The Skinny on Fat ~ A Toxic Tissue Confessional
There are countless reasons for wanting to lose weight, each being truly unique and highly personal. Recently, I resolved to lose those last fifteen pounds of ‘baby weight’ still lingering after my first pregnancy. Like most first time moms, I was on the fence about whether it was worth it to shed the weight only to gain it back again on the next go-round, or just embrace the waist until I was done having kids.
Of course, I was driven by the desire to feel better about my general appearance – and to fit into those beckoning skinny jeans again. But I also had a goal for improving my overall health and creating optimal internal wellness in preparation for becoming pregnant again. Honestly, I could live with the Rubenesque version of myself until my child-bearing days were over. What I couldn’t live with was the toxic load I was carrying around.
Ultimately, I made the hefty decision to drop the pounds in order to be my best self, partner, and mother possible. Understanding the ubiquity of environmental toxins, I knew I was being exposed to dangerous chemicals despite my toxin-free-as-can-be lifestyle. In our everyday lives we all come into contact with many different toxins – it’s just the reality of our world today. From our water sources and air pollution, to chemicals and surfactants used in common household products like plastics, packaging, and even paper goods, most of us cart around a weighty body burden of internal toxins.
Come out, come out, wherever you are!
As a simple rule of thumb, toxic exposure can occur three different ways: inhalation, absorption, and ingestion. For example: inhalation of toxic air particles, ingestion of contaminated foods, and absorption of chemical-laden lotions. In general, when it comes to beauty and personal care products, toxins are being absorbed through our skin and into our bloodstream. It’s also important to remember that incidental exposures are often occurring at the same time.
Although none of us intentionally eat our makeup or moisturizer (right?!), particles can remain on our hands and end up in and around our mouths, which leads to accidental ingestion. Or particles can linger in the air, which we then inhale without even knowing it! Bottom line: exposures happen all the time in a myriad of ways, and often without warning.
So if you’re ever stuck like I was at the crossroads of fitness, weighing the pros and cons of a battle with the bulge, or even rationalizing the pursuit of a toxin-free lifestyle, remember one word…
Regardless of exposure route or combination thereof, many toxins making their way into our bodies and bloodstreams dissolve rapidly and plant themselves in our fat cells, where they can stay for incredibly long periods of time. For instance, chemicals like polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) and flame-retardants are well known to bioaccumulate and, over time following various exposures, large amounts will build up in our fat and stick there.
No big deal, right? It’s just fat. Wrong.
Fat is no joke! It’s serious business, doing its job and entitled to some respect. Diluting toxic loads and storing them in fat is our bodies’ way of protecting us from poisonous substances that could otherwise seriously threaten our health.
Very simply, when our bodies become overwhelmed with too many toxins to store in available fat, they begin to generate new fat cells to create more storage space. This process increases inflammation, and oftentimes these new cells are also damaged by toxins present in the body, making them incapable of metabolizing or carrying out normal cellular functions. For this reason toxins can lead to weight gain, or at least make weight loss really complicated.
First thing’s first.
In order to slim down thoughtfully, healthfully and effectively, take it slowly and carefully. Lifestyle detoxing and burning fat should go hand in hand, which will prevent your body from becoming overwhelmed with concurrent fat breakdown and toxic release.
Set graduated expectations and goals, always keeping in mind that slow and steady wins the race. Pace yourself, embrace yourself; practice personal love and patience. The rewards are truly greater than the sum of your lost parts. Indeed, they’ll equal a whole shiny new you…and me.
~ XOXO, Liz