66% of UK adults are obese or overweight – and the drugs, the plans, the powders and potions just don’t work
A 2018 Health Survey for England (HSE) revealed that 31% of adults in the United Kingdom were clinically obese with a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than 30, with a further 35.6% being overweight. Perhaps more worryingly, 15% of children aged between 2 and 15 were obese and an additional 13% were overweight.
There are many reasons for this comparatively recent problem. Richard Nixon wanted to get re-elected as US President in 1971, when one of the major campaign issues was how expensive food was in the States. He put measures in place to produce high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) and cheap corn oil, which made food much cheaper but powered brands like Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and McDonalds to the forefront of people’s diets.
The trouble was not only were these foods high in sugar, but the production of them removed fibre and nutrients from the food, leaving just empty calories.
In this article we are going to discuss the reasons behind weight gain, what makes (or should make) people want to lose weight, why conventional weight management programmes are not helping, and what simple steps can help you lose weight, look good and feel great.
Many people visit my clinic with a primary goal of losing weight. Almost all of them have seen a steady weight increase over many years. And they are fed up with the yo-yo effect of dieting.
Being overweight can induce feelings of guilt; it is negatively perceived in many societies; and the physical problems it engenders can include wear and tear on the joints, and issues with mobility and keeping active.
But the risks go deeper yet. Research shows that obese and overweight people are much more likely to contract long-term diseases that could seriously reduce their life expectancy. These include high blood pressure, elevated blood sugar, type 2 diabetes and heart disease.
Difficult to diagnose at the stage when they are still reversible
These diseases often go unnoticed in the early stages, but crucially it is at this point that they can be reversed. How do we know we have a problem?
BMI is a simple formula devised by Adolphe Quetelet, a Belgian mathematician in the 1830s, to assess weight. It is calculated by dividing weight in kilograms by height in metres squared.
BMI of 18.5 to 24.9 is healthy.
BMI of 25 to 29.9 is overweight.
BMI of 30 and above indicates obesity.
This will tell you if you have a weight problem, but, if you want to assess your risk of chronic disease, a more useful tool is the Waist Hip Ratio (WHR – simply, the ratio of your waist measurement to your hip measurement), which indicates the amount of fat stored in abdominal organs such as the liver and pancreas. Accumulation of fat here makes these organs lose their vital function and turn into fat stores.
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), a healthy WHR is 0.9 or less in men, and 0.85 or less in women.
According to research, this tool is very accurate in predicting life expectancy in middle-aged and elderly people.
Another way of looking at this is that a waist size of over 40 inches in men and 35 inches in women is strongly associated with risk of chronic disease such as diabetes.
Eat more and exercise less!
The simple concept of “eat less and exercise more” to lose weight is a myth, as your body needs more nutrients to shape up. In fact, in many cases you need to eat more and exercise less, to stay calm, alert and fully motivated.
You see, your weight and any associated health problems are not your fault. Hormonal changes in middle age alter your body composition. You naturally begin to lose muscle (sarcopenia) and gain fat. People at this stage slow down and become less active.
Eating simple sugars and processed carbohydrates pushes your insulin sky-high, so that your calories are stored as fat rather than used to fuel activity.
Conversely, increased physical activity contributes to weight management by building muscles. Muscles are metabolically active and require a lot of energy to stay in good shape. They act like a sponge, sucking calories out of your body even when you are just lying on your bed.
Fat on the other hand is where your body stores toxins.
Painter and decorator weighed down by lead
This 50-year-old obese painter and decorator presented with painful hands and was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis. He was advised to go on a drug called Methotrexate to reduce inflammation. I did a battery of tests and, to my great amazement, he had a very high level of lead (used in a lot of old paints.)
I supported him with some nutritional changes and we started to rid his body of the heavy metal. His arthritic symptoms resolved, and he was delighted to lose nearly 20kg of weight into the bargain
I have also met many patients with high levels of mercury. This can be related to having multiple dental fillings and consuming a lot of fish.
There are many causes behind every case of obesity. These include genetic defects, stress, food sensitivity, toxins, alcohol excess, a sedentary life and highly processed refined food.
Simple nutritional support and other healthy lifestyle changes can reduce your weight, restore your vitality and avoid potentially chronic health conditions. This allows you to in effect ‘switch off’ your biological clock, overriding your years’ physiological challenges to maintain an ideal body weight.
Praise from the church leader
I approached our local church leader to arrange a free of charge health course for his congregation, but he wanted to see the benefits of the functional medicine approach for himself before allowing his church members to participate.
He reported back that he had lost 18 pounds in three weeks, although he did not consider himself overweight. He had regained his strength. His back pain had resolved from a score of 8 out of 10. His cholesterol had normalised and he had come off all his pills. He said he felt 30 years younger.
If you’ve already tried weight loss products, food plans or crash diets, you’ll know that they just don’t work.
Robert Atkins, the famous New York cardiologist who invented the Atkins Diet, died of a heart attack. Because his diet reduced carbohydrates and emphasised protein and fat, it was high in animal products which deposited bad cholesterol in his blood vessels, causing blood thickening, clotting and the eventual heart attack.
Taking another example, going on a low-calorie diet simply switches your body into energy conservation mode, meaning your system will hold onto the calories instead of burning them to provide energy.
Research shows that more than 97% of those who lose weight on a generic diet plan put it all back again or even more. And a crash diet can also result in serious nutritional deficiencies.
Everybody is different and needs a personalised method to win the battle against your weight and potential disease risk, but here are the 7 underlying principles to RESOLVE obesity…………
Return to mother nature, to whole, organic, locally grown fruit and vegetables, with less commercial meat and poultry, and more small fish, beans, seeds and nuts.
Enhance your detoxification by consuming organic food, taking nutrients such as the Brassica family of vegetables (broccoli), exercising and having infrared saunas to sweat the toxins out of your body.
Shape up with physical activity that includes cardio and muscle-building exercises, together with yoga for relaxation, muscle strength and core training.
Open air, sunshine and the natural world are vital for you to gain vitamin D and rest your circadian rhythm.
Lower your stress by changing your perception or response. You can also use stress-relieving techniques such as deep breathing, meditation, prayer and listening to humour.
Value your loving relationships and supportive communities, practise unconditional love, forgiveness and gratitude.
Every day should end with 7 to 8 hours of restful sleep.
And finally, my friends, I would love to hear about your personal experiences with weight management. Did willpower work for you? Or have you tapped into 21st century functional medicine to find the underlying cause(s) and used high technology to resolve it?