Is Your Weight Gain Caused by a Nutrient Deficiency?

Melissa Meyer, CPT

When we think about our bodies storing excess adipose tissue (fat) we often connect it to an overconsumption of nutrients. Whether it be, poor food choices, or stress eating overconsumption has always been a direct link and cause to weight gain. With our nation experiencing an influx in overweight and obese residence since the 1970s, diet companies and fitness experts have been making billions of dollars on the presumption that if you eat less and move more you will lose weight.   Do these claims bare truth? Absolutely. However, is the root of the problem in this nation a lack of will power, or is it more deeply rooted in something greater?
You see by eating less and moving more, you may be purely curing one symptom of a much greater problem; nutrient deficiency.  This claim may sound outlandish, but from a biological and physiological standpoint it could very well be the key variable in our obesity epidemic.  It can all be tied to our current environment and the production of our “food.” For those who have been struggling to lose weight this may be the key to their permanent success.  Our bodies are complex and they require a gamete of nutrients both at the macro and micro level in order to run property. Purely existing at rest our bodies are going through hundreds of processes from the production of ATP, to Vitamin D Production and regulating our core body temperature.

Our blood needs a constant pH of 7.35-7.45 in order to survive any shift in that pH our bodies experience horrible effects of acidosis or alkalosis.   In order to retain osmoregulation (the balance between salt and water) we need potassium and phosphate electrolytes. Any depletion of that is often what causes marathon runners to drop dead.

So why does the science matter? You see when depletion of important nutrients and minerals happen our bodies alert our brains to tell us to eat that nutrient! This is also known as a craving, and I have yet to come across a person who has never experienced one. Our survival often depends on such cravings.  When I would train long distances, my body would crave two things, kool-aid and extremely salty popcorn. Reason behind that was my loss of sodium, potassium and the fact that my blood sugar had dipped to all-time lows. My body craved things it knew would bring my electrolytes back to normal level and fast.

So how could this system our body has in place to survive go wrong? Simple, we no longer eat food, we eat chemically altered lab created stuff. We might be fooled into thinking those pop tarts and coke for breakfast is food, our bodies aren’t. After your body breaks down the pop tarts and extracts any nutrients it has out of it, your body will be looking to fill the nutrients it is missing. This the reason junk food is often called empty calories. For those who experience what they refer to as constant hunger this can very well explain why those who are overweight have insatiable appetites.

People often can experience this with thirst, I could not count how many times I have had someone tell me how thirsty they were, and they go into the vending machine and grab a soda. For one, this contains very little actual water, and upon consumption your body will require additional water in order to flush those chemicals out through the kidneys. Now most people do not reach for a water at this point instead they wash it down with an additional soda. The body is signaling the brain to drink water, but we interpret the signal as drink liquids. Our brain will continue to signal us to drink until it has reacted the needed water intake. The same principle applies to food, our brains will continue to signal hunger until we meet our nutrient needs. As we are chomping away at our fast food burger and fries our body is signaling what we think is hunger, but what our body is actually telling us is “please eat some freaking vegetables and some actual chicken.” If you diet is comprised largely of processed and chemically altered food there is a great chance that you are nutrient deficient. If you struggle with constant hunger, this will not change until you alter your diet and began eating nutrient dense foods.

There is another side to this coin, and that is the environment and process in which our food is created can have grave effects on the integrity of our intestines and gut. Most our absorption from the foods we eat take place in the jejunum and ileum (small intestine) however the small intestine can only absorb amino acids, monosaccharaides, nucleotides and fats which leaves everything else to be filtered by the liver.   Our livers are meant to take care of very small amounts of materials, but our American diet now has it on overload.   Many Americans are in danger of what is medically referred to as “Hepatotoxicity” which in laymen’s terms means chemically driven liver. Any processed food, fake drink, herbal supplements goes through the liver. This is a dangerous condition and it proves that our bodies are not meant to ingest processed chemically created foods,and the scary reality is the American economy is driven off processed foods.

In order to lose weight and gain health we need to work with our bodies, by giving them a nutrient dense diet. Any crash diet while it may temporarily fix weight gain, it will never solve the root cause; nutrient deficiency.   Eating a clean, processed free, balanced diet will not only bring our body to a state of health you will notice a decrease in unexplained appetite and a loss in excess fat. At the end of the day you do not have a lack of will-power you have a lack of nutrients!

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Foundation of Youth is Unlocked by Sweat

As the industrial revolution boomed and technology grew at rapid rates, human life expectancy increased and we began seeing people live longer lives thanks to medical advances.   Mortality rates among the younger population has also decreased throughout the years and diseases that were once death sentences were now treatable.

