Obesity is a chronic medical condition that requires urgent attention to prevent millions of premature deaths. This is only possible by adopting a nutritional lifestyle that will result in your metabolism being correctly balanced and regulated.
Are you struggling with weight loss? Are you cutting calories, watching what you eat and maybe forcing yourself through gruelling exercise routines and yet the weight barely seems to budge? Are you feeling increasingly tired and finding it difficult to keep up with the pace of modern life? Do you crave sweets, fast foods, caffeine or tobacco? These may all be signs that your metabolism is simply imbalanced – the body is not processing nutrients adequately due to an altered metabolic and hormonal system.
By adopting a comprehensive lifestyle plan that is unique for your metabolic needs, it is possible to re-adjust this hormonal imbalance, thereby utilising food correctly, reducing weight permanently, increasing energy, improving sleep and treating or preventing many of today’s biggest killers.
The Obesity Epidemic:
Excessive weight and obesity has truly become the plaque of the modern world. Many Western based lifestyles are exposed to excessive food, with a move away from a more natural and balanced diet to that of increased sugars and fats. Many families depend on what is considered easy meals, fast food and junk food. We even see children under a year handed sweets, chips and sugary sodas, programming them early to choose the wrong food options.
All this is just the tip of a generally unbalanced modern lifestyle, promoting a metabolism that is unregulated and unable to correctly utilise the food we consume. When this process begins, most people find themselves in a vicious cycle of increasing weight, often followed by various medical concerns such as increased blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar, all related to a condition known as the Metabolic Syndrome. The consequences – chronic disease due to the wrong eating and lifestyle habits with increasingly raised medical costs. These include heart disease, stokes, diabetes and even some cancers.
The Metabolic Syndrome:
This is a term that has been around for a few decades, but researchers have only recently accepted this syndrome as a disease within its own right, with causes, pathological processes and clinical consequences. It is defined as a grouping of specific risk factors for heart disease, strokes, diabetes and some cancers, with a common underlying problem – an unregulated and imbalanced metabolic and hormonal system . It is now considered a vital area of medical research, as scientists pursue an elusive chemical ‘cure’ for the obesity crises.
The risk factors associated with the syndrome are those associated with obesity in general. However, the underlying processes that result in the spectrum of clinical symptoms and signs are not well defined, as they differ between individuals. This is because we are all unique, based on our genes, and interact with our environment in different ways. We all require different nutritional needs to function optimally. With this said, a key area of imbalance is placed on a hormone called insulin and a process termed insulin resistance .
Although there is much debate, the most widely accepted diagnostic criteria for the Metabolic Syndrome is defined as having any three of the following :
- Waist measurement of greater than 102cm in men or 92 cm in woman (abdominal obesity)
- Increased triglycerides (blood fats)
- Reduced HDL (‘good’ cholesterol)
- High blood pressure
- Increased blood sugar or insulin resistance
It is interesting to note that you don’t need to be overweight to qualify as having the metabolic syndrome, and I have seen patients without a weight problem presenting with high blood pressure, cholesterol and triglycerides, thus falling into the wide spectrum of the Metabolic Syndrome. However, the prevalence of the metabolic syndrome is high among obese children, adolescents and adults, and it increases with worsening obesity .
The Diet Factor:
The word diet stems from ancient Greek, and means ‘way of life’. It was used to denote how people lived, not just what they ate, in relation to quality of life. Today many people have forgotten this, and the word is linked to negative connotations such as fasting, starvation and will power. Diets are employed for short term weight loss goals, rather than a continuous lifestyle that promotes correct metabolic functioning.
Most people who want to lose weight will begin some form of diet and exercise programme, but as many of us have experienced, the general rule is that diets do not work. Typically they may lead to some short term weight loss, but the will power fades and the weight is very easily re-gained. We then start a physical and psychological cycle of feasting, guilt and regret, atonement periods with starvation and exercise that are generally compounded by food cravings and moodiness. Sound familiar?
This is the classic yo-yo effect, swinging from being ‘good’ to being ‘bad’, from being ‘healthy’ to being ‘unhealthy’, with no adequate balance or consistency. These diets are not a way of life, and there is no correction of the underlying metabolic imbalance, no sustained weight loss, no energy increases and no reduction of cravings. Our bodies have simply forgotten how to eat and how to self-regulate, and a person gets stuck in this cycle of eating and starving, showing that the modern interpretation of a diet is of little use. Not to mention the dangerous effects of so-called miracle weight loss products and supplements!
Science is increasingly showing that due to the wrong eating habits and diets, many people do not get the adequate nutrients required to maintain a healthy metabolic and hormonal balance, and thus correctly regulate energy intake and expenditure. If we knew exactly what we should eat, we could feast and enjoy food while maintaining our weight, and more importantly, our health.
The Metabolic Balance Weight Management Programme:
Permanent correction of the metabolic system, especially in the setting of the Metabolic Syndrome, can only be achieved through correct nutritional choices. The catch, however, is the common consensus of low fat, high carbohydrate diet, numerous smaller meals a day and a decent exercise routine for weight loss is not what science is showing to be effective, especially in the setting of a metabolic system that does not function optimally [4-6]. Exercise is essential to ‘promote and maintain health’, but will not necessarily lead to weight loss .
A shift towards three meals a day, more sleep, less exercise (while losing weight – exercise will be important to maintain your ideal weight) and the proper ratio of adequate carbohydrates with proteins at each meal is required to break the negative cycle of the Metabolic Syndrome, but it is essential that the amount of food and source of nutrients is based on the individuals metabolic needs  – one glove does not fit all, as we are all biochemically unique. Grains and cereals should be reduced as they stimulate insulin release, with specific vegetables being the main source of carbohydrate intake coupled with the correct ratio of quality proteins.
This is where the concepts of the Metabolic Balance Programme have been brought to the forefront on the war against obesity and the associated chronic diseases. Dr Wolf Funfack, an internal specialist and specialist for nutritional medicine based in Germany, has studied the Metabolic Syndrome in conjunction with the effect of different foods and dietary plans on the metabolic functions of the body for over 25 years. His research has indicated that you need to incorporate the individual metabolism of the person into a dietary plan that is designed to reduce the impact of excess insulin and allow the metabolism to regain the ability to adequately and correctly utilise energy. This results in the body using stored energy in the form of fat rather than releasing stored sugar and having this converted to excess fat by the corresponding rise of insulin. It is not a diet standard for everyone but a personal nutrition plan as a guideline with the aid of which the participants – under the expert supervision of a doctor who has been trained specifically for this purpose – set out to reach their healthy weight and correct metabolic balance.
The plan of each participant is drawn up individually based on the correlation of data of his body chemistry with suitable and metabolically balanced food chemistry. This individual meal framework made up according to the body and nutrition profile is as personal as a fingerprint. This well-founded, medically safe metabolism program, which has been medically tested on 36 000 participants in Germany alone, that provides three meals with healthy, vital food for each participant .
This article was published in the November Issue of the South African Journal of Natural Medicine, 2010, as written by Dr Kristian Leisegang (Registered Homeopath)
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