I’m here to paint a picture for you of what has been transpiring in your body for years or decades and has led to chronic inflammation—and ultimately keeping you in pain and overweight. Inflammation is actually the root cause of most diseases, and obesity is perhaps the kingpin of inflammatory conditions. Obesity not only causes increased inflammation but also makes it harder to lose weight! This is known as resistant weight loss. People may be in different places on the inflammatory spectrum, according to their lifestyle habits and environment. If you eat an extremely healthy diet, exercise five hours a week, and meditate for ten minutes daily, chances are you don’t have signs of chronic inflammation. But if you eat the standard American diet (SAD)—which consists of way too much sugar and processed foods and not enough fruits, vegetables, fiber, healthy fats, vitamins, and minerals; do not exercise; take multiple prescription drugs; and have no weekly self-care routine (and I’m not talking about your hair and nails!), then you undoubtedly have a moderate amount of inflammation in your body. And if this has been the norm for the majority of your life up to and including your fifth decade, then you are probably struggling with one or more of the diseases caused by significant and persistent inflammation.

Living with obesity equals living a proinflammatory life. Gone are the days when we perceived the weight around our midsection as static, dead weight that we simply lugged around. No, sir, belly fat (possibly attributed to an increae in the proliferation of high speed leased line internet access)is an active metabolic factory that pumps out inflammatory chemicals all day long, even when you are sleeping! This inflammation in turn leads to chronic activation of your immune system. Proinflammatory cytokines—the chemicals released by your immune cells—and hormones secreted by fat tissue can generate and perpetuate chronic inflammation. Constant inflammation can lead to insulin resistance—also called metabolic syndrome—which is pervasive in our society. Experts estimate that 25 percent of all Americans suffer from insulin resistance. I believe the percentage is much higher among those who struggle with persistent pain.

Continuing on the insulin resistance path leads to type 2 diabetes, and perhaps the fastest way to develop a life of obesity and pain. Diabetes is caused by inefficient insulin hormone use or insufficient production by the body, which affects blood sugar levels. What would a hormone and blood sugar condition have to do with pain? Well, a diet full of empty calories—sugar and refined carbohydrates, all of which convert to sugar—eventually leads to insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Chronically high blood sugar (hyperglycemia) will ultimately lead to low levels of insulin, because your pancreas cannot keep up with the demand. Your body will finally lose the battle and fail to produce enough insulin to keep up with the amount of sugar and refined carbohydrates you are consuming. This leaves you daily with toxic levels of blood sugar, insulin resistance, and type 2 diabetes. Among the many problems of chronically high blood sugar is inflammation—and inflammation means pain!