For some people exercising, eating healthy and cutting calories have all been tried over and over but the scale still won’t budge! The frustration is relentless and many undoubtedly just want to give up. There may be hidden causes to this weight loss resistance, which urges your body to hang on to extra weight — no matter what diet or exercise measures you take!
After the age of 35, our systems are very vulnerable to any disruption in the intricate balancing networks in our body. For the few women who do manage to lose weight, often gain it back quickly — unless they address the underlying root cause.
The most common systemic imbalances that lead to weight loss resistance in women and men are connected to the extremely delicate symphony of hormones. The key players are the thyroid and adrenal hormones as well as estrogen and progesterone, leptin and ghrelin. Once the body regains balance, the weight comes off easily. One other factor to weight loss resistance is hidden food allergies or sensitivities.
Most common causes of weight loss resistance
Thyroid imbalance. When thyroid hormones are low, the body’s metabolic rate is dramatically slowed down. Energy can become diminished, depression can take over and even the digestive system slows resulting in constipation. Unwanted weight gain and fighting for every pound are just a few of the hallmark symptoms of low thyroid function.
Adrenal imbalance. During times of stress, the adrenal glands release cortisol and adrenaline to mobilize quick energy for a “fight or flight” situation. Yet most modern stress doesn’t call for extra calories for us to physically fight or flee, so these get stored as fat. Long-term stress causes your body to hang on to every calorie it can in preparation for crisis. There are more cortisol or stress hormone receptors in our stomach than any other area. This is the reason that the “spare tire” forms around the abdomen during times of chronic stress.
Hormonal imbalance. As early as 35-years-old, our estrogen and progesterone levels can begin to fluctuate. And in an effort to preserve fertility for as long as possible, the body hangs on to extra fat — especially in the belly because this fat can make estrogen. It is estimated that at least 50% of the population is in a state of “estrogen dominance” which simply means that progesterone levels are in a lower state than estrogen. This imbalance creates the perfect environment for weight gain.
Sleep imbalance. A lack of sleep affects our ability to lose weight due to 2 hormones called Leptin and Ghrelin. These two hormones that are key in this process become out of balance when good quality sleep does not occur on a regular basis. Ghrelin is the ‘go’ hormone that tells you when to eat and is responsible for the hunger feelings. When you are sleep-deprived, ghrelin is produced in larger quantities causing an increase in appetite and cravings. Leptin on the other hand is the hormone that tells you to stop eating, and when you are sleep deprived less leptin is produced. A leptin deficiency prevents the brain from telling the stomach that you are full!
Food allergies or sensitivities. Digestive imbalances, detoxification issues, and inflammation, which can lead to weight loss resistance can all be the result of food allergies or sensitivities. These sensitivities or allergic responses is yet another form of stress which increases cortisol causing weight gain as a protective measure. In addition an overload of toxins can mimic our hormones and disrupt fat deposition, as well as alter the way we metabolize sugar. Inflammation can cause weight gain through the loss of insulin control and quick conversion of carbohydrates to belly fat. What does all of this mean? You could be eating all the “right” foods that are actually “wrong” for you! Often people are allergic or sensitive to foods that are seemingly healthy.
So despite all the best efforts sometimes there is just more to the story than we realize. If you have been frustrated by doing all the right “stuff” but simply not getting the desired results then discovering the root cause and restoring balance can help to change your outcome.
Top Tests to Uncover Your Hidden Causes of Weight Loss Resistance
ELISA IgG Food Allergy Panel- this simply blood test helps to reveal 94 hidden food allergies and sensitivities as well as any signs of Celiac disease (gluten intolerance).
Complete Female Hormone Panel- this test combines blood and saliva to reveal imbalances in progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA and all 4 thyroid hormones (TSH, free T4, free T3 and TPO).
Complete Male Hormone Panel- this test combines blood and saliva to reveal imbalances in estrogen, testosterone, cortisol, DHEA, SHBG, PSA and all 4 thyroid hormones (TSH, free T4, free T3 and TPO).
