7 Reasons Why You Cannot Lose Weight
Many mothers talk about how their children on the autism spectrum (or they themselves) are having trouble losing weight. Often I believe this difficulty is due to combined factors, beginning with a diet high in sugars and starchy carbohydrates. Other factors may be contributing as well.
Weight Loss Checklist
Sometimes they may be eating what they believe to be a healthy diet and exercising, but still they cannot lose the weight. When this happens, I go through a mental checklist of seven things:
- metabolic syndrome
- liver congestion
- thyroid imbalance
- adrenal stress
- leptin resistance
- brain support
Metabolic syndrome is an imbalance in your metabolism. Blood sugar levels cannot stabilize and this causes a myriad of other problems in the body. This imbalance can lead to Type II diabetes. Metabolic syndrome is usually caused by a diet high in sugar and bad fats (corn, safflower, sunflower, peanut, canola, and soybean oils). This can also be inherited in utero from the mother’s eating habits. It should be noted that monosodium glutamate or MSG, a flavor enhancer that is added to many foods, is toxic to the brain and contributes to obesity. The same is true for the artificial sweetener aspartame found in many foods and beverages labeled as “diet”. Additionally, when the body has multiple toxins to remove, the liver becomes congested.
The omega 3 fatty acid docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) reduces the risk of metabolic syndrome. DHA reverses insulin resistance, is known to reduce stomach fat, decreases inflammation, and is a necessary component of brain health.
Most children on the autism spectrum are born with a congested liver, and most adults have one as well. If the liver cannot remove toxins quickly enough, it cannot do its job of helping to remove excess hormones and keep hormones in balance. Hormone levels are balanced by the liver. The amount of hormone issues a person has often correlates to the health of their liver.
Insulin is a hormone. Insulin allows our body’s cells to absorb glucose, or sugar, from our blood. Glucose stops the body from using fat as energy. A congested liver and fat deposits around this organ cause the liver to become insulin resistant. This causes the body to produce more glucose, raises blood sugar levels and further increases insulin resistance. To further aggravate the situation, once all sugar stores are used up from the liver, your cells will begin to break down protein from your muscles and bones to burn as sugar. In this case, you must reverse this process and re-train your body to burn fat.
Adrenal Stress and Thyroid Imbalance
This vicious cycle triggers the stress response on the adrenal glands. The adrenal glands release the two stress hormones adrenaline and cortisol. A release of these hormones triggers a spike in blood sugar and eventually trains your body to continue burning sugar instead of fat. This constant stress response overworks the adrenal glands and causes extreme fatigue. Eating sugar also triggers the stress response. Weak adrenals lead to a poor functioning thyroid gland, which also reduces the body’s ability to lose weight.
The Right Fat
Today’s modern diet and general medical opinion is that eating less fat and eating more carbohydrates has caused an epidemic in obesity and diabetes. Our bodies need fat, but it must be the right kind of fat. Remember that carbohydrates turn to sugar in your body. This is often seen as belly fat or fat around the waist or midline. The real health problem in that case is that there is fat depositing itself around your internal organs and arteries that go to your heart.
Candida albicans or yeast can become overgrown in the gut. When this happens it not only effects the health of our gut, immune system, and brain but our blood sugar, as well. We will crave carbohydrates and sugar because candida uses it as its food supply. Candida also causes the gut to leak and allows for undigested food particles to enter the bloodstream causing food allergies. Enzyme production decreases and bloating increases. This all triggers an immune response that alerts the adrenals to effect their own stress response. Worse, because the lining of the gut is damaged, it is not properly absorbing vital nutrients from the foods we eat. We then can become malnourished, even though we are eating a lot, and we remain hungry because our body and brain are starving for nutrition.
Leptin is the main hormone that regulates both appetite and weight loss by telling your brain when to eat and how much to eat. Mainly it tells your body when to burn fat and when not to. When leptin sensitivity is balanced you will stop storing excess fat, control hunger and food cravings, and lose weight normally. Cutting down on calories is an actual diet of long term self-defeat. This tells our body we are starving and further imbalances leptin, keeping us fat.
Sugar Causes Stress
We are not meant to use sugar as our primary fuel. This comes from a triggered stress response that causes our fat burning hormone, leptin, to become imbalanced. Leptin is produced by your fat cells, and you can become resistant to it over time. The body can be put into a stress response from factors such as improper diet, inflammation, food allergies, stressful environmental factors, toxins, or a brain imbalance that triggers ongoing anxiety. When this happens, adrenaline is released. This contracts blood vessels which deplete the cells of water, sugar, and much needed nutrients. A lack of nutrients causes a feeling of excessive hunger. This signaling to the brain comes from the hormone leptin.
Brain support is an entire subject of its own that I have dealt with in multiple posts on this website, such as this one on brain supplements. If weight loss is an issue, certainly you should check to see if you or your child are receiving the natural brain supplements that you or she needs to function at your highest level.
What To Do
What you can do is eat plenty of food, just the right ones in the right combinations. Protein sources in moderation combined with lots of good fats, (yes, that’s right!) and non-starchy vegetables. The good fats are avocado, olive oil, coconut oil, and nuts (except peanuts).
It takes twenty one days to rebalance your leptin levels. After this time you may eat foods not on the diet, but within moderation. Once leptin is balanced, you should continue to maintain your weight. Some meal examples are eggs with avocado or chicken with a green salad and olive oil, adding nuts such as almonds, or macadamias. Maintain a reduction or elimination of bad starchy carbohydrates (cereal, cookies, crackers, etc.), sugar, bad fats, monosodium glutamate, or sugar substitutes such as aspartame and sucralose.
Safe natural sweeteners are stevia (without any bad fillers), and monkfruit. Monkfruit can be a great substitute for sugar exchanged at a 1:1 ratio in any recipe. Coconut flour or almond flour are also good substitutes for wheat flour in any recipe. The ratio exchange is also 1:1.
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You scarcely find content like this anymore. I remember when you could find one or two posts similar to this in less than 10 minutes but now it’s much harder.
Thank you for all the informations.
My five year old in the spectrum is very thin. I don’t understand why she can’t gain any weight, because she is eating well and very healthy food.
I’m glad to hear your daughter is eating healthy food. It is common for children with autism to have “leaky gut.” Their gut lining is torn and must heal, and the bacteria in her gut must be restored through proper nutrition and supplements, so she can be absorbing the nutrition from her food too. Then she will gain more weight and thrive.
Thank you Karen.
Healing leaky gut is the hardest. I tried for years now but I couldn’t fix the problem.
She is very picky eater, and it’s hard to give probiotics or feremented vegetables. She always had constipation problems even though she is eating a lots of fruits and vegetables.
Yes, Elva I see people trying so hard to heal leaky gut but most times they are not doing everything that is needed. My book can help you, (there is a link to it on the healthy products page here on my website), or I have a very thorough online step-by-step program that you can look into if you like at, autismmomsmentor.com. My mission is to help all children with autism to be as healthy and happy as possible.
Sounds great, but now all I hear is there are many reasons why I might not be loosing weight all sound plausible. But I do not hear how. I don’t care much for the workings just what I have to do to stop getting fatter and so I can help my kids too. A simple list of eat this in this quantity and don’t eat that and it will take this long to see results is what my family need.
Yes, I give a complete list in my book, Naturally Recovering Autism. For a thorough layout I give the entire good and bad list, plus a foods guide, example 7 day meal plan, and an example grocery list in my step-by-step program. It is too much to go into here. If you would like to learn more about my thorough, yet simplified, online program then please refer to the home page of this website for more details on it.