Now that we’ve discussed parameters which may affect weight loss and management, including genetics, hormones, and gut microbiome, let’s move on to how your age and gender may directly affect your ability to lose and maintain weight…and more importantly, what we can do to control and optimize these variables.
The effects of age and gender are tightly bound with hormones, discussed in a previous post; but the effects of age and gender are isolated enough that they deserve their own literature. Many physiologic changes come along with advancing age impacting our weight, which include:
• Changing ratio of brown fat to white fat
• Changes in specific receptors which bind to insulin and other hormones to affect fat storage or release
• Changing estrogen & progesterone levels in females and testosterone levels in men
• Reduced activity levels, increased stress levels, and consequent changes in cortisol which come with responsibilities & lifestyles of adulthood
• Resistance of fat to be metabolized after repeated efforts at weight loss
So, now that we have the knowledge, how can we affect the outcome? Knowledge is not of much use until we formulate a plan…and as usual, we go step by step!
1. Problem: Optimizing ratio of brown fat/white fat…Solution: Exercise is shown to increase brown fat stores while burning white fat stores. HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) works best for this result, along with a proper resistance training regimen.
2. Problem: Hormone binding receptors on fat cells increase storage of fat…Solution: two-fold, first, the continued loss of fat tissue will reduce the number and sensitivity of receptors to insulin, adiponectin, and other hormones (so keep the loss going consistently); second, reducing swings in blood sugar levels and keeping blood glucose at stable levels will further reduce insulin sensitivity and accelerate fat loss…easily done by choosing a low glycemic, moderate high-quality protein, and ultimately a high fat (not a mistake) diet.
3. Problem: changing levels of sex hormones in both women and men with age…Solution: the extreme solution may be BHRT (Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy) – may be very effective, but in our practice, we find this to be necessary in a very small percentage of patients. A more reasonable (and all-natural) solution is intermittent fasting (more on this at a later date) combined with HIIT and proper resistance exercise. In our Functional Medicine practice, if more aggressive protocols are necessary, we first look to rebuild hormonal systems so the body assumes natural production, rather than introducing exogenous hormones into the system (natural or synthetic).
4. Problem: Reduced activity levels, stress, and counterproductive lifestyle choices…Solution: As above, correct types and amounts of exercise will increase activity levels, and must be built in as a permanent lifestyle change…buying the gym membership or the home fitness equipment won’t change a thing until you use them regularly! Reduction of stress can be assisted by techniques including meditation, yoga, emotional and spiritual guidance, and other efforts to achieve and maintain balance in one’s life; again consistency and regularity is the key. From a physiochemical perspective, if your adrenal glands are already quite stressed or exhausted, there are also methods of rebuilding their function, a topic too broad for this discussion.
5. Problem: Resistance of fat metabolism after repeated efforts at weight loss…Solution: make this your final and successful journey to get the fat off and keep it off for life! Simply counting calories and increasing activity may help you drop some weight, but will never serve as a long-term solution. In our practice, we use a high-tech, cutting-edge, multi-faceted approach, which leaves the old science in the dust and achieves quick and permanent weight loss and health optimization for our patients. Visit compassfatloss.com for further details, and schedule a no-charge initial consultation to be fully educated and find an expert partner to help you succeed.
Stay tuned for our next post, which will dig deep into the exercise component of the weight loss process…and as usual, provide solutions!
Dr. Eric M. Kusher