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obesity
insulin level
cause weight gain
relationship breakdown
low carbohydrate
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What Triggers Obesity?
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What Triggers Obesity?

My name is Jamie Hodgkinson and I am the manager of Hillmotts Fitness Retreat. I have been studying obesity, obsessively for the last two years. We take groups of 10 people a week and I spend all week training them and getting to know them. Over time I have started to notice patterns of why one person will gain weight and another lives a healthy life.

Before I started looking deeper into obesity I thought the same as many others, humans are eating too much and not moving enough, the words ‘greed’ and ‘laziness’ would always be in my mind. After extensive research and lots of tests I have a totally new perspective on obesity.

For almost every person who is overweight, there is a trigger, a change in circumstance that affects their entire body balance. This is usually something very traumatic like a lost loved one or a relationship breakdown. The reason it’s not considered is because the weight can be gained over years so the underlying reason doesn’t seem relevant anymore.

When an individual is stressed they produce excessive amounts of a hormone called cortisol. Cortisol will lead to a rise in a hormone called insulin. Too much insulin in the blood stream causes all sugars to be stored as fat and glucose glands to be forced shut meaning that the body starts to feel very sluggish. A quick fix to this raised insulin level is to eat sugar which then lowers the level of insulin but only for a short time. Once sugar has been removed from the bloodstream by insulin, the craving for sugar / carbohydrate returns (once you’ve had one you want them all right???). It is possible to identify who has gained weight through stress just by looking at them. Cortisol and insulin cause weight gain around the abdomen (waist). The waist size should be no more than 31.5 inches for females and 37 inches for males.

Even a low carbohydrate / sugar diet might not fix the problem however it will help to lose some weight. It is necessary to deal with the underlying problem to get permanent results. Learning better ways to manage stress levels is very important. Both vigorous and slow relaxing exercise can work to lower stress levels and reduce the craving for sugar. Think about every time you have cravings for sugars, it’s usually when you are least active and stress levels are building like at the office or sat down at home with kids under your feet.

Any kind of movement will lower your stress levels. So the next time you find you have a craving, try going for a walk and get some fresh air. Stress is what’s making us unhealthy but the rich sugary foods that help to deal with stress is the cause of fat cell multiplication in other words obesity. Whilst dealing with your stress I would recommend reducing your carbohydrate intake to 20% of your diet (do not cut them out) and increase protein (meats, fish, beans and seeds), as protein has no effect on insulin levels. Start your day with eggs or full fat yoghurt. Avoid starchy carbohydrate like rice, potatoes, pasta, chips and porridge. Also avoid refined sugars (chocolate, crisps, cakes etc). Eat natural whole food and try to manage your cravings (stress levels) with light or intense exercise. Humans are not designed to be overweight and other than pets we are the only species on earth that suffer from obesity yet we all suffer from stress. Therefore it can only be the way in which we are managing stress (through sugars) that causes obesity.


Street Talk

Anna Ware  

Brilliant informativ article, thank you so much. Stress does make people produce more cortisol, a big no no if you want to stay in shape. The good thing about exercise is that it has a antistress function, in other words it lowers cortisol. Excellent exercise forms are Yoga, pilates, running, swimming and going taking brisk walks.

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