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Health Gain - Weight Loss - Part 1 - "Getting to the Root Causes"

My Friend Debbie - Health Gain - Weight Loss     It’s that time of the year again.  All the holiday celebrations are over, the extra “goodies” of the season have been eaten and we begin the New Year…a few pounds heavier (again).  January should be declared “National Diet Month,” since it seems that the most common New Year’s resolution people make is to lose weight.

     The articles in this series on “Health Gain – Weight Loss” will be far from another “eat less/exercise more” diet plan; you do not even need to have a weight problem to benefit from them. The goal of these articles is to assist you in gaining health to where all of the body systems function as they were designed. When that occurs, the body will naturally maintain its weight within an optimum range.

What Is “Health Gain – Weight Loss”?

     Nearly all of the body systems and organs are involved in some way with metabolism (the process that determines whether calories are burned for energy or stored as fat). It so happens that the factors that cause the body to gain and maintain weight are the same ones that lead to poor health. For example, in my article entitled “Understanding pH – Your Health is in the Balance” (November, 2009), I pointed out how acid binds with fat and is stored in fat cells in order to protect the body’s tissues, cells and organs from its damaging effects.

     An acidic pH is just one of many ways in which imbalances in the body can cause increased fat tissue. Keep in mind that, when excess weight is not easily lost, it generally indicates a core imbalance in the body that needs to be corrected.My Friend Debbie - Health Gain - Weight Loss

If you struggle to lose weight, there are three questions you need to be able to answer:

  • What has taken place in my body that allowed fat tissue to accumulate in the first place?
  • In what way is my body not functioning properly that prevents it from letting go of excess fat? 
  • What diet and lifestyle change(s) can I make that will give my body what it needs to regain balance and maintain a healthy weight?

     The natural health principles covered in these articles will assist you in identifying the answers to these questions. I believe that it is essential for a person with a weight problem to gain an understanding of how their body works and what it needs to function optimally, because of the tremendous risk of serious health problems linked to excess weight. God’s people need health for the journey, but the types of problems that excess weight creates diminish that health and decrease life expectancy.

The Enormity of the Problem

     One only needs to look around to see that being overweight is becoming more and more prevalent in our society. If you struggle to lose weight or to maintain a healthy weight, you are certainly not in the minority. In fact, two out of every three people in this country are now considered overweight or obese, including one-third of our children.

My Friend Debbie - Health Gain - Weight Loss     It is astounding to realize that this rate of obesity has doubled in adults and tripled in children just during the course of the past few decades. An adolescent who is overweight today has an 80% chance of being overweight as an adult.

     If current trends continue, 75% of adults in this country are projected to be overweight by the year 2015, with 41% of that number being obese.

     Obesity and its complications cause as many as 300,000 premature deaths each year. Since 1990, it has quickly risen to become the second leading preventable cause of death in the USA, right after cigarette smoking.

     In March of 2009, The Lancet (a well known English medical journal) published results of the largest long-term investigation ever conducted on how obesity affects mortality. This collaborative project, coordinated by Oxford University, consisted of 57 different studies involving 900,000 adults. 

     The conclusion was drawn that moderate obesity reduces life expectancy by approximately three years. In cases of extreme obesity, a person’s life can be shortened up to 10 years, which is equal to the effects of lifelong smoking.  Mortality was lowest in those with a Body Mass Index (“BMI”) of 23 or 24.  You can refer to the Body Mass Index Table below for more information on determining and interpreting your BMI.


BMI – under 16.5

Severely Underweight

BMI of 16.5 to 18.4


BMI 18.5 to 24.9

Normal weight

BMI of 25 to 30


BMI of 30.1 to 34.99

Moderately Obese

BMI of 35 to 39.99

Severely Obese

BMI over 40

Morbidly Obese


The Body Mass Index (BMI) is calculated by dividing a person’s weight in kilograms by the square of their height in meters.  To find out what your BMI is, you can go to this website: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.htm.

Connection of Excess Weight with Metabolic Syndrome and Disease

     People with a BMI greater than 25 are far more likely to develop a set of conditions associated with Metabolic Syndrome. “Metabolic Syndrome” is the name given to a group of risk factors linked with excess weight that increase the chance of life-threatening health problems such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke. Those with Metabolic Syndrome double their risk of cardiovascular disease – the nation’s number one killer. They are also five times more likely to develop insulin resistance leading to Type 2 diabetes than those who do not have these risk factors.

