If you have been struggling with the constant up and down cycles of weight loss, you are not alone. You diet for a few weeks, calorie restrict and portion your meals to whatever book you’re reading says or celebrity that’s on the latest magazine cover does, just to gain it back or more within a short period of time. Well, I’m here to let you know that that cycle can stop now.
One of the most critical steps that are overlooked when embarking on a new diet or health regime is detoxification. It is so crucial to facilitate the removal of excess waste products within your cells (more specifically, your fat cells) to improve your overall health, let alone your health goals.
Fat (or adipose) cells are metabolically active, meaning they can produce hormones and influence other cells through biological processes. They are certainly not the sedentary, couch potato fat storage houses that most people think they are. We need fat in our body for protection, conduction (nerve cells), making hormones, and storing energy in times of need.
Adipose tissue is accumulated most commonly in North America when we eat calorie dense, nutrient deficient foods, are inactive and/or live a generally unhealthy lifestyle altogether. While it can be great for helping us through times of starvation or famine by storing the excesses we consume, in today's first world society, we’ve overused this storage function.Fat accumulates under your skin (subcutaneous fat) and more detrimentally around your internal organs (visceral fat). When the fat cells enlarge or multiply due to dietary excesses, physical inactivity or other unhealthy lifestyles, two physically mutual things may happen. We become larger in size/weight and put extra pressure on joints (increase in subcutaneous fat) and/or we squeeze and squish our internal organs (increase in visceral fat). Both can be detrimental to our health if accumulated in the wrong proportions.
Adipose tissue is extremely good at its job – to hold on to whatever we don’t use right away… including toxins. Now, there are two types of toxins, water soluble and fat soluble.
Water soluble toxins are easily filtered and removed from our systems via the kidneys. Fat soluble toxins are much harder to remove as they must first be converted by the liver and then filtered and removed. Some examples of fat-soluble toxins include those found in food/beverages such as; pesticides, preservatives, food additives, heavy metals, pollutants, plastics and other environmental chemicals to name a few.
So, a short recap, fat cells not only store excess energy, they also store toxins, are metabolically active and can influence other cells through production of hormones and cell signalling. So how can this negatively impact your diet and health goals? Let’s use an example.
Let’s imagine a beautiful home, a.k.a., your body. How well are you taking care of your internal home? What does your storage room, basement, closets or pantry look like? Are they full of items you haven’t used in a long time, or ever for that matter? Have you spring/fall cleaned, or purged any items that do not bring you joy or serve a purpose or are you holding on like our fat cells do?
Toxins are like the bad influences of the body, causing havoc, constantly needing attention, craves addictive substances and only likes hanging out with like-minded individuals.
Let’s say you have a friend of yours that you invite over to stay with you for a while. Now you may know that person is not the greatest to be around, but you’re not too worried – it’s just one friend and you don’t see them often. So, you guys have a great time and maybe have a couple junk food nights and laugh and indulge. Over the next little while you don’t feel so great, you’re tired and maybe a bit irritated at work and say – okay, they can’t stay anymore, it’s time to get back to normal. Then you come home to find your friend invited over a few more friends… just for a little while, but then soon enough all your rooms are occupied by vagrants; hungry, demanding and negatively impacting your life.
So how are you going to get rid of these people and get back your energy, vitality, clarity of mind and freedom? Let’s starve them out (diet). You reduce the food in the house, okay… now you’ve triggered the demanding cravings and are becoming more irritable. Soon enough the others adapt to the situation and quiet down, but there’s still tension in the house (notice how you may become a bit more reactive or depressed when dieting around other’s who aren’t?). Your fat cells are full of people who want instant gratification and quick fixes for their cravings, while you are trying to get back to a balanced lifestyle. One day you reach your level where you’re feeling in control and then decide to go off on a binge over a weekend and treat yourself to all the things you’ve avoided. Soon enough the vagrants flock and devour all the food and demand more to feed their needs too.
You’ve reduced the food coming in, but you haven’t reduced the number of toxins in your internal house that are hungry, so you eat more and soon enough you’ve gained back the weight, if not more and are feeling defeated.
This is a cycle of yo-yo dieting. Every time the situation gets worse and our internal house becomes more damaged by the impact of what we are doing and what we are allowing to happen to our bodies. It’s time to take back control of our own house and remove the very things that negatively impact our lives.
Choosing quality foods and products (good influences of the body) that are nutrient rich is like having a repair and cleaning crew for your home, always working to create a more efficient living space. Making sure that temperatures are right, plumbing is working correctly, the structure is strong and air flow is just right. If a few toxins come into the home, it’s equipped to dealing with whatever mess is left behind and clean it up. The problem arises when more waste products come into our bodies than we are equipped to handle.
Detoxification not only removes excess waste products stored in our fat cells, it reduces cravings for sugars (which waste products thrive on), improves mood, increases energy levels and elevates sleep quality. Much like how living in a home with 30 less people in it would feel as well!
Have you been struggling with yo-yo dieting, binge and crash eating habits, mood instability or overall sluggish energy? It may be time to start a detoxification program.
Written by Janna Hattingh, B.Kin, CHN