Written by Dr. Sandra Miranda, ND

29% of Canadian adults are classified as obese. In the 1950’s only 10% of adults were classified as having obesity. What has changed? It is generally thought that weight gain- thus obesity, is from eating too much and moving too little. When the body becomes obese other health issues often follow: painful joints, most often the knees; high blood pressure; diabetes, fatty liver disease, heart attacks, strokes; and your hormones can go off-balance. To give you an idea – if you weight gain is around your waist area- then you may be developing insulin resistance but if your weight gain is around the hip area then your cortisol (stress hormone) may be off balance or you may have too much estrogen. 

Did you know that obesity can take 3 to 10 years off your life span? Why do some people struggle in maintaining a healthy weight despite diets and exercise programs? Weight gain may involve genetic and even prenatal factors! Cortisol (aka: stress hormone) changes the DNA! High levels of chronic stress can “turn off” genes that control inflammation, sleep, metabolic function, and cardiac control!

Some medical conditions treated with pharmaceuticals can lead to obesity. Anti-depressants and anti-psychotics can lead to weight gain by increasing appetite and reducing metabolism. Other medical conditions that require treatment with steroids like prednisone can lead to weight gain, water retention and adrenal dysfunction.

You also want to have a thorough assessment of your thyroid.  30% of ladies are told that their thyroid is perfect when in fact it is not.  This is due to the simplistic approach that conventional medicine has to treat thyroid imbalances.  Hypothyroidism slows the metabolism and therefore weight gain is often a common symptom. Make sure you have your naturopathic doctor do a thorough functional assessment of your thyroid.

High sugar foods alter brain pathways that feel rewarding. These pathways are often the same ones that addictive drugs activate! Which is why all accepted nutritional programs have people avoid sugar and processed foods.

The busy working lifestyle that plagues modern humanity leads to lack of sleep, sedentary working environment, fast food and easy packaged meals, and self-medicating at the end of the work day with an alcoholic beverage and a T.V. program or two. This high stress lifestyle often leads to weight gain.

So what to do about the growing waistline? Start with simple but consistent tips:  

  • Set a bedtime and stick to it! Even adults need a bedtime. Without adequate sleep, all the “hunger hormones” are high. Cravings for high carbohydrate food and sugary coffee drinks. It is easy to overeat without a good night’s sleep!
  • Drink a good amount of water between meals. Often, we may feel hunger when we are thirsty.
  • Keep moving – many people have watches or wearables that count steps. The 10,000 step goal is not a bad place to start. 3000-4000 steps are not enough!
  • Talk to your Naturopathic physician about checking all your hormones especially – cortisol AM, estradiol, progesterone, fasting insulin and a thorough thyroid evaluation.

If you need help figuring out the root cause of your problems, call us for an appointment – 905-239-3900.