To lose weight in a healthy way we need to allow our system to do it. Despite what it may seem to an obese, your body is ready to start the journey of becoming leaner right away if it is set up properly, if you do what is right to make it happen and if you put your eyes on the prize.
The body changes a lot while we are gaining weight and not only physically. I would argue the biggest shifts happen internally, from a biochemical and biological perspective. The three landmark imbalances are
- High systemic inflammation
- High insulin secretion
- High insulin resistance
Becoming x obese can be a reality if we tackle each imbalance one by one, in an easy and logical manner.
- Reducing inflammation
People get confused when I tell them we start by focusing on what not to eat rather then what to eat. Far more important than counting macronutrients or limiting the amount of food ingested is looking on the impact the food as each individual biochemistry, in particular inflammation.
The reason is simple: contrary to popular belief, the most frequent cells in the fat tissue in obese people are not fat cells but immune cells, in particular macrophages. They not only produce inflammatory mediators like Il1, Il6 and TNFa, to which the fat cells will react and get bigger, but they also react to those same mediators by getting more active and calling in for more of their immune friends. The more inflammatory mediators, the more macrophages. The more macrophages, the bigger and nastier fat cells.
In order to break this cycle, we need to remove as many sources of chronic systemic inflammation as possible. It is well established that the biggest is the immune reaction to foods to which people are sensitive. By removing those from the diet, we prevent the gut’s immune system (the biggest collection of immune cells in our body, accounting for more than 70% of them) reaction and, with that, the biggest source of those exact same inflammatory mediators in our body.
We can test each individual’s sensitivities or we remove the usual culprits: gluten, dairy, refined sugar and refined vegetable oils – or any food containing any of these.
Another reason for increased inflammation sparked by the gut is abnormal microbiome, the population of “bugs” we have in our intestine. Truth be told, we are more bacteria than human: they out number our cells in a 10:1 ratio. We establish a good partnership with them as they help us in defense, digestion, production of useful things and even impact our genetic reading.
When this community suffers a change (caused mainly by the food we eat or drugs we drugs we take, in particular antibiotics), our immune system may be triggered and activated, increasing the inflammatory mediators released. This, in turn, may increase the reaction to foods. It is not normal to be bloated, gassy or have erratic bowel movements. These symptoms may point to a change in the microbiome which as been shown to be linked with obesity!
This was “How I Became X Obese – Part 2” . Read part 1 here. Part 3 will be published next Tuesday.
This is a guest post. Any opinions expressed are the writer’s own.