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Is being overweight the “chicken” or the “egg”?

Many problems associated with excess weight are well-known. But are they the cause or the consequence of excess weight? Let’s try to break them down into two groups:

Excess weight as a cause:

  • Type 2 diabetes: Excess abdominal fat leads to insulin resistance.
  • Leptin resistance: If you have signs of low thyroid function and/or insulin resistance that aren’t reflected in lab tests, you may have leptin resistance.
  • Hormonal imbalances: Excess abdominal fat produces extra estrogens.
  • Certain types of cancer: High estrogen levels can increase the risk of developing cancer.
  • Heart disease and stroke: Elevated estrogen levels increase the risk of blood clots, and excess weight hinders physical activity.
  • Sleep apnea: Excess weight obstructs breathing, leading to oxygen deprivation and potential dementia.
  • High blood pressure: The body has to increase blood pressure to deliver blood to all tissues.
  • Liver diseases: Accumulation of fat in the liver due to excess weight can lead to serious irreversible problems, potentially resulting in cirrhosis.
  • Gallbladder disease: Excess weight can lead to the formation of gallstones, and a similar problem can occur when losing weight too quickly.
  • Pregnancy complications leading to newborn problems: Excess weight can lead to insufficient oxygen supply to the fetus and increased blood pressure during pregnancy, potentially causing various problems in newborns.
  • Depression: People often struggle with restrictions related to excess weight, which can lead to depression.
  • Skin issues: Skin problems can be caused by excess weight, such as rosacea or acne.
  • Excess weight also increases the risk of complications from a coronavirus infection.

List of causes leading to excess weight:

  • Liver and gallbladder disease.
  • Insufficient physical activity.
  • Overeating and unhealthy eating.
  • Depression and stress responses lead to overeating.
  • Lower metabolism:
    • Age-related.
    • Hormonal (thyroid, adrenal, or pregnancy).
  • Leptin and/or insulin resistance.

Now you understand why the cause-and-effect relationship is not typically mentioned in the context of excess weight problems. This is because these two issues are often interrelated.

How to lose excess weight?

It’s often heard: stop eating so much, start going to the gym, and you’ll lose weight! And people who, despite numerous pieces of advice, can’t seem to lose weight start feeling guilty and withdraw into themselves. But is it really that simple? Let’s first consider a few scenarios.

Positive scenario

Reducing calorie intake was successful, and the battle against hunger also paid off, allowing you to increase physical activity. However, all of this came at the cost of a lower quality of life. What quality of life can there be if you’re constantly thinking only about food? If weight loss happens very quickly, it could lead to the formation of gallstones, which may require gallbladder removal. Gallbladder removal is also associated with a range of unpleasant consequences that won’t improve your quality of life.

After gallbladder removal, a special diet is needed, requiring you to eat something constantly but in small portions. In this situation, there’s no gallbladder to store bile, and bile continues to be released directly into the intestines, causing irritation of the mucous membranes.

But the main problem is that as soon as control of overeating weakens, weight starts going up again. This happens almost always; research suggests a 95% chance of returning to the previous weight within six months after successful weight loss through calorie reduction and increased physical activity.

Negative Scenario

Now let’s look at the negative scenario. Your body perceives starvation as real hunger. From its perspective, hard times have arrived, and it needs to conserve energy to survive. Your body doesn’t want to spend its fat reserves easily, as it considers them crucial for survival.

So, by reducing calorie intake, you often end up with an energy deficit. Decreased energy levels lead to reduced physical activity. And by reducing physical activity, you can gain weight even when reducing calorie intake. Afterward, you may experience depression, which can lead to stress eating and even more weight gain.

Is excess weight always a problem?

Excess weight is a condition where a person has an excessive amount of fat in the body. This can lead to various problems, but there are some advantages as well. The constant load on bones due to excess weight is beneficial for bone density. Higher estrogen levels are also useful for bone density. As a result, osteoporosis is less common in people with excess weight.

