One of the lesser utilized strategies for reaching a healthy weight is detoxification. The three week purification program that we employ at the clinic combines three basic strategies that target weight loss. For patients requesting guidance in weight loss, I often start with this program, which gives the metabolism a jumpstart that almost always resulting in slow and steady loss of fat during those three weeks.
The first strategy contained within the purification program is adopting a diet of foods that are categorically very low in toxins. This takes the pressure off the liver and frees its resources to be able to tackle deep-seated stores of toxins in the body. Eating organic during those three weeks, and often avoiding meat for the first week to ten days helps accomplish this.
The second strategy is tailoring this diet to eliminate most all grains and common food allergens such as wheat, dairy, and soy. An undetected food allergy can wreak havoc on your digestion and slow metabolism to a crawl. Grains are eliminated to further minimize plant toxins while keeping your carb count low. This also encourages weight loss by the normalization of insulin.
The third strategy is detoxification proper, that is, using plant and food compounds that encourage the body to release toxins. The connection to weight gain comes from the understanding that when our liver is overburdened, it will keep toxic substances away from vital organs by shunting them into less vital areas. In most cases, this is fat tissue, although toxic metals tend to be deposited into nerve tissue.
It is important to note that some toxins directly affect metabolism, known as obesogens, that both contribute to weight gain and hinder weight loss. Such chemicals need to be cleared from the system for any serious weight loss effort to stick. One example is the endocrine disruptor bisphenol A (BPA) commonly found in plastics, can linings, and thermal print receipts. One study published in the Journal of The American Medical Association showed an association between urinary levels of BPA and childhood obesity. Although it is difficult to assign causality to this correlation, the known mechanisms of BPA’s effect on metabolism is reason enough to prudently avoid contact with such chemicals and to take steps to remove it from the body.
Looking at the big picture, if your liver is overworked and underpaid with a diet low in nutrients and high in toxins, add in a nightly cocktail and a cocktail of prescription drugs, and before long your liver just can’t keep up with daily maintenance, let alone deep cleaning. Like changing the oil and oil filter on your car, giving your system an overhaul will provide the signal that it is now safe to break down fat tissue and allow the toxins to once again enter the bloodstream. The only difference is that now your body is prepared and equipped to deal with them.
If you choose to employ detoxification as a weight loss strategy, be prepared for your weight loss to be necessarily gradual. We must keep in mind that even with the best purification support for your body, your organs of detoxification are limited in what they can safely remove from your body. Thus, fat burning will only occur at a pace that your body can handle. The result of too rapid detoxification is headaches, fatigue, flu-like symptoms, etc. If done properly and within your body’s design, this so-called “healing crisis” need not occur.
Furthermore, if you are losing more than a few pounds a month, you are likely losing more lean muscle and water weight than actual fat. Your best judge of fat loss is how your clothes fit, as total weight may not change if you have also begun an exercise program and are building lean muscle.
One way you can determine if detoxification might be a good starting point is to have your blood drawn to test for leptin and fasting insulin. If both results come back within the normal range, it stands to reason that your efforts would be best spent detoxifying rather than a strict reduction in dietary carbohydrates. Having a nutrient-dense, whole-food diet is the cornerstone of any healing endeavor and should always be optimized prior to employing a detoxification strategy.
Although there are many safe methods to detoxify, using whole-food supplements and herbs over an extended period of time strongly increases the likelihood that the process goes within the body’s design and in the body’s timeframe. For those last few pounds that just won’t go away with all your best efforts in diet and exercise, detoxification is often the indicated strategy.