EP 73: How Inflammation Causes Weight Gain with Reed Davis

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EP 73: How Inflammation Causes Weight Gain with Reed Davis

If you’re struggling to lose weight despite counting calories, eating a healthy diet, and regular exercise, please know that I understand your frustration. Before I understood the reasons why my body would not release the excess weight I was carrying, I fell victim to starvation diets and excessive exercise, in an effort to force my body into submission.

The result was a very depressed, anxious, suicidal, and extremely nutrient-deficient person with lots of digestive problems. But hey, I was a size two, so none of that mattered, right?

Well, in truth, the body can only keep this up for so long before crashing and burning, which leads to more weight gain in the long run, a cycle I would continue for many years. What I didn’t know at the time was the role inflammation plays in the body’s inability to let go of excess weight. I had no idea that biochemistry and stress were major roadblocks to my body’s inability to maintain metabolic homeostasis.

And if I’m being honest, I also needed to accept the fact that my expectations were extreme and not rooted in reality. In a 2015 study titled My Gut Feeling Says Rest, it was found that increased intestinal permeability contributes to chronic diseases in high-intensity exercisers. It found that individuals who frequently exercised strenuously and for longer time intervals had the same mortality rates as sedentary individuals. And that vagal activity is markedly reduced both during and after intense exercise. It goes on to state that “additionally, we hypothesize that long periods of reduced vagal activity in individuals who exercise at high intensities and for longer durations, decrease the integrity of the intestinal barrier, putting them at greater risk of chronic inflammation and a host of chronic diseases.”

So the takeaway is that exercise is good, but too much is not so good. In my efforts to be slim and healthy, I would soon learn that all that high-intensity exercise I thought was good for me actually created leaky gut, which, along with my biochemical imbalances, threw me into major oxidative stress.

So today, I’m speaking with Reid Davis, a board-certified holistic health practitioner and certified nutritional therapist. Reid is the founder of Functional Diagnostic Nutrition and the FDN certification course with over 3,000 graduates in 50 countries. Reed served as the health director at a wellness center in Southern California for over 10 years, and with over 10,000 clients, is known as one of the most experienced clinicians in the world. Reid serves on the advisory board of the American Natural Wellness Coaches Board and the American Association of Natural Wellness Coaches.

Thanks for being with us today. I’m excited to share with you why you may not be losing weight despite all your hard work and efforts and some healthy steps you can take to eliminate the inflammation standing in the way of achieving your weight loss goals.

In this episode, we discuss:

  • What metabolic chaos is and how it relates to weight loss and inflammation.
  • Reed’s H.I.D.D.E.N. pattern he has recognized in his work.
  • Reed’s D.R.E.S.S. formula for lifestyle change and healing.
  • How chronic inflammation is linked to various health issues and the importance of testing for inflammation markers.
  • The role of the gut microbiome in inflammation and the importance of addressing dysbiosis for weight loss.
  • The importance of individualized approaches to health and the limitations of one size-fits-all diets and protocols.

Listen to the podcast here:


Within the below transcript, the bolded text is Samantha Gilbert, and the regular text is Reed Davis.


Welcome to the show, Reid. It’s great to have you.

Fantastic, thanks for having me, Samantha.

Metabolic Chaos and the HIDDEN Patterns Beneath it

My pleasure, Reid. It’s not uncommon to encounter clients and patients who are unable to lose weight despite their efforts. They exercise several days a week, monitor their caloric intake, and try to consume more whole foods, but inflammation can still be a significant factor in weight gain and loss.

Today I’m excited to talk about the role inflammation plays in a person’s inability to lose weight. I appreciate how you use the term “metabolic chaos” to describe this phenomenon, as it acknowledges that there are often multiple underlying causes at play in these situations. Healing is a process that involves peeling back the layers of an onion, and it’s not always as simple as identifying one root cause. Reid, could you explain what metabolic chaos is and how inflammation affects a person’s ability to lose weigh

I like the term metabolic chaos because it describes well what happens in the bodies of people who have tried many things. My whole 24-year career in the health space is predicated on people who have tried everything. Even back in 1999, when I started, people were coming to my office after seeing six or eight or 10 different practitioners.

