Hi! Welcome to Fit, Food, and Fun Fridays! Today we’ll look at how inflammation can impede weight loss. People like to think that simply eating less meat, more vegetables and going to the gym is enough to shed all those extra pounds you gained last holiday season. It is not that simple. As we learn more about how our body works, weight management, and the growing obesity epidemic, we are beginning to realize that things are more complicated.
For many years, researchers tried to identify the critical elements of metabolism and its relation to weight loss. Following their efforts, researchers found that inflammation can have a direct effect on your weight loss efforts. How does inflammation in the body block your efforts to shed those extra pounds? Here is a brief explanation.
To Lose Weight, the Body Needs to Convert Cells
According to a number of studies on weight loss, the conversion of cells is what helps you lose weight. More specifically, this happens when white fat cells turn into brown cells. When white fat cells become brown fat cells, they become more capable of burning fat and converting it into the energy that you need. It means that the more brown cells your body has, the more weight you can lose.
The conversion of cells relies on a major signaling pathway and the messenger, cGMP. Research has found that fat is capable of creating inflammation that interferes with the signal pathway for converting cells. Essentially, inflammation hinders and restrains cGMP, blocking the signaling pathway, suppressing the body’s ability to convert cells, and resulting in accumulated fat.
Fat, Inflammation, and Weight Loss
There are different types of fat present in the body; visceral fat is the one you want the least of. This stubborn belly fat lies deep within your body, around your internal organs. It is the type of fat that prevents cell conversion and causes inflammation, hormonal problems, and cardiovascular disease.
Visceral fat causes a multitude of health issues and is hard to shed. It causes inflammation that blocks the signal pathway telling your body to convert white fat cells into brown cells. That is why you are unable to use it for energy. In order to maximize your body’s ability to convert cells and lose weight, it is important that you understand the mechanics of burning fat and losing weight.
You need to better understand your body, practice good eating habits, exercise, and get enough sleep to prevent yourself from gaining visceral fat and experiencing inflammation. This fat only blocks your body from being a natural fat burning machine. The body is a complex system, and there are myriad factors that play a role in a person gaining or losing weight.
Inflammation is only one of these factors, but paying attention and keeping it in check can go a long way. Take the time to figure out how your body works and what causes weight gain so that your weight loss efforts will not be in vain. By making lifestyle changes and being more aware of your body, achieving optimum health is well within your reach.
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I really wanted to talk about this topic today because the overweight and obesity epidemic is at an all-time high! We are a fat society and it’s killing us prematurely. Not only do I truly believe that you have the power to lose weight to improve your health, but the science also agrees! You can adopt healthy lifestyle practices that improve your health and enrich your life, which can in turn improve the lives of those close to you. You have the power to break the cycle of obesity so that you can leave a legacy of health to your loved ones.
I use lifestyle medicine as the first line of treatment, before medications, to treat lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Lifestyle-related chronic diseases include diabetes, hypertension, obesity, and some cancers, just to name a few. Lifestyle practices, such as eating a whole-food plant-based diet and regular physical activity, can help you lose weight, and maybe reverse some of your chronic diseases. In certain cases, these approaches may even outperform pharmaceutical therapy. But I always tell my patients that conventional medications may be appropriate at this time to prevent catastrophic illness, but over time, you can work to make the necessary lifestyle changes to possibly reduce and/or eliminate medications. Please remember to always consult your physician for your particular needs and circumstances prior to making any decisions whatsoever.
Since weight management is very important in combatting chronic diseases, I recommend that you be mindful of your weight and its fluctuations, and that you monitor your weight AT LEAST on a weekly basis. I recommend a scale that includes a body composition monitor (*this scale cannot be used with a pacemaker or other implanted devices).
Physical activity (or exercise) can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several chronic diseases like high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and cancer, just to name a few. Physical activity can improve your mood, boost your immune system, and even help you maintain a healthy weight.
I often recommend yoga and resistance training for physical activity, but as you are aware, there are plenty of forms of “movement” that you can do! But for the basics, especially if you’re just getting started, yoga and resistance training are where I would start.
Yoga can be a great way to improve your strength and flexibility, manage your stress, improve your heart health, and lose weight! I recommend using a grounded yoga mat to connect yourself with the earth and reduce inflammation.
Resistance training is the mainstay for overall health. It not only has beneficial effects on reducing body fat, it also increases muscle size and strength. Check out some basic dumbbells/free weights that I recommend to everyone.
Another alternative for dumbbells/free weights are resistance bands. They are great for physical therapy, yoga, strength training, and excellent for traveling.
Remember, living a healthy lifestyle including eating a whole foods plant-based diet, regular physical activity, and reducing stress are the best ways to maintain a healthy weight. Let me know what you think in the comment section below.
PS. I am always asked what tools and resources I recommend to help you reach YOUR health goals. Here is the ever-growing, always updated list for you.
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