When anxiety is high, many reach to food for comfort.
For good reason, food has been associated with love for most of us throughout childhood. It’s also a better vice than many other negative behaviors such as alcohol or drug use.
But even a good thing can be taken to excess.
Gaining weight while stuck at home is not a surprising phenomenon and if you are experiencing it, you are not alone.
Wanting to lose weight is not shallow either as this isn’t about aesthetics but more about staying healthy.
Begin by addressing WHY to get to the root cause – look at what’s beneath it all:
Do I not feel comforted by my family? How can I reach to my spouse for comfort instead of food?
Do I fear not being able to return to work, the loss of a job or has my income been impacted? Address the underlying fear & get support.
Am I afraid of getting sick? Fear of hospital care? An unwelcome reminder of our mortality or other existential issues you’re not ready to face?
Digging into the why (with support) can provide a lot of freedom. Beyond that, here are a few things to keep in mind when initiating weight loss:
The timing of when you eat and the space between your meals is key
Movement/exercise is great for overall health and maintaining a healthy weight, but too much exercise can hinder weight loss
If you’re a “fat burner” using ketones as your main fuel source, then having a set eating window and a high fat diet may be helpful. Very few people actually achieve nutritional ketosis – most are just adding excess calories to their meals. The keto diet can be a helpful weight loss tool for the right population and also for those with some neurological conditions. It is best to work with a professional.
Most are “sugar burners” using blood glucose as their main source of fuel. That means insulin is released when you eat to shuttle fuel into your cells – therefore, you will not lose 1 pound when insulin is present. For this reason, having space between your meals (4-5 hours) is ideal.
I often see patients that want to make a gradual change over time, some want a specific meal plan, and others need a “metabolic shift” to get the ball rolling in the right direction.
All methods work, it just depends on what you are willing to do and what will work best for your body.
For those that are weight loss resistant, the most common contributing factors I see are:
Hormonal issues: birth control pills, hypothyroid, excess cortisol (stress), leptin-resistant
Gut health & detox issues: dysbiosis or excess of certain bacterial strains that result in an increased caloric extraction from food and lipogenesis, a decreased ability to detoxify
These issues can be managed and weight loss is available for all.
So yes, you want to mitigate the weight gain while also giving yourself a lot of grace during this challenging time.
By Dr. Brandy Zachary, DC, AFMCP with Body Love Cafe