Optimizing Your Health

Dr. Shari Caplan shares the 10 main reasons you can't lose weight despite your best efforts.

First we indulge during the holidays, then we make resolutions that this year, we will put our health at the top of the priority list (again). But for some of you who are trying to lose weight, you may be surprised to learn that cutting calories and increasing physical activity does not necessarily lead to success. We spoke with Dr. Shari Caplan, MD, FCFP, FAARM, specializing in regenerative medicine and gynaecology, and founder and medical director of Vitality MD, an Integrative and Functional Medicine clinic and Medi Spa on Avenue Road in Toronto, who outlined why your scale may not be moving in the right direction.

PROGESTERONE. “As women age and enter perimenopause and menopause, many have a much harder time losing weight and that has to do with their estrogen/progesterone balance. When your progesterone starts to drop, you can burn up to 300 calories less per day than you used to.”

INSULIN. “Basically, the way we tend to eat increases the risk of insulin resistance, which
means you need higher levels of insulin to get sugar into the cells to produce energy. When insulin is high, it tells the body to store fat and also prevents the breakdown of fat, making losing weight a challenge.”

THYROID. “If your thyroid isn’t optimal, then your metabolism is off, making losing weight
more difficult.”

CORTISOL. “Your stress hormone is also so important. There are plenty of studies that show women who are stressed become carb sensitive, which means eating one piece of bread is like eating three.”

LEPTIN. “This is a hormone that sends signals to the brain to tell us to stop eating. But in
leptin resistance, the switch is broken and that doesn’t happen. Being stressed and eating carbs contributes to leptin resistance.”

INFLAMMATION. “When we are inflamed, we often have elevated CRP (an inflammatory maker), which prevents binding leptin in the brain (see above). Inflammation can cause issues with your gut, joints and mood. There are many causes for this but the one that a lot of people have are food sensitivities. Knowing which foods are causing problems for you is key.”

GENETICS. “We are all genetically different and how we metabolize and excrete our environmental toxins varies as well. And guess where toxins get stored? In fat. Actually, fat can be a protective mechanism because the fat tries to neutralize toxins. So if you have more toxins in your body, or if you are a poor detoxifier (that is, you don’t have the ability
to excrete toxins), you are going to be heavier. Doing genetic testing to learn about your detox pathways may prove to be effective in assisting in weight loss.”

NUTRIENTS. “If you are low in B12, magnesium and/or vitamin D it can increase the risk of insulin resistance. In addition, B vitamins can be very important for carb and fat metabolism. So if you are low in certain nutrients, you are again working against the grain to lose weight.”

STRESS. “Stress causes insulin resistance, leptin resistance, inflammation, elevated cortisol and sleep issues. It also causes you to have less willpower to make good food choices. So, you can see how important it is to manage your stress. In fact, stress trumps everything when it comes to diet and lifestyle.”

SLEEP. “During sleep is when you repair and regenerate. So when you are sleep deprived, you can become inflamed, you increase the risk of insulin resistance, you tend to crave sugary foods for energy and gravitate toward comfort foods, which are often processed and higher in carbs and fat, and all this leads to weight gain.”

Working on all of these issues will not only help you lose weight but improve your overall health. In addition to their multifaceted, custom weight-loss services, including bio-identical hormone therapy, personalized fitness programs, stress management and functional nutrition, Vitality MD offers everything from IV therapy, genetic testing and a Medi Spa that specializes in anti-aging and rejuvenation treatments. The Avenue Road location is simply stunning and can be rented for private events, corporate wellness retreats and group fitness parties. And currently, Dr. Caplan is most excited about her newest offering: Scarlet RF. “Scarlet is like microneedling on steroids,” she says. “It’s revolutionary technology that gets amazing results. It lifts, tightens and brightens skin and does so much more with zero downtime. What more could you want?”