Stress activates the fight-or- flight response, which is the body’s involuntary response to a threat that makes your heart pound and your breath shorten. The main hormone released during this response is the stress hormone Cortisol.
Today’s modern, deadline filled, over-scheduled lifestyle can overtax the adrenal glands, which causes stress and causes the body to produce way too much cortisol. Raised cortisol boosts your insulin levels, which can cause you to pack on the pounds, specially around the midsection, even if you are eating healthy and exercising.
Cortisol can kick up your appetite, prompting you not only to want to eat huge quantities of food, but to want sweets and simple carbohydrates- foods that that ultimately make insulin levels spike and then plummet, which will leave you caught in a vicious cycle of feeling hungrier than ever-eating again.
The foods you choose can exacerbate, and even cause stress. Caffeine and sugar stimulate the nervous system increasing anxiety, a diet void of nutrients doesn’t supply the needed nutrients for the body to deal with stress.
Chronically elevated cortisol speeds up the aging process by breaking down collagen; it suppresses the immune system, increases the risk of heart attacks, stroke and kidney disease, also interferes with serotonin leading to depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
Take the steps necessary to address your stress now: eat a nutrient rich diet, learn to say “no”, meditate, exercise, go to bed early, laugh, get a massage, etc. All these can cause your cortisol levels to drop. Get 8 hours of sleep every night in total darkness.
2.- Artificially Sweetened Diet Foods and Drinks:
A huge mistake many people make is thinking that artificial sweeteners re the answer. Ont he contrary: studies have shown that those who consume foods with artificial sweeteners have a 41% increased risk of becoming overweight or obese. The reasoning is that artificial sweeteners confuse the body’s ability to recognize that it has had enough food and it causes more cravings for sweet food to make up for the calorie deficit.
When your body is not fed nutrients that it recognizes, it asks again and again for more food, triggering the heavy duty cravings. You might feel like you don’t have willpower and that your’e overeating, but that is often not the case. Artificial sweeteners can also cause havoc with your metabolism in the same way sugar does. The best bet is an all-natural sweetener like coconut sugar, maple syrup, honey or stevia.
3.- Undetected food allergies or intolerance:
Food intolerances or sensitivities are relatively a new concept in relation to weight gain/loss, but they’re running rampant. Many people are walking around feeling unwell to some degree, but until recently, rarely has a connection been made between a symptom and a specific food.
There are distinct signs to watch for when eating foods. These signs can include fatigue, bloating, weight gain, diarrhea, gas and other digestive issues. Blood tests can confirm food intolerances if you suspect you are having issues with a certain food.
Once you identify the offending food in your diet and learn to avoid it, your body and health will begin to change. As a result of identifying a sensitivity to gluten or dairy for example, many people will find they naturally begin to lose weight as digestion improves, and cravings begin to fade.
Along with removing the culprit food from your diet, it’s a good idea to work on improving your digestive system, as often food intolerances and linked to leaky gut. Once your digestive system is healed you might be able to reintroduce the offending food to your diet.
4.- Toxic Products In Your Home.
Toxic chemicals from common household cleaning agents, cosmetics, plastics and more are being stored in the fat tissues of your body fueling disease, slowing down your metabolism, and adding up to unhealthy weight gain. Chemicals, such as polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), disrupt normal endocrine activity in the body. These hormone disruptors can fatten you in many ways, including interfering with the activity of estrogens, androgens, and other hormones that regulate fat metabolism in your body.
Whenever possible, choosing non-toxic items over toxic ones, using a carbon water filter, choosing glass over plastic and metal, moving towards more natural cleaning products, and being aware of the biggest offenders can go a long way to detoxifying your life and looking and feeling better.
5.- Hidden Insulin Triggers.
Sugar is a given, we have already established how it causes your body to release insulin to balance the rise in blood sugar. The not so obvious offenders include white flour foods, some starchy vegetables, and even whole grain flour products can cause issues for those who are insulin sensitive.
Healthy sweeteners such as honey can also cause unwanted insulin spikes. The human body doesn’t discriminate between sugar from white flour, potatoes, or honey; they all turn to sugar upon digestion. However, there is a difference in the by-products of digesting those foods, meaning that potatoes and honey will leave much less of a burden in the system than white flour.
Foods that are also high in fiber help reduce the insulin spike which is why fruit is a good addition to the diet, but even with fruit it is sometimes necessary to cut it out temporarily to kick start the first couple of weeks of a weight loss plan.
The key to losing weight is controlling the insulin response so that your body will go to the next available energy source: your stored fat, and use it for fuel.
6.- MSG In Your Food
Monosodium glutamate- known as MSG – is a chemical that’s often used to add flavor to processed foods and Chinese takeout. This food additive does more than add flavor- it may be a factor in creating lifelong obesity. Be aware: Ever since MSG got a bad rap for causing headaches and other bad reactions in people who were sensitive to it, many food manufacturers have looked for ways to get around listing it on the label.
Watch ingredients lists for words like “glutamate”, which triggers the same kind of reactions as MSG. MSG may also be hidden in other food additives like: caseinate, autolyzed yeast enzymes, beef or chicken broth, natural flavoring, hydrolyzed protein, soy isolates, soy protein, and soy protein concentrate.
If you are truly serious about losing weight and ridding your body of toxins, be vigilant about checking labels and avoiding these substances.
7.- Hormonal Balance.
Hormones tell you you’re hungry; hormones tell you when you’re full. Hormones tell your body what to do with that food-whether to store it or burn it as fuel.
Hormones tell your body how to consume energy stores when you exercise, hormones control almost every aspect of how you gain or lose weight. When it comes to losing weight, having balanced hormones is absolutely crucial. Between stress hormones, thyroid hormones, hunger and satiety hormones, serotonin, testosterone and estrogen – there are a lot of players involved in either keeping you thin or packing on the pounds.
Hormonal balance is achieved by tending to body, mind and spirit at the same time. it is not enough to tweak your diet and exercise routine to achieve weight loss. Dieting and restrictive eating can often throw off hormones and end up impeding weight loss.
8.- Fat-Free Foods
There has been a marked increase in weight gain that coincides with the fat-free craze that ensued a few years back. The largest consumer group for fat-free foods is North Americans who also happen to have the highest rates of obesity in the world. When fats are removed from foods, they are typically replaced with sugars, sodium, artificial sweeteners and chemicals.
The total calories in the fat-free food items is usually close to its full fat counterpart, but the difference is that fat free foods don’t provide the same level of satiation causing people to actually eat MORE calories in a day. What’s more, when sugar is absorbed into the bloodstream, glucose levels rise causing the pancreas to release insulin to move the sugar into cells of the body to be used as energy.
An overindulgence of sugar causes stress on the pancreas leading to a host of illnesses and weight gain because excess sugar is stored in the cells as fat. The hormone glucagon is responsible for taking fat out of storage to be burned off as fuel, but when the body is producing too much insulin, glucagon cannot be produced resulting in the body’s inability to efficiently burn fat stores.
9.- Feeding Your Thirst.
Often people may think they are hungry when in reality they just need a big glass of water. If you’re not sure whether your’e hungry or thirsty, assume it’s the latter. Drink water or have some herbal tea and see how you feel after a few minutes; dehydration could be leading you to consume extra calories. Staying well hydrated and drinking water 30 minutes before a meal can help with digestion and weight loss.
Weight gain can often be a side effect of some medications. Psychiatric medications to treat bipolar disorder, schizophrenia, and depression, along with heart medications like beta blockers, commonly cause weight gain. If you suspect your medications may be behind your weight gain, you may want to schedule an appointment with your doctor to ask about finding a substitute without the side effect.