Find Your Fat Loss Formula

February 10, 2017

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Know your inflamed? Break the cycle here!

Today we are not messing around! Getting to the bottom of inflammation is a critical piece not only of your Fat Loss Formula but also for your health. Inflammation underlies heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, obesity and many other chronic diseases. As we discussed in last weeks article, inflammation levels in your body can contribute to insulin resistance and obesity, independent of how much you eat. Obesity on the other hand is also an inflammatory condition that can keep you in the cycle of fat gain. This cycle of inflammation needs to be broken in order to achieve optimal health.

How do we do it?

Testing

If you could not already tell, I am a test and tweak kind of doctor. I believe that when we have data it is easier for you to achieve the results you want quicker, and with less trial and error.

Tests for inflammation are commonly run through your medical doctor, but these specific tests can be helpful to access the level of inflammation, and even auto immunity, that you may be experiencing.

Hs-CRP (high sensitivity c-reactive protein)- this is a measurement of systemic inflammation and is associated with cardiovascular disease risk.

ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) – this test measures how quickly your red blood cells fall. The more inflammation stuck to them, the heavier they are and the faster they fall.

25-hydroxyvitamin D- Vitamin D is deficient in many North American’s and should be tested for sufficiency. Vitamin D is the master regulator of immune function so it should be monitored and kept between 75-100ng/ml in most people

ANA (antinuclear antibody)- this is a very general test for autoimmunity. It is not specific for any particular autoimmune disease but if it is positive then more investigation is required.

Okay, so now you know that you are inflamed. What next?

First Steps in Inflammation Treatment

The interventions required to reduce inflammation are vast and personalized, that is the bad news. When it comes to individual treatments NDs look at testing results, where the inflammation is manifesting in the body, where it could have originated and treat based on that. Everything from curcumin, to specific probiotics, to glutamine, enzymes, and antioxidants can be used. The good news is there are specific interventions that can be helpful in most people!

Step 1- Get your diet in check.

Gluten, dairy, eggs, nuts, corn, soy and inflammatory oils (such as canola, vegetable oils or deep fried foods) are some of the most inflammatory foods that North American’s eat regularly. Now don’t let me alarm you, not all foods are inflammatory in everyone. I encourage people to begin with an elimination diet which can help you to identify your personal food sensitivities. Most people, as a general rule, benefit from eliminating inflammatory oils, and often people who are trying to break into fat loss will benefit from dairy and gluten elimination as well.

Fiber and anti-oxidants are also an important part of a fat loss diet. 25-30g of fiber, along with richly colored fruits and vegetables can help to improve fat loss(Paniagua, 2016).

Step 2- Up your friendly fats.

Omega 3 fatty acids, and particularly EPA which is an anti-inflammatory Omega 3 fatty acid, can be an important part of an anti-inflammatory intervention. This study is just one of the most recent studies confirming that Omega 3s are an important part of the formula to lower inflammation levels and achieve fat loss success(Paniagua, 2016). I often encourage patients to supplement up to 1500mg of EPA for the best anti-inflammatory results. (Just a note on this one, if you are taking any blood thinning medication then stick to diet recommendations, as this can interact with your meds!)

Okay, so now that you understand where your body is storing fat, have kicked down your insulin levels and have now managed your inflammation, there can’t be much left right? WRONG! There is so much more! Next week, we will talk about a famously- infamous hormone, leptin, and find out what it means to you! Can’t wait to chat then!

References

Paniagua, J. A. (2016). Nutrition, insulin resistance and dysfunctional adipose tissue determine the different components of metabolic syndrome. World Journal of Diabetes, 7(19), 483–514. http://doi.org/10.4239/wjd.v7.i19.483

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Dr. Sarah Wilson is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, Ontario. Having overcome her own metabolic challenges Dr. Sarah uses her personal experience and knowledge of the latest research to help you achieve food freedom and the fat loss (and health) that you desire. She works with patients locally, and on Skype, to improve their metabolism, balance their hormones and improve their energy. Find out more at sarahwilsonnd.com or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sarahwilsonnd/)
February 03, 2017

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Kick the Inflammation to Lose Fat

There are many brilliant people in the world who agree that obesity, diabetes and insulin resistance are associated with metabolic inflammation. What is less agreed upon is what comes first? Does inflammation lead to obesity and diabetes or is it a result of the conditions?