They were in a cycle of trial and error, trying anything they could. But I didn’t want to be just one more thing they tried. I studied hard for many years, for 10 years, just focusing on running tests to find what was really wrong, ignoring the symptoms and even the labels their doctors gave them, since these were not always accurate.

And by the way, the people who came in were so frustrated that they didn’t want to hear another diagnosis. However, they were willing to let me study their case, and that was the blessing that led to what I do now, which is helping people sort out what I term “metabolic chaos”. This refers to the plethora of metabolic dysfunctions in their bodies that can affect different cells, organs, and systems. Through my experience of running thousands of labs on thousands of people, I discovered that there’s never just one root cause of this chaos. Instead, there are multiple causal factors that interact with each other to create this condition.

It’s worth noting that inflammation is a common part of this condition. Many people claim that “all disease begins in the gut,” this isn’t true. Gut health is often connected to metabolic chaos, and addressing gut inflammation is often an important step in addressing the condition, but I would never say it’s the ultimate causal factor. There are so many.

I’ll give you a pattern I recognize: H I D D E N. It spells hidden, which is a very appropriate acronym because they’re hidden.

HIDDEN stands for hormone, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy production, and nervous system as an imbalanced, sympathetic, parasympathetic kind of thing. This was the pattern I recognized over a 10-year period where there could be lots of inflammation and things out of balance. Since I was not a physician, I had to figure out all the causal factors and consider their effects on each other. What does that look like? It was challenging to sort them out because the effects were not always singly measurable.

I refused to resort to prescription writing or surgery, or even standard medicine answers that only address a symptom or two and may manage some disease processes. The people who came to my office did not want that either. They wanted answers and were willing to take responsibility for their own health. They were not the type to simply take their medicine and go about their business until they needed surgery or were dying. Many of them had missing gallbladders, ovaries, and other organs. Instead of just writing prescriptions or offering a few supplements or remedies, I was determined to have an overall effect on every cell, tissue, organ, and system at once.

How Inflammation Causes Weight Gain: Metabolic chaos refers to the plethora of metabolic dysfunctions in the body that can affect different cells, organs, and systems. There is never just one root cause of this chaos, instead, there are multiple causal factors that interact with each other to create this condition.

I did not want to single out any one thing because the minute you diagnose, you forget about all the other things on the table that you need to work on. Over the course of 10 years, I developed a formula for improving people’s health and changing their lifestyle. It’s called DRESS, which stands for Diet, Rest, Exercise, Stress Reduction, and

Supplementation. The diet should genetically match the person, the rest should encompass not just the body, but also emotions and mind, and exercise is self explanatory

There are hidden contributors to metabolic chaos, and there are ways to get out of it. These include diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction, and supplementation. I don’t have my own brand of supplements, but I have been teaching about them for a long time and how they contribute to wellness. We are not practicing medicine, nor are we diagnosing or treating specific conditions with supplements, powders, pills, or surgery – keep the knives away. Instead, we create epigenetic lifestyle programs based on lab work and healing opportunities that we discover. We don’t diagnose; we identify what’s out of balance or broken and focus on opportunities for healing. Our general view is that the contributors to metabolic chaos in a person are myriad. They’re ubiquitous—affecting things like inflammation or disease processes.

HIDDEN stands for hormone, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy production, and nervous system as an imbalanced, sympathetic, and parasympathetic pattern.

Yes, I agree. Gut problems are common nowadays, but not all diseases start there. It’s important to be careful with generalizations. I appreciate that you look at all the factors involved and don’t rely on one solution. There’s no one “Holy Grail”—that perfect supplement, treatment or method for everyone. We are complex human beings.

