(NaturalNews) When we want to lean down and melt away some extra body fat, most of us know the general drill: restrict simple, refined carbs, burn more calories with exercise and physical activity, and monitor our caloric intake. But what about when this approach feels futile and depressing as the body fat still sticks, or worse yet, body fat proliferates? What are some pitfalls that we might be overlooking that are sabotaging our honest efforts to slim down?
Stressed out keeps fat on
One of the first things to consider is stress. We all experience a variety of stressors on a day-to-day basis. From mental and emotional stress, to nutritional and environmental stress, to hidden stressors such as food sensitivities and chronic pathogenic overgrowth. How we respond to these stressors can make a major difference. When we internalize emotional stressors, our nervous system activates our fight or flight physiology (sympathetic dominance). This is a healthy response when done for short durations, but all too often this survival mechanism gets activated for months or even years and causes abnormal levels of cortisol to be produced and released by the adrenal glands and eventually leads to exhaustion of multiple systems in our bodies. When cortisol is elevated, it causes our bodies to go into fat storage mode. The other downside to this dilemma is that our bodies shift into a catabolic state, meaning there is more structural breakdown in our muscles and bones. A simple way to find out if abnormal cortisol levels are wreaking havoc on your metabolism and fat burning efforts is to have your cortisol levels tested through saliva testing, typically four samples collected throughout a single day.
Maybe it's a sensitive issue
Another common trigger of abnormally elevated cortisol levels can relate back to food sensitivities. This is different from an immediate allergic response to food. Food sensitivities can create a wide spectrum of symptoms from GI disturbances to arthritic symptoms to headaches just to name a few, and may create an immediate response or a delayed response, making it difficult to identify them. One of the most common food sensitivities found in our society today is to gluten. Two of the most common symptoms associated with this sensitivity are weight gain and fatigue. There are lab tests that can be performed to determine if you are gluten sensitive, but beware; there are many false negatives that can occur. A two-month gluten elimination diet is the most accurate way to assess for sensitivity.
One last consideration in fat burning resistance is to rule out a pathogenic infection. These are most commonly detected in the GI system. Common culprits include H. pylori, C. difficile, parasites, and yeast/fungal overgrowth. These pathogens are becoming more and more widespread and can flourish for years without causing apparent symptoms. When these pathogens are either present or overabundant, they can trigger abnormally elevated levels of cortisol to offset the inflammatory response they are creating. These pathogens can also block the absorption of nutrients, leading to nutrient depletion, making us more susceptible to food cravings. Simple, at-home lab testing can be performed to determine if pathogens are responsible for stubborn fat accumulation.
Sources for this article include:
Wilson, James L. Adrenal Fatigue: The 21st Century Stress Syndrome. Smart Publications, 2001 Schwarzbein, Diana. The Schwarzbein Principle II. Health Communications, 2002.
About the author: Kelly Pepper, D.C., is a mother of six, an avid reader, eclectic cook, home manager, and untiring sleuth to natural living. She gathers her experience to share with children of all ages. She is currently working on a wellness book series for children ages 4-7. She and her husband own Affinity Health Professionals www.affinityhealthprofessionals.com.