So, sooo yummy!
1 cup coconut milk
2 tbsp. raw honey (divided)
1 tbsp. lime juice
2 tbsp. gluten free tamari (divided)
1⁄2 tsp. cayenne pepper
1 tsp. fresh ginger (grated or chopped)
4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (cut into 1 inch strips)
2⁄3 cup organic natural peanut butter
2 cloves garlic (minced)
1 1⁄2 tbsp. lemon juice
1⁄2 tsp. crushed red pepper flakes
Combine first 6 ingredients (1 tbsp. raw honey and 1 tbsp. gluten free tamari) in a medium bowl and mix well.
Marinate the chicken in the above mixture for at least 30 minutes. Remove from marinade. Do not discard the marinade
Thread the chicken on skewers and grill for 3 to 5 minutes. Brush the chicken with marinade and turn occasionally as the chicken cooks.
In a pot combine 1 cup water, peanut butter and garlic.
Cook over medium heat until the sauce boils and thickens. Remove from heat.
Stir in the remaining 1 tbsp. raw honey, lemon juice, tamari and red pepper flakes.
Being plagued by the unbearable symptoms of seasonal allergies does not have to be a life-long battle. Whether it is your friend’s cat or the spring pollen that causes the sneezing, itchy eyes, runny nose, wheezing and more, a holistic approach will treat the underlying cause- the immune system.
It is suggested that 60% of the population suffer from some type of allergic response. As we subject our bodies and immune systems to more stress, this number is rising. In truth, anybody can be allergic to anything and the reactions can express themselves in any area of the body. The question remains, why are some people affected while others are left unscathed?
An allergic predisposition may be inherited if one of both parents has allergies. The 3 most common allergenic reactions know to be inherited are hay fever, asthma and eczema. A person with one or more of this triad is said to be “Atopic”. Atopic individuals have a strong family correlation even though the form may switch or even skip a generation. Atopic individuals have up to 50% more T-Helper cells (immune cells) and therefore react more rapidly to low levels of offending invaders. Studies also show that low levels of digestive enzymes and depleted levels of immune cells in the lining of the gut permit easier entry of allergens into the blood stream.
Any factors which impair immune function will predispose a person to allergies. These factors include stress (emotional or physical), poor nutrition, smoking, drugs (prescription or recreational) and over-consumption of artificial and processed foods.
Our immune system manifests the allergy symptoms as a way of detoxifying the body of what it sees as invaders. This response is not normal and occurs mainly in those who have a hyper stimulated or overly sensitive immune system.
Treating allergies with pharmaceuticals is a purely symptomatic approach with dependency on the drugs often occurring. There are many undesirable side-effects of the drugs which often lead to the need for more drugs to treat the side-effects. This cycle continues to weaken the immune system and the allergies tend to get worse each year.
The holistic approach to allergies is the rebalancing and the regulation of the over- stressed immune system through the use of herbs, nutritional supplements and nutritional changes. Once the immune system is functioning optimally, it will not continue to produce the same strong reactions and then allergies decrease and most times disappear.
Dr Cobi’s Top Picks for Seasonal Allergies
- Quercetin Bromelain
- Hydrastis Nasal Spray
Allergy Desensitization Program- Sublingual Immunotherapy (SLIT)
Sublingual immunotherapy (SLIT) treats the cause of allergies by giving small doses of the allergen to the patient. Exposure to these small doses over time increases the immunity or tolerance to the allergens and reduces the allergenic symptoms.
HOW DOES SUBLINGUAL IMMUNOTHERAPY WORK?
Dr Cobi Slater has joined forces with a compounding pharmacy specializing in allergy desensitization. A customized formula is compounded for each patient. SLIT is given as drops under the tongue. The patient will take 1 drop under the tongue twice daily (that is it!). Research shows then when an allergen is presented this way, the immune system learns to tolerate the allergen. The result is less allergy symptoms when the body is exposed to the allergy source such as airborne pollen or pet dander.
SLIT OR ALLERGY SHOTS?
