Since the New Year, many people have been implementing cleanses as a sort of a jump-start to feeling good and losing weight. I advocate periodic cleanses, but as you will see, not for the usual superficial reason of calorie restriction.
Many people still view calorie restriction as king when it comes to weight loss. No doubt calories are very important. They are our body’s fuel, and there will probably never be a way to over consume those calories and not put extra fuel into the storage “fat tank.”
But when it comes to losing weight successfully and quickly, it’s about a lot more than simple calorie restriction, and the difference between weight loss programs that work and those that only provide extra frustration always comes down to more than the calorie.
A properly designed weight loss approach is not just the result of taking calories out of your budget. One needs to also incorporate a food elimination program to the mix to some degree.
There are three major ways that this extra step supports fast weight loss and helps you overcome weight loss resistance:
1: Reduces inflammation.
2: Reduces glycemic load
3: Allows better control of two very important hormones.
Reducing Inflammation Makes Weight Loss Easier
Most people realize that having excess fat is not good, but many don’t realize that excess fat is actually characterized as a chronic state of low-grade inflammation. Inflammation makes it hard for our body to lose weight because it fights some of the natural hormonal responses we have to food and hunger, such as through increasing levels of IL-6 and TNF, two inflammatory cytokins which decrease insulin sensitivity signaling. Cytokins are types of signaling regulators produced throughout the body.
These cytokines make your insulin less effective, and you are more likely to store excess fuel as fat as a result.
Many common foods today contain proteins which people are often sensitive to, but not outright allergic to. These sensitivities can go undetected for years because they do not cause the same debilitating symptoms an acute allergy would, but may still undermine one’s health by increasing inflammation within the body.
For example, eliminating certain foods that doctor’s patient’s are sensitive to has been shown to be effective in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, an autoimmune disease with strong connections to chronic inflammation.
Even if your body does not suffer from an overt form of inflammation, chances are that increased inflammation is still adversely affecting your health and weight loss goals. My increasingly popular cabbage soup cleanse eliminates all of the common foods which provoke common inflammatory responses in the body. For many people this is the missing step standing between them and their goals.
In a few days I will expand on the cleanse I offer to my newsletter readers and go into the details for those of you that may be interested. For now it is important to understand that weight loss is about more than just calories in and calories out.
Insulin Tells Your Body To Either Use Energy Or Store It
Foods, which are high in easily digested starches and sugars, also known as high glycemic foods, cause our body to release more insulin. Insulin is not a bad hormone in and of itself–it does exactly what it is supposed to do, which is help our body get rid of excess sugar in our blood.
The problem is that the modern diet, with its highly-processed and rapidly-digested ‘foods’, causes an undue amount of sugar to be unloaded upon our blood all at once. When our blood sugar gets too high (hyperglycemia), our body releases extra insulin to counter it.
The first thing insulin wants to do is get our muscles to take that sugar up and use it for energy, but the unfortunate truth is that the highly-processed diet we eat often goes hand-in-hand with a sedentary lifestyle.
If the muscles can’t use the sugar, then insulin tells your body to store it as fat, long-term storage designed for a time when food might be scarce. For most, this time will thankfully never come, but we still have to live with the results of a diet which spikes our blood sugar and insulin levels.
Keeping insulin levels low also means our body is focusing less on storing fat and focusing more on releasing it. Why? Because…
Glucagon Tells Your Body To Take Energy Back Out Of Storage!
Insulin may be the most well-known hormone which controls blood sugar, but there is another hormone which is just as important: glucagon. Glucagon is a pancreatic hormone that raises blood sugar by promoting conversion of glycogen to glucose in the liver. Whereas insulin acts to keep your blood sugar from running too high, glucagon works to keep your blood sugar from running too low.
Where insulin tells your body to store extra energy as fat, glucagon tells your body to release extra energy from that fat. This is one reason people feel better when starting a cleanse.
Do Not Do This When Trying To Lose Weight
A myth which has been ingrained in our beliefs is that blood sugar is inherently unstable, and we need a constant stream of calories to ensure it never dips or spikes. Now people are running out to buy little snack packs and trying to eat exactly 100 calories every hour to make sure their blood sugar remains stable.
This is actually one of the worst things you can do for blood sugar stability, and worse still is that this will actually fight your ability to lose weight.
If insulin is the storage hormone, then glucagon is the “take from storage” hormone. The problem is that insulin responds rapidly to the increase in blood sugar that eating causes, allowing us to store excess energy readily, but glucagon has a much slower response which only happens after we have gone through that fuel, a process which can take up to four hours!
If you attempt to control blood sugar by eating often, the only metabolic change you are likely to make is that your body will be releasing more insulin and less glucagon. By actively suppressing glucagon secretion, your body is less likely to take energy back out of storage, and weight loss will be slow.
When you allow healthy intervals between your meals, your body gets the chance to use its own natural blood sugar stabilizer, the hormone glucagon. The result is your body spends more time in “take from storage mode” and you lose weight more readily!
Just as what you eat during a cleanse is important, a smart cleanse plan addresses the timing of when you eat allowing your hormones to work exactly as they were intended to and allowing you to experience better results.
Weight Loss Success Is Not Just About Cutting Calories
If you are only focused on reducing how many calories you are consuming, then you are missing a big piece of the puzzle! Cutting calories can only take you so far before you hit a weight-loss wall, and it’s no wonder so many programs just don’t provide long-term results.
Cutting calories is only effective if your body is capable of picking up the slack. Reducing inflammation and better regulating your blood sugar-controlling hormones allow your body to actually burn the fat it has been storing, not just reduce your overall energy levels. When these additional goals are met, weight loss occurs naturally, and you’ll actually feel great while doing it! If you are like me, feeling better is secondary to losing weight. However, a well designed jump start such as a smartly designed cleanse that address inflammation reduction, a lowered glycemic load, and the ability to control insulin and glucagon has the capacity to not only make us feel better but to lose weight as well.
My cleansing clients lose 4 – 11 pounds on a 4 day cleanse, and 6 – 14 on a week-long cleanse. This is typical, but I am not into gimmicks. I am into helping people feel good and lose weight. It’s important they know what to expect in the long run after the cleanse. Gaining half of the weight back is typical when they go back to their regular diets. But maintaining three quarters of the weight off is highly possible if they simple adhere to making a couple dietary change afterwards on a fairly consistent basis. This change can be as simple as eating protein, fiber and good fat for breakfast, and committing to a non starchy lighter than typical dinner a few days of the week.
In a few days I will provide information on the increasingly popular cabbage soup weight loss jump start plan that I have been offering to clients. I will type on the subject line, Cabbage Soup Jump Start Information, so that only those of you that have an interest will open and read. And by the way, this jump start cleanse includes protein – a necessary component to fighting inflammation and ridding toxins in the body.