Combating weight gain
Many of us find that after we passed our twenties it becomes more difficult to keep our weight in check. There can be many reasons why we begin to put on weight. If you have tried and failed to lose it and keep it off, it may be time to see your doctor. Many times your doctor can help you find a good weight loss solution.
Motivation/ Bad habits
Your problem may just be a lack of motivation. Sometimes counseling is a good option to help identify what is holding a person back. There are all kinds of self-reflection exercises to help you identify your personal setback. For others it is just bad habits such as emotional eating or smoking. These people may benefit from medical hypnosis.
Frequently, people are just unaware of good eating habits. There are about a thousand fad diets out there. Most of them make no sense. Some of them actually have merit, but are followed only with regard to the parts that are easy to follow. Sadly, as a society, we are more informed about the latest social scandal than about the basics of good nutrition. Your doctor should be able to help you find a good diet plan and exercise regime to get you to a reasonable weight.
Low functional nutritional levels
Again this goes back to understanding the nutritional requirements of the human body. Most of the food we consume is horribly lacking in vitamins. Manufacturers frequently try to put the good things back into this processed mess, but it is vanity indeed to think that we can do better than nature. Most natural food is balanced in what it has to offer. Not too much/not too little. We need carbs, proteins and fats to function. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables, balanced with good healthy fats and proteins, keeps our bodies supplied with all the nutrients that it needs to perform optimally. When we eat poorly, our bodies try to store up the excess as fat for a future when we may need the energy. Some diets avoid all fats, which can cause the same problem. Your body will see this as a deficiency and makes fat, hoarding it since your diet does not supply what it needs.
Vitamin D levels can also contribute to lethargy and weight gain. This vitamin is made in the skin when we are exposed to sunlight. As a society that tends to be indoors from 9 to 5, we tend to be chronically low. Your doctor can do blood work and put you on a regime to boost your levels back to a healthy range.
Vitamin B12 is an important nutrient for energy production. B12 levels are often low in people who are vegetarians, those with celiac disease, and in those who take antacids or PPIs. The elderly very commonly are low in this vitamin. For those with digestive reasons for low levels, it may be necessary to get regular B12 shots.
As we get older, our sex hormone production slows down. This can lead to weight issues. Hormone levels can also be exacerbated by weight gain in a vicious cycle. Too much body fat will increase the estrogen in both male and female bodies. Sometimes it can be as simple as tweaking your levels, to help tip the scales back in the other direction, but careful consideration and review of risks must be done as these hormones can increase the risk of cancer.
Metabolic syndrome or diabetes
Many people get caught up in the deliciousness of carbs. But too much of anything is never good. Carbohydrates break down in the body as sugar. When the body is inundated with all this sugar, it tries to clear it through the body by increasing insulin. Insulin is the hormone created by the pancreas that allows sugar to cross into cells to be used as energy. Eventually, the body can lose its sensitivity to this hormone, causing the sugars to remain in the blood, where they will be sent to the liver to be converted into fat. A fasting blood glucose ordered by your doctor will tell you if your blood sugar levels are to high, aka diabetes or just borderline high which is known as metabolic syndrome. Diabetes needs to be managed with medication, but it also needs to be managed with diet and exercise. Metabolic syndrome can actually be reversed, but it is a warning sign to make changes now.
These days almost everyone knows someone with a thyroid issue. According to the American Thyroid Association, there are an estimated 12 million Americans who suffer from undiagnosed thyroid disease. A thyroid that is not producing adequate levels can lead to flagging energy, hair loss, decreased digestion, and weight gain. Simple blood work checking TSH, fT4, and fT3 can lead to a diagnosis. Perhaps you have already been treated based on a TSH alone and felt no improvements in your energy or weight. This may mean that you are not able to convert your hormones and different prescription could help.
Everyone knows about flight or fight and adrenaline, the stress hormone. Adrenaline is produced in your adrenal glands. The problem with adrenaline is that we live in a high stress world. Our bodies don’t know that the stress of daily life is different than the stress of needing to run away from a dangerous situation. So while we rationalize that we can handle it, our bodies just continue to produce more and more quantities of a cortisol and we become used to this state. It affects our circadian rhythms and we lose sleep. Insomnia leads to low energy and the cycle repeats. We can eventually start to run out of the nutrients needed to maintain these cortisol levels. This is known as adrenal fatigue. Your doctor can administer a test that shows your levels at different times of the day to ensure you have a normal fluctuating rhythm.