Let’s talk toxins.
The word “toxin” is a rather broad term, covering both toxins that are created from normal bodily functions (internal toxins) and those from outside sources, like pesticides, industrial chemicals, mercury and more (external toxins). Our bodies were brilliantly designed to deal with a certain degree of toxins, eliminating them through our kidneys and liver, but modern times have exposed us to many more toxins than we were built to deal with– leading to over-burdened organs, illness, and weight gain.
Today, I’d like to specifically focus on how toxins affect our attempts at weight loss. As I understand it, toxins that enter our body are stored in our fat cells–> that’s how our bodies protect our vital organs! (It’s also why belly fat is considered more dangerous than lower body fat, because it’s stored so close to those precious organs.)
In a study titled “Energy Balance and Pollution by Organochlorines and Polychlorinated Biphenyls,” published in Obesity Review in 2003, researchers concluded that pesticides and PCBs (from industrial pollution) poison our metabolism when they are released from stored fat tissue. [source]
In other words, when we start to lose weight and dissolve body fat, those stored toxins are released back into our bodies and slow our metabolism… stalling weight loss right along with it.
In one of my favorite books, UltraMetabolism, Dr. Mark Hyman explains that 63 scientific studies have explored the link between chemical toxins and obesity. Among those studies, researchers found that toxins, specifically pesticides and PCBs, interfere with many aspects of metabolism including disrupting hormone levels, blocking thyroid receptors, stressing liver function, and damaging the mitochondria and their ability to burn calories after weight loss. Toxins may also damage hormone signals, affecting our very important hormone leptin– which is responsible for telling your brain that you’re full!
So, these toxins can wreak havoc on our body’s two key metabolic organs –the liver and thyroid– as well as damage our energy-burning factories– the mitochondria. On top of that, they may impair leptin’s signals to your brain, making you hungry all the time.
No wonder losing weight is such a challenge! It also explains why it’s harder to keep it off, thanks to a slower metabolism.
After reading some of these results, one might assume it’s just safer to keep the body fat. Why risk re-toxifying ourselves when we lose it?
Luckily, there are steps we can take to send those pesky toxins packing!
1. Minimize your exposure to toxins. Eat more organic foods, drink filtered water, use air filters, keep houseplants, and reduce or eliminate the use of toxic household cleaners and body care products.
2. Sweat it out! Exercise and saunas are both great ways to work up a sweat, and excrete pesticides and heavy metals through your skin. (Saunas were used to help detoxify the workers at Ground Zero after 9/11.)
3. Eat foods that help you detoxify. Recommended are cruciferous vegetables, like broccoli, kale, and cauliflower, green tea, dandelion greens, cilantro, garlic, citrus peels and cocoa. (<– I’ve got that last one covered!)
4. Make sure you’re eliminating regularly. It may not be very lady-like to discuss, but having one to two bowel movements a day is essential for moving waste out of the body. Pure water enemas can be helpful in this department, if needed.
Though excess toxins remain a universal problem, I hope we will all find a way to reduce our exposure and eliminate them we can! I think our waistlines– and overall health– will thank us.
Reader Feedback: Are you concerned with toxins? If so, what steps do you take to reduce your exposure?