Weight loss results when energy intake is less then energy expenditure. Some people are more susceptible to weight gain based on lower basal body metabolism. This component is often overlooked in weight loss programs. Your metabolic rate involves hormonal function, adequate liver metabolism and bowel transit time. It is necessary to address these areas for weight loss programs.
Naturopathic medicine uses basal body temperature as an indicator of metabolic rate. If the basal body temperature is below 35 degrees Celsius, your metabolism is sluggish. Wilson’s syndrome symptoms are classic for low thyroid function. The symptoms can include fatigue, depression, cold extremities, dry skin, constipation, fluid retention and menstrual irregularities. So why are the thyroid lab tests normal, if you have all the symptoms? It is due to hormone resistance at the cellular level. This means you have enough thyroid hormone, but it is not able to bind to the receptor site for activation. This is analogous to insulin resistance in Type II diabetes.
The body's ability to breakdown and metabolize fat is another important component to a successful weight loss plan. The term sluggish liver reflects impaired metabolic functioning. The use of lipotropic factors and herbs hasten the removal and decrease the accumulation of fat in the liver. Causes of a sluggish liver include alcohol, natural and synthetic hormones (i.e. pregnancy, thyroxin supplementation, oral birth control pills), certain chemicals and drugs, viral hepatitis, endotoxins and hereditary disorders. The liver acts like a General. It directs hormonal functioning and garbage removal from the body through the bowel. Constipation means your sewer is backed up. The toxic material generated puts an additional load on the liver to clean up. An overworked liver does not function optimally.
Successful weight loss requires a sensible approach. A low-fat, high fiber diet incorporating adequate protein, vegetables, grains, fruits, and lots of water, at least eight glasses per day, is a great plan and one that’s easy to stick to. Refined sugars and wheat must be eliminated from the diet. These foods stimulate insulin secretion. Foods that stimulate insulin secretion in relation to their caloric content aggravate weight gain and result in hypoglycemia, with resultant increased hunger. Eat three balanced meals a day and stop yo-yo dieting.
It is after 4 PM and you start craving junk food. It is important to recognize most emotional eating happens late in the day. There are many emotional reasons why people crave food. Aside from the obvious control issues, i.e. lack of willpower, there are actual solutions to emotional eating. Most importantly is to recognize what triggers the response. Some ways to get in tune with our body’s natural rhythms is by acknowledging your hunger and respecting yourself and the choices you make. Make peace with food. I suggest an “Emotional Diary”, instead of the “Diet Diary”, for a week. It is interesting to determine eating patterns driven emotionally instead of by hunger. Many people eat when they are lonely, bored, angry or feeling empty inside. This is when food becomes like a drug or addictive substance. During times like this it is important to have a support group. Feel your feelings but do not dwell on them. Set a timer for 20 minutes, experience the feeling and then move to a new activity. Brain gyme, using right and left-brain techniques, is helpful. Homeopathy and ear acupuncture treatments are excellent methods to release these emotions.
Exercise is a critical component of weight management. Exercise has been shown to raise basal metabolic rate. The intensity level of the exercise will determine the calories burned. Start out gradually and build up to 45 minutes of brisk walking per day. You need to be able to talk while exercising. If you are winded, you are in an anaerobic state and not burning fat. Exercise can reduce stress. Just go out and have fun at whatever activity you desire.
Weight loss programs can be as simple or complex as you chose to make them. Consider your life style before implementing a program. Find out what will work for you, not as a short-term alternative but as a lifestyle choice. Define your weight loss goal. Pamper yourself by taking relaxing baths, listen to music or whatever you do to feel good about yourself. It is important to look at the behavior behind the food not just the food itself. Instead of saying “What’s the use - I blew it!” Live one day at a time. Tomorrow is a new day. Remember you have the ability to do anything you set your mind to.
Dr. Trudy Strasser, ND, RAc, specializes in heavy metal testing and detoxification, women's health, infertility, pain and scar therapy, and facial rejuvenation acupuncture. She received the Doctorate of Naturopathic Medicine in 1997 and a diploma in acupuncture in 1998 from Southwest College of Naturopathic Medicine in Arizona.
Dr. Strasser is the owner of Biological Medicine Inc.