Everyday in the news there is a story about the latest fad diet, weight loss medication, or herbal supplement that guarantees you will lose weight. If there was a magic pill or diet that actually worked I think we would all know about it by now. Some people are born heavy and have tried their entire life to lose weight. Others put on extra weight after a pregnancy, surgery, illness or injury and have had trouble taking it off. Some have slowly gained weight overtime and dont understand why. Here are some things everyone should be aware of when trying to lose the extra pounds.
First of all, find out if there is an underlying medical condition causing you to gain weight or make losing weight difficult. Some conditions include but are not limited to thyroid disease, pituitary and hypothalamus disorders, adrenal conditions, insulin resistance, genetic polymorphisms in genes regulating appetite and metabolism, medication use, leptin deficiency and more. Menopause and the male equivalent, andropause, create hormonal imbalances that change metabolism. Test should be run to determine if these conditions exists.
Candida overgrowth in the gut is another condition known to slow metabolism. We get candida overgrowth from antibiotic use, too much sugar and carbs in the diet, changes in pH and healthy flora of the gut and many other reasons. There is a stool test and blood test to help understand if candida is present in small amounts and of course natural treatments to rid it from our body. This will help with weight loss. Candida is fed by sugar and for some there is true sugar-addiction that needs to be addressed.
Next, find out if you have any health problems related to being overweight. These are not only a good motivator for weight loss, but need to be addressed and not ignored. Conditions linked to extra weight include: diabetes, high cholesterol, osteoarthritis, sleep apnea, heart disease, PCOS, GERD, and more.
There is no magic pill. Be very careful when it comes to supplements that promise weight loss. These often are nothing more than speed, meaning they are a stimulant that suppresses the appetite but can have long lasting detrimental affects to your health. These products contain herbs that either have caffeine in them or are natural stimulants. They can interact with other herbs and medications.
I also suggest people avoid over the counter products that claim to regulate cortisol. These are either herbal preparations or actually contain low levels of hormone. The hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis is an integrate system that controls hormonal release for numerous metabolic functions. Cortisol should only be supplemented or increased with herbs if there is an imbalance in this axis otherwise you could create an imbalance in your hormonal system. Blood tests can discover if there is a true problem with cortisol.
Address the mind-body connection. Many times my patients already have the knowledge in terms of healthy diet and nutrition. They already have awareness of their eating patterns and triggers for unhealthy eating. As I design a good nutrition plan balanced with exercise we always discuss the root cause for having trouble implementing a plan or sticking with a plan. The mind-body connection is what I call it.
Naturopathic medicine offers a unique approach to weight loss by looking for an underlying cause or connection that has yet to be uncovered. By addressing all aspects of metabolism, hormones and health people seems to have better success. Treating the whole person individually in the goal of care.
Article contributed by Dr. Marianne Marchese