Statins, for example, are being prescribed to children and can cause neurological issues and delay sexual maturity. Surgeries such as gallbladder removal and hysterectomies can also have long term effects on reproductive cycles. That is very concerning for me.

It’s important to consider natural options for support. Nature truly has options.

Foods that Cause Inflammation and Hinder Weight Loss

Let’s start with diet.

In terms of diet, it’s well-known that gluten, sugar, dairy, and industrialized seed oils are inflammatory. Even healthy foods like eggs can cause problems for some people. Can you talk about other foods that cause inflammation and hinder weight loss?

Sure, absolutely. I love discussing diet because it is one of the key epigenetic factors that we can control. If we can monitor what we eat, we can improve our health. However, what does a healthy diet look like for an individual? It all depends on biochemical individuality. There is no one diet that works for everyone.

I remember when the Atkins diet was popular. Many people experienced excellent results with it, including myself. I already had a good physique but I had more energy and lost a couple of pounds. I felt fantastic so I started recommending it to people in the office. When you try a new food or supplement or change your diet, three things can occur:

One is you feel better, seems to be working or going in the right direction. Two is nothing. I don’t feel any different.

Three is I feel worse. I think this is going in the wrong direction.

You might try something that worked for Mrs. Smith or a hundred others. Well, you’re not Mrs. Smith. It either works for you too, it doesn’t work for you, or it has negative effects on you. Many products are sold based on testimonials and third party endorsements, but you are unique and what works for others may not work for you. Instead of experimenting with different approaches, it’s better to look for systems that can guide you. For example, you can determine whether you should eat more meat and fat, or more carbs, or if you perform better with a salad and fruit, by finding a system that works for you.

Some people thrive on the paleo or new ancestral ketogenic diets, while others get sick. The solution is not just the right food, but also finding the right combination of things for the individual. This can depend on genetics, environment, and other factors. Genetic testing can be helpful in determining what works best for an individual. By understanding our genetic requirements, we can avoid giving too much or going too fast. I’ve done the genetic tests. I know where my ancestors came from 500 generations ago, which is about how far you have to go back. These requirements are inherent and deeply ingrained in our biology.

How Inflammation Causes Weight Gain: gluten, sugar, dairy, and industrialized seed oils are inflammatory.

If you do a genetic test today, the results will be the same as if you do it in 10 years. Your genes remain constant throughout your life. You are born with a specific genetic makeup that determines the ratio of protein, fats, and carbs your body needs. For example, if you give an Eskimo or a Cree Indian, who live in the northern plains of Canada, a diet that is different from what they are used to, it can have negative health effects. However, if they continue to eat their native diet, they are perfectly healthy. When settlers first arrived in Northern Canada for fur trapping and other resources, they were amazed by the hardworking abilities of the Cree Indians. This is something I have studied personally, as I had a cousin who lived among the Cree Indians for a long time.

The Cree Indians of the past were incredibly athletic, adept, and intelligent. They could run through the woods all day long, from sunup to sundown, skipping on rocks and doing all sorts of things. I’m not making fun or taking this lightly, but it’s true. Today, however, the condition of Cree Indians is not the same. They are living in small, government-sponsored villages and going to government-sponsored clinics for diabetes, obesity, alcoholism, depression, and high suicide rates. Why? Because they changed their diet and moved into mining towns. I could go on and on with stories like this, but the point is clear: you need to eat according to your metabolic type or you will pay the piper.

Regarding diet, it’s not just about the ratio of protein, fats, and carbs, which is really important. It’s also important to consider micronutrients like minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and trace elements. These factors need to be balanced for your specific genetic makeup. This is known as your metabolic type, and it’s important to find the right balance for your body. If you want to learn more about this, I recommend reading the Metabolic Typing Diet by William Wolcott. It’s been my bible for diet since it came out around 2002. This book covers the science and the anatomy, physiology, and biochemistry behind it.

