Is inflammation keeping you overweight, fatigued, and unhealthy? When we decide to start losing weight, “inflammation” rarely comes to mind. Our thinking immediately goes to one or more of the following:
- I need to eat less, watch my calories, start eating low-fat, low-carb, etc.
- I need to give up cokes, fast food, candy, etc.
- I need to start exercising, doing cardio, get a gym membership, etc.
- Diet, fat-burning pills, weight loss supplements, etc.
Unfortunately, 95% of those things you THINK you need to do to lose weight, ends up leaving you worse than where you started.
Which means you were suffering from inflammation before, and these “weight loss tricks” left you with more inflammation and weight gain. It’s a vicious cycle. Work long hours or sleeping less than 6 hours a night? You could be causing inflammation inside of your body.
Do you have trouble finding the time to eat right, instead opting for a burger on the run or heating up a frozen dinner? You’re probably adding inflammation to your body.
Feeling like you “need a drink” after a long and stressful work day to decompress and de-stress? Well unfortunately, this could be contributing to your inflammation as well.
Years of repeating the same habits can result in consistent weight gain from constant inflammation.
Unfortunately, most of us can’t request lighter work hours, even for our own health, and sleep is a commodity that proves hard to come by in our fast-paced daily lives filled with more tasks than time to complete them.
So, what are you supposed to do?
What Is Inflammation?
While short-term inflammation is an important body process that helps us fight off infection and injuries, chronic inflammation is known to be harmful to our health and can set the stage for obesity.
Why Does Inflammation Prevent Weight Loss?
These Poor Quality, Inflammation-Producing Habits Trigger 3 Fat-Storing Hormones
- This chronic inflammation can cause us to become resistant to insulin (a hormone that helps control blood sugar) and leptin (a hormone involved in satiety), which in turn translates to increased appetite, weight gain, and possibly obesity.
- Leptin regulates your body’s level of fat by controlling your appetite and metabolism. So, as you add more fat tissue, your body produces more leptin. The problem is that chronic inflammation impairs the brain’s ability to receive leptin’s appetite suppressing message.
- Chronic stress raises cortisol for long periods of time. Cortisol, our “stress hormone” is produced by the adrenal glands, which in short-term bursts is beneficial for inflammation and weight loss. However, our body can’t tell the difference between a physical stress and a psychological stress. If you eat a donut, stress. Worry about paying your bills, stress. Don’t sleep enough, stress. All of these and more lead to chronically elevated levels of cortisol.
The solution is to stop the inflammation-weight gain cycle through dietary and exercise management. Inflammation and excess body fat create a cycle where inflammation leads to fat gain and fat gain leads to more inflammation. Losing weight is the most effective way to turn “off” the chronic inflammation switch, but significant changes need to be made.
The Hidden Cause Of Weight Gain: Inflammation
It’s vitally important you find the main source and cause of your inflammation. It’s often possible that you may have multiple causes of inflammation so the best approach to take when identifying your inflammation is to focus on the major inflammatory stressor in your life.
As mentioned before, inflammation is part of your body’s natural response to anything flagged as harmful or irritating. You want this to occur when you bang your elbow on a door or get bitten by a mosquito. In “temporary inflammation” proteins help tissues heal and repair.
You don’t want inflammation to be a constant in your life.
When you eat processed foods, food additives, chemicals, preservatives, artificial sweeteners, high-fructose corn syrup, gluten, conventional dairy, and other inflammatory foods—you create a toxic, diseased environment.
This particular environment is a fat cell’s favorite lifestyle of choice.
Fat cells promote inflammation, which leads to more fat cells, which promotes more inflammation until you are obese, borderline diabetic, and completely frustrated.
Getting rid of inflammation helps you lose fat and losing fat helps you get rid of inflammation.
How Do I Know If I Am Inflamed?
Inflammation happens every time your immune system has to fend off irritants or stressors that come into the body.
- Bad bacteria in our food and water
- Environmental toxins (pesticides, PCBs, and dioxins)
- Non-food based allergens (dust mites, pollen, dander, cedar, etc.)
- Processed/inflammatory foods (sugars, trans fat, additives, preservatives, GMOs, etc.
- Stress, lack of sleep, hormonal imbalance, blood sugar instabilities, etc.
The odds are pretty high if you’re living in modern society, you endure daily triggers that cause inflammation.
Whether you are aware of it or not, your body is reacting.
