We've always thought that diet and exercise would help us lose weight.
But there are other factors to consider, and these may be the reasons you're not shedding excess poundage despite your efforts.
PEP.ph (Philippine Entertainment Portal) talks to Katherine Sy of Kay Sy Dynamics, the first functional medicine health coach in the country, about this weight loss puzzle.
According to Kay, her job is to “support with your nutrition, help you with the food that you eat, help with sleep and relaxation, exercise, stress, even [with relationships]."
She is like "a support system with all the things, all the factors in your life that constitute health."
On the other hand, functional medicine as a practice is an approach in health care that looks into the root cause of a person's illness.
Kay explains further, “As a health coach, I support, I work with the doctor to effectively follow-through a plan, a protocol to help you become healthier, become well, or heal from within.”
The main takeaway of the interview is that hormonal imbalances play an important role in every woman's fitness journey.
"There are a lot of factors. Generally, with women, one of the biggest reasons why it’s so difficult for women to lose the weight even if they exercise or go on a diet is because of hormonal changes and hormonal imbalances which [haven’t] been delved into by a lot of people here,” she explains.
Apparently, hormonal imbalance doesn’t only happen during monthly periods.
These are constant and can affect women "during, after, or before your period."
The health coach elaborates, "I’m not just talking about [imbalances which involve the thyroid or the adrenals]. It’s a whole host of stuff. It can be very mild, medium, or extreme.
"Each woman, each individual, iba-iba iyan. So when we’re trying to figure out why you're not losing weight, it’s a couple of things."
What are the things that influence hormonal imbalance? How do you know if it’s happening?
"Number one evidence or proof is when you're craving so much sugar.
"Also, if you are slim and have puson, that can also be indicative of hormonal imbalance.
"When you’re going through physical stress, the adrenal glands get tired. When that happens, it can’t release hormones that help you metabolize fat.
"Instead, it stores glucose and the fat cells. It’s quite tricky because you have to know your body, know what works for you, know what exercise works for you, and know how your body processes food.
"Taking care of women and their hormones is very personalized."
Nutritional stress is also another factor.
When you eat too much or too little, your body can get stressed out.
The main culprit for women is carbohydrates—particularly the processed ones like white rice, pasta, bread, etc.
So there has to be a "balance between eating right and finding the right nutrients to feed the body."
She remarks, "If we deprive the body of micronutrients, the hormones go haywire and your reproductive health suffers."
Aside from managing your stress properly, listening to what your body wants must be a conscious effort.
If it screams, "I'm tired," are you going to force yourself to work out? If it says, "I'm hungry," do you give in to the craving?
Here's how to lose weight fast—the sure ways:
"Rest, stop working out for a bit for three to four days, and do a food journal and reassess what’s been going on.
"Next, clean up the diet and find the right exercise for you.
"Rest days are important, listening to the body is important, listening to cravings is important but not giving into the bad cravings. When you’re tired, what do you normally do?"
Kay also mentions adaptogens, which was defined by Time.com as "a natural substance considered to help the body adapt to stress and to exert a normalizing effect upon bodily processes."
Some known adaptogens are ginseng, which can boost energy; Licorice root, which is said to be a cortisol (the stress hormone); Ashwagandha, which also has the ability to regulate cortisol.
Kay continues, "That’s why I did a post on adaptogens. I’m so into women taking more adaptogens like Ashwaganda because adaptogens help your body adapt to stress."
Does age play a part in all of this?
"Yes and no. Our hormones do change when we get older. We [go through] peri-menopause, menopause, post-menopause.
"It plays a part because when you get older, it’s harder for women to deal with stress. That’s why we have to be gentler with the body. You can still take control of it. You can still feel like you're in your 20s when you're in your 30s when you know how you can support the changes in your hormones, changes in environment, especially women because we take care of everyone.
How do you manage your emotional stress?
She answers, "It plays a part in how you eat and sleep. Look at yourself and your sense of self-worth.
"This is a very interesting topic, but we have to be careful because each one is different. Everybody’s stress is different. The way we manage, absorb, and look at stress is so different."
You can reach Kay at (+63) 915-265-0192 or book a free 30-minute online consultation via Kay Sy Dynamics.