ARGHHHHH! You feel like you are doing everything right with your eating and exercise, but the scale is being stubborn.
If you are struggling with your weight, but the scale does not move, the following is a likely culprit.
Is your Body on Fire?
I polled the Take Back Your Temple Christian weight loss community to ask recently:
“Have you ever suffered from an ‘itis’ disease?”
Here were the top 10 vote-getters:
You might wonder why I asked about the ‘itis’ diseases. Inflammation is implicated in many ‘itis’ diseases, as well as other chronic diseases like heart disease, hypertension, diabetes, and some forms of cancers.
Think of the word ”flame” within inflammation – it is like your body is on fire!
Inflammation is also behind the reluctance our bodies can have in releasing excess fat.
The Problem with Chronic Inflammation
God designed your body to go into emergency mode to fight any threats to health stability.
Inflammation is your body’s attempt to protect you from invaders, such as bacteria, viruses, and poison.
For example, if you cut your finger, the inflammatory process ensures that blood starts flowing to the area, white blood cells arrive, and swelling occurs.
Your body attempts to seal off the area, protect you from infection, and deliver nutrients to the area to help you heal.
Inflammation is helpful in those cases.
In conditions like arthritis, your immune system (defense department) can become hypervigilant, triggering inflammation even though no invaders exist to fight!
Your immune system reacts as if normal tissues do not belong and target them, causing damage.
Here is how this relates to weight loss; your body will prioritize handling any emergency conditions within it above those that it sees as less important.
It is a matter of survival from the body’s standpoint.
Throwing Gasoline on the Fire
Just like you would not try to re-decorate your house while a fire is raging, so your body is not going to prioritize weight loss while inflammatory conditions within it are out of control.
Unfortunately, many of our modern lifestyle habits are like throwing gasoline on the fire.
Think about it; many of our foods today are processed, loaded with sugar, stripped of the vitamins, minerals, and fiber that the body needs to function, and impregnated with chemicals that the body may see as poison.
God designed food to go into our bodies, break down into beneficial components, assimilate the nutrients into our structure and tissues so they can do their jobs, and then have a smooth, regular exit.
The Lord did not create food to disrupt our bodily functions with foreign chemicals, make our blood sugar go haywire, and then become freeloaders, backing up our systems with constipation.
Consider the wisdom of 1 Corinthians 6:12:
All things are lawful for me, but all things are not helpful. All things are lawful for me, but I will not be brought under the power of any.”
To me, this means that I can eat anything, but should not eat everything. I want to select foods that help me, not hurt me.
Foods that are most inflammatory include:
- Sugary foods such as soft drinks, “fruit” juices with added sugar, and other sugar-sweetened beverages, ice cream, desserts, candy, cookies, breakfast cereals (greater than 10 grams sugar per serving)
- Fast food
- Junk food (potato chips, tortilla chips, etc.)
- Fried foods
- Processed meats (luncheon meat, bacon, sausage, etc)
While there is nothing wrong with having these items on rare occasions, the wisest thing to do is to minimize their intake to avoid adding to the inflammation problem.
Health problems occur when we try to live off of them through our daily habits.
Plus, many processed foods are addictive; you think you control them, but they control you!
I love this commercial from the 1960s that illustrates this point:
Extinguishing the Fire
If you see that your house (temple) is on fire, what would be your next step?
It would not be to re-decorate the house, but to put out the fire!
In addition to managing stress, the best way to extinguish inflammation is to remember the first instruction God gave mankind as to what we are to eat:
And God said, “See, I have given you every herb that yields seed which is on the face of all the earth, and every tree whose fruit yields seed; to you it shall be for food.– Genesis 1:29
And later, the Lord gave mankind permission to eat meat:
Every moving thing that lives shall be food for you. I have given you all things, even as the green herbs.– Genesis 9:3
It is the same as following the manufacturer’s instructions regarding the fuel on which your car runs. You would not think of disobeying that instruction, would you?
If you did, you know that you are headed for a major repair bill!
When the majority of the foods we eat are highly processed, chemically-laden food, we keep our bodies busy trying to put out fires from the imbalances they cause.
Eventually, our bodies burn themselves out, much like firefighters would burn out from having to respond to someone who keeps setting their own house on fire!
Sooner or later, the firefighters would recognize that their efforts are useless and stop responding to the call.
Putting out the Fire
So which foods can help you extinguish the fire?
Here are some of the top anti-inflammatory foods:
- Green vegetables such as kale, bok choy, leeks, broccoli, and cabbage
- Berries like blueberries, strawberries, blackberries
- Dark chocolate (70% cacao or higher) – add raw, unsweetened cocoa powder to smoothies
- Wild Salmon
It is best to eat a variety of foods that God made to give your body the best opportunity to reach your health potential.
You owe it to yourself to partner with your body to protect your health.
I hope you are inspired to look at your health as a whole. Your body does not see excess fat as a re-decorating issue but as a systemic issue.
Your wisest plan is to address the issue as your body does – as a systemic issue.
Excess weight is a symptom of a systemic problem in your body, not the cause.
Let us partner with our bodies and support their efforts to heal overall rather than work against them!