The Shower Curtain-Weight Connection

Last fall, I shared some weight-loss thoughts collected from my own journey as well as my clients' experiences. You can read them here.

So many factors affect weight from stress, sleep deprivation, medications and hormonal imbalances to food intolerances, nutrient deficiencies, eating rhythm and suppressed emotions. It's certainly not as simple as eat less, exercise more.

Today, I'm talking about obesogens. Have you heard of them?

Even if excess pounds are not your challenge, you should know about obesogens and how they can impact your and your family's health.

What They Are
Obesogens are chemicals that alter the way your body controls weight. They can increase fat cells, decrease calorie burning and trigger overeating.

If you're struggling to lose or maintain weight, despite doing so many things right, these toxins may be messing with your metabolism.

How They Work
Obesogens are endocrine disruptors. By mimicking the actions of naturally occurring hormones or by preventing the hormones you produce from functioning correctly, obesogens can:

  • Impair your liver and thyroid, two key metabolic organs
  • Boost production of insulin, a fat-storing hormone
  • Increase inflammation, which promotes weight gain
  • Damage mitochondria, the energy powerhouses in your cells that drive metabolism
  • Disrupt leptin, the hormone that tells your brain when you're full

Beyond Weight
In addition to affecting weight, these chemical toxins have been linked to allergies, infertility, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, digestive issues, developmental and behavioral problems, and more.

Where They Lurk
Obesogens lurk everywhere from tap water, vinyl shower curtains and flooring, plastic containers, canned foods, non-stick pans and microwave popcorn bags to pesticides, cosmetics, shampoos, scented candles and air fresheners.

How to Avoid
Although you cannot possibly control everything in your environment, you can reduce your exposure to obesogens in your home and other personal spaces. Following are some simple swaps to get you started.


  • Plastic water bottles and food-storage containers (e.g., Tupperware) with glass or stainless-steel containers
  • Vinyl shower curtains with washable organic cotton or hemp curtains; if mildew is a problem, polyester is a better option than vinyl (or install glass doors if your budget allows)
  • Non-stick (e.g., Teflon) pans with untreated stainless-steel or cast-iron cookware
  • Canned foods with fresh or frozen foods, or food in glass jars
  • Synthetically scented candles with unscented or naturally scented 100% beeswax or veggie-wax (e.g., soy) candles with cotton wicks
  • Air fresheners with dried lavender, essential oils or fresh outdoor air
  • Non-organic produce, dairy, meat, etc. with organic fare
  • Personal care products (e.g., cosmetics, soap, shampoo, lotion, etc.) with organic ones; click here to access Skin Deep, a helpful buying guide from the Environmental Working Group

What small step can you take this week to oust obesogens?