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Losing Weight the Natural Way

By The Connecticut Center for Health

Most weight loss programs fail because they do not remove the underlying causes of obesity, and because the program is not individualized to the person's unique needs.

Conventional Weight Loss Treatment for Obesity & Overweight:

  • Diet usually consisting of a decrease in calories and change in dietary habits.
  • Exercise.
  • Behavioral therapy (includes many commercial weight loss programs).
  • Drugs including appetite suppressants and stimulants.
  • Surgery. The most common operations, vertical banded gastroplasty and gastric bypass, radically reduce stomach volume. There are a variety of nutrient deficiencies that may occur as a result of these procedures.
  • Conventional doctors rarely have the time to do the dietary, nutritional or lifestyle counseling which is necessary to implement the changes needed for permanent weight loss.

Why Some Weight Loss Programs Fail

  • Not being realistic about the time that it takes for permanent healthy weight loss. Expect your dietary and exercise changes to be lifelong habits. Plan to take 24-36 months to attain your ideal weight.
  • Failure to identify contributing factors in weight gain
  • Wrong dietary plan
  • Inability to burn total calories being consumed
  • Water retention
  • Constipation
  • Poor digestion
  • Poor liver function
  • Poor carbohydrate metabolism
  • Deficiency of essential nutrients needed for normal metabolism
  • Food sensitivities
  • Toxic metals stored in fat tissue
  • Intestinal yeast imbalance
  • Mental/emotional issues. Mental and emotional issues in our lives affect our eating habits and our relationship with food. For many people, it is necessary to address this component of health in order to attain permanent weight loss.

Natural Approaches for Permanent Weight Loss

Naturopathic medicine provides natural, safe, and effective options for a healthy diet and lifestyle which promotes permanent weight loss.

Change your Approach to Weight Loss

  • Throw your scale out. Do not weigh yourself. Gauge your weight loss by the change in your clothes and your body.
  • Make the goal be achieving and maintaining balance in your life. Balance your food, work, home, self, exercise, reactions to life and emotions.
  • Work the program diligently for 24-36 months and expect consistent small results. A monthly 2 lb. weight loss equals 72 pounds in 36 months. This is a slow evolving experience, not a crash program. Have patience.
  • Never give up. Successfully living this type of lifestyle requires persistence over a long period of time. It gets easier but you’ll be working at it for the rest of your life. You don’t just arrive and that is it. It is like brushing your teeth; it calls for attention on a daily basis.
  • Be faithful with taking your nutritional supplements.
  • Surround yourself with people who support you and your goals rather than undermine you.
  • Regularly do something in your life that you love.

Identify and Address underlying causes.

Naturopathic physicians specialize in treatment of factors which inhibit weight loss including: specific dietary counseling, promoting proper digestion, restoring compromised liver function, promoting proper thyroid metabolism, identifying nutrient deficiencies, treating food allergies, treating insulin resistance, detoxification of heavy metals, and treatment of intestinal imbalances.

Dietary plan.

Never use a low calorie diet again. This is not a diet. Banish the word from your vocabulary. Replace it with “I choose to live a particular way that includes a moderate amount of good clean food, regular exercise, relaxation, fun, time for myself and caring for myself and others.”

Atkins Diet...Zone Diet…Low Fat Diet… They all share a common flaw: a "one size fits all" approach. Naturopathic physicians can work with you to determine the lifetime eating plan that is right for you which will promote overall health as well as permanent weight loss.

Exercise.

Exercise helps reduce weight. Research shows that frequency of exercise is the most important factor in weight loss. Duration of exercise is the second most important factor. Exercise has important benefits:

Increases lean body mass, which automatically increases your metabolism - muscle tissue has a higher metabolic rate (burns more calories) than adipose (fat) tissue.

Improves mood, improves sleep, improves balance and coordination, lowers blood sugar, improves insulin sensitivity, improves immune system function, improves circulation, lowers blood pressure, lowers LDL (“bad”) cholesterol, raises HDL (“good”) cholesterol and overall significantly reduces the risk of heart disease.

Consult your physician before starting any exercise program.

Stress Management.

If you have hormonal imbalances that are caused by chronic stress, stress management will help with weight loss.

It is often necessary to take a hard look at how one reacts to stress from mental/emotional issues in one’s life and how to resolve/manage/change these responses to be more healthy.

Nutrition.

Difficulties losing weight are often related to deficiencies in nutrients which are necessary for proper metabolism. If fats can’t be broken down properly, weight loss is difficult or impossible.
  • Nutrients such as B-vitamins, lipoic acid, iron, magnesium, manganese, chromium, L-carnitine and Co-enzyme Q-10 are essential for proper metabolism of fats and carbohydrates.
  • Nutrients necessary for proper thyroid function include tyrosine, iodine, selenium, zinc, and copper.
  • Food cravings and insulin resistance can also be due to nutrient deficiencies.
  • Botanical (Herbal) Medicine
Botanical medicine may be used to promote weight loss in a variety of ways:
  • Support and tonify adrenal or thyroid glands.
  • Support proper metabolism.
  • Help with stress reactions and relaxation.
Supplement Quality Is Important

Nutritional and botanical supplements used in these treatments are intended to have a physiological effect and clinical benefit, i.e., they are effective and your health improves. Read our article on choosing a supplement to learn more about how to achieve the best results from your supplements.

What Should You Do Next?

If you want to consult a naturopathic doctor about weight loss, visit the Find a Doctor section of our Web site to find NDs in your area.