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According to a survey by Inc magazine, 5 of the 10 most common New Year's Resolutions are related to health.
The top 3 are:
What’s funny is that while these are all deeply interrelated, most people think they are the same. Unfortunately, one does not necessarily give you the other.
There are thousands and thousands of cases where people can eat “healthy” and exercise hours and hours and still not get rid of that last bit of belly fat or those last 10 pounds.
Why is that?
For our long-time readers this will come as no surprise but…
There’s more to weight loss than just “input and output,” aka diet and exercise.
There are other factors at play, hidden variables to the weight loss equation that keep many people stuck––unhealthy, unsatisfied, and frustrated.
So let’s dive into these more subtle factors so you can approach your own journey to optimal health and optimum weight fully informed and primed to realize your most important goals.
First, let’s start with some basics.
Your body is not a meat machine that burns calories instead of gasoline. It’s a complex, intertwined network of overlapping systems and feedback pathways.
It’s more like an advanced math equation than simple arithmetic.
And in this complex equation the 6 key variables that affect your weight are: diet, exercise, hormones, toxins, amino acids, and micronutrients.
The two most people focus on are diet and exercise. That means most people ignore 67.7% of the equation. Imagine if losing weight were a test. Would you pass if you only answered 33.3% of the questions? Now you may look at this and say “you’re wrong, diet, amino acids, and micronutrients are all the same thing!” Yes, that’s true in theory. But in practice, it’s extremely helpful to manage these elements separately. (Don’t worry we will get to that part)
So let’s dig into these variables in the weight loss equation.
Hormones are the master regulators of everything related to your metabolism. This includes craving, food-seeking, eating, digestion, energy levels, feeling full, fat storage, and overall body weight.
In particular, there is a delicate hormonal balance that determines your body weight set-point. It’s determined by a little tiny area of the brain called the hypothalamus.
It’s a lot like a thermostat. When your body weight goes below that point, the hypothalamus releases hormones that tell your body to put on some extra pounds. And when you’re above it, it can be relatively easy to lose weight. Your body will generally do everything in its power to maintain your set point.
The problem is when that set point gets set too high.
When this happens your hormones conspire against your best intentions and will try to keep those extra pounds no matter how hard you try to get rid of them.
This is why so many people gain back all the weight they worked so hard to lose. Their hormones and their weight set point keep them fat.
Toxins are universally present in our modern world. They are in the water, in the air, and especially in the food.
Glue residues in your car, Teflon coating of pans, plastic leaching from containers, thousands and thousands of different pesticides, herbicides, and fungicides just to name a few. Conservative estimates say you encounter around 700,000 toxins every single day. According to the Global Healing Center, it’s common to be exposed to 2.1 million.
In normal circumstances, toxins are neutralized and broken down by your liver. Sometimes there is too much for your body to process. The toxic load is overwhelming and your body needs to put these toxins somewhere.
So it puts them in your fat. These toxins are dangerous, so your body “insulates” them with a little bit of extra padding.
Maybe with a beer belly. Or some cushy love handles. Or wherever else you have persistent fat.
The thing is, as long as your liver is overloaded, it will be very difficult for you to lose that extra weight. No matter how hard you try, your body needs that fat to keep itself safe from damaging toxins.
Technically speaking, this a subcategory of “diet”, but it’s so widely ignored it deserves a category of its own.
Protein is made of amino acids, but not all protein is created equal. Some kinds of protein are rich in certain amino acids and other kinds of protein are rich in others. However, if you don’t get enough of all the 8 essential amino acids, then you can end up deficient in some of the most important molecules in your body.
Things like neurotransmitters, hormones, digestive enzymes, detox enzymes, gut lining, collagen, and even glutathione––the body’s primary detox molecule.
All of these have an impact on your weight. So it’s not just a matter of eating “healthy” it’s a matter of ensuring that you don't have any hidden amino acid deficiencies that may be contributing to your weight.
This is another variable that is technically a subcategory of diet, but it deserves a category of its own. Due to modern industrial agricultural practices, most of the food in grocery stores is severely depleted of nutrients.
An average orange today is estimated to be 50X less nutritious than an orange 100 years ago. And it’s getting worse every year.
This means that no matter how “healthy” you eat, you can still end up with nutrient deficiencies. It’s scary, but this is the reality of our modern world.
What’s most relevant here are micronutrients. There are hundreds of molecules and minerals you need in very small amounts for optimal health.
Many critical enzymes, for example, require a single atom of magnesium. Without that atom of magnesium, the enzymes cannot function and your health is dragged down. And when you look at the data, nearly half of Americans are magnesium deficient. And that’s only one nutrient.
If you are serious about your weight loss goal, it’s important to take a high-quality multivitamin or green drink powder so your body has all the tools it needs to process toxins and shed those pounds.
Growth Hormone (GH or HGH) is a key hormone that helps us build muscle and burn fat.
Your muscles are made of cells that have been fused together into muscle fibers. And on the outside of these fibers are things called satellite cells.
When you work out you damage cells in the muscle fibers. To fix this, your body releases Growth Hormone, Growth Factors (other hormones) and Testosterone. These tell the satellite cells to start replicating to both repair and replace damaged cells in the muscle, and also to add more cells, increasing the muscle fibers in size.
If your cells are taking in less sugar because they’re resisting insulin knocking at their door to let in sugar, then the cells have less energy to work with.
That sugar is there, and insulin is happily converting it to fat, but your cells aren’t getting it so of course they’re hungry and will keep telling you to eat more until they finally get some.
I’ve been asked many times about the one vitamin or supplement a person needs for good health, about this or that diet, about going Vegan or going Carnivore, and much more.
So I wanted to take a moment to look at some things here. Not the pros and cons of different diets or the importance of one vitamin over another, but instead — how you can determine what is right for you.