I’m going to let you in on a well kept secret. There is a crucial piece to weight management that most people are straight up missing and we’re going to talk about it here today.
Everyone falls into a category of how interested they are in healthy living. On one end we’ve got those who don’t put much effort or thought into their health. On the other end, we’ve got those wild and crazy (ha!) health enthusiasts. Then there are all sorts of mixed categories of people floating somewhere in between. Maybe some of those middle people are exercise fanatics but their nutrition isn’t on point. Maybe some are eating really well but lead a sedentary lifestyle. There has been a shift in the last decade or so with the increased ease and availability of information and many of those people floating in the middle have now chosen a side.
Fast forward to today and we find ourselves with two incredibly large groups on either end and much fewer people still floating in between. Why does this matter? So many people are educating themselves on how to lose weight, live longer, and experience a better quality of life but still so few have learned the complete formula to wellness.
I fell into the middle of the road category for a long time. I was a very competitive athlete in high school and college and continued to stay in shape by running a few marathons and hitting the gym regularly. I was always hydrated but had absolutely no understanding of good nutrition. I think it’s a safe bet that those on the healthy end of the spectrum are primarily focusing on exercising, hydrating and eating real, whole foods. We could dive further but let’s limit this conversation to these 3 big pieces.
I started off this post talking about weight management and have gone completely off track so I’ll bring it back now. You’re educating yourself on healthy living (for your own really personal and really great reasons), you’re hydrating, you’re eating real food and you’re getting lots of exercise. But maybe you’re not losing weight at the rate you think you should. Or maybe you’ve gotten 5 or 10 pounds shy of your goal and just can’t get past this plateau. I’d like to throw something out there.
Did you know that environmental toxins can live in your fat cells and plump them up nice and big? You heard me. Our bodies take toxins, steer them clear of important organs like your heart, and tuck them away in your fat cells. Let me explain.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) conducted a program called the National Human Adipose Tissue Survey in the 1980s. They found that all of the fat samples contained traces of toxic chemical compounds. How does this happen? There are 2 types of toxins that can enter the body: water soluble and fat soluble. Water soluble toxins are easily flushed out of the body by our blood, liver and kidneys. Fat soluble toxins must be converted to water soluble toxins before they can be flushed out. That is also the liver’s job and it’s a tough one because these toxins are the ones containing heavy metals, pesticides, plastics and environmental junk that’s all around us.
When food is being digested, the good and bad fats get moved to the small intestine to begin the process of being used or discarded. The good fats, from sources like coconut oil and avocados, are kept and used for things like energy and well balanced hormones. If the liver or lymphatic system are overworked or malfunctioning in any way, then the toxic fats get sent back into the blood and are eventually reabsorbed by your fat cells – sometimes for years.
I’m really oversimplifying the process but I think you can walk away with the main idea. The results can be unwanted fat (especially around the abdomen), bloating, slowed metabolism, skin sensitivities, joint stiffness and/or occasional headaches. You could be doing everything you’ve been taught but still feel sluggish and unable to drop any weight.
So where are all these toxins coming from? They hide in plain sight all around us. Most people think about their skin as a barrier between the world and their body. I’d like you to change that mindset and, instead, think of your skin as a sponge. It’s soaking up and ingesting everything that you’re wearing, spraying in the air and cleaning/moisturizing your body with.
Think about how many ingredients you come in contact with in a single day. Really think about it. Shampoo, conditioner, dish soap, laundry detergent, dryer sheets, nail polish, prescription and over the counter medications, make up, hair spray/gel, flame retardant furniture, perfume/cologne, colored energy drinks/gatorade, plastic food containers and water bottles… I could go on and we haven’t even touched on food. Now think about how many of these ingredients were not in every house a hundred years ago.
Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying your grandparents didn’t wash their hair but they weren’t washing it with what we use today. The earliest form of shampoo was simply made with soap and herbs. Now we’ve got a toxic recipe of synthetic fragrances, triclosan, VOCs, and sodium lauryl sulfate (just to name a few) in every bottle.
More than half of Americans are on 2 prescription medications at any one time and 20% of people are on 5! How can this be happening when we’ve never known more about the human body? Mixed in with the ingredients that are hopefully helping you get better are a bunch of things that add more work to your liver to process and remove. Acetaminophen is especially damaging to your liver.
Now that you know where some of the damage is coming from, why not simply do a detox and flush your liver? Well, for some that may not be an option (I’m talking to you pregnant and nursing mamas). However, the main reason that it’s not a good idea is because it’d be like driving through the carwash and then heading straight for the nearest mud puddle. Most people complete a detox and then resume the same lifestyle that got them there in the first place.
So what should you do? This is a lot of information. Start in one cabinet of your house like your cleaning supplies and start reading the labels. Go to EWG.com and see how your products compare to safer alternatives. We use Thieves Household Cleaner on every surface of our house. It’s the only cleaner we own because it’s plant and mineral based, 99.96 effective at killing bacteria and viruses and it’s a fraction of the cost of anything else out there – organic or conventional.
Next, chuck anything with a fragrance. Candles, laundry detergent, hand soap, air fresheners, dryer sheets and trash bags are all emitting toxins into your home masked by a beautiful scent. Fragrance-free items are now available everywhere and don’t cost any more than their junky counterparts. But you still want your house to smell good, right? These fragrances can be swapped with Young Living essential oils. I put a few drops of lavender on my wool dryer balls so our clothes smell good. I diffuse a blend called Purification daily to purify the air in our home and give it a fresh scent. My husband and I use the oils as perfume and cologne (there are some seriously manly oils out there), they’re mixed into our homemade deodorant and they play a major role in my skin care regimen.
The essential oils can also be used to support every system in your body, especially your immune system. We use ours to limit the number of medications that we need to take to give our livers the best chance possible. We love adding lemon oil to our water to support our livers and lymphatic systems while they’re working away to flush out the junk that we can’t avoid. This can all be very overwhelming so click here for some more simple ideas.
Please don’t take my word on all of this. Do your own research but I will warn you: once you start down this path, it’s very hard to turn back. I’m the gatekeeper to my home and want to protect my family as much as I can. I know you feel the same way.
There are so many reasons to want to learn about healthy living. Weight management. Life expectancy. Quality of life. Epigenetics. What’s yours? I am here and willing to talk with anyone who is serious about wanting to make a change.
Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or a health care professional and don’t claim to be one on the internet. I encourage all readers to do their own research and speak to a trusted physician before making any significant changes to their health or lifestyle.