Toxins are bad. That’s easy to say, but perhaps less commonly understood. Learn what toxins do to your weight and how they limit weight loss.
“We are what we eat” may need to be updated to include we are what we drink, touch, absorb, and are exposed to. Chemical toxins bombard us in this modern world from all sides. They’re in the water we drink and the food we eat. They’re in the cleansers we use, our beauty products, and even the air we breathe. They leak from our walls, our clothing, our floors, and our furniture. Herbicides, pesticides, fungicides, pharmaceutical residues, petroleum byproducts, pollutants, and so much more; these toxins literally surround us.
Toxins and Obesity
Obesity is a continually growing trend in countries that follow more Western diets and lifestyles, but what if this spike in weight gain can’t be entirely blamed on sugary or fatty foods and a lack of exercise? Turns out toxins contribute to fat storage and make it more difficult to lose those extra pounds too.
Our bodies are clever, well-organized machines prepared for a multitude of external and internal attacks from many sources like viruses, fungi, bacteria, and even modest amounts of poison. When toxins enter our bodies, they’re sent to the liver to be broken down and flushed away. But when the liver is overwhelmed and the heart and other organs are endangered, our bodies revert to a backup plan and jail the leftover toxins, locking them away inside fat cells. This lets the liver catch up and we can release the toxins slowly later to be cleaned or sent packing.
This means that as environmental and internal toxin levels climb, these overwhelm the liver more and more often. As a result, more toxins, along with more fat, must be stuffed into storage for later disposal. The number of fat cells increases to deal with the toxic load and people quickly become overweight.
When Toxins Start
Unfortunately, this process starts young, much younger than we thought. A fairly recent study shows that babies begin storing toxins in their fat cells even before they’re born. Infants exposed to toxins in the womb are born with more fat cells and have higher risk of rapid weight gain which leads to overweight or obese children and adults. How many of us have been exposed to high levels of toxins our entire lives? Take a minute to look around your home. How much synthetic material do you see? Take a look at your food in your pantry and fridge. How much of it is in cans, aluminum, and plastic? What about the ingredients? Are there chemicals you can barely pronounce, let alone know where they came from? We may be poisoning ourselves into obesity, bit by bit.
Losing Weight with Toxins
These toxins also make it very difficult to lose weight. Fat cells crammed with toxic compounds don’t function very well. These malfunctioning cells often over-release leptin, which burns out receptors, leading to leptin resistance. Leptin is a hormone that regulates eating and fat burning. Leptin resistance tells our bodies that we need more food and need to store more fat even when there’s plenty of it stockpiled away. This drive to overeat makes losing pounds problematic, especially if the body keeps insisting on hoarding more fat at the same time.
Even without leptin resistance, if high toxin levels are still entering the body while we’re desperately trying to lose weight through healthy diet changes and exercise, our body will still continue to combine these toxins with fat and stow them away in cells where they do less damage. We may be burning through old stores, but the body keeps making new ones. It thus becomes important to eliminate toxin sources before trying to lose weight.
Losing weight comes with setbacks in and of itself. Dropping pounds and inches means releasing and burning fat stores, which can flood the system with toxins that had been previously locked away. This toxic torrent into our system slows down the weight loss process, is one of the causes of weight loss plateaus, and can lead to a yo-yo effect as the body responds to the onslaught by filling fat cells over and over as we rerelease stored poisons time and time again.
Remove Toxins from Your Life
Start by removing toxins from your life. Stop smoking and drinking alcohol, avoid coffee, and drop-kick the soft drinks. Stop eating junk food, avoid plastic packaging on foods as often as possible, and pick up BPA free cans. Take a break from harsh cleansers and look for more natural, organic beauty supply products, cleansers, soaps, shampoos, deodorants, and detergents. Choose organic foods free of pesticides, fungicides, genetic modification, and herbicides. Cut way back on refined sugars and processed foods. Drink a lot more filtered water more often. Find ways to release stress, which creates internal toxins of its own, and add more organic plant-based foods to your diet to get the vitamins, minerals, and enzymes that will help cleanse the body and improve its function. Fresh fruits and vegetable, and their juices, are very good at aiding the body with detoxification.
Stay active and exercise while you eliminate toxins from your life. Movement helps the lymphatic system clear waste and toxins from your tissues and exercise improves circulation and organ health. Lose weight gradually. Don’t go for the crazy weight loss diets that lose big too quickly, but go for a few pounds at a time. This will let your body deal with the released toxins slowly and manageably, breaking them down and flushing them away without overwhelming your liver or feeling the need to incarcerate them once more in the fat storage facilities on your stomach, butt, hips, or anywhere else you don’t want it.
You can manage your weight loss if you are smart about what you eat, how active you are, and how many toxins you remove from your life. You don’t have to go big. Start small, but start today.