Weight gain has been a topic for discussion and debate for a long time. Many people struggle with gaining weight and wonder where it seriously went wrong.
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Would you say it all started when:
- Stress took you to the refrigerator and you never stopped?
- Sugar became an addiction?
- Chocolate cast a spell on you and you can’t break free?
- Fast food became the ruler of your life?
- You got married?
- You got pregnant?
- Laziness took over?
- Exercise was too much for you to do?
- Steroids entered your body?
This list can go on and on. However, consider this — gaining weight is not a matter of lack of control but rather a means of the human mind trying to control what must not be controlled.
Sounds a bit crazy, right?
Perhaps, but unless you understand the reality that there is a natural process the body has for ensuring a near-perfect if not a fully-perfect balance that needs to be respected, there is no end to weight gain and its consequences!
The human body and its special contents need the very best care by:
- Keen decision-making with food and drink.
- Respecting the life-giving bacteria in the intestines.
- Daily muscle movement.
- Proper sleep.
Food is not a game or toy, nor is the body. In fact, people should not make a “game” out of food. Truly, there is only one way to eat – sensibly!
Food is a means of providing energy to allow the body to:
- Think clearly.
- Move with ease and total flexibility.
- Be creative, productive, blissful and full of life.
- Sleep to restore, rejuvenate and be ready for a new day.
A Little History about Food
The American culture has accepted every form of processed food since the entire “Convenience Industry” began in the late 19th century with the refrigerated car transport of meat. This took a fast upturn with frozen foods after World War II in the mid-20th century and the dawn of fast food restaurants opening everywhere beginning in 1950-1951. Since that time, the increasing circumference of the human body has sadly become the “norm” and it has not let up.
Weight gain can be attributed to many of the following reasons:
1. The addition of massive quantities of processed foods into the food industry became excessive and beyond.
2. Fresh, fermented, cultured, well-marinated, non-chemicalized, non-GMO, nature-made foods faded away to be replaced by “non-living”, fractionated, genetically-modified, highly sweetened, chemicalized, artificial and additive manufactured “food”.
3. Artificial sweeteners and “non-fat, low-fat” items with deceptive promises have taken the public down a very unhealthy road.
4. Fad diets and the whole “Diet Industry” are pathetically misleading.
5. Bariatric surgery “promises” to transform your life with enormous risks, costs, and failing outcomes for so many people.
6. Increasing technological advances led to more automation with less human physical labor.
7. Television, theaters, computers and other devices pull humans indoors with less and less physical activity.
8. There are fewer freshly prepared, home-cooked meals as both parents are/were out in the workforce with less time to prepare.
9. People choose the ease of ordering food for home delivery and drive-through restaurants.
10. Less exercise for all ages with more time centered on snacking has led to weight gain and a vicious cycle.
11. Night shift work has led to the upset of normal biorhythms.
12. Mental illness has seen an upsurge since the Great Depression, both World Wars, and later conflicts.
13. Life stressors have risen with less emphasis on self-preservation.
14. There is a repeated cycling of the same behavior of chronic submission to weight gain with increased hopelessness.
15. Natural sleep cycles are interrupted.
16. People play with food all day and all night.
And the list goes on and on!
How do you spell R-E-S-P-E-C-T?
All these items have created a state of biochemical imbalance, disharmony, and dysbiosis; this leads us to the important revelation that bacteria are to be respected!
The human body is made up of 10,000,000,000 cells and 100,000,000,000,000 microbes (mainly bacteria) that reside mostly in the intestinal tract. Strange but true, the microbes outnumber the person!
The bacteria in the intestines of a person are responsible for just about everything that happens to its host – male or female. These organisms are the reason that you are alive and here is why:
- They help digest most of the food consumed,
- They “detoxify” any harmful items in the gut that have also been worked on by the liver (a team effort!)
- They play a significant role in synthesizing vitamins.
- They remove waste and toxins that could harm or destroy the body completely.
- They are key players in immune function known as immunomodulation.
- They protect the mucosal barrier.
- They influence both the brain’s and the nervous system’s function.
- They affect mood and behavior.
- They influence whether you will be slim or not.
What about Probiotics?
Gut Flora, also known as Microbiota or Probiotics, are very active at work helping us perform our daily lives. They are intelligent and rely on our choices to do their jobs well. Moreover, many species of bacteria are present and diversity allows for better overall health!
These probiotics are to be nurtured and increased with:
1. High quality foods that are preferably organic or minimally processed.
2. Prebiotics (insoluble fiber) like onions, garlic, chicory, wheat germ, flaxseed meal, Jerusalem artichoke. (Probiotics need prebiotics!)
3. Fermented foods like sauerkraut, pickled foods, miso, kefir (if you include dairy in your diet), tempeh and kimchi.
4. Spending time in “Quality Dirt”.
5. Less stress! (Studies tie too much stress to belly fat!)
6. More exercise. (More than you think is enough!)
7. More sleep. (2 hours won’t do you any good!)
NOTE: If you take a supplemental probiotic, please use a quality brand like Renew Life. Depending on your condition, you may need anywhere from 15-100 billion probiotics per day. The average daily requirement for maintenance is 30 billion probiotics per day.
Dysbiosis is the term used when your body has microbial imbalance. This can be caused by the following hazards to the good probiotics your body needs:
Processed food/junk food
Artificial sugars and sweeteners
Lack of fitness
Why weight? Fitness is for Life!
The body is a magnificent compilation of a large variety of different organs, tissues, systems, ducts, cavities and more. All these must be kept in good working shape for optimal health.
