Many of us make New Year’s resolutions. In the beginning of the year, we feel renewed motivation to achieve our goals. Year after year, losing weight has been one of the most common resolutions. This begets the question, “Why is this so?” The obvious answer is because so many of us are overweight.
The U.S. is one of the most obese nations on the planet. As of 2014, a staggering 71% of adults are either obese or overweight.1 The rate of childhood obesity is skyrocketing, as well, with one in five kids being overweight or obese. This is a tragic situation as obesity is the one medical condition that increases our risk of virtually every other known disease including diabetes, autoimmune diseases, cancer, heart disease and dementia.
How did we get this way? Our current busy, high-stress American lifestyle has a lot to do with it. The availability of convenience foods, fast food and the lack of widespread availability of what I call “Real Food” is not helping the situation, to say the least. These days I hear from parents on a daily basis about how busy and overwhelmed they are and how they just don’t have energy to cook when they get home from a long day of work and tending to their kids.
Unfortunately, the world of conventional medicine has little to offer. A prescription for a stimulant, which decreases feelings of hunger, or bariatric surgery is often all that is offered to patients who seek their physician’s help in losing weight.
So, what to do? The good news is that there is a lot we can do to lose weight and keep it off. A key to this is in understanding what the underlying causes of this modern day scourge are. Working with a holistic physician who can diagnose and treat the root causes can be very helpful.
Based on my clinical experience, the top five causes of unwanted weight gain are:
1. A diet high in refined and processed foods. Eating convenience foods rather than whole foods will greatly lead to increased fat stores.
2. Sedentary lifestyle and lack of exercise. When we sit around too much and not use our bodies the way they were designed to, we add to our fat stores.
3. Chronic unmanaged stress and not enough sleep. Perpetually elevated cortisol, in some people, will make gaining fat easy and losing weight challenging.
4. Low or suboptimal thyroid function. If thyroid hormones are not in optimal ranges, losing weight will be a virtual impossibility. When we hear someone say, “I eat an orange and gain a pound,” you can bet that’s someone who has low or suboptimal thyroid function.
5. Environmental toxicity. We are exposed to chemicals on a daily basis that predispose us to gaining unwanted fat. This is why detoxification is a necessary component to any comprehensive weight loss plan.
We do have options and we can lose the weight we want! Whether you commit to losing weight at the New Year or in the middle of the summer, it’s important to remember that there is no single magic bullet that will make us shed 20 pounds overnight. However, with a few tools under your belt, some inspiration and determination you can take actions that will lead to a new and slimmer you.
Krupa, ND, has a passion for empowering his patients to lose weight
and achieve optimal health. He is a graduate of the National College
of Natural Medicine and holds a Doctorate in Naturopathic Medicine.
He has helped over a thousand people lose weight and keep it off. Dr.
Krupa has served as Medical Director of Puyallup Wellness Center for
the past seven years. For more information, visit