Statistics show that the weight problem in America is on the rise. According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) more than one-third of U.S. adults were obese and more than two-thirds were overweight in 2005-2006. With all the diets currently available and the rate at which people are trying them, you'd think that we'd be the most svelte people on the planet. But alas, we are not. In fact the problem is getting worse. Diets don't work. We are getting fatter and fatter, and it's happening younger and younger.
In my own personal experience over the past 25 years, I've been able to lose and gain many pounds. It seems a diet can be quick to take the weight off; but also quick to put it back on, and then some! This ends in frustration for most people — including myself.
As an acupuncture physician, I've looked at the issue of weight loss many times over the years, and have finally found a sound answer. The answer lies with the fat-burning hormones in your body. Finding the correct problem is the only way to solve the stubborn weight epidemic. The issue isn't really the weight itself. In fact, the weight is only an indicator or symptom of the real problem. For many people, it's really a hormone malfunction that is caused by the even bigger problem of our food supply.
Hormones in the body are dependent upon a functioning communication system. The endocrine (hormone) system acts like a big feedback loop. Hormones are released by the gland into the blood stream and travel through the blood to the target organ or gland. This communication turns on function. The gland that sent the message expects an answer in return. This is required for optimal function to occur. If the communication is broken or slows down, the body's systems won't get correct information which is required for proper functioning. This problem can lead to weight gain and belly fat. Basically, the body's fat-burning mechanism malfunctions.
Your organs have endocrine receptor sites that receive the hormone message. Each receptor site is keyed to a single hormone, and will receive only that special type of hormone message. A hormone imitator called an endocrine disruptor can block the receptor site but not supply a message to the organ. With the site blocked by the disruptor, the correct message never gets to the organ.
The disruptor is like breaking off a key in a lock — until it is removed, the true key cannot open the lock. Once this issue is identified and fixed, the body will be able to burn fat efficiently. This is necessary before any solution can have a long-term effect.
Our hormone receptor sites can be affected by toxins in our environment and food.
For the past several decades, various types of toxins have become commonplace in our commercial farming and food processing practices. Coincidentally, during the past several decades, I've observed various types of chronic diseases increasing.
The EPA has done extensive research regarding endocrine disruptors in our environment. If you do a search on the Internet, you'll find many articles regarding the issue of environmental toxicity and what has been labeled "endocrine disruptors." They include the use of pesticides, herbicides, synthetic hormones, prescription drugs, illegal drugs, and a variety of other toxins that can be found in our environment, including our water.
In farming, the chemicals used in fields to kill pests are absorbed into the ground. Then, the root structure of the plant absorbs the chemicals, which then become part of the cell structure of the plant. Washing your fruits and vegetables is not enough handle the toxicity of the pesticides. This is why I suggest buying organic when possible.
Hormones and antibiotics fed to cattle and chicken in commercial farming are absorbed by the animal's tissue. This means that every time we eat anything "out" or processed or boxed, the chemicals used in the farming and processing of that food are passed to our bodies. This overload of chemicals over time can create a problem with hormone communication.
Doesn't it make sense that the issue of stubborn weight could lie in our food supply? This made sense to me, but I wanted to find out first-hand how this would affect my own body.
Several years ago, I stumbled across an advanced acupressure technique developed by a doctor in the Washington, D.C. area. When I first started working with it, I worked specifically with my thyroid gland to address the gradual weight gain I was experiencing in my late 30's.
The concept of a sluggish thyroid was new to me, but I could see the connection to weight issues. I also understood that food and environmental toxins could be blocking hormone communication. According to the ancient practice of Oriental Medicine, this would result in stagnation. Stagnation is simply an area of the body that has reduced energy and blood flow. This results in glandular or organ malfunction and eventually disease.
So I worked on my own thyroid to test the technique. During the initial series of treatments, the weight gain stopped! As a bonus, a life-long issue with constipation was resolved. Oh happy day!
I continued to work on improving my health using this amazing technique, and now, at 46, I have gone from a size 16 (and growing) to a size 8 or 10 (depending upon the cut).
In Part 2 of this article, I'll discuss the dietary and behavioral modifications that I initiated over time, and some steps you can take to start creating a leaner, healthier body!