Weight gain typically has little to do with willpower. People beat themselves up for giving into cravings, for gaining back the weight they lost from various diets, or for gaining weight even while skipping meals. If your body isn’t working as it should, or not getting or assimilating the nutrients you need, it can create uncontrollable cravings. Sugar and starches supply instantaneous, short-term energy, but also induce weight gain.
So what needs to be addressed for weight loss?
If your digestion isn’t working as it should, food can’t be broken down enough to extract nutrients to feed your brain, to think clearly, or fuel and heal your body. It’s like a car with a clogged gas line. Signs of inefficient digestion include diarrhea, constipation, acid reflux, heartburn, nausea, hiccoughs, abdominal bloating or discomfort, excessive gas or belching, phlegm, post-nasal drip, and cravings for sugar or starches. While over-the-counter medications may provide a temporary solution to some of these problems, they don’t fix the root cause and can further impair digestion.
The stomach has to be acidic enough to break down food. As we age we often don’t have as much stomach acid. With reduced acid, your stomach can take longer to do it’s job. This can cause heartburn, chest pain similar to that of a heart attack, acid reflux and eventually ulceration of the stomach lining, when food and acid remain in your stomach too long. Antacids impair digestion by further reducing your stomach acid, enhancing the initial problems.
Food travels from your stomach to the small intestines. When people say their stomach hurts, usually they mean their small intestines, which occupies the bulk of the abdomen. It’s where the nutrients are separated from the waste. Once small enough, nutrients pass through your intestinal wall, then into the bloodstream where they can be distributed to all parts of your body. The water is extracted in your large intestines and the waste then flushed out of your bowels.
In your small intestines, the food processed by your stomach continues to be broken down by insulin and enzymes from your pancreas. The fat is emulsified by bile, created in your liver, then condensed and stored in your gallbladder. As we get older the pancreas, liver and gallbladder sometimes need support, a tuneup, to help them function as they should.
Peaks and crashes of energy throughout the day are an indication that your pancreas is struggling.
Excessive phlegm, coughing up mucus, or chronic post-nasal drip can indicate your liver or gallbladder are having difficulty in their role of breaking down fats.
Pain under your left breast, sometimes radiating into the back, indicates stones or sludge in the gallbladder. Gallbladder and kidney stones can be dissolved with Chinese herbal formulas.
Good fats are the building blocks for hormones, the messengers for everything in your body. If your fats aren’t being broken down, because your liver or gallbladder is impaired, it can disrupt your endocrine system, affecting your metabolism and your ability to lose weight.
Your small intestines is where gut flora is produced. This gut flora, or positive bacteria, influences your digestion, moods, immune system, and helps determine if you are fat or skinny. In a study in England, of obese identical twins, the one whose gut flora was restored lost weight.
Probiotics typically provide 5-6 strains of positive bacteria that stay in your gut for 5-6 hours. This is like planting annual flowers in a huge botanical garden. Is it beneficial? Yes, but there are more strains of bacteria in your gut than there are dollars in the national debt. So adding 5-6 strains is a drop in the ocean. What’s needed is to fertilize all your plants, or positive bacteria. Cultured vegetables, vegetables pickled in brine, without sugar or vinegar, help fertilize your entire gut floral garden.
Cravings for sweets and starches can be an indication of positive bacteria or blood sugar imbalances. Cravings can also indicate starvation from lack of essential nutrients. If your body is in starvation mode, it hangs on to everything it can, not knowing when it’s next real meal will be. You can be starving to death while gaining weight.
People come to see me with a wide variety of health issues. Part of every treatment plan is making sure digestion, and it’s supporting organs and systems are functioning properly. When obtaining and assimilating the nutrients needed to function and heal, you typically find your weight stabilizing. You then have tools to obtain and maintain healthy weight.
For Appointments Call: 541-646-0134
Nancy Burton, L.Ac.
534 Washington, Street
Ashland, OR 97520