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Health & Metabolism

Dear Dr.Kim

I am wondering why I can’t lose weight when I eat healthy and exercise.

O.T. Victoria


Dear O.T.

I frequently speak with people who feel as you do. The formula for being at an ideal weight includes exercise and healthful nutrition but not only these things. There are three main areas that I consider when helping people achieve an optimal weight and these are:

1. Calories in and Calories out

2. Nutrient balance, quality and timing

3. Health and metabolism

In order to have the best chance of success it is important to consider and address each of these areas. People who say that all calories are created equally are wrong. Assuming that you are pairing a balance of good quality food with adequate exercise, let’s look more closely at health and metabolism.

Metabolism is a term that is used to describe the breakdown of food to produce energy. People with a fast metabolism tend to get hungry more quickly while they quickly process food and convert it into usable energy. Those with a sluggish metabolism digest more slowly and may suffer from low energy and weight gain. There are many factors that contribute to a strong metabolism including sex hormones, thyroid hormone, cortisol, iron status (and other minerals), protein intake and exercise. Also when people have dieted or followed a low intake for a period of time, the metabolism slows, and hormones down regulate to conserve. One of my colleagues once described this as trying to build your dream house on a low budget. Your trusted healthcare provider can help you survey whether these factors are hindering your metabolism and limiting weight change.

For maximum benefit a successful plan should be rooted in moving toward optimal (or better) health. Many times, at the risk of sounding pessimistic, people don’t realize that they are living in a state of being ½ sick. Sometimes we call these sub-clinical. A common one for me is a high normal or high fasting glucose without it being high enough to be diagnosed Diabetes. Or sometimes, a person has symptoms that they dismiss as being minor and/or related to genetics but in reality, these symptoms can be a sign that health is compromised. Moreover, some people have signs from the body that they accept as normal when in fact they are signals of disharmony. When health is compromised processes are bogged down and this can be an obstacle to weight change. For example, some women experience water retention before their period and right it off as “that’s just me … or my sister is like that too.” The water retention can be an indicator of a correctable hormone imbalance, which, once resolved, will increase vitality and help maintain an optimal weight. This is a win-win situation as health is improved while a desirable weight is attained. A seemingly harmless symptom is actually hinting at an underlying health concern.

Like bringing your car in for a tune-up, it is important to address niggling health concerns and have your well-being assessed so that you don’t sit in a state of ½ sickness and sub-optimal health. Health is a state of physical, mental and emotional well-being. Addressing all aspects of health allows the body to function more efficiently.

I hope this information helps steer you in the right direction

“Health from the inside out.”