The answer, of course, it depends.

Obesity and Inflammation

Obesity is, at it’s most basic level, an increase level of lipid storage within adipocytes (fat cells). This can happen for a number of reasons, most of which includes hormonal imbalances and over nutrition, or over doing certain foods that aggravate your personal hormonal imbalances. When fat cells become enlarged, and when insulin resistance begins to change not only the metabolic, but also the hormonal profiles in the body, an increased level of inflammatory markers can be measured in the blood stream1. This is an example of how obesity can cause inflammation.  On the other side of that coin though, studies have been done on groups of people, known as metabolically healthy obese, and therefore we know that obesity does not always cause inflammation.

It is often not a surprise to people that obesity and type 2 diabetes cause inflammation. What fascinates me more is how inflammation can cause obesity! This was personally fascinating to me, as an autoimmune disease, a very inflammatory condition, was at the very basis of my fat loss struggles, and obesity for a long time!

Inflammation Preceding Obesity.

Clinically, I see relatively lean people struggle with persistent and steady weight gain almost every day! When these people have made no changes to their diet, had no changes in stress levels, and also have other symptoms such as bloating, gas, constipation/diarrhea (sorry Naturopaths LOVE to talk poo!), muscle and joint aches I tend to think about inflammation.  In some people this weight gain can cause them to creep up into the overweight and even obese category over the course of years. This clinical data supports that inflammation can lead to obesity, but what does the research say?

First of all, we know that even if you are a lean person, eating more food than your body requires can cause inflammation, insulin resistance and weight gain2.  Interestingly enough, it is not the calories that are the direct correlation, but where those calories come from. For example, many people have done high fat, high calorie personal experiment diets and showed that weight gain was not proportional with expectations (see here for example). When calorie composition is higher in carbs with moderate fat and protein, the inflammation and weight gain may be more likely to occur.  More research needs to be done in this area, but, if further supported then this suggests that inflammation may be instrumental to the weight changes.

Additionally, we also see that in those with high circulating inflammatory markers, there is a higher likelihood of weight gain in the future3. This is true in the ‘healthy population’, but also for people with chronic low grade infections and some autoimmune diseases4. Although we do not know the exact mechanisms behind this, one thing we do know, is that inflammation can contribute to insulin resistance, and that significant increases the risk of obesity.

Lower inflammation, lower obesity?

The ultimate test of a theory is to say okay, add in inflammation and get obesity, remove inflammation and reduce obesity? This is what many researchers have done over the years, and continue to do. At one point high levels of anti-inflammatory medications (NSAIDS) were being given to help with obesity, but the side effects of those interventions can be detrimental to the intestinal tract. Now research is being done on pharmaceuticals such as statins and other diabetes medications, showing that they work through lowering inflammation levels!

Moral of the story.

When it comes to obesity, and patterns of fat loss, it is critical to understand how inflammation may play into your individual weight loss resistance. Whether your weight gain began due to excess calorie consumption, or it is more linked to genetics or an inflammatory disease, you can get caught in a cycle of inflammation that requires an intervention to break.

Do you believe inflammation is hindering your weight loss? Let me know in the comments. Also stay tuned for next weeks article of breaking inflammatory cycles to break into weight loss.

