It’s a pretty well-established fact in the health and fitness research world that bodily toxicity can lead to fat gain and hamper fat loss. It’s a proven link that, however, I think is little-known to the mainstream health and fat loss crowd. If you or someone you know is doing all the right things but is still struggling to drop weight, toxicity could be the culprit — it could be a whole host of other things too, but it makes sense to lead clean life whether weight loss is your goal or not. A toxic body has also been link to a variety of illness, dysfunctions and diseases from hormone imbalances, chronic fatigue, birth defects and complications, diabetes and cancer.
Don’t let the word “detoxification” turn you off. It used to do that to me as it conjured up juices cleanses, fasts and “lose weight fast” crash diets endorsed by celebrities in glossy mags. True metabolic detoxification rids the body of junk collected from the environment: heavy metals, environmental pollutants, pesticides and chemicals. If you’re system is running efficiently and isn’t overloaded, detoxification happens naturally. But it helps to optimize your body’s ability to do this job.
But how exactly does toxicity lead to weight gain and make weight loss difficult? Ok, many toxins that enter the body are fat soluble which makes if difficult for the body to excrete. They are then stored in existing fat cells or new fat cells are created to store them. This process simultaneously causes inflammation — which is associated to obesity. Now, it’s in your body’s best interest to keep these toxins stored in your fat cells and out of the way from the business of your body’s inner workings, so to speak. Your body does want to excrete these toxins, but if it has no way to do it, it’ll keep them stored right there in your second chin. If toxicity is indeed your problem, one of two things: you can diet and do burpees ’til the cows come home but you won’t budge a pound. Or, you will budge a pound and feel like shit ’cause those drunken toxins have been let loose on the dance floor. Then the cops will be called and those hooligans will be locked up again in their (fat) cell.
Is that clear? Ok, it’s a little more scientific than that but you get the gist.
But getting back to the last point, that’s often why people feel so crappy a few days into a diet — all those toxins getting out. At this point it’s important to get them out of your body completely by ensuring your body has the means and nutrients needed to detoxify and you are expelling them by pee, poop and sweat.
Another way toxins make you fat is by causing hormonal imbalance. Some toxins (and some natural foods like soy) mimic estrogen. Estrogen dominance in both men and women is a growing problem and causes fat storage in the lower body and the development of boobs in men. Other toxins may tax the functions of the thyroid and adrenal glands which are responsible for metabolism.
Toxins also mess around with our ability to balance sugar and over time can lead to insulin resistance — which is another huge factor on its own that may prevent fat loss. This issue is also linked to diabetes and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease.
In my mind it’s clear the obesity and disease crisis that has exploded in that last, say, half century is linked to our modern industrial way of living. Experts of all shades are in disagreement as to what exactly it is — Is it fast food? Sugar? Fat? Gluten? GMOs? Pollution and chemicals? I don’t think it’s any one thing, but a combinations of it all. But I don’t think it’s solely nutrition based. I think the chemicals that are steadily rising in our blood stream have something to with it.
That’s why I created the Undo Overdoing Detox and Fat Loss Challenge; to address both fat loss and detoxification at the same time. Yes, a good part of the program is a strict diet. But that other side of the coin is tips and advice on how to lead a less toxic life. In this day and age, we can’t avoid all toxins, but when we have a choice to do so, I think the choice is clear.
Whether you are doing the program or not, I urge you to consider how you can reduce your toxic load. This is topic I’ll cover in my next post.