What cravings mean when it comes to weight loss

Preparation is the key to any successful journey. Before diving into another weight loss program, ask yourself this question. Is my body prepared for weight loss?

If the answer is no and you proceed, expect intense cravings, slow weight loss and the inevitable post diet weight gain.  If, on the other hand, you spend time prior to the weight loss preparing, replenishing, balancing and repairing, you will begin the journey physiologically balanced.

By having balance, healthy food choices will become easier and the body will have the capacity to tackle the enormously complex task of fat metabolism.

Here are some things to consider:

Simple solutions for a complex problem: A recipe for despair Using the same solution for the same problem means the same results. Eat less and exercise more are the two classic words murmured by health care professionals and loved ones alike for weight sufferers. Feelings of guilt, frustration and despair are inevitable when the weight gain continues despite adherence to such an oversimplified solution.

What is the skinny on fat? Research has revealed fat to be a dynamic organ system. Fat cells store energy, secrete fat metabolism hormones and unleash destructive inflammatory chemicals. It is these inflammatory chemicals that are associated with the many diseases of obesity.

The evening battleground It is time for a truce. As the sun sets, the fatigue sets in and cravings consume ones thoughts. The foods in the refrigerator and pantry become uncontrollable temptations. The initial bites make you feel better, more further eases the discomfort and in the blink of an eye, you have eaten more in one hour than you had consumed the whole day. Lacking discipline is the only way you can explain such destructive behaviors. Consequently, feelings of intense guilt and sadness soon ensue. Next thing you know, your doctor is placing you on anti-depressants and you have signed a lifetime membership to a weight loss program. What is the cause for this viscous predictable phenomenon?  Is it a lack of discipline… or could it be a product of instinctual urges?

Listen to your instincts! Cravings are the body’s way of telling you it has needs. Cravings are signs of imbalances in the body and brain’s biochemical, hormonal and immune systems. Certain foods can transiently improve biochemical deficiencies, while others may cause further imbalances. For example, high carbohydrate foods, such as cookies and chips will raise the level of the happy brain chemical serotonin. This is why you feel good immediately after eating carbohydrates. Food allergies, on the other hand, wreak havoc by causing inappropriate immune responses to certain foods. This immune malfunction has a wide range of manifestations in the body.  Brain fog, fatigue, ADHD, irritable bowl syndrome, depression, autoimmune diseases and obesity are some of the more common signs and symptoms of an immune system gone awry.

More weight, more drugs—More drugs, more weight  Drugs are part of the perfect storm. Medications alter the body’s physiology, alterations that change biochemical balance. These imbalances frequently cause slowed metabolism, increased food cravings and dulling of senses. Inabilities to sense ones needs combined by increased cravings, topped off by metabolic dysfunction is the perfect formula for chronic progressive weight gain.

Weight loss can cause weight gain It is all about deficiencies. There are many cookie cutter diets and weight loss programs, each touting uniqueness and success, but few able to demonstrate sustained long term healthy body weights and body compositions for its users. A failure to address each individual’s unique biochemical and physiologic needs prior to beginning weight loss, combined with the further deficiencies caused by the weight loss itself, is the primary reason for this predictably high failure rate.

Breaking the spiral True weight loss is a matter of healing, not deprivation. After years of practicing conventional medicine, it became apparent that using standard protocols, followed by standard therapies meant standard results. No individual’s needs are the same, no one drug therapy will fit all and no single weight loss method works on everyone.

The key to healing and weight loss is individualized nutritional and hormonal balancing. With balance, the body starts to function in a physiologic state conducive to healing. As the body begins to heal, fat metabolism speeds and food cravings disappear. Better food choices become a way of life. The inflammation released from fat cells diminishes, brain fog resolves and fatigue subsides. One’s outlook brightens, anti-depressant medications become obsolete, cholesterol levels normalize and blood pressure falls.

A house is only as stable as its foundation and the same goes for your physiology. Establishing an optimal framework of physiologic balance is the key to sustained weight loss and a lifetime of healthy living. So this year resolve to heal rather than deprive.

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Dr. David Pawsat, DO, is a diplomat of The American Board for Anti-Aging Medicine and the owner of The Center for Optimal Health, PLLC. He can be reached at 517.324.9400. This article originally ran in the February 2017 edition of Healthy & Fit Magazine. 

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