Women who now make up a far greater percentage of the work force are child rearing at much older ages than their ancestors, and it is far more common to have woman need fertility treatments. Technology has allowed us to live far beyond our potential…..or has it cut our potential?

Many diseases have not been as prominent as they are today. Cancer is rapid, obesity is an epidemic and diabetes is a common household term. It seems as even with technological advances at our finger tips we are unable to invent away sickness. As our nation is SICK! The question I’ve been struggling with is, are we living longer or are we purely spending more years dying? Personally, I want to spend my years living as vibrant as possible. Many people have sought out the secret to delayed aging; some claim it to be beauty cream, others feel it has been captured in the form of a capsule you take. What if the key to prevent aging lies within our bodies own engineering? What if we possess the key to the fountain of youth and it could be as easy to unlock as putting on our gym shoes and heading out the door?

Granted I do not hold a medical degree, however I have had enough education on the physiology of the body and human moment to question modern day medicine. See what I presume the key is, cannot be bottled or sold. It needs to be earned, and worked for.

The key to health lies within our bodies’ circulatory system; our bodies own personal transport system. Our cells are dependent upon the circulatory system to provide it with nutrients, water and the oxygen we breathe. We may intake all the proper nutrients but if our body cannot transport it to our cells we our doing our bodies a grave disservice.   If you have ever seen the movie Casper the friendly ghost we may remember a scene in the movie were all the ghosts are gorging themselves on donuts and other foods, and everything went right though them and unto the floor. Now this may be an exaggeration, but without our “transport system” at its prime we could be missing out on massive amounts of nutrition. Nutrients that will allow our body to rebuild cells, to regenerate our hair, skin, and nails. Amino acids that codes for our protein. Think about that big kale salad you choked down in a mission to be healthy. Do you really want to have to eat two of them to get the same nutrition out of one kale salad?

What may be worse than not obtaining the proper amount of nutrients, may actually be what we fail to transport OUT of the body. You see our bodies create toxins, you ingest food, break it down and the byproduct is oxidative toxins. Much like a car gives off exhaust as I uses its fuel, our body has waste breakdown. Vegetables contain antioxidants which helps with the oxidative breakdown in the body, but the constant flow of blood gets those toxins removed. Some toxins will end up begin stored in adipose tissue ie fat cells and as we break down fat for energy our body will dump those toxins into the blood stream.

One of the greatest reasons we are seeing greater rates of new diseases, or more commonality of certain diseases is due to the obesity rate we have. Obesity displays two things, greater toxins with in the body. (More fat cells equal greater toxin storage). Decrease of circulation, in most cases.   People who fall within the ranges of obesity are typically not getting enough daily activity or accessory exercise.

We spend 8 hours a day (if we are lucky) sleeping, 8-9 hours a day sitting at our desks, and an additional 1-3 hours sitting in our cars commuting. When we return home, most Americans flop in front of their television sets and watch on average 1-3 hours of television a night. That is most of our existence in the seated, blood pooling, toxin building position! Our bodies were not designed for immobility, we wouldn’t be bipedal, bone dense, and have the ability to gain muscular strength and endurance. The “cure” or prevention of many human diseases and conditions may lie within our very human make-up. The very human processes we fail to activate on a daily basis.   If we are sedentary for 90% of the day, how often does our heart rate increase and our bodies sweat?

According to the American Academy of Sports Medicine; “As many as 250,000 deaths per year in the United States are attributable to lack of regular physical activity. “ If physical activity is a key to prevention why aren’t health clubs busting at the seams and our streets filled with runners and cyclists?

I remember driving though Madison with a female co-worker a few years back. Madison has always been a hub for physical activity there was never any shortage of joggers or students walking to class.  There was a woman jogging down the path dripping sweat. My co-worker turned to me and said “that is so disgusting, why would anyone want to look that bad and have all that sweat come out of them.” I decided against going into the biological processes that go in to sweat and how it’s extremely beneficial for our circulatory system, releases toxins, and makes us healthier; and took it as a lesson in the human condition.   People hate discomfort, which is why Curves existed and people will buy a pill that solves their problems before they get off the couch.

However, if people saw exercising as changing the dirty oil within their own engines, maybe they would take 20-45 minutes out of their day to reset their bodies into a hemostatic condition. If they knew that their increase in blood pressure would cause blood to flow through their bodies at a greater rate dumping nutrients and taking out toxins at a far greater rate. If they knew that improved circulation within the body has been linked to a slower breakdown and unraveling of their DNA (also known as the aging process).