The Role Gut Dysbosis Plays in Weight Gain and Metabolism

I’m familiar with Weston A. Price’s work, which asks the same question: why are these people so healthy? They were eating foods native to their area and their ancestors, and they had beautiful teeth and were really thriving. Then the industrial revolution came in and processed everything, adding in all these chemicals, and things really started to go downhill very quickly. So, I appreciate the deeper dive into going beyond eliminating things that are not really food. Gluten, for example, is not food. Oreo cookies are not food. We’re kind of going deeper and looking at not only chemistry but also what genetically works for you and why that’s really important.

We don’t have as much seasonality and variety anymore, even at farmers’ markets. So many people are eating the same thing over and over again, and that can create a lot of sensitivities as well, not having that variety.

Reid, I’d like to talk about gut health now because I feel like this is a perfect segue, especially with what you just shared. I find that most people have something going on in their gut. It’s not always a gut infection, but those microbes in that terrain and that microbial environment have a lot to do with someone’s health outcomes.

I think of things like increased ratios of firmicutes and bacteroidetes and how there’s an association there with unwanted weight gain. People talk about short chain fatty acids, and yes, they are important, but we also know that too much of certain types can feed methane-producing bacteria, which can impair motility, slow transit time, and cause constipation. Obviously, that’s going to negatively impact metabolism as well. I’d love to get your take on the role gut dysbiosis plays in weight and metabolism.

Regarding diet, it’s not just about the ratio of protein, fats, and carbs, which is really important. It’s also important to consider micronutrients like minerals, vitamins, essential fatty acids, antioxidants, phytonutrients, and trace elements.

Gut dysbiosis is a big factor in weight and metabolism, and it’s something that we have sorted out. It’s easy to test for these things and find out what’s going on as a starting point. Again, the idea of healing opportunity is very important. Do I have dysbiosis? What is it? Well, if you’ve been under stress for a while, it’s very likely, and again, we will not run one test on a person. We won’t guess what test to run too often today and hope you don’t mind these little segues. But they set up the right answer. Physicians and other practitioners are trying to help, and generally, I think they do a very good job. If that’s what you need, and that’s the ladder, that’s the wall you need to put your ladder on for a medical condition, go do that. But sometimes we need to put our ladder against a different wall, and it’s called self-reliance and self-care.

It’s a different strategy and way of thinking. So what we do is run different types of tests like for dysbiosis, but we do a combination. See, what we want is the whole constellation of healing opportunities that would be around a dysbiosis. Which came first, dysbiosis or something else going on with that host? Usually, it’s the latter. Stress has created an imbalance in the catabolic and anabolic hormones. When you’re under stress, which one’s going to go up most likely at first? The catabolic hormones. Exactly. And the ones that break your body down because it’s constantly trying to recreate and raise blood sugar because of all the things you’re going through. So it’s called cortisol, and it will break your body down, including the mucosal barrier in the gut. As your body’s breaking down and you notice things not working so well, or not feeling so well or erupting on your skin or aches and pains or all these different things, you’re under stress, your muscles start to weaken, all these different things happen, including that effect on the mucosal barrier.

So that is where secretory IgA, which can easily be measured, comes in. Matter of fact, you know what we do? We measure the hormones and the secretory IgA at the same time on the same test, and it’s easy to do at home because it’s done with saliva. So we’re looking at the catabolic and anabolic imbalances. Oh, your body’s more catabolic at breaking down. And what that does to the sex hormones, we don’t even need to go there. People know how they feel. Less libido, less energy, less all kinds of things, inability to build muscle and all this stuff. So you have your catabolic, anabolic sex hormone dysfunction, and this mucosal barrier dysfunction. So when you drive the secretory IgA down from stress, well, what is that? And where is most of your immune system anyway? Everyone knows it’s about 80% in your gut.

