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Some of you are finding that despite proper eating and exercise you simply cannot lose the extra weight.

Our research has shown there are a number of metabolic processes contributing to this and when you treat them, the weight will often begin to disappear. This is discussed at length in my book From Fatigued to Fantastic! which teaches people how to recover from chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia, and goes into great detail about how to effectively treat the problems discussed below. In these illnesses, which are characterized by fatigue, insomnia, brain fog, and often widespread pain there is an average 32 pound weight gain. The good news is our research shows effective treatment is available for 91 percent of these patients and a fringe benefit is that not just do they feel great but they also lose their excess weight. One patient I recently treated had lost 50 pounds by her four month follow-up visit, in addition to having no pain and having great energy. She was understandably thrilled. Many of the factors contributing to weight gain in these syndromes also affect the rest of us. These are the most common ones:

HYPOTHYROIDISM. Over 26 million Americans suffer with hypothyroidism, and less than one third of them are being properly diagnosed or treated. This is the case despite most of them having what their doctors mistakenly consider to be normal blood tests. In fact, people whose thyroid blood tests put them in the lower third of “normal” thyroid function versus the upper third weigh an average of 12 pounds extra. As long as your thyroid function is inadequate, even if your blood tests are normal, it will be nearly impossible for you to keep your weight down. The symptoms of hypothyroidism are fatigue, weight gain, cold intolerance with low body temperature (under 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit), aches, and poor mental function. You don’t have to have all of these. Having even a few of these symptoms is enough to justify a therapeutic trial of thyroid hormone. The form that I recommend is Armour thyroid, and it should be adjusted to the dose that FEELS best while keeping the Free T4 blood test in the normal range.

NUTRITIONAL DEFICIENCIES. When you are deficient in vitamins or minerals your body will crave more food than you need and your metabolism will be sluggish. To keep it simple and avoid the need to take tablets all day, I recommend you take a good quality vitamin powder.

POOR SLEEP. The expression “getting your beauty sleep” actually has a basis in fact. Deep sleep is a major trigger for growth hormone production. Growth hormone stimulates production of muscle (which burns fat) and improves insulin sensitivity (which decreases the tendency to make fat). In addition, sleep also affects the appetite controlling hormones called leptin and ghrelin. One hundred years ago, the average American got nine hours of sleep a night. Because it raises growth hormone, getting the eight to nine hours of sleep a night the human body is meant to have can powerfully contribute to your staying young and trim! If you have insomnia, eating some turkey before bedtime can help as it contains high levels of tryptophan. Herbal sleep aids can also help.

YEAST OVERGROWTH. Clinical experience has shown that fungal (also known as Candida or yeast) overgrowth contributes powerfully to both sugar cravings and weight gain. Common problems caused by yeast overgrowth include chronic sinusitis and/or spastic colon (gas, bloating, diarrhea, and/or constipation) If you have either of these, you probably have fungal overgrowth. The good news is treating this will not just help you to lose weight but can also eliminate your spastic colon and sinusitis. The discussions in my book on Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Fibromyalgia or the treatment protocol for chronic fatigue syndrome and fibromyalgia shown at my Web site will teach you how to effectively treat this.

ANOTHER MAJOR PROBLEM IS CARNITINE DEFICIENCY. Unfortunately, this deficiency forces your body to turn calories into fat and makes it almost impossible to lose fat. Simply taking carnitine does not help adequately however, as it does not get into cells optimally. I recommend that people take Acetyl-L-Carnitine 1,000 mg daily (which does get into the cells more effectively) for four months, as this can help both energy and weight loss.

ADRENAL STRESS SUPPORT. Start by making an attitude change. Whenever you notice that you’re getting anxious or worried ask yourself the simple question “Am I in imminent danger?” The answer is almost always no, and you’ll find that your adrenal glands relax as you realize this.

INSULIN RESISTANCE. If your morning fasting insulin blood level is over 10, this suggests insulin resistance. Optimizing thyroid and testosterone levels using natural hormones can often eliminate insulin resistance.

It is no longer necessary to be on extreme, unsustainable or unhealthy diets to lose weight and keep it off. The recommendations above will not just help you stay trim, but they will leave you healthy and full of vitality as well.

Jacob E Teitelbaum, MD

Jacob Teitelbaum, MD, is a board certified internist and Medical Director of the national Fibromyalgia and Fatigue Centers and Chronicity. He is author of the popular free iPhone application "Cures A-Z," and author of the best-selling books

Dr. Teitelbaum knows CFS/fibromyalgia as an insider — he contracted CFS when he was in medical school and had to drop out for a year to recover. In the ensuing 25 years, he has dedicated his career to finding effective treatments.