You Don’t Have to Go Hungry

Posted by Healthful Elements Staff

Here’s a sad reality: only one in six people who are overweight report ever having maintained a 10 percent weight loss for at least a year. 

The remaining five people put the pounds back on – and often more – in under 12 months. Even the successful ones are only “successful” for a limited time.

Yes, it depends on how you measure success, but I doubt that any person trying to lose weight is thinking, “I just want to lose this weight for 12 or 13 months. Then it can all come back. That’s great!” 

Most weight loss attempts fail because people keep getting outdated and damaging advice. They’re told that weight loss only works when they restrict calories, eschew fat, and exercise more. They’re following the “energy in, energy out” model that says that when you expend more energy (calories) than you take in, you’ll lose weight.

This is especially disastrous advice for those with hypothyroidismadrenal dysfunction, and dysglycemia/pre-diabetes. People with low thyroid function, adrenal issues, and blood sugar imbalances need energy; they need caloric fuel. We all do, certainly. But these folks are in a particularly vulnerable position when it comes to “dieting” and caloric reduction. It will backfire, plain and simple.

But many professionals still recommend this “energy in, energy out” model because you can’t argue with the physics: when energy out is greater than energy in, you get a net reduction en masse. On paper, it works. 

But the human body isn’t paper – and that’s why “energy in, energy out” fails. The human body is a complex organism that relies on a series of primal feedback loops involving the brain, hormones, fat cells, the liver, and the gut to control weight. As prominent endocrinologist, David Ludwig, MD, PhD, states: “Overeating doesn’t make you fat; the process of getting fat makes you overeat.” 

It works like this: Fat cells that accumulate around the waistline (belly fat) are hormonally active. Cortisol, an adrenal hormone, is nicknamed “the belly fat hormone.”Produced in excess, cortisol sets up house around our midsection. This is why it’s critical to address adrenal health in managing weight. 

Additionally fat starts to stick to the waistline when we eat too many low-quality calories. (More on this in a minute.) In essence, these fat cells begin to act like their own organ and they start ‘talking’ with other hormones in the body, especially ghrelin and leptin, which control appetite and satiety. And this hormonal crosstalk is full of mixed messages, telling our bodies that we’re hungry even when we’re full.

So we eat more. Energy intake goes up but NOT because we’re weak or lack willpower. We eat more because our belly fat has hijacked our hormonal system.

But let’s say we’re able to override that urge to eat more (at least temporarily). We’re being “good,” according to the conventional thinking on weight loss. But “good” in this case means we’re hungry –  often ravenously hungry – and hunger isn’t a fleeting feeling. It’s a primal biological signal that tells us we need more calories to survive.

We might be able to ignore that primal survival signal in the short term, but it is almost always impossible to ignore in the long-term.

You can’t ignore incessant hunger for the rest of your life.

Calorie-restricted approaches to weight loss are doomed to fail because you will be hungry all the time. They will also fail because it is less about the number of calories you consume and more about the quality of the calories.

Overconsumption of low-quality calories – pretty much any food that is labeled ‘diet’ (ironically) or ‘low-fat’ – will contribute to weight gain, especially around the middle. (The process involves how the body recognizes and tries to process these types of calories.)

That extra belly fat sends out signals that make you think you’re hungry. You will try to use your brain to overpower these signals and tell yourself that you aren’t, but your brain will lose because your body believes that your very survival is at stake. Then you will eat more, likely more of the very type of calories that contributed to the weight gain in the first place, and the cycle starts once more.  

One of the most important things to remember here is: Not all calories are created equally.

(It’s also important to note that eating the right kind of healthy fats doesn’t make you fat. For a detailed explanation, read this.)

The good news is that consuming the right, high-quality calories stops the accumulation of this aggressive, body-altering fat. When you eat high-quality, weight-loss-promoting calories, you stay fuller longer and you eat less. 

Foods that contain high-quality calories also cool the flames of inflammation, stabilize blood sugar, and help boost the detoxifying power of the liver, all of which result in sustainable weight loss and help support thyroid and adrenal health. 

[Now available: the #1 best selling cookbook, The Essential Thyroid Cookbook: Over 100 Nourishing Recipes for Thriving with Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s.]

The best news? The entire process happens WITHOUT being hungry all the time. 

Posted by Healthful Elements Staff

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