This is one of the elements we can actually look at. So when secretory IgA is low, you’re usually also going to find this dysbiosis. That’s simply an imbalance between good and bad bacteria. You mentioned some phyla that are very important. There are hundreds of species within those phyla, and they need to be abundant, robust, diverse, lots of them, lots of different kinds. The more robust the microbiome, the more diversity generally considered, the better species. So you have this catabolic condition, the immune system being suppressed, the ability of the bad bacteria to start to become a higher percentage than you want. I’ve always said, if it was a four-to-one ratio of good to bad, you’d be okay. You need some bad to keep the immune system hovering. So it’s there for really bad things, but you get this out of balance. And now guess what happens? You get heartburn, gas, indigestion, bloating, constipation, or diarrhea. It depends on the person. We’re alternating. Conservation, diarrhea, what fun.

Yes, I see that a lot.

Yes, a plethora of symptoms. It’s based on the stress and the natural downward spiral of the breakdown. It goes on and on from there. We measure that dysbiosis. We look at the good to bad bacteria ratio. We know what else is not working. If you have that, your digestion is affected because you need the good bacteria to help break down, especially proteins into their amino acids. Those become neurotransmitters and so on. There are all these sort of downward spirals. There are forks in the road and downward spirals, and they can all be measured. That’s what we do in what I teach, which is a lot of measuring saliva, urine, blood stool. It can give you clues about what’s really wrong with the person. We talked a bit about diet, and the diversity of your diet is very important because that helps to regulate the diversity of your microbiome.

Putting stress aside for a minute, learning how to handle the different types is very important, but just a really good diverse diet. You said it. People just start eating the same stuff every day. They don’t have enough variety, and they don’t like everything. They go to the same restaurants, they buy the same groceries, they prepare the same meals, and there’s a lot of opportunity for failure there. There are a lot of possible contributors. By the way, you did well on your five main triggers. The five main ones would be eggs, soy, dairy, wheat, and corn. Those are the five biggies. Everyone should probably get off that phone and see if it makes a big difference. Sometimes it does. But beyond that, we run labs, or you could do elimination diets, but we run food sensitivity testing to kind of cut the middle man up.

Stress and Weight Gain: A Constant Cycle

I appreciate you walking us through that cascade. Looking back on my life, I think we can all agree that we are complex beings. As I shared earlier, the periods in my life when I felt the worst, when I was bloated, or when I gained some weight, were always the most stressful periods in my life without question, every single time. I know stress is a hard one because it’s not a tangible thing on our plate that we can work with in the kitchen, but it really is a key factor. I love how that is also woven into the programs that you offer for practitioners and in the work that you do. You are able to look at those lifestyle factors, sleep hygiene, and so much more. It would be another show entirely to touch on all of those points.

But how does stress really create that imbalance, lowering stomach acid? Generally, people who do well on keto or more paleo diets are not experiencing dysbiosis triggers in their GI tract, so they’re feeling good. However, we always want to look at the underlying challenge. My concern is that if a very high-fat diet is done for too long, we may start to encounter species that love bile and other issues. Of course, there is variation here, so it’s not one size fits all, but I think it’s really important that we bring these things to the forefront. You mentioned exercise, and I’m glad you did.

That’s right. Don’t jump yet. The acronym DRESS stands for diet, rest, exercise, stress reduction, and supplementation. You have done a good job of following these guidelines, as stress can come in many forms and can be difficult to recognize. It’s strange how people think that being anxious and nervous is normal. While it can be normal in certain situations, such as being chased or caught in traffic, or receiving negative news, prolonged stress can have negative effects on the body. It can cause your eyes to dilate, your hearing to sharpen, and your body to prepare for fight or flight.

How Inflammation Causes Weight Gain: stress increases inflammatory hormones that can trigger pathogenic gut microbes.

However, many people seem to accept this as a way of life, which can lead to serious health problems. I appreciate the points you made, and I have spent the last 25 years looking for ways to help people who feel lost and overwhelmed. There are few systems available that allow people to make progress step by step, without feeling lost or confused. When dealing with stress, it is important to have a system in place that addresses all aspects of it, as it is not just mental and emotional. Stress can be caused by a variety of factors, such as children, relationships, and finances.