See at the end of the day exercise should not be about punishing our bodies for eating a donut, or trying to fit in our skinny jeans. It should be treated as a daily requirement, in order to live longer, healthier lives. Maybe when we use our bodies as they were designed to, will we spend more of our lives living instead of more years dying.

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Is your Coffee Habit Destroying your Adrenals?

As Americans we will probably never receive notoriety for our patience and relaxed existences. We thrive on Starbucks and Red Bull. You can often hear Americans brag about functioning on only 4-5 hours of sleep each night; when in fact we are actually stressing our bodies to the point of Adrenal fatigue/HPA Axis dysfunction causing memory loss, low concentration, difficulty losing weight, depression, anxiety and extreme levels of exhaustion.

Most of us often deal with stressors that are outside of our control; whether it is family, work or another circumstance, and these stressors can have a tremendous effect on our health. Most of us fail to realize that we can help our bodies cope with life stressors through lifestyle changes. Our decisions can help determine how our body is able to respond to those stressors.  Although, some decision are harder; such as an unhappy marriage, or leaving a job that treats you poorly. One example, easily changed is the consumption of caffeine.

So how exactly does caffeine stress your adrenal glands? Caffeine is a xanthine alkaloid that affects the central nervous system, and acts as a psychoactive stimulant; which increases the rate at which neurons in the brain fire. This, in turn, stimulates both the central and sympathetic nervous systems. This effect can also be described as the “flight or fight response” which is the same adrenaline and cortisol rush you would experience if you were put in a life or death situation. Unfortunately, our bodies cannot rationalize the difference between a mugger and a mug of coffee. Stress on the hypothalamus, pituitary and adrenal glands, are the same regardless of the circumstance.

Interestingly, caffeine is routinely used to induce panic attacks in clinical experiments. “When given caffeine doses equivalent to that in 4-5 cups of coffee, nearly ½ of panic disorder patients experienced a reaction that was indistinguishable from a spontaneous panic attack (Bruce 1989).”

Caffeine feeds the vicious cycle of stress on our adrenals. We lead stressful lives and become sleep deprived, so we start our mornings with a nice cup of coffee that gives us a boost of artificial energy, and increase in cortisol. Later, our bodies start to “crash” so we reach for more caffeine to get us through the day. With the average American consuming an average of 420 mg of caffeine a day, it is not shocking that many struggle with anxiety and compromised adrenal glands. A conscious awareness of ones caffeine intake is important for supporting adrenal health, the ability to deal with stress of life and live healthier.

The chart below shows the amount of caffeine (mg) in common beverages. The goal is to stay under 200 mg a day. Your adrenals will thank you and your body will return to homeostasis.

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The Truth Behind Fitness

You, yes you! The woman who wants to lose weight! The woman who wants to be fit! Because we all know that men tend not to troll blogs and Pinterest for fitness inspiration. This is a public service announcement, stop looking at what everyone else is doing!

Did you learn nothing from grade school?! Keep your eyes on your own work, your own goals! That person’s Pinterest board isn’t going to go run that marathon for you…shopping for bikinis is not going to make you look good in one! Stop wishing you looked like X,Y, or Z and start working towards U! Your ideal body, your goals, your health!

Stop buying every fitness DVD program hoping each one will be the miracle and let it sit collecting dust while you collect fat! Stop focusing on the results someone else got…and becoming depressed…they are doing the work and you are just spectating. If you want to be good at the game of fitness get off your damn bench! Stop begin so concerned with the end that you never start the race, stop asking everyone else what they did to get healthy and start moving!

Stop saying “ill start working out and eating better tomorrow!” Carpe Diem!!! There is no time like now! Those people, those athletic fit beautiful women…they are out there doing, and you are glued to the computer! You are researching and pining and drooling and wishing and hoping. “Someday…someday I will look like that.” Envy doesn’t get you washboard abs, and don’t set out to have what others have if you are unwilling to put in the blood, sweat, and tears! Fitness takes pain, toughness, a good pain killer somedays, it takes determination, passion, and resilience! The weak never start in fear of failure, the strong fear nothing but regret. They realize failure is part of growth, it creates strength. You will never come out of this world alive, do you want to leave with battle wounds, scars and bruises proving you fought to be as strong as possible? Or do you want to exit soft, fragile, and weak. Spending your days in a bubble, never knowing your capabilities never striving for strength only hanging onto others successes. So do yourself a favor, stop looking to others for inspiration, no one is responsible for that but you. Be your own inspiration, if you want to have the level of fitness and health others have you better be damn willing to put in the same work.

Nothing is impossible and nothing comes with out battle wounds, but in the end you will not only inspire yourself you may be what others inspire to be!

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