Exercise is an essential key that makes health possible! Do some sort of exercise every day with ZERO excuses!
More “keys” that fit into the door of fitness are:
• Proper diet
• Proper exercise
• Proper sleep
• Love of life
• Free expression
• Less or no worry
• Stress reduction
• Little or no fear
• Balance of work and play
• Conscious decisions
Remember Your Thyroid and Adrenal Glands
The gland in your lower anterior neck that must be working well for proper weight control is your thyroid. The thyroid gland works with your adrenal glands; two glands located on top of each of your kidneys.
A balanced lifestyle and diet, with the help of a physician who understands the importance of these glands, can help keep your weight under control.
Please keep these points in mind to help your thyroid and adrenal glands:
1. Lower your stress levels.
2. Include iodine and selenium along with other mineral sources in your diet. Healthy iodine is found in fish, seaweed, organic strawberries, organic cranberries, organic potatoes, Himalayan or Celtic salt.
3. Have your thyroid and adrenal glands evaluated by a healthcare provider.
In addition, you can practice stress reduction or prevention by meditating, exercising, and relaxing the body every day. If you know or suspect that you may have a gland disorder, discuss supplementation for iodine with your healthcare professional.
Sleep is a Must!
Have you ever wondered who gets the best sleep? Actually, babies do it right! We all need a stretch of several hours of sound sleep or there may be consequences.
Weight gain occurs with a lack of sleep!
Why? When you don’t get enough sleep, ghrelin, and leptin, the hormones that regulate your appetite, become imbalanced. These hormones are secreted in response to the amount of sleep you get at night and the lack of sleep causes more ghrelin and less leptin to be secreted into your body. In turn, people have a propensity for eating the wrong foods at the wrong time and weight gain follows.
Tips for a Good Night’s Sleep
1. Be conscious of your food intake and how you manage your daily activities.
2. Exercise 30 minutes a day with the highest intensity that you can do.
3. Practice yoga and meditation.
4. Do deep breathing exercises every hour or as often as possible.
5. Find joy in someone or something.
6. Call a friend or visit someone in person.
7. Help someone in need.
8. Laugh several times a day.
9. Spend time with nature daily.
10. Take in some sun for at least 30 minutes daily.
11. Read a beautiful story before bed.
12. Take all the electronics out of your bedroom.
13. Keep your bedroom comfortable and dark.
14. Use earplugs for the snorers next to you.
15. Add lavender and passionflower at night on your pillows and sheets.
16. Send feelings of gratitude to the universe.
Stay the Course
Today is the start of the rest of your life…
If good health is your goal, then nothing should stop your pursuit! Your body weight needs to be in a range that is normal for your height, allows for your freedom of movement, and has you proportional in every sense.
If you are truly seeking successful weight loss, it is in your best interest to:
1. Stop, look and think about what you are about to consume with every meal or snack.
2. Be fully aware of everything that goes into and onto your body that can change your metabolism.
3. Understand that all energy, from the food you eat to the company you keep, can affect your body weight.
4. Break the “diet” oriented mindset; it does not work!
5. Eat fermented foods daily; a few tablespoons worth is sufficient.
6. Remove most flour from your diet, i.e., breads, pastas, baked items; less or no wheat is best for many!
7. Remove most, if not all, dairy from your diet; possibly reduce the risk of cancer!
8. Choose fish, seaweed (sea veggies), organic strawberries, iodized sea salt or Himalayan salt for good iodine, low fat and other nutrients.
9. Purchase or grow the highest quality whole foods: grains, beans, nuts, seeds, most plants, fish.
10. Avoid processed foods.
11. Use a high-quality supplement for vitamin B12 and minerals.
12. Eat small meals – about the size of two cupped hands joined together. On average, eat two meals with two healthy snacks a day.
13. Exercise early in the morning and two other times during the day for about 10 minutes at each interval with moderate or high intensity.
14. Perform stretch or yoga positions whenever possible during your day.
15. Make no excuses! Excuses are unacceptable in the realm of health.
Food for Thought
Now is the future and the future is ready for change.
You will need to change your:
• Schedule of activities
• Company you keep
• Food choices
• Drink choices
• Rigid ways
• Sleep habits
All that you think and do will need to be re-evaluated and restructured to be less stressful and more fluid in nature. It is only when you realize that now is the future and that you must not hold onto the past any longer that you can improve yourself.
1. Brownstein, D., M.D. Iodine, Why You Need it; Why You Can’t Live Without It; Medical Alternatives Press, USA; 2009
2. Chopra, D., M.D. and Tanzi, R., Ph.D. Super Genes; Harmony Books, New York; 2015
3. Masterson-Koch, K. Beyond Gluten Intolerance; Bookmasters, IC., Ohio; 2011
4. Ornish, D., M.D. The Spectrum; Ballantine Books, New York; 2007
5. Plant, J., Ph. D. Eating for Better Health; Virgin Books, USA; 2011
Dr. Maria Scunziano-Singh is a graduate of New York Medical College (’93), completed an Internal Medicine residency at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City (’96), achieved a Naturopathic Medical Doctor (NMD) Diploma from the Clayton College of Natural Health (’11), and is board-certified in Internal Medicine. Her accolades extend well beyond this, and include being an active member of both the American College of Physicians and Florida Medical Association, Florida’s Top Docs nominee, Cambridge Who’s Who entrant, author, public speaker, guest on WWJB-1450 AM, and more.