Is Your Environment Doing You Damage?

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Is Your Environment Doing You Damage?

It’s time for New Year’s resolutions and most people around the end of December will resolve to lose weight with exercise and diet. While these are the cornerstones of achieving a good body composition, there are other factors which you should take a look at to make sure your hard work pays off. Emily Schofield explains.

FAT STORAGE is a reflection of an individual’s nutrition and hormones. Hormone assessment and management is key in achieving the swiftest and best result, whether your goal is fat loss, muscle gain or just general improvement of health and wellness. I have found after working with many people that everyone has room for improvement, and everyone is different.

If you are keen to kick off the new year with a weight-loss goal, you need to figure out where your biggest problems lie. The top five causes of people being overweight or obese may surprise you. They are:

  1. Malnutrition
  2. Sleep disorders
  3. Oestrogen management
  4. Stress
  5. Wrong forms of exercise.

Something I always discuss with my clients is toxicity or oestrogen management, as it is one of the leading causes of weight gain here in Australia. While you may think of oestrogen as a female only hormone, it also refers to hormone-disrupting chemicals in the form of pesticides, plastics and xenoestrogens associated with toxicity in the human body. Absorption of these chemicals is linked with fat storage and can hinder an individual’s ability to attain optimal body composition no matter how good your diet and exercise program are.

In Australia we allow the use of some pesticides that have been banned all over the rest of the western world. When you consume toxic foods and the body’s natural defence system can’t get rid of them they are stored in the fat cells. Some of the most sprayed crops include strawberries, spinach, kale/collard greens, apples and grapes. Since these fruits and vegetables have thin skins, they are more easily contaminated and therefore if not organic can contain nasty chemicals.

Minimising your use of plastics will also help you reduce your toxic load. I encourage my clients to use stainless steel or glass water bottles rather than drinking out of plastic bottles. Another common source of plastic ingested, particularly in the corporate world, is takeaway coffee cups. When you put a plastic lid on top of a steaming hot cup of coffee, it is estimated you consume 30 micrograms of plastic in that coffee. If you drink three coffees per day, that adds up to around 6.75 teaspoons of plastic per year that you consume just from your coffee cups alone.

The term xenoestrogen refers to manmade or ‘foreign’ oestrogens. Xenoestrogens such as phlatates, parabens and carcinogens can be found in commonly-used skincare products, as what goes into them is largely unregulated. Individuals working in certain industries such as painters, dentists, radiologists and auto mechanics can also be more likely to come into contact with toxins and heavy metals.
Xenoestrogens play a big role in relation to fat storage in the legs. The average person detoxifies around 500 chemicals per day; the rule is if you smell it, you have to detoxify it. Minimising your exposure to xenoestrogens is cancer preventing, better for your health and will help you stay lean.


  1. EWG.ORG – This website is a fantastic resource. The non-profit Environmental Working Group ranks cosmetics containing chemicals with known or suspected health risks. Products are ranked from one to 10 depending on their toxicity. You can also find lists of all the safest products to use.
  2. Eat organic – Avoid eating foods that have been sprayed by pesticides, fungicides and rodenticides by eating organic.
  3. Ditch the plastic – Switch from plastic bottles and containers to glass or ceramic. Avoid heating or microwaving foods in plastic containers; at high heat BPAs and phlatates can leach out into food.
  4. Support detoxification – Excess oestrogens have to be detoxified through the liver. Assist this process by making sure you get plenty of fibre.

I wish you luck with your health goals, whatever they may be in 2016.

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About The Author
Emily Schofield
Emily Schofield is an Exercise Scientist, having completed a Bachelor’s degree in Sport and Exercise Science. She is a Personal Trainer at Vision Personal Training, North Sydney. For more information visit