References

  1. Bastard, J.-P. et al. Recent advances in the relationship between obesity, inflammation, and insulin resistance. Eur. Cytokine Netw. 17, 4–12 (2006).
  2. Boden, G. et al. Excessive caloric intake acutely causes oxidative stress, GLUT4 carbonylation, and insulin resistance in healthy men. Sci. Transl. Med. 7, 304re7 (2015).
  3. Engstrom, G. et al. Inflammation-sensitive plasma proteins are associated with future weight gain. Diabetes 52, 2097–2101 (2003).
  4. Sattar, N., McCarey, D. W., Capell, H. & McInnes, I. B. Explaining How ‘High-Grade’ Systemic Inflammation Accelerates Vascular Risk in Rheumatoid Arthritis. Circulation 108, 2957 LP-2963 (2003).

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Dr. Sarah Wilson is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, Ontario. Having overcome her own metabolic challenges Dr. Sarah uses her personal experience and knowledge of the latest research to help you achieve food freedom and the fat loss (and health) that you desire. She works with patients locally, and on Skype, to improve their metabolism, balance their hormones and improve their energy. Find out more at sarahwilsonnd.com or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sarahwilsonnd/)

January 27, 2017

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Metabolic Flexibility- YOU WANT IT!

Does anyone else out there feel like they have a lot of fuel stored as fat on their bodies? Most of us would love to be able to access our fat stores and burn them in our sleep, and throughout the day when we get hangry!

In an ideal world we could go days without food, and our bodies would become fat burning machines!

For most people though, that is not the case. They cannot seamlessly move through their day without the sensation of being ‘hangry’ or a NEED for food. Most North Americans are metabolically inflexible.

 

Metabolic flexibility is essentially a fancy way of saying that you have the ability to switch between using fat and sugar throughout the day and night.1

 

Sugar-Burner or Fat-Burner?

Carbohydrates, or sugars, are the easiest source of fuel for our bodies, and therefore they tend to be used first. In scientific experiments when you increase the amount of carbohydrates consumed it will increase the amount of carbohydrate that your body uses as fuel, AND it also suppresses the ability to use fat. This is partially due to the insulin response. When fat is consumed as the primary source of fuel though, the response is not as predictable.

The ability to use fat as fuel is different depending on your current state of metabolic health, if you are insulin resistant, if you have a family history of diabetes, or for other genetic reasons. This is why some people get the ‘low carb flu’ or feel unwell the first few weeks of a low carb diet. These people cannot use fat as fuel efficiently.

Even in those who can easily use fat as fuel the process of acclimation to this new fuel source can take time. You will see a slow increase in fat usage and a slow decrease in carbohydrates dependency.

 

What causes metabolic inflexibility? AKA The inability to burn fat as fuel.

Genetics: Those with a family history of diabetes tend to have a higher insulin response when they consume carbohydrates. Insulin is a fat storage hormone and shuts down your ability to use fat as fuel.

Insulin resistance: When you are insulin resistant it essentially means that your body is not listening to the instructions of insulin, which is telling you to lower your blood sugar and store it away as fat. It’s like a child, after they don’t listen for a while you have to start yelling! You begin to create more and more insulin in response to carbohydrates in order to keep your blood glucose levels down1.

Decreased mitochondrial function: The mitochondria are our energy producing powerhouses, and they are involved in the fuel selection in our bodies. When the mitochondria are not working properly due to inflammation, oxidative stress, toxicity etc then they can contribute to insulin resistance AND metabolic inflexibility which can have a coumpound effect.

Inactivity and improper fat storage: When fat is stored in the muscles and not properly disposed of through exercise and metabolic compensation, then it can cause a whole host of problems2!

 

Signs that you are metabolically inflexible.

You may be metabolically inflexible if the following characteristics sound familiar to you:

  • You carry weight around your abdomen
  • You gain weight easily and struggle to lose
  • You get hangry or shaking often, but still don’t lose weight
  • You can’t go more than a few hours without eating
  • You feel ill on a low carbohydrate diet even though you think it would help you.

 

You are metabolically inflexible! Now what?

