Like many of my patients, I suffered from stubborn belly fat which continues to haunt me to this day. I tried many different diets and trends to help eliminate this spare tire. It stuck around with me until I was able to find the underlying reason for why it was present in the first place. If you want to get rid of that stubborn weight, it’s absolutely essential to find out the underlying reason it is there in the first place.
- Poor Fatty Acid Metabolism
Fats don’t make you fat. However if your body is not able to use the fats as a fuel source (burning fat that gets into the cell), then it will have no choice but to store it away. If your cells lack a couple important nutrients, then the process of burning fats to produce energy will not be effective. In order to burn fatty acids, our cells require Carnitine and Vitamin B2 (Riboflavin).
There are 2 things you can do to determine if fatty acid metabolism is the cause of excess fat storage. The first is to get tested by a Functional Medicine doctor to determine if you are able to burn fats correctly. The second is to change the fats that you are eating from bad, inflammatory fats to good sources of fat. Good fats do not promote inflammation, and can be found in wild fish, organic coconut oil, avocado, cold-pressed olive oil and clarified grass-fed butter.
- Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth
Many people who are overweight and dealing with stubborn belly fat, are often also dealing with symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome including bloating, constipation, diarrhea. All of these symptoms along with many more can be a sign of overgrowth of bacteria in the small intestine.
Humans normally have a population of bacteria present in their digestive tracts, located in their mouths and large intestine. Sometimes these bacteria can be overfed and expand into the stomach and small intestine due to poor dietary choices and low stomach acid. While in the small intestine, these bacteria can steal the important nutrients in our foods leading to a reduced level of nutrition entering our bloodstream. If you are eating well and still not losing weight, you may be dealing with a bacterial overgrowth leading to a lack of nutrients getting into your cells.
There are tests that can be completed by a functional medicine practitioner to determine if this is the underlying cause of inability to burn fat and lose that body weight.
- Hormonal Imbalances
There are countless people all around North America, who are dealing with some sort of hormonal imbalance. This can include imbalance in insulin levels, adrenal hormones, sex hormones and brain based hormones. Chances are you know someone who is dealing with Diabetes, Thyroid dysfunction, Infertility, Polycystic ovaries or Adrenal fatigue.
Our hormones control the metabolic processes of our cells, their reaction to stimuli, their ability and rate of energy production, mood and storage or usage of fat and carbohydrates. A single hormonal imbalance can NEVER occur in isolation as all hormones interact with each other and determine the effects that each other have.
People dealing with any hormonal condition will invariably have issues with their weight. From obesity and diabetes to thyroid dysfunction and infertility, the inability to lose weight are universal and must be dealt with correctly, from the root cause. A functional medicine doctor can help you to completed the testing and determine if a hormonal imbalance is at the root of your persistent weight gain.
- Not eating Organic food
Crops are often sprayed with pesticides and herbicides so that farmers can reach and surpass quotas set forth by distributors. These chemicals affect the bacteria, viruses, fungi, insects and the rest of the biome in a negative way. Recently it has been theorized that some of the chemicals that are used can potentially replace certain amino acids and cause our proteins to form as non-functioning entities.
Glyphosate, a herbicide used by the agricultural industry under the trade name RoundUp, has been theorized to replace Glycine, an important amino acid building block in many hormones, causing these hormones to become far less functional. There are 4 Glycine amino acid spots in the Insulin protein molecule, and if even one Glyphosate molecule is entered into this molecule, its structure can be significantly altered, causing Insulin to become unrecognizable and even non-functional.
It is important to try to keep these chemicals from entering your body, so choosing to eat organic can help you to lose weight that you are having trouble getting rid of. As soon as I started to choose organic vegetables and fruits, I noticed a significant decrease in my own weight, and have not looked back.
- Diet High in Sugar and Carbs
It’s no secret that processed foods contain high levels of sugar and refined carbohydrates. These “foods” cause spikes in insulin levels, leading to fat storage if the sugars are kept in the bloodstream and not used for energy production immediately. We now live relatively sedentary lives, sitting in front of our computers and TVs for hours on end, while consuming high levels of carbohydrates in our diets.
This is one of the most basic changes that you can make. Choose unprocessed foods and foods higher in protein and good quality fat content rather than high carbohydrate options.
- High Intake of Low Quality Fats
There is a lot of confusion out there about good vs. bad fats so let’s get to the root of it.
Good fats contain Omega-3 fatty acids which are anti-inflammatory and help in the development of our cells. Natural, minimally processed organic choices are best. Choose coconut oil, ghee, grass-fed butter, cold-pressed olive oil, wild fish, avocado, raw nuts and seeds.
Bad fats contain Omega-6 fatty acids which are inflammatory and cause increased immune responses to stimuli. Bad fats are highly processed and should be rigorously avoided. These include vegetable oils, canola oil, sunflower/safflower oil, rapeseed oil, “pure” olive oil and margarine. Consuming inflammatory oils can keep you from losing weight due to the constant energy requirements of your immune system rather than muscle cells that burn stored and consumed fat.