Guess what? “I’ve lost weight!”
Isn’t there a slight bitter sweet element when your social media feed reflects all kinds of before and after pictures for those who have taken off a few pounds. In one sentiment, it’s a “woo hoo” for that person while another reaction is more likely “grumble, grumble… skip over it”, correct?
Weight loss is a huge business. Let me say that again “HUGE”. A few statistics I have used in writing business cases for the US market include;
- Over 1/3 of children, including those of teenage years, are classified as overweight or obese (Ogden, et al, 2012).
- According to the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, 108 million Americans are on a diet and the overwhelming trend is for those who diet to gain back the weight in under a year (2016).
Furthermore, chronic disease data associated to overweight and obesity also reflect data such as follows;
- Worldwide diabetes prevalence is estimated at 347 million and, within this total, 1 in 10 adults are affected further increasing their risk for cardiovascular related diseases or incidents, such as stroke (Danaei, et al, 2011 & World Health Organization, 2013). Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death, while mental health disorders are among the top 20 leading causes of disability worldwide (World Health Organization, 2013).
- An estimated 80% of cardiovascular diseases and 33% of cancers can be prevented through lifestyle measures alone. Specific cancers, such as cervical (100%) and lung (71%), have even better odds of prevention (World Health Organization, 2013 & Ott, et al, 2011).
While a snap shot of autoimmune conditions in the US is reflected by the following;
- Conditions associated to autoimmunity have escalated over 23 million in America surpassing prevalence rates for cancers and heart diseases (U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, 2016).
- Autoimmune disease and conditions represents an estimate $100 billion in direct health care costs annually (American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association, 2014-2016).
Marketers may or may not be savvy to root causes to disease or conditions, but they definitely know the numbers that can further support a business. In addition, those representing “weight loss” products are encouraged to flaunt their results as a social media marketing strategy. The reality is few of these supplementary products arrive to market with the foundation of independent, peer-reviewed and well-designed clinical studies in humans. As a health researcher, I have been well aware of this.
My story is a little bit different. Growing up, I was always the skinny kid. In fact, in high school, I was repeatedly “checked in on” for being anorexic when the reality was I simply did not put on excess weight despite how I ate. To some, this may have seemed fortunate.
However, my status significantly changed in my late 20’s and I was subsequently diagnosed with an under-active thyroid. I had studied nutritional science for many years, remained active, and was trained in fitness management. Upon diagnosis, I followed standard care protocol and began taking synthetic thyroid supplementation (levothyroxine). Yet, I could not develop a plan through eating and physical activity to maintain consistent weight loss or consistency in my body weight at all. I sought help from other trainers and professionals assuming I was missing something. However, as it seemed, no one could help me.
In reality, I was missing something. My body had begun autoimmune dysfunction. As many of you already know, a few years ago, I was preliminary diagnosed as Mixed Connective Tissue Disease and a positive ANA, then later confirmed Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis.
…and so, my journey down topic specific health research around autoimmune conditions and respective care protocols took flight. I quickly transitioned to integrative care approaches for my own treatment and became both a student and an active participant.
Over the last few years, I have learned seemingly a lifetime’s scope of knowledge providing much more depth to any academic degree or credential I hold. I have learned how to truly support and nourish my body through lifestyle protocols.
In some cases, this does require appropriate, scientifically supported whole-food nutrition supplementation. This can further boost specific phytochemical activity which initiates a whole host of activity beginning at the cellular level. (Reach out to me personally for further information).
This spring, I will celebrate my 3-year anniversary of formal diagnosis, but I am also happy to announce that have I returned to my ideal weight and been able to maintain it. There have been no gimmicks or “calorie busting” products. The results have been a combination of solid self-advocacy for my health, building a professional team of support, using sound, scientific driven decision making for lifestyle choices (while making them), and, most importantly, having a positive attitude. Also, as a practitioner, I began training in integrative and functional approaches.
Late last year, I started to feel more energetic in endurance activity. It had been quite some time since I felt this. It nearly whomped me over the head one day when a work out I would have previously dreaded the process of getting through was seemingly easier. As a former athlete and life-long fitness enthusiast, this made me feel a little more like “me” again.
Going forward in 2017, I hope to get a little more sculpt and tone back for a more visible transformation. I am also looking forward to extending my support to help more people. Keep following me as I work to do this!
Ashley L Arnold, MBA, MPH is a lifestyle health educator and coach who supports clients to channel authority over their health, well-being, and overall vitality. Offering health education approaches and 1-on-1 coaching modules, she gets them out of excess weeds of information and inconsistent practices that don’t get desired results. Through helping people focus on the right applications paired with appropriate consideration for bio-individual facets, they become stronger, more confident self-advocates for their health. Bottom line, they will surpass challenges, embrace healthful living with ease, and, best of all, feel a greater sense of empowerment and more energy!
American Autoimmune Related Disease Association. (2014-2016). Autoimmune Info, The Common Thread. Retrieved from AARDA – American Autoimmune Related Diseases Association: http://www.aarda.org/autoimmune-information/the-common-thread/.
Danaei, G. et al. (2011, Jul 2). National, regional, and global trends in fasting plasma glucose and diabetes prevalence since 1980: systematic analysis of health examination surveys and epidemiological studies with 370 country-years and 2·7 million participants. Lancet, 378(9785), 31-40. doi:10.1016/S0140-6736(11)60679-X.
Institute for the Psychology of Eating. (2016). Skyrocket Your Career by Joining the World’s Most Advanced Movement In Health and Nutrition Coaching. Retrieved from Institute for the Psychology of Eating, The World’s Largest School in Nutritional Psychology: http://lp.psychologyofeating.com/fd-epcc-sales-page/?utm_campaign=ACTIVE-OPT-INS(all)::EPCC-FunnelDash-Funnel-(4-Part-Video-Series+Report+Webinar+Push-to-Apply+Push-to-Enroll-$1000-off)&utm_medium=email&utm_source=email-automated&utm_content=consult-confi.
Ogden, C. L. et al. (2012, Feb 1). Prevalence of obesity and trends in body mass index among US children and adolescents, 1999-2010. Journal of American Medical Association, 307(5), 483-490. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.40.
Ott, J. J. et al. (2011, Jun). Global cancer incidence and mortality caused by behavior and infection. Journal of Public Health, 33(2), 223-233. doi:10.1093/pubmed/fdq076.
US Department of Health & Human Services. (2016, Jan 5). Health & Research Topics, Autoimmune Diseases. Retrieved from National Institutes of Health, National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases: http://www.niaid.nih.gov/topics/autoimmune/pages/default.aspx.
World Health Organization, The (WHO). (2013). 10 Facts of the State of Global Health. Retrieved from http://www.who.int/features/factfiles/global_burden/facts/en/index3.html.