Are you considered to be “at risk” for Metabolic Syndrome?

According to the American Heart Association and the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, having three or more of the following risk factors constitutes Metabolic Syndrome.
  • A large amount of abdominal or “belly fat” (waist circumference greater than 35” in woman and 40” in men)
  • Low levels of HDL (high density lipoprotein or “good” cholesterol – less than 50 mg. for women and less than 40 mg. for men)
  • High levels of blood fats known as triglycerides (150 mg or higher without medication)
  • High blood pressure or hypertension (over 135/85 without medication)
  • High blood glucose (fasting glucose level higher than 100 mg. without medication)

 Chronic Inflammation is Closely Tied to Metabolic Syndrome

     Chronic inflammation has been shown to be a result of excessive weight, particularly fat tissue located around the abdomen, commonly referred to as “belly fat.”  Researchers have confirmed that fat cells within this abdominal fat tissue secrete inflammatory molecules known as cytokines, which directly contribute to systemic inflammation.

     A person does not necessarily have to be considered obese for this type of fat tissue to produce inflammation and create disease in the body.  [for further information on the effects of systemic inflammation on health, I would refer you to my article on “Inflammation – the Fuel that Flames the Fire of Disease”] 

Connection With Alzheimers

My Friend Debbie - Health Gain - Weight Loss     Another serious consequence of excess fat tissue in the abdominal region linked with inflammation is the development of dementia or Alzheimer’s, which is also on the rise. Research published in the medical journal “Neurology” in March, 2008, found that people who were both obese and had a large belly were three times more likely to be diagnosed with dementia in later years than those of normal weight and belly size. The risk of developing dementia nearly doubled in those who had a healthy weight but still carried abdominal fat.  This suggests that abdominal fat is especially unhealthy for brain health later in life. 

Additional Complications Associated with Excess Body Weight 

     Other medical complications commonly occurring at greater rates among those who are overweight and/or have Metabolic Syndrome include fatty liver, gallstones, osteoarthritus, sleep apnea and polycystic ovary disease. According to the World Health Organization, by the year 2020, more than 60% of chronic disorders worldwide will be attributed to diseases linked to obesity.

Are Diets the Answer?

     Both the medical profession and society typically respond to this expanding obesity problem by advising the overweight to “go on a diet.”   At any given time in this country, approximately 40-45% of women and 20-22% of men are on a diet. Wikipedia lists 79 different diets currently used by people (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_diets), and there are undoubtedly countless others in existence. Despite the fact that over $40 billion dollars is spent on weight loss products and services annually in America, the problem of excess weight and body fat continues to increase.

My Friend Debbie - Health Gain - Weight Loss     Diets, particularly calorie-restrictive “fad” diets, rarely promote true health (many can even be harmful to health), nor do they produce lasting results. Moreover, many of these diets are based on faulty, incomplete and even contradictory information. Some leave out entire food groups and others dictate eating a disproportionate amount of one particular food group. 

     Diets may work to take off pounds (at least initially), but they merely address the symptom of the problem and do not correct the underlying health imbalances that caused the individual to become overweight in the first place.

     Moreover, the majority of weight loss that does take place is not from fat reduction, but from loss of water, glycogen and valuable muscle mass. These pounds generally reappear as quickly as they were lost once a normal diet is resumed. Studies indicate that an average of 41% of people eventually gain back at least five more pounds than they lost on their diet.

     As you will learn in more detail in next month’s article, calorie-restrictive diets place the body in “starvation mode,” which cause the body’s metabolism to slow down and store fat in an attempt to conserve energy. It would My Friend Debbie - Health Gain - Weight Lossbe better to remain 10 pounds overweight than to repeatedly lose and gain back the same 10 pounds, especially when you take into account that weight regained is mostly fat instead of muscle. Repeated “yo-yo” dieting can actually program the body to store more fat and cut metabolic function by half. 

     Deprivation-type diets can not only be harmful to the physical body, but are also often psychologically and emotionally detrimental. It is not uncommon for dieters to become obsessive about their body weight and size and lose a healthy perspective of themselves. Some may end up bingeing, which then leads to feelings of guilt and defeat. Continual failure in achieving desired weight loss goals often serves to heighten feelings of guilt, low self-esteem, discouragement, and depression. To go on these types of diets sets a person up for failure at best and poor health at worse.

