Ever considered that gaining weight is sometimes not our fault?

March 16, 2015

visualizing-weight-lossFor years I’ve always thought that losing weight was all about how many calories were taken in each day and how many were used up through exercise. However, when I really took a look at my own weight issues, I found that when I was stressed out or having trouble sleeping my weight stayed the same, or increased, no matter how little I was eating. What I have discovered is that there are loads of environmental, emotional, and other factors which influence our ability to lose weight. You may ask what this has to do with under eye issues. Well it doesn’t address under eye issues directly but it does give us a clearer understanding of what our bodies have to deal with on a daily basis. If we take a holistic approach to our health and realized that everything in us is connected. This can lead to a better understanding of any physical issues we face, including under eye puffiness and dark circles.

Have a look. This is what I have learned:

Artificial additives
Just released animal research from Georgia State University found evidence that artificial preservatives used in many processed foods may be associated with metabolic problems, such as glucose intolerance and obesity. In rodents genetically prone to inflammatory gut diseases, the chemicals led to an increase in the severity and frequency of metabolic problems. Scientists believe the effects are due to changes in gut bacteria. When chemicals break down the mucus that lines and protects the gut, unhealthy bacteria come into contact with gut cells, which triggers inflammation, and as a result, changes in metabolism.

Shift work
Researchers from the University of Colorado at Boulder found that people who work the night shift burn fewer calories during a 24-hour period than those who work a normal schedule. The difference can lead to weight gain, even without an increase in calories. In other words, when you throw off your body’s circadian rhythm, your normal diet can suddenly become excessive due to a metabolic slowdown. This parallels research that found a relationship between body clock regulation, gut bacteria, and metabolism. When mice received gut bacteria from jet-lagged humans, they gained significant amounts of weight and had abnormally high blood sugar levels.

Weight criticism
University College London researchers found that over a four-year period, people who experienced weight discrimination or “fat shaming” gained weight, while those who did not shed pounds. Another study from Renison University College at the University of Waterloo found that over five months, women with loved ones who were critical of their weight put on even more pounds.

Environmental chemicals
It may seem odd for a nutrition professor to study flame retardants. But one such professional at the University of New Hampshire found that these substances—which are found in everything from furniture to carpet padding and electronics—trigger metabolic and liver problems that can lead to insulin resistance, a major cause of obesity. Compared to a control group, rats exposed to these chemicals experienced dramatic physiological changes. In just one month, levels of a key enzyme responsible for sugar and fat metabolism dropped by nearly 50% in the livers of rats exposed to flame retardants. According to the researcher, the average person has about 300 chemicals in his or her body that are man made, and we’re only beginning to understand the possible effects.

It’s no surprise that we take after our parents when it comes to body type, but new research shows that the type of bacteria that live in our digestive systems are also influenced by genetics. That’s an important finding, because more and more research indicates that gut bacteria are strongly connected to weight control. Scientists at King’s College London found that identical twins had a similar abundance of specific types of gut bacteria, compared to non-identical twins. This indicates that genes strongly influence bacteria, since identical twins share 100% of their genes, while non-identical twins share about 50% of their genes. They also found that the presence of a specific type of bacteria was most influenced by genetics, and that type strongly correlated with leanness. In fact, transplanting these bacteria to the digestive systems of mice caused the animals to gain less weight than those that did not receive the bacteria.

OK, with that said, the approach I take is this. I think positively about my body and actual visualize myself being slimmer. I avoid processed food and don’t stuff myself. I snack more often during the day and avoid eating large meals. I eat more vegetables now than I ever have. In fact I have, in many cases, replaced meat with a large salad or a group of vegetables. I walk as often as I can. Look for ways to move and occasionally do a thorough work out at the gym. To cleanse my inner body, I drink lots of  water.  The result is I have lost 20 pounds. I look and feel younger and have healthier looking skin as well.