UNDERSTANDING WEIGHT GAIN AND LOSS - Part 3
It is interesting to note that excessive or excessively intense exercise can stimulate cortisol release –
which means for people who are already overstressed and their adrenal glands have been overworked, too much or the wrong kind of exercise can actually promote weight gain!
And if you think you can overcome that effect by going on a starvation diet along with the heavy exercise, think again!
Not only does inadequate food intake stimulate even more cortisol release, your body will still not burn fat in the presence of high cortisol even though you’rehardly eating anything.
Instead, the high cortisol will cause your body will burn muscle tissue to convert to blood sugar. Although burning muscle will cause you to lose weight, you will actually be increasing your percentage of body fat, which again typically is deposited around the midsection.
Furthermore, since muscle tissue has a high metabolic rate, the more of it you burn up, the slower your metabolism will get. Ifyou’ve starved yourself and exercised like a maniac but still couldn’t lose that roll of belly fat, now you know why. Later in the book, we’ll discuss how to get off the cortisol (not to be confused with “erogenous”) estrogens is meats, particularly beef and pork, and dairy products.
This is because commercially-raised cattle and hogs are often given extra estrogen to cause them to grow and fatten faster, andresiduals of these hormones are in the meat and dairy products weconsume. But meat is not the only source of estrogens in the diet.
Various pesticides and chemical fertilizers used on produce can act as estrogens in the body. Because of the presence of these exogenous estrogens, it is recommended that you stick to naturally raised beef and pork, hormone-free dairy, and organically grown produce as much as possible.
Estrogen tends to cause fat accumulation around the hips andbuttocks and sometimes in and around the breasts (this is most noticeable when it occurs in men as a condition called gynecomastia – often referred to as “man-boobs”), presumably to provide close-by stores of energy for a developing fetus, and for breast milk production.
But if you don’t happen to be pregnant, this fat deposition is not normal and is due to an imbalance in hormones. Later, we’ll discuss ways to balance estrogen levels through diet, exercise, and supplementation.
Under normal circumstances, the liver is quite good at handling all of the chemical reactions it must process, including the processing of fat burning hormones. Unfortunately, the usual American lifestyle can get pretty overwhelming for the liver.
We tend to eat too much fat and protein and drink too much alcohol and take too many medications, and sometimes the liver just can’t keep up.
Since keeping levels of certain chemicals from reaching toxic levels in the blood is the liver’s first priority, if you overload the liver, it’s not going to be able to process the fat burning hormones as it should.
This means that you will not produce adequate amounts of the activated forms of the fat burning hormones, and you will deposit fat. In addition, when the liver is overworked, fluid tends to accumulate in the upper abdominal area.
The classic description of this is the “beer gut”. For people with overworked livers, a large amount of their excess weight is actually water. Some people try to exercise away the protruding gut through sit-ups or crunches in an effort to “spot reduce”, but usually to no avail.
Liver overload is also the primary reason many people don’tget good long-term results with the Atkin’s diet even though it often works great at first.
The weight gain associated with an overworked liver must be addressed through changes in diet and by reducing the intake of alcohol and limiting the use of drugs and medications of all kinds as much as possible.
As the liver recovers, the water weight will usually begin to recede pretty quickly (and you’ll be spending quite a bit of time in the bathroom as it does!). The specifics for helping the liver recover will be covered later in this book.
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