Like injection therapy, SLIT directly changes the body's ability to react with allergens. Allergy shots are effective, but need to be given in a physician's office. This inconvenience results in high drop off rates for many patients. Sublingual immunotherapy offers a great alternative treatment option for people reluctant or unable to undergo allergy shots.
WHAT ARE MY CHOICES?
Pre-seasonal: a quick buildup of antigen 30 to 60 days prior to and throughout the offending allergen season (this is done yearly).
Co-seasonal: Year-round treatment for an average of 2-3 years to eliminate allergy symptoms for good.
HOW LONG WILL IT TAKE TO SEE RESULTS WITH SLIT?
The vast majority of patients’ experience marked symptom relief within the first few months of starting treatment. As with all allergy immunotherapy, long term, lasting results require 2 to 5 years of treatment (average length of treatment is 3 years). Research shows that committing to the full therapy can result in permanent symptom relief. No more allergies!
SLIT IS PROVEN!
With over 60 clinical trials proving efficacy, endorsement from the World Health Organization, the World Allergy Organization and the Cochrane Collaboration, SLIT is proven to be effective, safe and well tolerated.
HOW DO I GET STARTED?
Book your appointment with Dr Cobi to discuss your custom compounded allergy desensitizing program.
Here is what a few patients had to say......
''My son absolutely refused allergy shots so we decided to try the drops. I can't believe the difference. He is no longer suffering at night with sneezing and itchy eyes and his snoring has stopped entirely.
- L. Martin, Calgary AB
"Thanks to allergy drops I no longer have to rely on antihistamines for relief of my grass and tree allergies. I can enjoy golf again."
- K Grant, Victoria BC
"I am so relieved and happy that I can now live allergy free with my dogs now that I am on the SLIT program!"
- M Cartin, Maple Ridge, BC
Question: Recently my friend suggested that I try a cleanse to help with some of the digestive problems that I am experiencing. Are cleanses really beneficial?
Answer: Each year the average person in North America is exposed to 14 pounds of food preservatives, pesticide and herbicide residues. The toxic load on our bodies is increasing every year. If not eliminated, the toxic substances stored in our bodies have detrimental health effects and can lead to chronic disease and cancer. Detoxification is one of the central concepts of natural healing. Cleansing on a regular basis aids in the elimination and neutralization of toxic wastes and helps to revitalize the natural functions of the body.
The following are some symptoms that can be associated with an over-burdened body:
Headaches Eczema Stomach cramps
Constipation Allergies Joint pain
Diarrhea Frequent colds Fatigue
Acne Slow healing Muscle aches
Gas/Bloating Weight gain Fogginess
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms a cleanse would be very beneficial. During a cleanse your digestive system gets a much needed break to heal from the effects of poor dietary choices.
Fasting one day a week or one day a month is the simplest form of detoxifying. Treating yourself to a one to two week cleanse twice yearly has many positive health benefits. A detox is a great way to start a new healthy routine, increasing the potential outcome of the program.
Andropause describes an emotional and physical change that many men experience as they age due to falling testosterone levels. Although the manifestations of andropause are generally related to aging, they are also associated with significant hormonal alterations in the endocrine system. Researchers have known for years that the production of hormones by the testes slowly decreases as men age. Only recently has interest developed in the clinical implications of andropause. This stage in a male's life has several names including male climacteric andropause, late onset hypogonadism, and irritable male syndrome (IMS) or androgen decline in the aging male (ADAM).
The process of andropause is much more subtle than that of female menopause. Male hormone production slowly falls over a period of years and thus the symptoms can often be mistaken for stress, aging or depression. Androgen is unlike menopause where the production of ovarian estrogen and progesterone suddenly declines and this makes the journey of menopause unmistakably clear.
As one ages, there is an increase in fat cells, which in turn causes an elevation in an enzyme called aromatase. This enzyme transforms testosterone to estrogen in the body. Secondarily, estrogen can indirectly cause an increase in a protein called sex-hormone-binding-globulin (SHBG), which binds to free testosterone and prevents its action. This protein will ultimately cause a decrease in testosterone.