Moving and divorce are both significant life events.

Stress can really take a toll on your body, because it affects you physiologically and can lock you into a fight or flight response. Other forms of stress exist as well. Personally, I have been very hard on my body through extreme sports like motorcycles, surfing, skiing, and wrestling. Although I feel great at 70 years old, I have aches and pains from past injuries, and I’m spending a lot of time and money trying to repair the damage through PRP, stem cells, prolotherapy, and other treatments.

Why? Because chronic pain, whether it’s from an injury or a bad relationship, can be very stressful for your body. And let’s not forget about chemical and biochemical stressors from the environment, such as chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, insecticides, rodenticides, and more. All of these types of stress contribute to our overall stress levels.

When dealing with stress, it is important to have a system in place that addresses all aspects of it, as it is not just mental and emotional. Stress can be caused by a variety of factors, such as children, relationships, and finances.

That’s why when we talk about stress reduction, it’s important to pay attention to DRESS and the first step of reducing stress. By getting enough sleep, moving your body, taking supplements, and addressing environmental stressors, you can make a real difference in your life. Don’t overlook this crucial step in stress reduction.

I couldn’t agree more by the way.

I agree with you and I’m glad you said that. You delved deeper into the conversation about stress, and it reminds me of all the over-exercising I did when I was younger, trying to be a size two and striving for perfection. Unfortunately, I ended up damaging my body. We now know that over-exercising can also cause leaky gut and affect the mucosal lining, as you explained so well. While I don’t want to discredit Orange Theory or HIIT training, they do tell people that it’s safe to do them every day, which is not true. I gained weight, burned out my adrenals, and had high cortisol levels, which are all the negative impacts you discussed.

In 2015, a study titled “My Gut Feeling Says Rest: Increased Intestinal Permeability Contributes to Chronic Diseases and High-Intensity Exercisers” was conducted. This study is important and will be linked in the show notes. It’s important to get the right amount of exercise – not too little and not too much. Over-exerting ourselves can lead to health problems later in life. Personally, I’ve decreased my weight training and cardio, and I’m grateful for it. In my twenties, I wish I had realized the importance of balance in exercise.

I want to make it clear that I’m not against high-intensity interval training. I believe it can be very beneficial, but many people are overdoing it and pushing themselves too hard. This can lead to health problems, from what I see from a clinical perspective.

This made me think about geoengineering and the aluminum that’s being sprayed into the air. People can research cloud seeding and read about the impact on our environment. We need to manage our stress, eat healthy food, surround ourselves with loved ones, and put ourselves in nurturing and affirming situations. Doing so will help us live a healthy and thriving life.

Well, Amen’s sister, we could talk endlessly about that. I love helping people, which is why I started. Previously, I worked as an environmental paralegal in environmental law, where I thought I was saving the whole planet – air, birds, water, trees, bees, etc. However, 24 years ago in 1999, I realized that I wanted to focus on people, including myself, and study how to ensure that I don’t get sick and wither away or experience other health issues. That’s when I changed careers and immediately discovered how badly people were struggling. I became an expert in lab work and wanted to do everything by the book, so to speak. We have a hair tissue mineral analysis, which I love and use in my practice. You mentioned many labs like this and that for aluminum, but this test tells you about your mineral imbalances or balances, as well as heavy metals, many of which are dangerous in accumulation.

You can even test your well water and compare it to your hair analysis. I live in the country, so I first tested my well water and found out that it was high in a couple of minerals and metals. Then, I tested my hair, and it showed the same thing. I had too much of a couple of things in my hair, and it was exactly what was too high in the water or even a little high. Now, I don’t even drink this stuff.

Isn’t that amazing?

So it was just the showering alone in my well water. It’s the only thing I’d put in my plants. They’re fine. In fact, they love it. I’m a huge gardener, but I was so surprised about that.

