I work with woman who want to lose weight every day. And, I wish they could truly grasp how complex weight loss really is. Perhaps it is the diet industry or fast-weight-loss schemes that have created this “quick fix” mentality.
One of the reasons why I love the Ketogenic Diet industry, is the appreciation for understanding how the body works. How weight loss works in particular. In this post, I want to talk about the damage calorie-restricting-diets does to your body, and how that results in weight loss getting harder over time. I will also write about how the Ketogenic Diet counters these damaging effects and helps you to continue to lose weight until you reach your goals.
Your Liver – The Fat Loss Control Centre Of The Body
Weight loss is not a simple process. At the centre of this continuous struggle is your liver. Think of the as liver is the fat loss control centre of your body. The liver is tasked with procesing hormones, cleansing your cells of toxins, making cholesterol, breaking down fats, metabolising carbohydrates and proteins, and to handle many other biological functions.
Your liver is under tremendous stress when you diet. Especially calorie restricted diets. Yes, the diet I am referring to is the typical diet that most of us have been on and off our entire lives. The typical 28 day diet where we restrict our calories severely for a said period. Still include carbohydrate rich foods that affect insulin, and most often consist of nutrient void food such as provitas.
You might be thinking: “How bad can it really be? After all, I am doing the healthy thing by trying to lose weight?” The reality is that we are actually doing more harm than good if we “diet” the wrong way; resulting in weight loss slowing down.
What Happens When We Diet The Wrong (Unhealthy) Way
When you understand what happens to the body when we diet the wrong or unhealthy way, it will make total sense why weight loss slows down the longer you diet . It will also become clear why we gain all the weight back (and some) after said unhealthy diet.
Let’s talk about food cravings, binge eating, anxiety and depression first. Traditional Chinese medicine practitioners believe that the liver governs our emotions. Things like poor food, alcohol, fructose from lots of fruit, high carbs, lack of sleep, or pollution add tremendous stress on your liver and will most likely cause depression and anxiety. This decrease in liver function causes food cravings, binge eating, and the excretion of too much cortisol, which adds more stress to the liver. It is really a vicious cycle! What makes this even worse is that antidepressants cause more liver toxicity on an already overstressed liver, which might increase the pressure and your inability to lose weight. – Extract from Maria Emmerich’s book, Keto.
“Leaky gut” weight gain and cellulite. Leaky gut is a condition in which the lining of the small intestine becomes damaged, causing undigested food particles, toxic waste products and bacteria to “leak” through the intestines and flood the blood stream.
People with leaky gut can quickly gain 5-7 kilos of extra fluids because water gets trapped and is unable to filter out toxins and waste, which inhibits healthy cell function. This, in return, overwhelms your lymphatic system, which can cause undesired cellulite to form.
Another factor is the impact Yo-Yo Dieting has on fat cell growth. Yo-Yo Dieting is not only detrimental to your liver but it also counterproductive by increasing fat cell growth. We all understand that when we diet our fat cells don’t dissapear, they only shrink. When our fat cells shrink, our hormones send powerful messages to the brain that we should eat. Ever wonder why you start out a (calorie restricted) diet and feel excessively hungry all the time? That is your body telling you to eat. Perhaps you stick it out, perhaps you give in to these cravings and go on a binge-eating spree. What happens then? Your fat cells get even bigger and with that your weight setpoint increases. And again this will lead to you losing less weight over time.
Hormones Play An Important Role In Weight Loss
Then, I also want to talk to you about your hormones… As mentioned in the beginning of this post, your liver plays such an essential role in healthy hormone balance. Most of my clients that come to see me struggle with hormonal imbalances. High levels of estrogen can lead to weight gain (*) – particularly around the hips and waist. Excess estrogen can also cause menstrual problems, bloating, difficulty sleeping, fatigue, hair loss, low sex drive, mood changes, depression, or anxiety, and problems with memory. We often see estrogen dominance due to unhealthy external estrogen from non-organic meat and milk, alcohol, too much fruit, flax oil, and soy. It can also be caused by microwaving in plastics and drinking from plastic bottles. Estrogen dominance toxifies the liver and can result in increased difficulty losing belly fat. Consistent and healthy weight loss is heavily dependent on a healthy hormone balance because it increases the rate of fat metabolism, decreases cravings, increases energy and improves sleep. This is why all diets are not equal; you need a well-formulated diet with the correct macronutrients coming from quality food.
Lastly, let’s look at what cholesterol have to do with excess body fat. Cholesterol is not the villan it has been made out to be. Cholesterol is essential and is used to produce bile, which we know is responsible for breaking down fat. The liver, on the other hand, is responsible for more than half the body cholesterol production. Gall gets stored in the gallbladder and is used to digest food. However, when the liver is under stress, it produces less cholesterol, which can cause inconsistent bowel movements, excess body fat, fatty cysts, and age spots.
Understanding that the liver is such an essential organ for healthy living. And, knowing that weight loss is more than just the number we see when we jump on the scale, might change the way we treat our bodies. Perhaps we should first start by looking after what is going on inside, the things we don’t see, and then we might understand the reasons why we struggle to lose weight.
The good news is, following a well-formulated Ketogenic Diet, rich in nutrients, gives the liver (and body) the ability to heal rapidly. So, remember, weight loss comes from healing the inside and looking after your body and liver first. The very best part of the Ketogenic Diet is that it doesn’t even feel like you are dieting. The food is so unbelievably delicious and you actually feel good. I mean, who wants to go back to deprevation and calorie restricted diets that leave you feeling tired and craving carbs?