Action steps

  1. Keeping insulin low in the AM. Eating a higher fat, moderate protein and low carbohydrate breakfast can help to decrease your bodies tendency to be a Sugar Burner all day long.
  2. Lift heavy things. This is critical to producing more mitochondria, improving the ones you have and increasing insulin sensitivity. Exercise is not about burning calories, it is about hormonal changes. Weight lifting and high intensity interval training contribute to that positive hormonal balance.
  • Eat the good fats. MCT, coconut, avocado and olive oil are all anti-inflammatory fats that have a minimal effect on insulin and can help to promote proper mitochondrial function. Win-Win.

 

Conclusion

  • Metabolic flexibility is the ability to switch back and forth between sugar burning and fat burning.
  • Insulin resistance is highly correlated with metabolic inflexibility because it prevents increases your reliance on sugar for fuel. (Leaving your fat cells sitting there quite comfortably!) 1
  • Mitochondrial function (your energy powerhouses) seem to be highly involved with metabolic flexibility. Exercise can help to improve this.2
  • You cannot low carb your way into metabolic flexibility without exercise and mitochondrial performance or else you might feel quite ill/hangry/stressed in the process.

 

Next Stop on the Fat Loss Formula?

That is all for today. The next stop on your fat loss formula will be to investigate your inflammation levels. If you find yourself with aches, pains and allergies or food sensitivities, then this next week is a can’t miss section for you!

 

 References:

  1. Galgani, J. E., Moro, C. & Ravussin, E. Metabolic flexibility and insulin resistance. American Journal of Physiology - Endocrinology and Metabolism 295, E1009–17 (2008).
  2. Dube, J. J. et al. Effects of acute lipid overload on skeletal muscle insulin resistance, metabolic flexibility, and mitochondrial performance. Am. J. Physiol. Endocrinol. Metab. 307, E1117–24 (2014).

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Dr. Sarah Wilson is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, Ontario. Having overcome her own metabolic challenges Dr. Sarah uses her personal experience and knowledge of the latest research to help you achieve food freedom and the fat loss (and health) that you desire. She works with patients locally, and on Skype, to improve their metabolism, balance their hormones and improve their energy. Find out more at sarahwilsonnd.com or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sarahwilsonnd/)

January 20, 2017

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Testing for Fat Loss – this one is key!

Over that last few articles we have begun to break down the key Fat Loss obstacles. Those pesky hormonal, inflammatory and external factors that are slowing your metabolism and preventing all of your hard work from manifesting in the body of your hopes and dreams!

The first hormone that we spoke about was insulin, arguably one of the key factors involved in blood sugar regulation and fat loss, especially for the low carb crowd! Today is the day that we will talk about how to test it!

THE Test you Need

There are many lab tests that our Medical Doctors will run to investigate the health of our blood sugar response. The most commons are fasting blood glucose and the HbA1c. These tests, although valuable to diagnose diabetes, do not tell you much about your fat loss potential!

Fasting blood glucose is exactly what it sounds like! It is a measurement of how much sugar is in your blood stream after you have not eaten for a 12hr period.

HbA1c is a marker of the average blood sugar level over the course of three months. This does NOT tell you, about your insulin resistance or how much insulin is required to manage your blood sugar.

Fasting insulin can be a valuable marker in people with frank insulin resistance but in people like myself, who are carb sensitive, this test may appear normal but insulin could still be at the route of your issues.

The New Paradigm of Testing for Fat Loss

As a Naturopathic Doctor I care far more about optimal function then waiting for disease onset. I want to prevent disease and help you to feel your best, today. In order to do this when it comes to fat loss I like to run not only a fasting blood glucose and a fasting insulin test, but instead a reactive test. We spend the majority of our waking hours eating, drinking or thinking about food! This constant interaction with food is what makes or breaks your fat loss goals and this test can help us to decipher that!

Enter the 2hr insulin and glucose test

This test measures how your insulin and your glucose levels respond to a carbohydrate load. Blood measurements are taken fasting, at 30, 60 and 120 minutes after consuming 75g of glucose.  We can then take your individual test results and compare it to the research in order to measure the degree of insulin resistance you experience, and to customize your approach.

What is a Normal Insulin Response?

