Overweight and obesity are on the rise; at Venn Integrative Medicine, we know it and see it every day; many of us are struggling with it personally. Have you ever sat back and wondered why this is? We have the best health care in the world in the United States, and yet we are getting more and more sick as time goes on. What we are doing isn’t working, so we need to do something different.
What is Driving the Crisis?
So first, we must ask, what are we doing that is driving this crisis? The current recommendations are to eat 3-5 small meals per day, breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and to focus on the food guide pyramid, which encourages 6-11 servings of “healthy whole grains'', 5-10 servings of fruit and vegetables, 2-4 servings of meat/eggs/cheese and limit fat to 30% total fat and 10% saturated fat. Most Americans are following at least some version of this. The problem is that it is backfiring; people are gaining weight and developing more chronic diseases. The most recent studies show that only 12% of Americans are metabolically healthy. That means 88% of Americans are metabolically unhealthy; this is an epidemic that is receiving little to no attention but is killing millions.
So, what can we do to reverse or change this? Let’s get back to the basics; let’s start by simply eating real food. The majority of our food intake today is from highly processed and refined foods. If we were to simply remove these toxic foods, we would see a huge change in the health and weight of all Americans as well as people worldwide. Second, let’s stop eating every chance we have. Humans were designed to endure feast and famine; we were not designed to eat multiple times a day. Our energy storage will never be utilized with this frequent feeding pattern, and therefore, we will never promote weight/fat loss with that lifestyle.
How VIM Can Help
At VIM, we challenge our patients to make simple healthy choices regarding their nutrition and lifestyle. We educate on the hormonal model of obesity, not the thermodynamic model of obesity. This means that we aim to control our energy hormones with diet and exercise and lose weight and improve health by changing the food and type of exercise. We include other hormone optimization as well, including sex hormones, thyroid hormones, and vitamin D. We do not want to restrict calories or make you burn more calories; we want to manipulate your hormones to optimize fat loss. Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? And it is actually very simple for most people.
The ultimate goal is to reduce our fat-storage hormone called insulin. This hormone is excreted by the pancreas any time we are “fed.” The purpose is to take the energy we consume and shuffle it to where it needs to be. In active healthy adults, this energy goes to muscle, heart, brain, and other essential tissues. These are the people who can “forget to eat” and not blink an eye. In overweight/obese unhealthy adults, a state of insulin resistance occurs, and this energy cannot get into the cells that need energy. Yes, this means your heart, brain, muscle, and other tissues are essentially starving. This is what creates that well-known symptom of being “hangry”. Your essential cells are starving, and guess what? Your fat cells are getting fatter. So, when you are “hangry,” your body is screaming at you to eat, eat now, eat more, and please let it be sugar and carbs. So, what do we do….. we eat now and more and lots of carbs, and that energy primarily goes into our fat cells. It is a vicious uncontrollable cycle that has led to this obesity and health crisis in America.
The good news, this can absolutely be reversed in as little as 90 days simply by changing your food and eating window. I know that sounds too good to be true, but the majority of people who turn to whole food, single-ingredient, non-processed foods with some intermittent fasting do exceptionally well and they do it fast! Many of our patients can lose 15-25 lbs in the first 4-6 weeks with this simple strategy.
VIM is here to help guide and educate and assist in anything that you need. If you eat out because of your work, we can help you make better choices. If you have a dietary restriction, we can help formulate a plan for you. If you feel like you have an addiction to sugar and carbs, we can help!! We have seen it all and have a myriad of tools in our toolbox to help you be successful. Your weight loss journey will not be any easier tomorrow or next week, or next year; start today.