Another advantage is that people with fat reserves have a higher survival rate when faced with serious illnesses. That’s why the “normal” for acceptable fat reserves changes with age. It’s a natural mechanism for higher survival. Historically, people genetically predisposed to fat accumulation had better survival chances. This is another reason why it’s challenging to lose the weight we’ve gained – nature resists excess weight loss. However, historically, people were more active than they are now, so obesity was much less common.

Downsides of excess weight:

But then come the downsides of excess weight. For example, while it’s good for bones, excess weight leads to rapid joint wear and tear. This is precisely why the question of increasing physical activity should always be considered individually in cases of excess weight. Simply advising people with excess weight to exercise more is not always right; it can lead to other irreversible problems.

Moreover, as mentioned in the list above, excess weight is associated with risks such as cardiovascular diseases (heart attacks, strokes), high blood pressure, estrogen-dependent cancers, atherosclerosis, thrombosis, kidney issues, liver problems, gallbladder issues, type 2 diabetes, dementia, sleep apnea, vision problems, asthma, and more.

How to tell if you’re gaining weight?

You don’t even need to step on the scale every day to figure this out. Has your clothing size changed in the last two years? If yes, you’ve gained weight.

But maybe you were underweight before, and now you’re within a healthy range. How can you assess this? What weight is considered excess? It’s generally believed that a Body Mass Index (BMI) over 30 is considered obesity. However, I would advise looking at tables that take into account not only your height, gender, and weight but also your age. It’s not right to compare the weight of an 18-year-old with that of a 40-year-old, even if it’s the same person.

Different criteria should also apply to people with significant muscle mass. However, such individuals usually know that a high BMI doesn’t necessarily mean excess fat.

Don’t forget to check your health:

In certain conditions, you won’t be able to lose weight until you address underlying health issues. Some possible issues were mentioned earlier. To address them, you should consult with a doctor, undergo necessary tests, and analyze the results. Ideally, it’s good to have the ability to compare these tests with ones from a year ago. To do this, it’s important to undergo annual check-ups.

Weight gain at a certain age is almost universal and considered normal. Why? Metabolism slows down with age. This means that, on average, you have an extra 100 calories a day that are not being utilized. Just 100 calories, you might ask? Yes, on average, it’s just 100 calories, but without changes in diet and lifestyle, it can lead to weight gain, even if everything else is in order. Now imagine how much less we’ve been moving over the past two years, and you’ll understand why weight gain has become one of the major issues in our society.

What else can go wrong?

You should consider your individual characteristics when losing weight to ensure that the process is as safe as possible and doesn’t create new health problems.

Some vitamin deficiencies are also linked to excess weight, such as B12 and vitamin D. For example, it’s much more challenging to raise vitamin D levels in people with excess weight because vitamin D needs to “feed” fat tissue first. The more fat deposits, the harder it is to raise vitamin D levels. You might be taking an adequate amount of vitamin D based on standard recommendations, but for you, it could be the wrong dose. This is particularly important now, as vitamin D deficiency is known to increase the risk of hospitalization and complications from a coronavirus infection.

Another consideration is that the body tends to store toxins in fat tissues. These toxins don’t cause harm until an active weight loss process begins. In this case, it’s essential to ensure that weight loss is accompanied by detoxification. Otherwise, there may be a redistribution of toxins, leading to new health problems. For example, if toxins enter the brain, it can result in various psychological or neurological symptoms.

Summary of the Weight Loss Program:

This program consists of several stages:

  • Identifying individual issues that may have led to weight gain.
  • Treating the identified problems.
  • Customizing an individual diet.
  • Providing personalized recommendations for lifestyle changes, including changes in physical activity levels.
  • Deciding on the use of supportive procedures to facilitate weight loss, which may include vitamin injections, naturopathic supplements, detoxification procedures, and pharmaceutical medications.

I’ll provide more details about this program in the next article.


Nguyen NN, Raju MNP, Da Graca, Wang D, Mohamed NA, Mutnal MB, Rao A, Bennett M, Gokingco M, Pham H, Mohammad AA. 25-hydroxyvitamin D is a predictor of COVID-19 severity of hospitalized patients. PLoS One. 2022 May 3;17(5):e0268038. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0268038. eCollection 2022. PMID: 35503795 PMCID: 9064100