A ‘normal’ test for insulin and glucose includes a rise in insulin and glucose, that peaks at 30 minutes with glucose levels around 7mmol/L and insulin levels around 500pmol/L. After 30 minutes those levels should steadily fall to reach an insulin level no higher than 350 pmol/L after 2 hrs. Glucose levels at this time should be between 5 and 6mmol/L as well.

This is rarely the case! Estimates suggest that only 20% of the population is truly normoresponsive to a glucose load. This has been true of what I have seen in my clinical practice, and also when I first tested myself!

When any pattern exists that is outside of what I described above you are put on a scale of insulin sensitivity and signaling issues that can alter your fat loss potential.

Where to get this test?

In most provinces the 2hr Glucose challenge test is common place when diabetes, or gestational diabetes, is suspected. The same is not true of the 2hr INSULIN AND glucose test. These two things are not to be confused, as your blood glucose levels could be perfect for years, even in the face of insulin resistance! You can speak with your medical doctor about performing the insulin AND glucose challenge test although in my experience many are not aware that this test exists or how to interpret the results. The easiest way to get this test done may indeed be through your Naturopathic Doctor or functional Medicine practitioner.  Although there are exceptions, this arm of the medical system tends to focus more on optimize health before disease, and as such our research has uncovered more testing such as the 2hr insulin and glucose test, that can help you to blast fat and feel better!

Are you running out to get this test done? If so, I can’t wait to hear all about it. This is one of the game changing tests in my office and I hope that it helps you release the lock that is on your fat cells!

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Dr. Sarah Wilson is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, Ontario. Having overcome her own metabolic challenges Dr. Sarah uses her personal experience and knowledge of the latest research to help you achieve food freedom and the fat loss (and health) that you desire. She works with patients locally, and on Skype, to improve their metabolism, balance their hormones and improve their energy. Find out more at sarahwilsonnd.com or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sarahwilsonnd/)

January 13, 2017

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Fat Storage 101. Break the Cycle

Fat Storage 101. Break the Cycle

Weight loss resistance. Difficulty regulating fat mass. Diabetes. Gestational Diabetes. Acne.

All of these states have something in common, dysregulation of insulin.

It is incredibly easy to get overwhelmed by the metabolism, what you should do, and what not to do in order to get yours functioning optimally. Here we will break it down into bite sized chunks so that you too can understand and optimize your metabolism.

Insulin is a critical component of the fat loss formula. In fact, I would say for many people Insulin is THE hormone that you need to understand. 

Functions of Insulin throughout the body

Insulin is an anabolic hormone, meaning that it is involved in the building process. Insulin takes fuel (glucose and amino acids) in the blood stream and stores them away for later use. It builds muscle cells, through shuttling amino acids into them, and builds fat cells through stimulating fat storage. In addition, Insulin will increase glycogen storage, encourage the proliferation of skin cells, changes in skin pigmentation and can also affect an area of the brain associated with pleasure and reward. Yes! That is just the tip of the iceberg so it is clear that insulin is critical to the function of many systems in our body. 

When insulin is working properly it is lifesaving. This is clear when we look at diabetes. 

Function of Insulin in Diabetes

There are two types of diabetes, Type 1 is an autoimmune disease that causes damage to the pancreas, which produces insulin. This results in elevated blood sugar levels, weight loss, excessive hunger, thirst and urination. Type 2 diabetes also results in elevated blood sugar levels but in the initial stages of this disease, there is plenty of insulin circulating, it is just that the body is not listening to the message. Often times here, we see weight gain, and obesity.

In both cases we need more insulin, and better signaling, to properly regulate blood sugar. In both cases the addition of insulin will also most often result in weight gain.

This is a phenomenon that has been known by endocrinologists for many years. There is a cycle in type 2 diabetes where insulin resistance and weight gain are made much worse with the addition of an insulin prescription. This then worsens the situation and more insulin, or other medications are required to maintain blood sugar levels. Improving insulin sensitivity is the solution, and lowering circulating insulin levels is the answer. This is not always well understood or explained.

