5 Hidden Causes That Could Be Making You Fat: Part 1
If you are having trouble shedding those extra pounds and the scale just won’t budge….I recommend turning your focus towards these 5 often overlooked factors that could be secretly sabotaging your weight loss goals.
Yes…diet and exercise are key components in losing weight, having a rockin’ body and feeling awesome. But…there is much more to the equation that people don’t realize. Many people dial in their nutrition using a Paleo, whole-food approach and lose tons of weight, and others lose some weight…but not as much as they hoped for. And for those people…there are likely other factors holding you back.
This may be just the information you need to squeeze into that stunning, black dress you’ve been avoiding because it’s a little too snug and exposes your lumps, bumps and rolls OR give you the confidence to strut your stuff in that sexy bikini you bought as an incentive to lose weight (and is currently buried in the bottom of your underwear drawer).
Wouldn’t that be awesome!
What’s even more awesome is that all these factors…if addressed and improved upon…not only help with weight loss, but also help with improved overall health, well-being and disease prevention!!
5 Hidden Causes That Could Be Making You Fat:
1) Low Vitamin D Levels
2) Poor Gut Health
5) Stress: The Muffin Top Monster
We are going to start this week looking at how Low Vitamin D Levels may be associated with weight gain and will cover the rest of the 4 in upcoming posts.
PART 1: LOW VITAMIN D LEVELS
Adequate vitamin D levels are crucial for optimal health and the prevention of disease. And it just so happens that it is estimated that about half the world population is deficient. We also know that two-thirds of the U.S. population is overweight or obese.
Vitamin D (also knows as the sunshine vitamin) is actually a hormone versus an actual vitamin and has been shown to influence 10% of all the genes in your body. This VERY important nutrient is involved in a myriad of bodily functions and is important for optimal immune function, bone health and functioning of the cardiovascular system . Low levels have been linked to increased risks of cancer, Alzheimer’s, Type II diabetes, asthma, cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, autoimmune diseases, and….yup…you guessed it…WEIGHT GAIN.
In regards to weight…one study demonstrated that improving vitamin D levels in post menopausal women resulted in improved ability to lose weight.
Anne McTiernan, M.D., Ph.D. principal investigator of the study and a Member of the Fred Hutch Cancer Research Center’s Public Health Sciences Division stated the following:
“This (referring to the results of the study) suggests women trying to lose weight might want to have their D levels checked by their provider and replenish their vitamin D levels either through supplements or sun and then have their D levels rechecked after a few months to make sure they’ve risen to a healthy level.”
The best source of vitamin D is sunlight, but with copious sunscreen usage and fear of skin cancer most people don’t actually get enough sunshine or enough vitamin D. In addition to sunlight, you can also get vitamin D through supplementation and a little from certain foods such as herring, eggs, bluefin tuna, trout, mackerel, sardines, beef liver and pork. You can’t rely on food alone to get the amount of vitamin D that your body needs.
The take-home message here for anyone dealing with weight problems is to:
1) Get your vitamin D levels checked by:
- Asking your doctor to check your vitamin D status using a 25(OH)D blood test
- Ordering an in-home vitamin D testing kit: http://www.grassrootshealth.net
2) Get a 30 minutes to an hour or 2 of sunshine without getting burned. The appropriate amount of sun will vary based on person and skin color. Don’t use sunscreen during this time period or you won’t get the UV rays you need to make vitamin D. If you are out in the sun all day…protect yourself with a toxin-free sunscreen, but before you put it on…allow your skin to get some rays. Again..you want to avoid getting burned.
3) Supplement if you have to (sunshine is most effective, but not always possible).
Here are a couple quality sources of vitamin D supplementation:
There are variations of recommendations for optimal vitamin D3 levels. Chris Kresser (a well-respected functional medicine practitioner & researcher), recommends targeting a level of around 35 ng/dl up to 50 ng/dl based on the current research he has reviewed to date. Other entities such as the vitamin D council recommend 40-60 ng/dl. Others recommend 50-70 ng/dl. As you can see there isn’t a definitive number here, but based on this information you could deduce that 50 ng/dl is a good number to shoot for.
Stay tuned for Part 2: Poor Gut Health
To Your Health,
Brenda Walding, DPT, FDN