Weight Gain: The Usual Suspects

We are constantly bombarded with diets upon diets, each promising a thinner waistline, a bigger and better way of melting off pounds, etc. With our preoccupation of fad diets and intense workout routines, how is that the rate of obesity continue to climb in our society?

What are we missing?

Of course, there are certain dietary and lifestyle practices that understandably apply to most everyone, i.e. limiting trans-fat in your diet, maintaining some form of physical activity each day, etc. The main thing we must consider is that we are all different, from our genes, our hormones, to the environment we are subjected to. All these play a role in our ability to gain and lose weight.

When those pounds are weighing you down, look deeper into the following list of potential triggers to weight gain. (Click on each to read more)











Weight management is not as simple as counting calories. It is a multifaceted phenomenon that needs to take into consideration all aspects of a person’s life, from genetics, to individualized biochemistry and physiology, to external influences. The functional medicine approach takes into account these factors, as well as what could’ve triggered and maintained the weight change.

Food Sensitivities:
An estimated 12 million Americans suffer from food intolerances. When your body reacts to an undesirable item, it mounts an inflammatory response via the immune system. Fluid retention is one way your body may dilute this undesirable response. More on Food Sensitivities

Chronic Stress:
We exist in a world where we experience constant undulating stress with not much room for respite. Our bodies are amazingly resilient, and can usually return to a healthy homeostasis after a stressful event.  Specific hormones (i.e. DHEA, cortisol) and neurotransmitters (i.e. epinephrine, norepinephrine) are released to help our body deal with stress. With chronic stress, our bodies can’t keep up with incoming demands for the production and release of these hormones, and start to break down. When these hormones stay high, there is an increased tendency towards stress eating, especially towards carbohydrates.  There is also increased ingestion of sugar and caffeine for continued “stimulation.” Chronic elevations of stress hormones contribute to fat storage, especially around the abdominal area. More on Adrenal Fatigue

Hormone Deficiency:
Our sex hormones have so many more functions than we usually credit them for. When these hormones are out of balance, it can affect the amount of lean muscle mass we have, our insulin sensitivity, our ability to lose weight and fat, even our craving for certain high sugar foods. Hormonal imbalances can arise from genetic and environmental factors(i.e. PCOS, PMS, synthetic hormones, environmental estrogens, impaired elimination of hormones, etc.), and affect men and women alike.

Insulin Resistance:
Insulin helps our cells utilitize glucose as fuel. With insulin resistance, there is a problem with this mechanism. Consequently, there is an increase in insulin secretion to combat this problem. Insulin elevation can also result from chronic stress, insomnia, alcohol abuse, and overindulgence in carbohydrates and processed foods; this can lead to increased fat:muscle ratio, as well as decreased fat burning potential.

Your thyroid serves a crucial role in your body’s metabolism, heart function, thermoregulation and bone development. In mice studies, when certain thyroid functions were disrupted, the mice being researched experienced problems with weight gain and breaking down fats.

Impaired detoxification:
Toxic buildup can disrupt different bodily functions (especially those of the endocrine system), contributing to weight gain. More on Detoxification.

Being overweight sets up an inflammatory cascade within your body. Fat is not an inactive entity; it produces hormones and inflammatory mediators that can keep you from losing weight. Additionally, oxidative stress caused by free radicals from the environment, and as a byproduct of biochemical reactions, can contribute to this inflammation.

Sleep deprivation:
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation, as compared to sleep extension, is associated with increased hunger and appetite, as well as hormonal imbalances that may contribute to weight gain. Studies have showed decreased secretion of thyroid hormone, insulin, and increased cortisol in sleep deficit.

Diet and Lifestyle:
It’s not just about counting calories. Understand that your body utilizes food as information.  If your body is being fed “poor” fuel, it won’t be able to function at it’s maximal potential. For instance, many low fat foods replace fat with more sugar, thus disrupting hormonal signaling important in fat loss. Additionally, the way you eat may impact whether or not you lose weight. Some work well eating frequently, others not so much. Some follow the Paleolithic diet, others the Blood Type diet. One size does not fit all. It’s important to listen to your body, making sure hunger, energy and cravings are kept in check.

Gut infections:
Our digestive tract houses numerous microbes, some which serve a symbiotic relationship with our body. There are other organisms which are not supposed to be there, or have overgrown, thereby causing problems with absorption, digestion, and weight gain. This includes yeast infections, which if left chronic, can be a reason why you may have trouble staying away from sugar. (Read more Stool Tests)

Research continues to progress around weight management, its causes, and the best way to tackle it. This is an ever-evolving area of medical research, as we continue to battle obesity in our population.

No matter how you look at it, weight gain and/or inability to lose weight is frustrating. It may take some trial and error as you further investigate the root cause and the best regimen to manage your weight. Do understand that ultimately there may be lifestyle changes that have to be addressed, i.e. dealing with chronic stress, staying away from certain foods, etc. Fad and crash diets don’t work; they usually make matters worse. During this time, you may fall off the wagon. It’s ok, as long as you get back on your feet and continue working towards your health.

CALL THE OFFICE TODAY. TAKE CHARGE OF YOUR HEALTH. Ask Dr. Nguyen how you can test if any of these potential triggers may be affecting your weight.

Dr. Nguyen also provides injections that help with ENERY, as well as BOOST AND SUPPORT FAT LOSS!

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