How do you lower your insulin levels?

In people who struggle with insulin sensitivity issues lowering your insulin can be THE thing that unlocks the fat storage freezer. This was the case for me. I spent many years trying all of the diets and all of the lifestyles. When I originally began to lose weight it was both insulin, and inflammation levels, that were at play. This is a key combination for many people. After my original weight loss as a result though, I still had stubborn weight that sat on my abdomen. This was made worse with stress, and even at times worse with exercise and low calories approaches. I was a mystery to people for a long time. That was until I discovered insulin testing. My insulin levels were low fasting, which is not the case for many, but it was incredibly high when I consumed any glucose at all. It would also spike high and stay high, which sets you up for fat storage and inhibits fat loss.

This lead me to dive into the research, I needed to know what was known about natural regulation of insulin sensitivity, and what this pattern of hormonal signaling meant. For me, it was a hypersensitivity to glucose, my pancreas just went wild and spurted out tons of insulin to manage my blood sugar levels. It would then overshoot and result in low blood sugar levels, leaving my hangry, overwhelmed, and snacking throughout the day.

How to manage insulin signaling issues.

Decrease your insulin load.

Whether you are currently taking insulin, have weight management issues, or are struggling with prediabetes you need to test your insulin levels. This will dictate how low carb you need to go to manage your state.

Many of you are already off of grains, not eating junk food and eliminate sources of sugar from your diet. What you may not know though is that there is more that you can do!

Kick Dairy to the Curb. If you have insulin issues then eliminating, or limiting, dairy is important. I am often telling my patients that milk is intended to make babies chubby, and it does the same thing to adults. Dairy products are incredibly stimulating to insulin and regular consumption of dairy can inhibit your weight loss goals.

Stop snacking. The more you snack the more insulin stimulation occurs. Period. Every time you eat, drink a sugary tasting drink, or eat just an apple, you are taking yourself out of fat burning mode. The goal is to eat enough at meals so that you are not hungry between. It can take some time to adjust to, but if you find that you are getting lightheaded between meals then aim to snack on nuts, or veggies as opposed to carbohydrates alone.

These steps alone can be enough for some people to overcome their insulin issues and begin to effortlessly lose weight. Sounds too good to be true, right? But it is not.  If you are wondering whether these steps are an important part of your fat loss formula then make sure to check out the next article, where I discuss the most IMPORTANT test that can change your experience with fat loss!

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Dr. Sarah Wilson is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, Ontario. Having overcome her own metabolic challenges Dr. Sarah uses her personal experience and knowledge of the latest research to help you achieve food freedom and the fat loss (and health) that you desire. She works with patients locally, and on Skype, to improve their metabolism, balance their hormones and improve their energy. Find out more at sarahwilsonnd.com or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sarahwilsonnd/)

January 06, 2017

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Fat Distribution Patterns

Weight loss should be effortless but your hormones prevent that from being the case. Yes, I said hormones. Not calories.

Research has proven time and time again that it is not solely HOW MUCH you eat, but WHAT YOU eat, that determines your metabolic capacity. For most of you here, having adopted the low carb lifestyle, this is not news, but many of you do not understand why it works, or how to further optimize your health through diet and hormonal balance.

Each week I will break down the factors you need to consider in your fat loss formula, and give you actionable steps to personalize and improve your diet and lifestyle.

Let’s make fat loss simple, together!

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Fat Distribution Patterns- where you store fat can tell you what is feeding your fat!

Fat loss is not easy. Not a revolutionary statement, I know. If fat loss was simple then there would no obesity, no billion dollar ‘fad-diet’ industry, and you certainly wouldn’t be reading this.

The reason that fat loss can be so frustrating is that many things can play into it. Stress, sleep, diet choices, genetics, hormones and the list goes on. Although many of the above list cannot be fully understood without testing, what we do know is that many of our hormones can leave signature patterns of fat gain.

