The Surprising Environmental Factors Affecting Your Weight Loss

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May 01, 2017

Have you ever committed to cleaning up your diet, got yourself out of bed for an early swim or gym session with the goal of getting rid of some kilos only to notice little to no results?

Well, you are not alone. A U.S. study published in obesity research and clinical practice looked at diet and physical activity from 1971 to 2008, it found that even though millennials are exercising more than ever before, they are 10 per cent heavier than those that ate a similar way in the 1970’s.

So why is this? The reason may lie in our modern environment which has factors that influence weight loss other than food and exercise, believes Dr. Debra Villar, a speaker, author, chiropractor and wellness practitioner.

“Women in particular are more susceptible to environmental toxins due to the sensitive nature of their hormonal system,” says the director of Complete City Health in Sydney.

“Our world is becoming more toxic and more artificial in nature which will have an effect on our health and wellbeing.”

Here are just four extenuating factors to keep in mind.

1. Stress

It is normal to experience stress from one time or another, but when present on a constant basis stress can lead to many diseases, and one of them is the inability to lose weight.

Cortisol is known as one of the stress hormones, produced by the adrenal glands. It is useful for times of stress for its ability to control blood sugar, reduce inflammation and regulate metabolism. But in chronic stress, it has the opposite effect, increasing blood sugar levels, increasing appetite and retaining fat around the abdominal area.

2. Sleep

We are sleeping less now than ever before. A study in the journal of Internal medicine found that sleep deprivation caused a decrease of the hormone leptin, which is the hormone that decreases appetite and in turn increased the production of the hormone ghrelin, which increases appetite. This plays a vital role in weight loss.

3. Toxins

From the moment we wake up to the moment we go to sleep, we are exposed to unnecessary chemicals that affect our health and wellbeing. As women our daily beauty rituals can expose us to over 200 chemicals a day; these come through our skin, and are easily absorbed in our bloodstream. An average person is exposed to about 126 chemicals per day.

Research has shown that man-made chemicals found in most beauty products, plastics and canned foods (just to name a few) have an effect on hormones – either by mimicking their effect or binding to receptors that interact with the hormones, causing changes to the ideal amount of hormone production. The latter are called endocrine disruptors.

Endocrine disruptors interfere with the body’s endocrine system. The endocrine system is made up of glands responsible for the release of growth and sex hormones, regulating mood, metabolism and more. Hormonal imbalances caused by endocrine disruptors can make it harder to shed those extra kilos.

4. Modern food products

A calorie is not a calorie. If you eat 100 calories of broccoli or 100 calories of chocolate, the effect and result on your body is not the same.  The human body has different reactions to different food sources. It metabolises food differently by producing different hormones, choosing different pathways to break down the food and of course producing different results. The problem with our modern way of eating is that we consume more food products and less real food. Products that are high in fructose, additives and preservatives are metabolised differently in the body, causing more weight gain per calorie consumed.


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