Review The List Below To Determine If You Are Inflamed
- Do you have food allergies, or do you feel poorly after eating (sluggish, headaches, congestion, brain fog, sleepy)?
- Are you exposed to pesticides, toxic chemicals, heavy metals?
- Do you have a history of chronic infections such as canker sores, cold sores, sinus infections, flus, and colds?
- Do you have allergies, mucus, and phlegm?
- Do you suffer from arthritis or painful joints?
- Do you have stress in your life? Emotional, mental, psychological, etc.
- Do you drink more than 3-4 alcoholic drinks per week?
- Do you have diabetes, insulin resistance, or blood sugar issues?
- Are you overweight, obese, or have a BMI of over 26?
- Do you have digestive issues like colitis, IBS, constipation, diarrhea, or Leaky Gut Syndrome?
- Do you have skin issues (dermatitis, eczema, psoriasis, acne, etc.)?
- Do you exercise less than 2 hours per week?
- Do you do long bouts of cardio type exercise more than 2 times per week lasting more than 30 minutes?
- Do you feel sluggish, unmotivated, overweight, and just plain unhappy about health?
If you answered YES to 3 or more of the questions above, the odds are pretty high you are suffering from chronic and silent inflammation.
How Do I Address Inflammation To Start Losing Weight Today?
Countless studies prove that changes in diet, lifestyle, and exercise will reduce inflammation.
The obvious first step to losing weight if you’ve been living less than an ideal sedentary lifestyle eating processed foods, yo-yo dieting, drinking, and not taking care of yourself is to lower the inflammation in your body.
To turn off the inflammation in your body, you need to send the right messages to your genes, cells, and tissues.
The biggest takeaway of this article is that food and lifestyle habits communicates with your body. Food either positively or negatively affect your weight, metabolism, and level of inflammation.
There’s a simple 4 step-process for reducing inflammation to stimulate your fat-burning metabolism and release stubborn fat caused by an inflamed (fat-storing) body.
Fortunately, this 4-step process requires very little exercise. In fact, for 21-days you’ll want to perform LESS exercise than what most so-called fitness experts would suggest.
Step 1: Eliminate Inflammatory Foods From Your Diet
The fastest way to reduce inflammation aside from eating whole, unprocessed foods (see step #2) is avoid the foods that got you into this inflammatory mess in the first place.
These foods and others contribute to the majority of the inflammation in our society, especially inflammation that leads to stubborn fat.
Step 2: Add Anti-Inflammatory, Metabolism-Boosting Foods To Your Diet
Aside from avoiding the main inflammatory foods, adding the healthiest, most powerful foods to your diet comes in at a close second. Healthy fats contribute to producing the right kinds of prostaglandins and help promote healthy cells.
Proteins lead to the production of lean muscle, which helps eliminate the hormonal effect of fat cells.
Once you choose to start eating the right foods, the next step is to learn how to create metabolism-boosting, anti-inflammatory meals, snacks, and smoothies.
Step 3: Balance Your Macro Nutrients
Balance your macro-nutrients (proteins, fats, carbs) so you stabilize blood sugar, optimize digestion, and regulate hormonal activity
This step is crucial to achieving a healthy body since it focuses on balancing the main hormones responsible for weight loss (insulin, cortisol, and leptin).
Step #3 is where most women go wrong, because of years of metabolic damage, they think they can just start “eating healthier.” Unfortunately, you need to be more aggressive in your approach if you want to lose weight.
Step 4: Exercise Smart
Not all exercises are created equal. If your exercise of choice leads to excessive cortisol secretion and muscle catabolism, then you could be adding fuel to the fire of inflammation.
The best form of exercise stimulates your fat-burning hormones like growth hormone and adrenaline and keeps your fat-storing hormones low like cortisol and estrogen.
This type of exercise is referred to as “metabolic”, since it not only burns calories during your workout, it keeps your fat-burning engines revved up all day. This is known as the “After-Burn Effect.”
The after-burn effect only happens when cortisol is kept regulated. There is a specific form of exercise you need to avoid to keep cortisol from making you store fat.
Remember, you can reverse inflammation by adjusting your diet, restarting your metabolism, exercising, and transforming your habits.
It comes to simply saying NO to certain foods, saying YES to certain foods, finding an efficient way to exercise, and transforming your lifestyle habits.
Have you noticed how certain foods affect your health and weight? Have you noticed any foods that cause you digestive distress? Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment below.
This article is shared with permission from our friends at fitwomenforlife.com.