A Naturopathic Approach to Weight loss
Bottom line, weight loss isn’t easy! The endless diets and exercise routines feel overwhelming and fighting hunger, emotions, and cravings is exhausting. With limited results and relapses occurring often, many patients give up. But I am here to help!
As a Naturopathic Doctor, my approach to weight loss is centered around better health. Yes, it still takes time and commitment, but we find an individualized plan to work with your body. Weight loss protocols are designed using long-term vision to help you achieve not only the shape, but the health, mobility, and happiness you have been striving for. I really try to get to know my patients and
understand their relationship and journey with weight; where they struggle and where they succeed, not only physically but emotionally.
At the root of it all there is always a reason our bodies hold on to fat. Weight loss is not just based on the number of calories you are eating and burning. While this approach may work for some, for others it often fails. Weight loss is very much dependant on the body functioning optimally across multiple systems.
Keep reading to learn more about the different systems that need to be addressed for weight loss success!
Stress can be caused by many things and can look different to everyone, but even small amounts of stress can cause a large release of cortisol. Cortisol is our stress hormone which signals the body to conserve food calories and put them into storage as fat. Studies have shown that raised cortisol levels are associated with reduced metabolism and increased insulin levels, resulting in increased fat storage and less calories burned over time.
If you are having difficulty falling asleep, staying asleep, or waking up feeling unrefreshed, these are all signs that your sleep cycle is irregular. Without a proper sleep you are more likely to have food cravings, make impulse food choices, and have increased late night snacking habits in order to satisfy
the reward center of your brain. Sleep deprivation causes spikes in cortisol and has been associated with insulin resistance which inhibits the body’s ability to properly convert sugars to fuel, but rather stores it as fat.
A healthy digestive system is crucial to maintaining a healthy weight. Poor digestion can lead to inadequate nutrient absorption and reduced elimination of wastes and toxins in the body, leading to constipation, diarrhea, fluid retention, and bloating. This also affects the body's metabolism, lowering the rate at which it burns calories and leading to excess body fat and fatigue. Reducing inflammatory foods, consuming healthy amounts of fiber, and the correct strains of probiotics are necessary for successful weight loss.
A variety of hormones can that affect appetite, body shape, and metabolism. At the forefront of this category lies cortisol. As mentioned above, cortisol is produced in response to stress and over time can reduce serotonin causing depression, reduce melatonin preventing a good night’s sleep, and increase sugar cravings encouraging fat stores. This can cause individuals to feel wired but tired, irritable, and experience rapid weight gain or feel burnt out, depleted, and struggle with low mood and impaired immune systems. Combating stress and balancing cortisol using lifestyle changes and herbal medicine can often correct most, if not all, of the above listed symptoms.
In addition, to cortisol it is crucial to look into corresponding hormones.
Insulin: insulin resistance means cells are unable to absorb sugar and utilize it as energy rather than store it as fat. Leptin: our body’s natural appetite suppressant triggered when we have consumed enough food. In overweight individuals, leptin receptors can be shut down which causes food cravings as a result. Estrogen: most prevalent in females, estrogen dominance in relation to
progesterone can cause resistant weight loss, and abdominal weight gain. Thyroxine: The thyroid manages how fast or slow your body can burn calories. An under functioning thyroid can cause weight gain, fluid retention, depression and even constipation. Testosterone: most prevalent in males, low testosterone can lead to muscle deficiency. Muscles burn more calories than fat so individuals with lower muscle mass tend to over eat and store excess calories as fat.
While physical aspects of weight loss are essential, the mental and emotional picture can often be more important. Deep rooted beliefs and attitudes can sabotage an individual’s weight loss. Negative thoughts and feelings can derail you from making the right food choices, encourage overeating, and reduce physical activity. In addition, if meals are accompanied by guilt, anxiety, or shame, it can trigger a physiological stress response and as stated earlier, cause a rise in cortisol. I work with my patients to retrain these thoughts and when necessary refer for counseling.
Vitamins play a major role in our body’s ability to properly manage the metabolism of protein, carbohydrates, and fats. In addition, they are essential to building hormones and chemical signals within the brain and body. Key vitamins such as Vitamin B12 and Vitamin D are known to boost metabolism, and have a big role in promoting the conversion of carbohydrates into energy rather than fat. Deficiencies overall can cause a slow metabolism, low energy, and low mood. Supplements and injections are very useful in correcting these deficiencies.
What to expect?
A naturopathic approach to weight loss will include a detailed history, body measurements, and blood work to look for unbalanced systems and hormones. Diet is discussed specifically to help reset the body. Our goal is to find lifelong dietary habits that will keep you at a healthy weight while providing the proper nutrition. We will discuss the importance of physical activity and determine what form will work best for you to give you ample energy while burning calories long term. An individualized plan is developed specific to your needs and the journey begins.
Consistency is key! We will repeat measurements every 2 weeks at a 15 minute follow up appointment at which we will review struggles and triumphs and adjust protocols as needed. At each follow up we will also discuss common topics that can aide with your weight loss and maintenance such as meal prepping, eating out, and shopping tips. There is no weight loss plan that suits everyone but naturopathic medicine can help you determine the best approach to achieve the health and weight loss results you want!
Dr. Leanna Campoli, ND
Are you struggling with weight loss and looking for a different approach? I can help you find the root cause to your health concerns and provide you with a customized plan to optimize your health. To book your appointment call us at 416-400-6280 or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and ask for Dr. Leanna Campoli, Naturopathic Doctor or book online.
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