In obese patients, there is excess aromatase enzyme activity causing the testosterone to convert to estradiol causing estrogen overload and testosterone deficiency. Poor liver function is another entity that causes excess estrogen because the liver then cannot detoxify the small amounts of estrogen that even men have. In this case, total testosterone levels would be normal and estrogen levels would be high as much of the testosterone is being changed into estradiol, and the free or usable testosterone levels would be low. This often occurs with excess alcohol consumption. Andropause is a fairly common condition and the incidence of it increases with age.
The occurrence of andropause occurs in the following ages: 40 to 49 years of age- 2-5%
50-59 years of age- 30%
60 to 69 year of age- 20% to 45%;
70 to 79 years of age- 34% to 70%
80 years of age- 91%.
The "spread" of normal ranges is fairly large because different specialists use different ways to measure androgens and use different levels to define andropause.
Common Symptoms of Andropause:
Mood changes including depression, anger and irritability A decrease in intellectual activity
Fatigue, loss of a sense of well being Changes in hair growth and skin quality
A decrease in bone density, resulting in osteoporosis A decrease in lean body mass, along with decreases in muscle mass and strength
An increase in fat surrounding the internal organs Diminished sexual desire and erectile quality. In particular, a decrease in nocturnal erections is a significant sign of decreased androgens
Joint aches and stiffness of hands Night sweats
Sleep disturbances Premature aging
Testing- The Comprehensive Male Hormone Panel
This is a full male hormone panel which includes Testosterone levels as well as Estrogen, PSA, Cortisol, DHEA and all four thyroid hormones (TSH, T4, T3, TPO). Testing is done through a combination of blood and saliva and is available through our clinic.
Are Hidden Food Allergies Making You Fat?
Most people think of food allergies in terms of a severe reaction such as a child going into anaphylactic shock after exposure to peanuts. These types of reactions only account for 5% of people with food allergies. 95% of people with food allergies have "delayed onset" food allergies. These reactions cause symptoms anywhere from 30 minutes up to as much as 3 days after exposure to the offending foods. Many people are consuming allergenic foods several times per day. Each time they consume the food, the immune system goes into frenzy. As symptoms can be delayed up to 72 hours after eating the foods the damage is often repeated over and over, meal after meal! Eventually, inflammation seeps throughout the whole body, establishing an environment ripe for weight gain and chronic disease.
When the lining of the gut is in a constant state of inflammation, small holes open between the tightly woven cells that make up the walls of the gut. This leads to "leaky gut syndrome" which allows bacteria and partially digested food molecules to escape the protected digestive tract and enter the bloodstream. Once in the bloodstream, the immune system sets forth a full system attack as white blood cells surround the offending particle and systemic inflammation ensues. This inflammation is often not obvious but is like a smoldering fire created by the immune system as it tries to fend off a daily onslaught of food allergies.
Common Symptoms of Hidden Food Allergies Weight gain
Skin conditions Digestive symptoms
IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome) Headaches
Joint pain Asthma or other respiratory conditions
Mood disorders ADD/ADHD
Two Ways to Identify Food Allergies
1.Blood testing called ELISA (enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay) can help to identify hidden food allergies. A simple blood test can uncover offending foods which should then be completely eliminated.
2. An elimination diet can be very useful in determining allergenic foods. Eliminating the top inflammatory foods from the diet for a period of 3-6 weeks is difficult but the challenge is worth it. Foods to eliminate include dairy, gluten, soy, corn, eggs, yeast (baker's, brewer's yeast and fermented products like vinegar), citrus fruits, nuts and nightshades (tomatoes, bell peppers, potato and eggplant). After eliminating these foods for a set amount of time, each food is then re-introduced every 3 days to determine the sensitivities.
Is an under-active thyroid causing your hair loss?
Up to 40% of women in North America will experience significant hair loss at some point in their lives. The causes of hair loss are numerous including stress, iron deficiency anemia, alopecia to name a few. The most common cause of hair loss is thyroid gland dysfunction. There are some other signs and symptoms that your thyroid might be out of balance. Keep reading to find out!
