Dr. Alethea Fleming, ND

Beyond Eating Less and Exercising More: Part 3

We are all too familiar with the broken refrain that to lose weight we must eat less and exercise more. However, starvation portions and more time on the treadmill doesn’t work. This series examines several simple tweaks that help keep weight off.

There are large numbers of common chemical compounds called obesogens that can predispose to weight gain and alter cellular metabolism.

It’s not intuitive, but many environmental factors influence how readily your body holds onto excess weight, how easy it is to gain weight, and how rapidly your body is able to lose extra weight. There are large numbers of common chemical compounds called obesogens that can predispose to weight gain and alter cellular metabolism. Some of these include chemical pesticides like DDE or atrazine, phthlates – plasticizers found in common household plastics, BPA found in hard plastics, and PFOA found in non-stick cookware. Toxin overload slows down mitochondria. These are our cells energy batteries and when toxins slow them down they can’t effectively use fatty acid for fuel which makes you tired and gain weight.

So, what are ways to help?

  • Pesticides are strong culprit. Avoid the “dirty dozen” most contaminated conventionally raised veggies and fruits like apples, peaches, nectarines, strawberries, grapes, celery, spinach, sweet bell peppers, cukes, cherry tomatoes, imported snap peas, potatoes, + hot peppers and kale/collards. Buy these organic, along with full fat dairy products as toxins are often stored in fat tissue.
  • Switch to environmentally friendly household cleaners.
  • Eliminate wall to wall carpet (treated with formaldehyde and continually sheds small synthetic fibers).
  • Replace all plastic food containers with glass or ceramic.
  • Use glass or steel water bottles. Do not re-use plastic water bottles that are not designed for reuse.
  • If you get take-out in styrofoam immediately transfer leftovers to a glass or ceramic container.
  • Eliminate or minimize plastic wrap. Never microwave plastic. Microwave safe means it won’t melt in the microwave, not that it won’t transfer BPA to you.
  • No outdoor shoes or artificial air fresheners (no Glade plug-ins), Plastics 1,2,3&4 are less toxic. Avoid 5, 6 7

If you’d like to read more try the books “Slow Death by Rubber Duck” by Rick Smith and Bruce Lourie and/or “Clean, Green and Lean” by Walter Crinnion, ND.

Tune in next month for the final installment of this series – the gut microbiome and weight.


Fleming,-Alethea_resizedDr. Alethea Fleming, ND is a passionate advocate for naturopathic geriatric medicine. A 2007 Bastyr University graduate, she also earned a certificate in Gerontology from the University of Washington. Dr. Fleming is the owner and leadphysician of the Vital Aging Clinic in Anacortes, Washington where she provides primary care to all adults as well as adjunctive geriatric care. Dr. Fleming is active in multiple community organizations as well as a member of WANP, AANP and OncANP. In her off hours, Dr. Fleming can be found hiking the beautiful trails of Fidalgo Island, spending time with her wonderful husband and son, or with her nose firmly in a good book.

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