Obesity is a Metabolic Issue

Obesity is a metabolic and hormonal issue. It’s not caused by eating too much.

Obesity is a Metabolic Issue
Photo by Towfiqu barbhuiya / Unsplash

Do you struggle with your weight?  Do you feel like no matter how hard you try to eat less and move more you can’t seem to lose weight?  We’ve been told for the last 50 years or so that if we are overweight or obese it’s because we’re lazy and/or gluttonous and we just don’t have self-control or will power to be healthy.  We’re told we need to eat less and exercise more. All of the blame has been placed squarely on our shoulders and it’s made so many of us not only struggle with weight but struggle with our self-image and self-confidence as well.

It’s time for that to stop. Why? Because it’s not true!  We’ve been lied to - sometimes blatantly and sometimes it was simply misunderstanding what’s going on in our bodies.

Obesity is a metabolic and hormonal issue. It’s not caused by eating too much. Calories in/calories out is simply not true.  There may be some who can successfully lose a little weight with this method but most are not successful and even many of the ones who are “successful” eventually gain it back - and more often than not, they gain back more!

Our weight is controlled by our hormones and as Gary Taubes says in Why We Get Fat,

“It is absurd to think about obesity as caused by overeating, because anything that makes people grow—whether in height or in weight, in muscle or in fat—will make them overeat. Children, for example, don’t grow taller because they eat voraciously and consume more calories than they expend. They eat so much—overeat—because they’re growing. They need to take in more calories than they expend. The reason children grow is that they’re secreting hormones that make them do so—in this case, growth hormone. And there is every reason to believe that the growth of our fat tissue leading to overweight and obesity is also driven and controlled by hormones.” (emphasis mine)

So how do our hormones control our weight?  The short and simple answer is insulin. When you eat a lot of carbs you are filling your body full of glucose. Your body uses glucose for fuel but on a standard diet in America it’s so much glucose that it’s more than what we need for fuel and our body can’t handle the rest. (Did you know the human body can only have about a teaspoon of glucose in the blood at one time?  More can cause serious health issues.) So to take care of the extra glucose, insulin is released to try to bring down the glucose levels. It does this by pushing that glucose out of the blood and into the cells - including fat cells. Those fat cells hold on to it and continue to grow which is what causes us to get fat.

But when we drastically reduce our carbohydrates, we force our body to use fat and protein as fuel instead of the glucose and this process lowers your insulin too. Remember, as long as you have carbohydrates coming in, your body will always use that for fuel first and won’t use the fat you have stored. And because we eat too many carbohydrates, we end up with an abundance of glucose that can’t all be used and it ends up getting stored which causes us to gain more weight. And when your insulin levels rise to try to combat the high glucose levels in your blood, it causes metabolic issues on top of weight gain.

It’s just a vicious cycle that never ends with a high carb diet because your sugar levels never go down enough.

So cut those carbs, get rid of the sugar, and you’ll see that weight come off and you’ll feel so much better in so many ways. It seems crazy that it could be that simple yet we all struggle with it so much. But when we’ve been told lies for so long about how and why we get fat, we fall into the blame game and just assume we are eating too much when that’s not it at all.

Our bodies have an amazing system whereby everything is meticulously regulated.  Wouldn’t it stand to reason then that how our bodies put on fat is also regulated?  Why would that one thing be the only thing that we can control but nothing else is?