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Is Your Liver Stalling Your Weight Loss?

Toxicity and weight loss resistance.

Have you ever seen someone who went on an extreme calorie restricted diet and lost weight.. but ended up with excess skin and inflammation hanging off of them? That's a clear sign that the liver isn't functioning properly. They probably felt like absolute garbage, despite their joy about the weight loss. They also probably gained most of it back within a few years.

Calories in, calories out right? Maybe in a simpler time, but today's world is complicated. Like around 50,000 man made chemicals complicated.

Our body is incredibly smart. When it encounters chemicals, it wants to get them out of the body as quickly as possible (through the liver). If the liver is backed up, or if it doesn't have the resources (nutrients) to dispose of the toxins properly, its next best option is to keep the toxins from harming us. Our fat cells are the perfect warm and squishy place to store these harmful substances. It keeps them nice and insulated, out of the way, so the body can continue functioning without their interference. This is just fine and dandy, unless you don't like those enlarged fat cells hanging around.

It's the new year, new me. You're ready to shed the weight. You pick up a work out routine and get on a diet plan.

In this scenario a few things can happen:

  1. Your liver is in great shape, you burn the excess fat, your liver processes the stored toxins effectively and you come out of your weight loss program feeling amazing and looking great.

  2. It's slow, but the weight comes off (how exciting!) however, you're not feeling that great. Your face starts to look gaunt and dark circles appear under your eyes. Your body is burning fat but your liver is a little backed up. As the toxins are released from the fat cells, there's a long line up at the liver. They have to circulate around the body for a while before it's their turn to be processed. In the mean time they're floating around causing damage, using up nutrients and aging you at a rapid rate.

  3. You cut your calories to an appropriate amount and get active in the gym. You're consistent and enthusiastic. It's taking longer than you thought to see results, but that's ok, nothing is going to discourage you. it's been over a month and the scale hasn't budged, you must be still eating too much, so you cut your calories a bit more and kick the exercise up a notch. It's been months of sweat, tears and rice cakes... and no weight loss. Your energy is way down, and you're starting to notice some muscle loss. What the heck? Your liver is so incredibly sluggish that it can't handle the toxic load that would come with burning fat. It knows that if it released the toxins in your fat cells, they would have nowhere to go, and would cause an incredible amount of damage. So, if you can't burn fat, but you're in a calorie deficit, the energy needs to come from somewhere-> breaking down muscle.

Do any of these sound familiar?

As if weight loss resistance isn't brutal enough

The media is filled with calories in, calories out propaganda and no where do we see the other side of the story. People who are caught on the other side are assumed to be lazy and indulgent. I don't think it's talked about enough, how incredibly painful and emotionally damaging this can be.

Ok, so if this is you, I'm sure you want to know what you can do about it right? Lets talk liver love.

Now, this isn't a shortcut past hard work. Calories in, calories out is absolutely a thing.. it's just not the ONLY thing. So, it's really important to have a solid diet and exercise plan in place if you want to lose weight. Be careful with your calories, cutting too much too quickly can overburden the liver and slow down your metabolism. If you want results to be sustainable, you need to take it slow and steady. If you need help creating a safe and effective calorie deficit plan, I'm your girl!

Once you've got that organized, you can focus on your liver plan. A high functioning liver will ensure that the toxins that are released, actually leave the body (and in a timely manner). This means less feeling crappy and less inflammation through your weight loss journey.

What does the liver need?

The liver loves fresh fruits, veggies and amino acids. So, if you aren't already consuming 7-10 servings of fruit and veg per day with some animal protein on the side, this is where you start. Cruciferous veg is especially liver loving. Things like broccoli, bok choy and cabbage contain sulfur compounds that assist the liver in breaking toxins down. and moving them out of the body, so load up on those.

Make sure your bowels are moving.

If stool is sitting in the transit way too long, toxins can get reabsorbed into the blood stream (bad news!). The high fiber diet, along with half your body weight (in ounces) of water per day should take care of this, but if you need some extra support in this area, get in touch! You can't detox with sluggish bowels.

If you're doing all of this and the liver is still feeling sluggish, it probably is

Things like, lower levels of nutrients in our produce (industrial farming), more man made chemicals in our environment every year and genetic mutations can make it hard to detox, even when you're doing everything "right".

This is where supplements come in

They aren't here to to replace lifestyle intervention, they're here to "supplement" your lifestyle interventions. So, make sure you have the basics down first. Then if you still need support, that's what they're for. There's lots of liver support concoctions out there, with many different ingredients and it can be incredibly overwhelming. I would love to give you a little list to solve all your problems and send you on your way, but we are all incredibly unique. And the reason your liver is under functioning can be completely different than the reason your neighbour's is. If you've been here for a while, you know that bio-individuality and testing instead of guessing is my jam. This is because it saves time, keeps you from wasting money on random supplements and keeps you from taking things that could actually harm your specific physiology.

That being said, I know you came here for some actionable steps. My first suggestion would be to get in touch with me and figure out exactly where things are going wrong. If that isn't realistic for you today, and you want to do a bit of guinea pigging, here are some things to try:


  • Methylated B Complex

  • Magnesium Bisglycinate

  • Phosphatidyl Choline

  • Sulphoraphane

I always recommend trialling a new supplement in isolation and documenting any changes you notice. If you take a bunch of things at once, it's impossible to notice what's helping, and what's causing a reaction.

I hope this helps!

X Nicola

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