Our expert this month is our health advisor, Carolyn Dean, M.D., N.D., co-author (with the late Dr. William Crook) of the newly revised edition of The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health, available in our store.

Question: OK, now I’ve really done it. I fell off my Yeast-Fighting Program during the holidays. Not only did my fatigue, headaches and depression return, I’ve gained five pounds! I’ve made dozens of New Year’s resolutions to lose weight and improve my diet, but, despite my best intentions, I’ve always failed within a few weeks. Help! What can I do to really stick with the program?

Answer: The first thing you can do for yourself is stop feeling guilty. You recognize the link between your diet and your symptoms of yeast overgrowth. Now it’s time to recognize the link between yeast overgrowth and excess weight.

The vast majority of my patients with yeast overgrowth have weight problems, although few of them link the two. Of course, when you’re exhausted and depressed, the last thing you want to do is to move around, so weight gain is likely from that alone. However, there is a complex chain of events that yeast overgrowth can cause that triggers weight gain that goes far beyond an unwillingness to exercise and burn calories. Yeast also contributes to the build up of belly fat, the most dangerous type of fat that has been associated with increased risk of heart diseased and diabetes.

I go into this at greater length in a whole new section in the latest edition of The Yeast Connection and Women’s Health, but I’ll give you a capsule here:

There are several ways yeast contributes to belly fat because it’s more than just fat. Yeast causes abdominal bloating that can add an extra five to seven inches to your waistline that seems to appear out of nowhere.

This can be devastating for someone who is on a diet and trying to lose weight and lose inches. Yeast can also contribute several pounds of fluid retention in an attempt by the body to dilute the toxins that yeast produces.

I didn’t learn about either of these symptoms in medical school and most doctors still don’t believe they exist. If a woman says she has only been eating 1,000 calories a day for a week yet still gained weight, a doctor tends to think she is not being truthful.

However, if most of her diet is carbohydrates and sugar, she may very well be growing yeast, which creates a toxic buildup and fluid retention to as her body attempts to dilute the toxins. It’s a whole new way of looking at weight gain.

Besides bloating and toxic fluid build-up yeast can decrease thyroid function and lead to lowered metabolism, a well-known cause of weight gain.

Those food cravings that we think are just a lack of will power can actually be caused by yeast clamoring for its favorite foods: sugar and simple carbs.

Finally, yeast overgrowth can cause your immune system to overwork in an attempt to deal with the toxic overload. This places chronic stress on the adrenal glands, which raises cortisol levels. One thing we know about cortisol is that you can’t lose weight when you are under stress with elevated cortisol.

Simply understanding this process will make your weight loss program easier. The first few days may be a bit of a struggle, but you can make it through! You’ll find the cravings and imbalances that caused your weight gain will disappear in a week or less.

Please share your experience with us on our online discussion board. Or you can e-mail questions to us at info@yeastconnection.com . We always love to hear from you! 

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