Hormones are all about Balance

When it comes to hormones there is no such thing as a good or a bad hormone. The only thing that matters is how well balanced they are with each other. Without going into too much detail, our hormones are like a symphony, women are acutely aware of this with our menstrual cycles but it applies to men as well.  Outside of reproduction, these hormones also affect our weight. We don’t want too much estrogen, or too little testosterone as they can both cause fat gain for different reasons. In another example, we also have metabolic hormones that need to be balanced surrounding meals. Our insulin will increase after meals, taking leptin up with it and lowering our glucagon. In an ideal world, when these work well we can easily burn fat as fuel when we need it, but for many people this is not the case! (If you are unfamiliar with any of these hormones then stay tuned throughout the next few weeks!)

So, where do you tend to store your weight?

In the Chest

  • In both men and women weight gain in the chest can be related to estrogen. This is most evident in women, with breast tissue, but men can also show elevated estrogen levels through weight gain in their chest.

On your Triceps

  • Fat gain on the backs of the arms (your triceps) can be contributed to by a number of hormones. Low levels of testosterone (an androgen), low levels of DHEA-s (an androgen from your adrenal gland) or high insulin levels. Sagging skin and a decreased sex drive can often be associated with low androgens, where as belly fat gain and stress are also related to DHEA-s and insulin levels.

On your Back, especially in the area of the shoulder blades.

  • Weight gain on the back, known as bra line fat in women, or fat pads present in men, is often related to insulin levels. Along with the abdomen this is one of the first areas to gain fat, when related to insulin levels, and it is also one of the first areas to lose it when diet and lifestyle get back on track.

On the front of your Stomach.

  • Carrying weight in the front of your abdomen, presenting as fat pad or a pouch, that is in the lower stomach can represent the consequences of stress, cortisol imbalance and often insulin. The relationship between stress and insulin is a chicken or egg situation. When cortisol rises your body thinks that it is running from a bear, this is your sympathetic stress response. This allows for your blood sugar to rise, so that you have the energy you need to keep up that movement and safely escape. The issue in our society is that we often feel stress when we are sitting in the car or at our desks, so we do not have any use for the extra blood sugar that is circulating around. This then causes your insulin to rise to lower blood sugar, and shuttle it into fat. For that reason, both insulin and cortisol can be involved with this fat distribution pattern.

On the sides of your abdomen (AKA Love handles).

  • This area is more tied to elevated levels of insulin and blood sugar imbalances. In general, an enlarged waist is associated with metabolic syndrome and insulin resistance. This is also true when you tend to gain weight in your love handles. As discussed above stress can play into this weight gain pattern, as well as diet, lack of exercise and genetics.

On your hips and thighs.

  • Weight gain in the hips and thighs is associated with fertility and femininity in many cultures. This is because this pattern of weight gain is most associated with elevated estrogen levels and/or xenoestrogen exposure. There are specific estrogen receptors on the fat cells in this area that stimulate lipogenesis (fat depositing). Although this fat distribution pattern is not associated with metabolic syndrome or some of the other cardiovascular disease risks it is still troublesome to many women and men. This weight also tends to be harder to lose, as diet and lifestyle changes are critical, but so too is hormonal regulation.

The take home, although the fat patterns above represent a template, you may not perfectly fit within that template, and in fact people often have multiple hormone imbalances which can cause overlapping fat gain patterns.

This understanding marks the START of your personal Fat Loss Formula!

Stay Tuned!

Next week I will be cover the BIGGEST fat loss obstacle that I see in clinical practice. Don’t miss it!

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Dr. Sarah Wilson is a Naturopathic Doctor in Toronto, Ontario. Having overcome her own metabolic challenges Dr. Sarah uses her personal experience and knowledge of the latest research to help you achieve food freedom and the fat loss (and health) that you desire. She works with patients locally, and on Skype, to improve their metabolism, balance their hormones and improve their energy. Find out more at sarahwilsonnd.com or on Facebook (https://www.facebook.com/sarahwilsonnd/)