It is the new year, and we are all thinking “New Year, New You”! Losing weight and a healthy diet is on everyone’s mind. But how do we get there? I asked, Amanda Montalvo, RD, FDN-P, a dietitian, to walk us through “How Liver Detox Supports Weight Loss”. I discover Amanda on Instagram and loved her women’s health content.
Amanda Montalvo is an Integrative Dietitian and Functional Practitioner. She is the founder of the blog, Your Non-Toxic Life, a nutrition consulting service, and a Facebook group that helps women detoxify their minds and bodies and balance their hormones. Amanda’s mission is to help women create a body in balance and not settle for anything less.
How Liver Detox Supports Weight Loss
Unfortunately, the word ‘detox” has become associated with extreme measures such as only drinking green juices for days at a time, fasting, or heavily restricting your food intake. The thing is our bodies detox every day. Your liver is your body’s main detox organ. You don’t need to go to extreme measures to detox. However, there are specific foods you can eat and avoid to make your liver work more efficiently. The liver has over 500 different functions in the body, one of which is taking harmful toxins, neutralizing them, and getting them out of the body.
The liver also filters hormones, converts thyroid hormone (important for metabolism), and supports digestion. All of these things play a huge role in lasting weight loss. That is exactly what we are looking for when we embark on a cleanse or detox program. Let’s dig in to find out more about how liver detox supports weight loss.
A cleanse typically restricts food intake for extreme weight loss in the short term. It isn’t specifically focusing on supporting the liver. But what about all the weight you can lose on a “cleanse”? The weight you lose while on a cleanse is from water and carbohydrate stores that all return after the cleanse is over. It might feel good short term. But it isn’t contributing to your long-term success. It can often lead to under-eating and do more harm than good.
Liver detox isn’t about the weight you lose in the timeframe of the detox. However, it is about rebalancing the body. You have to get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy. Let that sink in. In order to achieve weight loss that lasts, all the systems of the body need to be functioning properly. This means your hormones need to be balanced, digestion needs to be working, and you have to be absorbing the foods that you’re eating. Liver detox supports all of this.
Liver Detox & Lasting Weight Loss
The way liver detox impacts hormones and digestion leads to lasting weight loss.
Liver Detox and Your Hormones
The liver processes all of your hormones. If your liver is backed up and cannot fully detoxify hormones, they will recirculate in the body and increase hormone levels just like toxins. I see this a lot with estrogen. Many women deal with constipation, which is the result of improper elimination of toxins and estrogen. If we don’t poop out our estrogen, it recirculates in the body and causes estrogen dominance— which leads to symptoms like strong PMS symptoms, mood swings, tender breasts, cramps, painful periods, and excessive bleeding.
The liver also impacts the thyroid. The liver is a major site of thyroid hormone conversion. If you have a sluggish liver whose burden is too high, it can impact your thyroid hormone levels. Your thyroid plays a major role in your metabolism, which we know has a big impact on weight loss.
A dysfunctional liver also impacts your stress hormone cortisol. If there is an increased burden on the liver, it cannot function properly. This leads to imbalances, which alerts your adrenal glands that there is chronic stress in the body. This leads to low levels of cortisol being dripped out. Over time, this will lead to fatigue and adrenal burnout.
Liver Detox and Digestion
The liver impacts digestion in a couple of ways. One way is through the actual break down of the foods we eat. Our liver is where we make bile. Bile helps to break down fats when we eat. It’s stored in your gallbladder and released into the small intestine during meals. If your liver is toxic then it is not filtering your bile properly, which will lead to a
The second way is through absorption. If our bile is toxic or not being released properly then we won’t be able to absorb our food. This means we can be missing out on really important nutrients even if we are eating enough food. Missing specific nutrients can make weight loss difficult since the body thinks it’s not getting the nutrition it needs to thrive.
Naturally supporting your liver on a regular basis can actually pretty simple. Below are five great ways to get started.
- Eat 1-2 servings of cruciferous veggies a day like brussels sprouts, cabbage, cauliflower, and wasabi.
- Include high quality (organic, grass-fed) animal proteins daily. They provide essential amino acids that help support detox.
- Reduce intake of inflammatory foods such as processed sugar, gluten, dairy, and alcohol.
- Make sure you’re pooping every day.
- Switch over to less toxic beauty products.
Eliminate as much plastic as possible from your life
Plastic contains a number of different toxic compounds that increase the toxic burden on the liver, and can negatively impact our hormones. Some easy ways to start removing plastic are to switch to glass food storage containers and silicone bags. Amazon has a variety of affordable options. Below is an image with more helpful ideas on how to reduce plastic from www.ecowithem.com.
Who Can Benefit From A Liver Detox
We can all benefit from liver support since we live in an environment where we are constantly exposed to toxins, however, they can be especially beneficial for those that fall into any of the categories below.
You can especially benefit from a liver detox if you suffer from it…
- Painful periods
- Strong PMS symptoms
- Difficulty losing weight
- Intense food cravings
- Waking between 2-3 am
If you’re dealing with any of these it likely means your liver needs some love. I recommend starting with the five steps I listed above and if you feel you’re ready for a more in-depth path to liver detox you can check out my Mind-Body Liver Detox program here.
I would love to hear your thoughts on the topic.
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