Function vs. Form

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Let’s talk weight, body weight in this case, or maybe more aptly our physical shape. Our current culture perceives skinny as healthy and fat is fraught with fear about how well our clothes fit and what the reflection in the mirror is going to show.

First, I would like to say that weight is a state of being. It is not a disease or health condition on its own. Weight is an outcome that occurs as a result of how our body responds to the input from foods, beverages, physical activity, medications, skin care, unknown toxins that we breathe or otherwise ingest without knowing, stress and electromagnetic fields. If our body is unable to metabolize or process one or more of these inputs, then it adapts. If one of these inputs disrupts a particular system, like the endocrine, adrenal or reproductive system, then it adapts. Often that adaptation is to neutralize the excess or foreign substance and store it as subcutaneous tissue we call fat in an effort to prevent harm.


Second, weight can often be an outward reflection of our internal health or struggles. By managing  health conditions such as chronic constipation or diarrhea, diabetes, adrenal dysregulation, thyroid dysfunction, high blood pressure, depression or anxiety, we will by default begin to shift our weight. As our health status improves, so will our ability to metabolize and process the inputs in a way that provides us energy and vitality, while effectively eliminating that which is not functional or useful.

In order to change the weight status there must be a change to one or more of the inputs. These inputs are behaviors. For example, consuming appropriate selections and preparation of carbohydrates, proteins and fats will aid in the management of diabetes, which will therefore better control insulin production and sensitivity, and ultimately aid in weight management for people with insulin resistance or type 2 diabetes. Consuming a protein-rich diet in the morning and shifting to a more complex carbohydrate diet in the evening with food intake about every 2-3 hours, while reducing strenuous activities, including high intensity workouts will be helpful in regulating adrenal function and stabilizing energy. Eliminating gluten and dairy, while transitioning away from processed foods high in sodium and preservatives can prevent flares from auto-immune disorders including irritable bowel diseases and thyroid dysfunction. Timing meals, correctly, increasing physical activity, eliminating toxic exposure to alcohol, plastics, pesticides and negative attitudes can drastically improve depression and anxiety.

We are not victims of our health or weight status, rather we are co-creators. This is not to place blame or make us feel badly about our current state of health and weight. It is a statement meant to empower us to make the changes and feel good enough to sustain behaviors that are supportive to a different state of health and weight that is more supportive to our well-being and longevity.

Written by: Erin Hurst, MS, RDN, CD
Dietician at Penrose Physical Therapy and host of the blog at www.grateful