Reduce Body Burden to Help Avoid Weight Gain and Decrease Stress

A high body burden—buildup of toxins—can lead to retained weight and decreased mood. Learn more about the relationship between detoxification and physical and mental health.

| January 2013

  • "Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind" is structured as both a 30-day intensive and a 10-day seasonal tuneup. Author Jeffrey Morrison offers a simple and nutritious eating plan aimed at detoxifing the body. Unlike other detox plans, "Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind" features cooked food and regular meals, making it easy for readers to start and stay on the path to good health.
    Cover Courtesy Hudson Street Press
  • Poor detoxification and high body burden can lead to mental stress and decreased physical health.
    Photo Courtesy Fotolia/Africa Studio

Getting your internal detoxification back on track can help you bring your body and mental state into balance, Jeffery Morrison writes. He puts together a detoxification program for a healthy body and brain in Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind (Hudson Street Press, 2011). Learn more about how toxins affect health and are linked to weight gain and stress in this excerpt from the book’s first chapter.

Buy this book in the Mother Earth Living store: Cleanse Your Body, Clear Your Mind.

Health Concerns that Influence Body Burden

By understanding how your body is intended to work, you can begin to identify if you are currently suffering from a toxic exposure. Just as chemical exposure affects body burden, your current health can also affect how well your system can detoxify. Three main areas to consider are the relationship between weight, stress, and genetic susceptibility to past exposure.

Poor Detoxification and Weight Gain

There’s a lot of speculation as to why people have difficulty losing weight, ranging from the foods we eat, to changes in metabolism, to current health status. I’ve found that there is a distinct relationship between body burden and holding on to extra weight. Often people have difficulty losing weight because their body is toxic. The relationship between weight gain and toxic exposure is particularly straightforward: the more toxins you get exposed to, the more toxins you store. When toxins overwhelm our ability to detoxify, they are stored in fat cells, specifically the type that is difficult to get rid of through dieting alone. The storage system for toxins actually works in much the same way that excess calories are stored as body fat.

Another possibility is that the body stores toxins in fluid, which is why some people have persistent fluid retention and swelling. Once the body has created these toxic fat cells or swellings, it’s not so willing to release them. A toxic body may intentionally hold on to excess fat or fluid to prevent being re-exposed to the toxins as they pass out of the body. In other words, our own body is protecting us from the toxins that we’ve accumulated by holding on to excess weight rather than risk re-exposure. Imagine you do a big cleanup in your yard after a rainstorm and end up with a great deal more garbage than usual. You may decide to store all the trash bags in the garage until the garbage collectors come to take them away.  However, what if the roads are blocked and the garbage collectors can’t get to your house? The garbage piles up and becomes difficult to manage, making it increasingly difficult for you to get your car into the garage. When we can’t remove toxins from our own body, they begin to pile up in the same manner, eventually affecting our health.

Interestingly, people who do not have a buffer of extra fat but are exposed to chemicals often experience worse outcomes and more toxic effects than people who might be a little overweight. Just imagine what happens to your very lean friend if he gets exposed to chemicals. Since there is not enough body fat to accept the toxins, they end up getting deposited in the site of the next highest fat content, the brain.  Anecdotally, I’ve noticed that thin patients who visit my practice tend to be more sensitive to chemicals, fragrances, or other environmental exposures and more apt to develop difficulty concentrating and experience memory changes.

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