Fitness & Power
If you think there’s no chance you are ever going to lose weight and the extra pounds simply won’t go away no matter how hard you try, rest assured, you’re not alone.
Lots of people struggle to lose weight and get the body of their dreams. However, it is not always because they’re not training correctly or hard enough. Quite often, it comes down to improper nutrition. Even if you think your overall health is food, there’s still one key thing that a lot of people don’t understand and it can be summarized into one word: inflammation.
The truth is that a large percent of the population is suffering from chronic inflammation and they’re not even aware of it. This is not the ‘good’ type of inflammation either, when a specific area of your body swells up when you get stung by a wasp or you fall on your knee or ankle. This is the bad type which in time becomes chronic and systemic. The type that is constantly waging a war of attrition on your body silently for years, making you constantly tired, fat and riddled with illnesses.
Over the years, scientists have repeatedly brought up inflammation as the core reason for every major illness from diabetes, cancer and heart disease to depression, Alzheimer’s and arthritis, as well as many allergies and conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome and asthma. Chronic inflammation can be a key factor when it comes to people gaining weight and then not being able to lose it.
There are so many factors which contribute to the development of chronic inflammation: a stressful job, poor sleep, lack of physical activities, drinking alcohol, smoking, and even bad dental health. However, one of the biggest factors is your diet. The food that you eat regularly can keep your body in a state of chronic inflammation.
There are specific foods which are known to cause inflammation and it’s no surprise that most of them are processed foods which have a high content of refined sugar, processed carbohydrates, and saturated fats. Eating this type of food every now and then would not have a significant effect. However, the sad truth is that the majority of people are eating stuff like processed meats, white bread and sugary drinks at almost every meal.
And it doesn’t have to be fast food and candy every day either. If you’re eating the same “clean” meal every day consisting of chicken, rice, and broccoli the body may become intolerant to ingredients in any of these things. Dairy, gluten and even chicken can cause inflammation in the digestive system if eaten too much too often.
Scientists have found that over-consumption of a single of the three macronutrients – protein, carbohydrate or fat – can cause inflammation. Standard symptoms of gut inflammation can be bloating, gases, heartburn, constipation, reflux, diarrhea, Crohn’s disease, irritable bowel syndrome, and ulcerative colitis.
It’s a well-established fact by now that weight gain and inflammation go hand in hand. Inflammation can inhibit the release and effectiveness of the hormone leptin, which is in charge of maintaining a healthy weight by controlling our appetite and metabolism. When you eat too much, you gain weight and the fat cells swell. The extra fat triggers and inflammatory response in the cells, which makes the entire situation even worse. It’s a self-reinforcing cycle.
Inflammation in the cells also causes them to become resistant to insulin, which causes your body to struggle with increased blood sugar levels, which in turn causes further weight gain. Again, another vicious cycle. However, if you want to break out of it and start losing body fat, you must start getting the inflammation under control.
What you need to do to reduce inflammation is to avoid inflammatory foods and start eating foods with anti-inflammatory effects. The ones you should seriously consider eliminating are white bread, pastries, fried food, fast food, sugary drinks, red meat and processed foods such as margarine.
Another thing you need to do is to balance the amount of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids in your diet. Omega-3 are founds in grass-fed meat and oily fish. They greatly help reduce inflammation. The second group, omega-6 can be found in foods cooked with vegetable oils such as canola and sunflower. This group has the opposite effect and can cause inflammation, which is why getting to a 1:1 ratio is crucial.
A diet typical for a person in the Western World can contain 18 times more omega-6 fatty acids than omega-3. It should come as no surprise that the majority of people suffer from chronic inflammation and are unable to lose weight. To fix this, include more oily fish in your diet such as mackerel, salmon, and sardines to reduce the inflammation, along with grass-fed meats such as pork and steak. These types of meat come from animals that weren’t fed on grains which why they have a better ratio of omega-3 and 6 fats.
Some other anti-inflammatory foods you should include in your diet are olive oil, tomatoes, leafy greens like spinach and kale, walnuts, almonds, fruit like blueberries, strawberries, cherries, apples, and oranges. It’s a real wonder how such a seemingly small change in your diet can make such a big difference and in such a short time. The first week people have reported noticing losing ‘water weight’, which is a sign that the body is eliminating all the flood which it retains when it’s in a state of chronic inflammation.
And it’s just the beginning. You will quickly find that you can lose weight faster and easier, feel more energized, experience less ‘brain fog’ and symptoms of conditions related to inflammation will gradually improve.