I’m glad you touched on this too, because I still hear, “Oh, well water’s safe. Well, water’s fine.” I’m like, no, it’s not really safe. If you are on a well, please test your water. It’s not just city water that is full of chemicals, medications, and metals. We really need to be looking at everything. And when someone comes to me and says, “I have this wonderful, amazing water with all these minerals, and the pH is high,” I think, “Well, have you actually tested the water? What do you really know about what’s in this water?” That’s really key.

Reid, I’m curious, what are some steps that our listeners can take to begin reducing inflammation? We talked a lot about things like diet and stress, making sure that we have a diet that is biochemically appropriate for the individual, and dysbiosis and microbial imbalances. But I’m curious, what would you suggest to help people get started on this journey? Because this is a lot of information.

How to Start Your Healing Journey

The first thing is to have the state of mind to pursue good health and to realize that you are responsible for your own well-being. I could do a whole show just on the importance of having a positive attitude and outlook, and starting your day off right. This morning, my wife and I listened to a short meditation on mindset before getting out of bed, and it was very helpful. And then I have a cup of coffee every morning. I would tell people not to be shy about that. After that, we went for a long walk. I also believe in time-restricted eating, where you have a big window of time where you don’t eat. For most people who want to lose weight, they should limit it to six hours. Some people say eight hours, six hours, four hours. That’s really hard. That means you’re fasting for 20 hours every day.

Yes, that’s a lot.

It’s a lot, and it requires quite a bit of discipline. If you can do it, you’re a champion. But if you can cut it down to eight hours to start with and work your way up, that’s also great.

So you’ve got the mindset, which means that today is another opportunity to do some good in the world and take care of yourself. And from there, it’s like, who is responsible for your health? We could talk about this all day long. I’m telling you this because I have years and years of experience working in the healthcare industry. When people come into our office, the first thing I notice is, “Why are they putting their health in someone else’s hands? What do you mean you’ve been to six, eight, ten different practitioners and you’re still not better? You’re getting ripped off.” I just thought, “Rip off.” See, I’d never been to a doctor really, except for sports or dental work. So no problem. But man, when I realized all these people were getting ripped off, but more importantly, they’re willing victims. They’re like taking it. They’re like, “Why don’t you get in charge?” What does that mean? Be more aware. Be more self-aware. Ask yourself questions like, “Who am I?”

Reid, if I may interject, I appreciate you sharing that because I feel there is often a belief that the government will take care of us. People think they will receive extra money because of the pandemic, and that there are all these programs and things that the government is constantly looking at and trying to pass. But I agree with

what you are saying that this mindset can be difficult to get out of. I am not judging anyone. It can take time to start to open your eyes and think about what you really need to do. You cannot just go to the doctor and start taking an SSRI and expect that everything will be taken care of.

Again, there’s no judgment here. What I’m saying is that it just takes a little bit more of a mindset shift to step outside of that system and think about what really is health. That’s one of the reasons I wanted to have this conversation with you, to talk about inflammation and how we can also reimagine a system that is not benefiting us. I think more and more people are waking up to that, especially after the last couple of years and what we’ve seen. It’s a process of self-awareness and realizing that.

Well, I’m glad you’re open to discussing that because the last thing I heard you say was to give the audience some tips. And it was like, “Man, just be more self-aware of who should be in charge.” And sometimes even discipline. Discipline, guess what? It matters. Self-awareness sort of equates to self-discipline in a way. Why? Because as you realize more about yourself, you become more aware that a lot of what you do is subconscious. You’re not even thinking, you’re just doing. Why did you just grab that brownie? Well, you love the taste and it’s sweet, and you need something to give you a little pick up or move.

How Inflammation Causes Weight Gain: The more you realize about yourself, you become more aware that a lot of what you do is subconscious.

