Obesity is a metabolic disease. It is part of the inability of the body to burn fat that results in weight gain.
DIETING AND METABOLISM
Metabolism goes beyond calories in and calories out. What happens to those calories along the way determines if you burn them or store them. Food can be your medicine or your poison. It’s all determined by your metabolism. You can begin by understanding that metabolism is the mechanism for storing and releasing energy within the body.
A slowed metabolism can be the result of long term dieting or yoyo dieting. Eating less has its limitations on reducing body fat because within several weeks of significantly reduced calorie intake your body may begin to think it is starving, and begin slowing down your metabolism to conserve energy. You may be able to get off a few pounds in this manner but seldom will you achieve and maintain a desired weight simply by cutting back on calories. Additionally, cutting back too much of your calorie intake puts you at risk for rebound weight gain, as your subconscious brain thinks it needs to recover from “starvation” by storing calories as fat.
THE OBESITY PARADOX
Do you still feel hungry even though you’ve just eaten? Do you diet and exercise, yet fail to lose weight?
Many people have crossed over into an altered state of metabolism where the signal to stop eating is diminished or ignored.
The frustration of unsuccessful weight loss attempts often bring the weight challenged person to take drastic measures to lose their unwanted fat. Many obese people utilize surgery and diet pills. The more determined weight loss warriors will work out until they drop from exhaustion. The most extreme personalities try employing all of the above strategies, as sensationalized by reality TV shows.
As an alternative to the above options for trying to cope with obesity, we now have scientific answers to help millions of Americans who are suffering from metabolic imbalances. You can have renewed hope that there are real solutions to the challenges you face when it comes to taming your excessive hunger and weight gain.
WEIGHT GAIN IS A SYMPTOM OF A BROKEN METABOLISM
Figure 1.1 Obesity is the tip of a chronic disease iceberg
Our behaviors that lead to obesity are driven by a national diet high in sugar and refined foods. The epidemic rise of obesity is a disruption of our biochemistry manifesting in metabolic disorders.
Your liver must store extra food as fat when you consume more calories than you burn. When your liver has no more storage space, the overflow is warehoused around your middle under the influence of insulin and cortisol. The fat around your middle acts like an independent dysfunctional organ that contributes to inflammation, maladapted hormone responses and a host of pathological disease processes. This abdominal obesity is a giveaway for metabolic disease as an underlying cause of obesity secondary to genetic and metabolic imbalances.
The key to overcoming obesity is to apply solid principles of science that lead to balance in the body (Rivera & Deutsch, 2002).
METABOLSIM AND OBESITY
Do you think you’re just weak-willed, not in the same category as those thin people? Have you come to the dieting fork in the road where you are tempted to give up? Perhaps you are resigned to stomach surgery, diet pills and the sense of starvation for the rest of your life. Some of you may decide to hit the gym and vow to work out until you drop. You may drop, but your weight does not.
Good news! You can re-wire your brain’s reward center by the regulation of signals that are being relayed through your master hormones
Don’t give up! There are metabolic and genetic solutions for your circumstances and hope for a healthier life!
Obesity occurs as a result of the metabolic system becoming less efficient, ceasing to process food as fuel and starting to store unburned calories as fat within adipose tissue. Collections of enlarged adipose cells behave like a deranged endocrine organ, producing hormones that stimulate inflammation. Along with inflammation, leptin and insulin resistance are triggered by these alterations in metabolism, resulting in increased food intake, reduced energy production and preferential conversion of energy into stored fat. We are eating too much, because we are now hungrier and want larger plates of food – not because we are given larger plates of food. The impairment in the burning of fat persists after weight loss by dieting – the reason most obese individuals cannot maintain weight loss and regain their weight.
We need to understand how increased food intake, triggered by leptin and insulin resistance that is coupled with a reduced ability to burn fat, blocks energy production within intercellular mitochondria establishes a propensity towards obesity. (Kelley et al., 2002). Often there is a genetic condition underlying this pattern of obesity.
Leptin resistance in adipose cells results in even greater fat storage. Leptin resistance in the brain leads to reduced satiety signaling and promotes overeating (Blaak, 2004).
Obesity is a disease with multiple symptoms and repercussions
BELLY FAT AND SURVIVAL
Adipose cells are like inflatable fat silos. These fat cells can expand into storage areas such as an enlarged waistline, love handles, and unsightly pot belly. How does this happen?
First of all, fat distribution begins in the liver, your body’s powerhouse for transforming nutrients into fuel under the influence of insulin signaling. Insulin is also one of the hormones signaling adipose cells to store fat. Since your belly has the highest concentration of insulin receptors, central obesity is a big indicator of mitochondrial damage and insulin resistance, known as Metabolic Syndrome.
OBESITY AND MITOCHONDRIA DISEASE
Metabolism takes place at the cellular level within energy producing organelles called mitochondria. Mitochondrial metabolism is the body’s primary pathway for converting food into ATP energy.
Your liver responds to food intake that exceeds the body’s nutritional needs by storing that excess caloric load as fat.
Liver cells, hepatocytes, can become overwhelmed and are no longer able to store additional fats. Eventually caloric overload results in a fatty liver (nonalcoholic fatty liver disease = NASH).
You are wasting our time and money on diets when the problem of obesity is actually a symptom of dysfunctional metabolism. Solving obesity is no longer solely about diet and exercise, but about how neurotransmitter balance, hormones and fat burning influence weight loss. There are powerful chemicals acting on the brain underlie metabolic processes driving cravings, overeating, anxiety and satiety. The battle of the bulge will be won or lost in the brain. Your brain chemistry not only helps you lose weight, but reverse aging and fights disease.
Junk food sabotages your brain’s chemistry leading to overeating. Your highly sensitive and exquisitely evolved neurochemistry is constantly being subjected to unnatural levels of refined sugars and starches in highly processed foods that are marketed by the junk food industry. Webs of misinformation and deception promote an instant gratification culture that includes both “fast food” and “fast weight loss” industries, supported by sophisticated self-serving pseudoscience, allowing profiteering at the expense of our nation’s health and economic viability.