket out.
If that goal seems high, you’re not alone. As many as 20% of people struggle with constipation. Unfortunately, the problem can get more onerous with aging. But bowel function is something you have a lot more control over than you may think.
For starters, up your fiber intake. Fiber cleans out the colon by making your stool heftier and easier to expel.
Drink plenty of water.
Your body is very good at conserving water. Sometimes it’s almost too good.
When the walls of the colon suck too much moisture out of stool, it dries and hardens. This can lead to pebble-like poop and constipation.
If you still can’t get going, then you need some help. This could include taking two tablespoons of ground flax seeds. Or taking acidophilus and extra magnesium capsules in the form of magnesium citrate.
Perspiration: Your skin is your single largest organ of elimination.
Make sure you’re maximizing the detox-potential of your pores by working up a sweat at least a few times each week.
Heart-thumping exercise that gets the body sweating for 20 minutes, three times a week is idea according to Hyman. It provides other health benefits as well. Or consider using a sauna, steam or detox bath to trigger the body’s natural ability to detoxify itself through sweat.
People have long gravitated toward heat as a means of cleansing the physical and emotional body. Some research indicates that sauna therapy increases excretion of heavy metals (lead, mercury, cadmium, and fat-soluble chemicals—PCBs, PBBs, and HCBs).
Taking saunas or steam baths also helps reduce stress and helps balance the autonomic nervous system.
Sauna therapy can improve circulation, help with weight loss, balance blood sugar while improving detoxification. Although the exact mechanism is not clear, it’s likely due to its effects on calming the nervous system, relaxing the muscles, and increasing vasodilation.
Pranayama: The lungs are the unsung heroes of the body’s detox team.
With each breath, they bring in fresh oxygen and help transport it throughout the body.
Unfortunately, the air we breathe is not always clean. Every day the lungs filter out carcinogens in gas fumes, allergens from pets and plants, and spores of mold. Restricted or shallow breathing can diminish the power of the lungs by preventing oxygen from reaching all of your tissues.
Breathing deeply and fully will oxygenate your brain, body, and spirit, transforming your health in the process.
One of the best ways to harness the power of the lungs to heal and detoxify is to learn how to belly breathe.
Start by putting your hand on your belly. Breathe out, squeezing the air out of your lungs with your stomach muscles. As you breathe in, relax your stomach muscles. After filling your lungs, try to push your hand off your belly with your breath, filling the lower part of your lungs.
Continue to breathe in and out slowly through your nose.
Each in and out breath should last to the count of three. Try this for five minutes a day.
Make lifestyle changes to support your body’s detoxification processes.
You can best support your body’s detoxification efforts by eating a nutrient dense diet and following common sense strategies.
Ditch the processed foods and focus on eating whole foods.
Eliminate foods that contain the most pesticides.
The Environmental Working Group creates a list each year of the foods that contain the highest levels of pesticide, the “Twelve Dirty Dozen”.
If you had to choose which foods to purchase as organic, these foods would be your best choices.
Create meal plans that include adequate amounts of protein (amino acids), fats, fiber, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.
Focus on eliminating known inflammatory foods.
Consider an elimination diet to avoid common food sensitivities like gluten and dairy and possibly soy, corn, eggs and yeast.
Consider cutting out refined carbohydrates and sugars, excess salt, caffeine and alcohol. If you have trouble identifying which foods may be causing an issue, consider getting more detailed lab testing to identify food allergies or sensitivities.
Eat foods that improve the variety of your gut microbes.
Include fermented foods like sauerkraut, kimchi, and kefir. Take a probiotic that contains multiple strains of beneficial bacteria.
Taking vitamin C is also beneficial as an antioxidant and immune support.
Identify hidden infections.
They may be affecting your metabolism such as chronic viruses, H pylori, Lyme, mycotoxins, yeast, parasites and sources of chronic inflammation in the mouth, nose, GI tract or genitourinary tract.
Limit unnecessary stress.
Get regular exercise, consider taking up yoga or Tai Chi. Focus on your breathing and the practice of mindfulness. Start a gratitude journal. Pray and/or share your feelings with loved ones that you trust.
Live from a place of authenticity. Eliminate toxic relationships.
Go to bed and rise at approximately the same time each day and aim for at least 7-9 hrs of sleep.
Get lab work.
Then you can identify nutrient deficiencies, hormone imbalances, genetic factors impeding your ability to detox, increased body burden of heavy metals, hidden chronic infections as well as alterations in your microbiome.
It’s never too late to lose weight successfully and I can help you.
Wouldn’t you like to be free of your weight issues once and for all?
Imagine how different your life would be if you never had to worry about what your body looked like. Or what you were going to wear. Or whether you had the physical stamina or energy to accomplish any task.
Imagine feeling confident when attending social events or having your photo taken. No more hiding in the background.
Well, you can take control and make this your reality!
Please take me up on my offer for your FREE Strategy Call so you can get started making positive changes today.
Making a few strategic shifts right now can be the first falling domino you need to make many more lasting changes.
Hey, my friend, it’s still totally possible to make 2022 your year to create the healthiest you. No matter your age, stage or past disappointments.
Jump start your fresh start. A year from now you will thank yourself because you reached out to me today.
I’m looking forward to meeting you soon.
It’s Never Too Late to make your weight loss journey easier. Let’s get going!
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