Take It From a Medical Doctor

     Dr. Mark Hyman, founder of the Ultra Wellness Center and editor-in-chief of “Alternative Therapies in Health and Medicine” (a renowned medical journal in the field of Integrative Medicine) has authored several best selling books that incorporate cutting-edge science along with the latest nutritional research to bring new understanding to how the body’s metabolism, weight loss and better health interrelate. In his book Ultrametabolism, he gives a step-by-step program for rebalancing the seven key systems in the body that control health and weight loss. 

     According to Dr. Hyman, food is the most powerful tool available for promoting good health and treating disease. In the introduction to his book The Ultra Metabolism Cookbook, he states: “how we eat, how we move our bodies (or don’t) and how we deal with stress can effectively address at least 80 to 90% of all illness, as well as the current obesity epidemic”.  Although Dr. Hyman’s patients have had tremendous results with permanent weight loss and regained health, he acknowledges that nutrition is not traditionally considered a part of medicine, nor is the typical physician trained in it to any degree. He also indicates that it can take as much as 20 years for the results of scientific findings to be integrated into common medical practice, particularly in regards to the area of nutrition as it relates to health. 

What’s Ahead in Our “Health Gain – Weight Loss” Series?

My Friend Debbie - Health Gain - Weight Loss     The information that will be discussed in this series will help you put an end to the vicious cycle of dieting and poor health, and will help you understand how to incorporate new habits and practices to enable your body to shed excess pounds and gain better health in the process. 

Some of the information you will learn in upcoming articles on “Health Gain – Weight Loss” are:

  • How to increase your metabolism without changing the amount of your caloric intake
  • How food contains hidden information that communicates with your genes and sends messages to your metabolism to burn or store fat
  • How to program your body to lose weight based on your unique genetic make-up
  • Why women tend to store fat and have a more difficult time losing weight than men
  • How the timing and frequency of eating boosts your metabolism and regulates weight
  • How to control your appetite and be free of cravings that keep you eating sugar or refined carbohydrates
  • How to increase the body’s metabolic power so that it burns calories while at rest
  • How to target the loss of “belly fat”
  • Why low-fat diets don’t work and how the right kinds of fats can actually help you burn fat
  • Why carbohydrates are actually needed for healthy weight loss
  • How to detoxify and reset your metabolism by removing common food allergens
  • How to detoxify from toxins that affect thyroid function and interfere with hormonal signals that control appetite and eating behavior
  • What form of exercise allows you to exercise less and achieve more benefits, including burning fat while resting
  • How lack of sleep can disrupt the normal chemical signals in your body and lead you to eat more
  • How to keep stress from triggering a chain reaction of chemical responses in the body that impairs metabolism and promotes weight gain

Next Month’s Focus:

     The focus of next month's article will be on understanding how your metabolism works and how to reprogram it to burn the calories for energy rather than store them as fat without “going on a diet”. You will gain an understanding of why getting rid of excess fat is particularly challenging for women and the best way to “outsmart” your female fat cells. You will also learn how eating more often (at the right times of day!) can in fact help you lose weight and avoid gaining it back.

     Remember, it is more important to build health for a lifetime than to go on a diet for a season. The more you understand how your body was designed to work, the more motivated you will be to give it what it needs to be balanced in order that you may enjoy maximum health at a weight that is ideal for you. 

In Summary:

  • The body will naturally maintain a healthy weight when its systems function as they were designed
  • What causes a person to be overweight is often the same factors that cause them to be sick
  • Difficulty in losing weight is reflective of a core imbalance in the body
  • Obesity is a growing epidemic and is closely tied with serious and life threatening diseases
  • Excess fat tissue around the waistline is associated with Metabolic Syndrome and is also linked with inflammatory conditions such as Alzheimer’s.
  • Diets rarely promote health or work to correct underlying root causes of excess weight
  • The type of food a person eats, along with increasing exercise and reducing stress, can be a powerful tool in balancing the seven key systems in the body that control weight loss and health


Ultrametabolism by Mark Hyman, M.D.
The Bible Cure for Weight Loss & Muscle Gain by Don Colbert, M.D.
The pH Miracle for Weight Loss by Robert O. Young, PhD and Shelley Redford Young

Copyright © 2008-2015 Lucinda Bedogne, CNHP, CNC

Reader Comments...
2010-01-04 20:52:11
"great article Lucinda. I can tell you put in many hours of research!"
        - Nancy

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