Dr. Ashley Lucas

Dr. Ashley Lucas is the Owner and Founder of PHD Weight Loss in Asheville (myphdweightloss.com).

Take this truth and embrace it: Weight gain isn’t your fault. It actually has nothing to do with you or your personality. We are often told that we need to execute more discipline or willpower, but it really doesn’t have much to do with that. Listen here: you can only starve yourself for so long, maybe a couple months, before you must eat again. You think of it as giving in and giving up; you think that you’ve failed again and are destined to be where you are right now, forever. This doesn’t mean another failure, it means it’s time to adjust your eating style.

The primary culprit for ease of weight gain once it has started is the accumulation of visceral fat. This visceral fat, the deep gel-like fat that packs in your belly area, fills up your organs, squeezes them tight, and makes your liver look like a Kobe beef steak (medically termed fatty liver), is different from the rest of the fat in your body. You can’t melt, laser, suck, freeze or sculpt it away. This special fat grows blood vessels and secretes toxic hormones. What you have actually accumulated in your belly is really metabolically active tissue. It has its own agenda; it is completely unregulated. All this tissue wants to do is continue to grow and continue to get fatter as fast as possible. Picture this fat like a tumor. You better bet that all of the hormones it is secreting in your body are there only to encourage its continued growth. This fat is like an entity in and of itself. It has urges, demands, desires and cravings. The more fat mass that you have, the more addictions to food you have. It slows your metabolism, makes you hungry, makes you crave, and makes you “lazy”. At this point your hunger and full signals are out of whack and you don’t know up from down in terms of what your body is telling you to eat or not eat.

This visceral, tumor-like fat, also secretes major inflammatory hormones. It lowers testosterone in men and increases risk of estrogen dependent breast cancer in women. It is a beast and it’s why you’ve dropped weight in the past only to regain it. Weight regain isn’t due to a flaw in your personality — It’s the visceral fat effect. If you try to maintain a weight in which you still have tumor-like visceral fat remaining, working against you, secreting all of these hormones that disrupted your metabolism and physiology, your risk of relapse is very high.

To minimize the risk of weight regain and to be able to maintain weight loss, you must let go of all of the visceral fat that is causing this metabolic slow down. You must also understand that this requires a different way of eating from the past for the rest of your life. If you have tried to drop weight in the past, only to regain it, do not think of yourself as a failure. Recognize your triggers, accept the fact that you MUST make a change to fully collapse the hungry/active fat mass, and choose to adjust the way that you eat to support your optimal health for the long term.

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