Five signs and symptoms your hair loss is connected to a thyroid disorder:
1.Hair that is brittle, dry, and breaking easily. Hair that is brittle, dry and breaks easily is often a sign of a sluggish thyroid. Healthy amounts of thyroid hormones have been shown to increase not only the growth of hair but also the color. Depleted levels of thyroid hormone can lead to the early release of the hair shaft and root causing an increase in hair loss as well as premature gray or white hair.
- Feeling exhausted all the time, even after 8 hours of sleep. Chronic exhaustion and fatigue are hallmark symptoms of low thyroid function. A typical hypothyroid patient will feel tired even after a good night's rest and experience a vital lack of energy throughout the day.
3.Thinning eyebrows. Hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid can often cause general hair loss as well as thinning of the outer third of the eyebrows.
4.Puffiness in the face or extremities. Water retention and puffiness are commonly seen in hypothyroid patients. This puffiness is due to an excessive build up of a component called Mucin, which is found in connective tissue, blood vessels and cells of the body. This build up of Mucin causes the affected areas to absorb and retain water resulting in swelling and puffiness.
- Weight gain is unfortunately a pervasive part of low thyroid function. The thyroid is the master of our metabolism. As thyroid function decreases so does the metabolism or the ability to lose weight. Many thyroid patients become frustrated with a lack of weight loss despite all their efforts.
6.Feeling cold all the time. The typical thyroid patient will be bundled up even on a warm day. An intolerance to cold develops as the thyroid function slows. The thyroid gland is our internal thermostat and is in control of temperature regulation in our body.
Questions: What supplements should I be taking as a male?
All men should be taking what I consider to be Tier One supplements or Foundational supplements.
These would include a high quality men's multi vitamin. It is very important that the multivitamin be free of any harmful fillers or binders and be of the best possible quality. If you are taking something on a daily basis you do not want it to do more harm than good! My male patients love Men's Nutrients from Douglas Labs (read more about it under the Featured Products).
Next on the list is once again a very high quality Omega 3 fish oil. Many fish oils on the marker are unfortunately contaminated with heavy metals. High quality brands will include a certificate of purity upon request to prove that their products are tested by a non-biased party to ensure a safe and clean product. Taking anywhere from 1000mg to 3000mg will offer a great foundation of Omega 3's.
Finally to round things out is a Vitamin D3 in combination with Vitamin K2. Vitamin D is involved in many areas of immune function and of course bone formation. It has even been shown to prevent several types of cancers! The addition of Vitamin K is crucial for absorption of Vitamin D. Dosages should vary depending on sun exposure anywhere from 2000iu up to 5000iu per day. Getting adequate Vitamin D from the sun requires 20 minutes of sun exposure to un-sun screened skin. Once there is a pinking of the skin that is when you will know you have enough Vitamin D for the day. For those who use sunscreen or do not get sun exposure supplementation with Vitamin D is crucial to optimal health!
6 cups torn lettuce (wild greens, red or butter leaf lettuce), rinsed
2 chicken breasts, chopped OR 2 cups Garbanzo beans, divided
1 handful soaked raw almonds
1 medium avocado, cubed
2 green onions, sliced
Lemon Tahini Dressing Ingredients
¼ cup sesame tahini
¼ cup freshly squeezed lemon juice
2 tbsp. water
2 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, crushed
2 tsp. lemon zest
¼ tsp. sea salt or to taste
Steamed cubed beets
Evenly distribute the lettuce between two large salad bowls. Place tofu pieces on top of lettuce.
Top with soaked almonds, cubed avocado, chopped carrots, sliced green onions and any other optional additions you might want to add.
Place all of the ingredients for the dressing into a small bowl and whisk together. Taste and add more sea salt or garlic if desired. Pour desired amount of dressing over each salad. Store extra dressing in a glass jar in the refrigerator. Dressing will keep for up to 10 days.
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