True Weight Loss Begins with Your Health

Body weight can be embarrassing, cumbersome and downright physically exhausting. Weight gain places pressure on the heart itself, decreasing oxygenated blood, making life activities — let alone exercising — physically limiting. The body is a complex, biological system, striving for constant survival. When this tightly knitted, scientific marvel starts to fail, we are at a loss of how to bring it back to balance. What do we do, and where do we start?

The body is in tune with the rising and setting of the sun. During the early morning hours, our bodies naturally secrete cortisol, providing energy. In midafternoon, cortisol lowers allowing the hormone melatonin to rise, preparing the body for sleep. These hormones balance the repair (sleep) cycle, with times of using more energy. When it is dark outside the body prepares for sleep. Staying up past 10 p.m. doesn’t give the body sufficient healing time, regardless of sleeping in past 6 a.m.

A lack of sleep, or quality sleep, affects the metabolism, or the rate at which the body makes energy from food. Weight gain is a common side affect of being out of tune with this hormonal system.

The body seeks nutrients, not calories. Not every calorie is the same. The body requires a specific ratio of proteins to fats and to carbohydrates. These specific macronutrient demands are unique to each individual. Just as one meal filled with loads of vegetables and little fat will give one person lasting energy, this same combination could exhaust another.

These ratios are based on physical heritage called metabolic typing that fall into three categories: protein, carbohydrate and mixed types.

Protein types find consuming dark chicken meat and gravy with butter gives them the energy they crave. Carbohydrate types find that a salad with white chicken meat satisfies them. The mixed type find their plates balanced with veggies and protein, with a little added fat like olive oil for salad dressing.

Knowing and eating according to your body’s individual biochemical makeup will keep you fueled. Eating outside of what fuels you simply puts on unnecessary weight.

Food intolerance can also lead to weight gain. A body can lack the the enzymes (unique proteins carrying out specific chemical reactions) to break a particular type of food down. Food intolerance can be hard to detect, with symptoms showing up to 11 days after eating.

Early detection symptoms can include: dizziness, feeling tired, blurred vision, headaches and mood swings. When these early symptoms are ignored, we can begin having symptoms like exhaustion, inflammation, irritability/mood swings, headaches, asthma, irritable bowel syndrome, acid reflux and weight gain. Usual culprits include: gluten, corn, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, fruit juices, dairy and soy.

Regular intake of foods you are intolerant to will create a craving for these very foods, as the body prepares to fight off these daily invasions with the release of antibodies. To detect possible intolerances do a food/mood log. Log everything you drink and eat for up to four weeks, and take notes about mood and weight fluctuations.

Look for consistencies between symptoms and what food is consumed, then slowly eliminate foods that show any possible correlation.

Let’s all try eating slower and actually experience how our food tastes. When food shopping, consider if the foods you are choosing will give you the energy you need.

Jennifer Sharpe provides fitness training in Alameda. Find out more by calling 523-4833 or visit