No, you did it because it’s just built in. It’s your subconscious grabbing it. It’s not your conscious mind because consciously, you know it’s a bad thing. You shouldn’t be doing this. It’s going to raise your blood sugar, contribute to insulin resistance, triglycerides, obesity, inflammation, and cardiovascular issues. So you consciously know not to do something, but you do it anyway because your subconscious is where you live. If you aren’t becoming more self-aware, then you’re just going to be at the whim of whatever was thrown at you and instilled in you from parents, TV, teachers, and other people’s ideas about what’s good for you instead of your own.

Absolutely. I love that you said that. And this, to me, is a big part of who you are surrounding yourself with. Are you surrounding yourself with people that love you enough to want to make healthy changes with you? Are you in social situations where you’re going to be around a lot of unhealthy people and toxic food? Some of those things you can’t get away from, I realize. Certain family systems and so forth. I get that. But I’m a big believer, Reid, and I know you are too that we all have a choice. We all have free will.

I had a pretty bad eating disorder for many years. I was very depressed, had severe anxiety, was very suicidal, had OCD, you name it. I didn’t think I was ever going to get better, but I did. I put one foot in front of the other. I finally figured it out. I just became more and more aware. And it is a process. It’s not going to happen overnight. I became more and more aware of who I am interacting with, what I’m choosing to expose myself to, and whatever the case may be. All of those things are impacting us on that deep level that you mentioned. Do you have anything else you’d like to share with us today before we complete our time together?

I may have so many things I would like to say, but that last note – I am very pleased that you’re on top of that, especially as it applies to your own health. You wouldn’t be where you are today if you hadn’t become a little more self aware and a little more responsible, saying “I’m going to put one foot in front of the other and take that responsibility.” Sometimes it’s frustrating, and everybody’s got a solution. Everybody’s got a lotion, potion, powder, pill, diet, or therapy, and some of those things might be helpful, but it really begins in your mind. Keep in mind that, as we said, in my investigation with every person, there’s no guessing, there’s no “it sounds like whatever.” Here are the labs we run to get the actual markers for hormone, immune, digestion, detoxification, energy production, and nervous system belts.

Everybody’s got a lotion, potion, powder, pill, diet, or therapy, and some of those things might be helpful, but it really begins in your mind.

So we see this constellation of healing opportunities. It doesn’t matter who you are, or what your health problem is. These are the things that will help dictate a healthier life. At least we’ve identified the healing opportunities, as I said. Then we’re going to apply the general principles of health building that are part of the D R E S S system. If you have some guidelines, a framework, or some things, find someone with those kinds of things going for them. If they ask you about your problem, and you say, “Oh, I’m tired, fatigued, overweight, a little depressed, constipated, and oh, that sounds like thyroid,” then run. Even if you have a thyroid problem, they’re going to focus only on that thing. You might get a little better, some symptoms might go away, but they’re going to manifest somewhere else. Your life won’t change much with that diagnosis. So don’t let anyone use the “sounds like” method on you. Actually start thinking about this whole constellation of H I D D E N and where you stand, and then figure out what you can do yourself to take control.

I love that. Thank you so much, Reid. Thank you for all that you’ve done over the years to help people and practitioners. I really appreciate your wisdom, knowledge, and of course, your time today.

Thank you. I’ll just tell you, there’s nothing I’d rather do than talk with a smart lady who cares about people. Everyone’s got their angle on it, but we are in this together. We need to work together because there are other forces at play. We need to be a force of our own to be reckoned with. So, thank you for what you do.

Thank you, Reid. I appreciate that.

I trust that my conversation with Reid was inspiring. You have much more control over your health than you realize. I encourage you to work with someone who focuses on root causes rather than simply counting calories and implementing long-term restrictive diets that create more problems down the road. Most notably, a shift in the terrain of your gut microbiome can lead to leaky gut. Reid reminds us that achieving vibrant health takes a decent amount of awareness and effort, but it’s easier than standard medicine and the media and health enthusiasts make it seem. Visit functionaldiagnosticnutrition.com to learn more about Reid and his FDN certification course.


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