When it comes to losing weight, it’s not simply a matter of eating fewer calories or exercising more often. While these can work for some, there’s a lesser-known reason some people don’t lose weight: toxins. Health and fitness expert Nolan Sunnassee looks at how toxins can prevent weight loss, before sharing some simple tips to improve detoxification and help you reach a healthier weight…
Detox is a buzz word in the world of health, with some experts saying a period of detoxing can have immense health benefits, while others claiming it’s all baloney. The truth is, you’re exposed to foreign chemicals every day though air, water, food and possibly medications.
Detoxification is also a natural process your body undergoes to remove these unwanted things and it does it all the time, otherwise you would die. Your kidneys, liver, colon and skin are your main detox organs. If everything is working well, toxins are removed via these organs.
However, your system can get sluggish or less efficient if you’ve had an illness or been exposed to high levels of toxins. Too much toxicity can manifest as feeling tired all the time, joint and muscle pain, headaches, allergic reactions, puffy eyes, strong food cravings, brain fog and more. Over time, this can cause inflammatory conditions and even diseases of the brain.
If you have had overexposure to toxins or are unable to properly process and remove them, your body stockpiles them, storing them in fat tissue where they’re relatively stable and safe.
Can toxins prevent weight loss?
Toxins are damaging, so your body won’t release them into your bloodstream if it doesn’t have to – at least, not until it knows there are adequate nutrients, such as antioxidants, present to safely process and excrete them. So, what happens is that to prevent your body becoming too overloaded with toxins, it makes sure it holds onto excess fat stores to keep those toxins stored safely away from vital organs where they could do damage.
This means toxins can prevent weight loss, and it is one reason why some people find it hard to lose stubborn fat deposits: they may have been storing years’ worth of toxins, so their body simply won’t lose the weight as it’s holding onto the toxins to prevent them overloading their system. And this is why, before undergoing a weight-loss regimen, it’s crucial to support your body’s detox pathways. This is especially true if you’ve been struggling to lose weight.
How to detox your body for healthy weight loss
Your body goes through two phases of detoxification: phase one is where it identifies the toxin and bio-transforms it into an even more toxic form; phase two is where more nutrients are added to the toxin to effectively neutralise it and remove it from your body. A problem can arise if you don’t have enough phase-two nutrients, as in the example of cigarette smoke.
In phase one, the toxin is made carcinogenic or cancer causing. The body then needs high levels of nutrients, particularly vitamin C, to help process the toxins. Effective detoxification uses up a lot of resources. This is why it’s important to eat as well as you can – think non-processed foods and lots of clean, fresh water.
You want to load up on vitamin C, vitamin E and the B vitamins. All of these help to neutralise toxins. If you are low in these it might be advisable to look at taking a highly bio-available supplement, such as liposomal vitamins. This is where vitamins are encapsulated in tiny fat spheres, which your body can absorb well, as opposed to supplements in powder or pill form, which can end up being excreted in your urine.
Eat your greens!
While some detoxes focus on juicing, which can be good to help cleanse the system for a few days, they tend to not provide adequate nutrition for liver detoxification. Your liver is your master detox organ and it requires a plentiful supply of amino acids (proteins) especially the master detoxifier glutathione and numerous types of vegetables and fruits.
Cruciferous vegetables, such as broccoli, cauliflower and Brussels sprouts, contain compounds called isothiocyanates and glucosinolates. These boost phase-two detoxification They also contain sulforaphane, which can reduce the effects of cigarette smoke.
10 tips to detox for weight loss
While toxins can prevent weight loss, there are plenty of ways to reverse this and reach a healthier weight. Support your weight loss by trying some or all of the below to help remove unwanted chemicals from both your body and your environment…
- Drink 2-3 litres of water a day, and from non-plastic bottles as plastic can leach from bottles into the water.
- Use an infrared sauna once a week to help your body sweat out toxins.
- Take regular exercise to the point where you build up a sweat.
- Switch to chemical-free options when it comes to washing powders and personal care toiletries.
- Eat cruciferous vegetables such as broccoli, pak choi, turnips, radish and cauliflower to help support your liver and detoxification pathways.
- Add coriander to meals as this herb supports your body in removing heavy metals.
- Take liver-supportive supplements such as glutathione, milk thistle, cysteine, selenium, glycine, calcium d-glucarate, and liposomal vitamin C.
- Reduce or avoid alcohol, as well as sugar and soft drinks.
- Drink dandelion tea and coffee as these help support your liver.
- Avoid burnt food (think BBQ meats and toast), especially while you detox, as these are carcinogenic.
Nolan Sunnassee is a personal trainer, strength coach and wellness advisor based in Essex. Visit onlinepersonaltraining.tv to find free weight-loss guides and questionnaires to start you on your journey to better health. For one-to-one training visit evo-fit.co.uk.