Updated: Feb 24
While you've tried multiple weight loss plans none of them seem to work. You cringe in frustration at the thought of going on another diet or cleanse.
Plans that your primary care doctor has given you have not been enough to make the lifestyle changes you know you need to make.
You’ve heard that a naturopathic doctor can help with weight loss and bring back the health and vitality you’ve been missing.
In this article, we will cover the basis of naturopathic medicine, the naturopathic approach to weight loss, and what you can do to lose the weight for good.
Table of Contents
What is Naturopathic Medicine?
Naturopathic doctors have trained as general physicians specializing in natural medicine.
Naturopathic medicine looks for the root cause of disease, such as:
digestive or organ imbalances which can create hormone and neurotransmitter alterations; and
inflammatory foods which can contribute to weight gain and the inability to lose weight.
Naturopathic medicine treats the whole person, taking into account factors such as:
Is There a Naturopathic Approach to Weight Loss?
Most general physicians use the old standby “calories in < calories out” to achieve weight loss.
Naturopathic doctors understand that this formula can be an oversimplification for some patients.
For patients who have had little success with conventional weight loss techniques over a significant amount of time, there is likely more going on than issues with “motivation” or “dedication” to the weight loss journey.
The naturopathic approach to weight loss is much more all-encompassing than the modern approach.
From a Naturopathic Doctor: Weight Loss Factors That Should Always Be Considered
You may have discussed weight with your primary care physician, or even a naturopathic doctor. Weight loss factors considered by both schools of thought are luckily quite similar.
A naturopathic doctor will examine a plethora of factors to find the specific cause of a patient’s resistant weight loss.
These factors include:
Family history and genes
Race or ethnicity
Eating and physical activity habits
Relationship with food
Where you live, work, play, and worship
Family habits and culture
Other medical conditions; and
Ingestion of inflammatory foods for the individual
But while other doctors may consider some of these factors, a naturopathic doctor will investigate all of them.
What Does a Naturopath Do for Weight Loss?
A naturopathic doctor understands that the body is a combination of complex systems all interacting with each other in ways we are still trying to fully understand.
What we do understand about healthy diets and sustainable weight loss is that the lifestyle approach of utilizing food as medicine supports biochemical pathways.
Utilizing food as medicine to meet all of your body’s nutritional needs improves overall health and paves the way to weight loss.
Think about it this way: eating an unhealthy diet is one of the major risk factors for chronic diseases like asthma, diabetes, cancer, and cardiovascular diseases.
Eating a balanced, nutritious diet as part of a healthy lifestyle cuts out the cyclical weight loss and weight gain known as a yo-yo effect that comes from dieting.
#1: Assess and Address Underlying Health Conditions
Before you start on your weight-loss journey, you should have some routine blood work done to check that your thyroid, cholesterol, liver, and kidney functions are within a normal range.
Without completing this, you might not know that an underlying health condition is interfering with your weight loss efforts.
Here are three examples of issues that may be making your weight-loss journey more difficult.
Hormonal issues like Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) and hypothyroidism can make weight gain more likely and weight loss more difficult.
Women with PCOS may experience additional barriers to weight loss, but correcting the imbalances associated with PCOS may make weight loss efforts more successful.
According to the Center for Disease Control, 43% of adults with depression are also obese, and adults with depression are more likely to be obese than adults without depression.
In addition to this, the proportion of adults with obesity rose as the severity of depressive symptoms increased.
Anxiety and chronic stress can also lead to a buildup of the hormone cortisol, which can trigger your body to store more body fat, especially around your waist.
While receiving treatment for depression and anxiety will not directly cause weight loss, correcting the causes creating the depression or anxiety depression or anxiety may help pave the way for more success with weight loss.
Issues with bowel movements, digestion, and food intolerances are unfortunately quite common in our modern culture of fast food and takeout cuisine.
Gastrointestinal issues can be acute or chronic, depending on your diet. Because of this, GI tract issues can frequently go hand in hand with obesity and being overweight.
Some of our recommendations for treating these issues include:
Evaluating for food intolerances or food sensitivities
Advanced GI testing, such as stool analysis
An anti-inflammatory diet, and
Talk to a naturopathic doctor today to get started treating GI tract issues.
#2: Evaluate Toxic Chemical Exposure
The three primary pathways for chemical exposure are:
An increase in smog and air pollution, exposing us over long periods of time.
Toxins in contaminated groundwater and surface water; and
Exposure to hazardous chemicals through the food we eat.
Our liver and kidneys work to detoxify harmful chemicals in the body or attempt to eliminate substances that are harmful. However, the body may not be able to eliminate all toxic chemicals.
Naturopathic doctors evaluate a person's environmental toxic load and how that may be affecting their foundations of health.
At Pacific Clinic of Natural Medicine, we work with patients to minimize exposure to toxic chemicals, and we'll work through the therapeutic order to treat and eliminate chemicals already in the body.
By detoxifying their body, a patient can start afresh on their weight loss journey.
Unfortunately, our bodies are exposed to external toxins on a daily basis from pesticides and chemicals present in our food, air, and water.
Part of a naturopathic approach to weight loss may include going on a cleanse or detox program. We generally recommend the 21-Day Purification Program because it focuses primarily on eating healthy, whole foods including a ton of vegetables.
#3: Teach Patients to Utilize Food as Medicine
Whether they realize it or not, many people have an unhealthy relationship with food. They may see food as a treat or a reward. Or, they may see food as a vulnerability or a threat.
We help our patients work through their relationship with food to help them understand that food is a form of nourishment. Its only purpose is to cleanly fuel your body and bring it to its optimum functionality.
Naturopathic doctors promote intentionality and mindfulness to use food as both a healing and preventative medicine.
What you eat can cause a lot more than digestive distress (although it can certainly cause that too). We've seen having the wrong foods in someone's diet contribute to issues such as being overweight, high blood pressure, skin disease, migraines or chronic headaches, and more.
Once we determine that you’re eating the wrong food, the next step is to create a customized meal plan for you.
Instead of simply telling you to eliminate the food that causes your intolerance or digestive issue, we help you gain the tools and understanding you need to create healthy and delicious menus for yourself.
Naturopathic doctors understand that the question might not just be, “what are you eating?” but instead, “what is eating you?”
Emotional eating, which can include anything from stress-eating to grief binging, must be traced back to its root cause.
Find a naturopathic doctor to help you today.
#4: Address Poor Sleep Habits
Your body heals itself and carries out essential processes during sleep. Addressing poor sleep habits, whether that is insomnia, not getting enough sleep, or getting poor quality of sleep, is vital to help get the body healthy before and during the weight loss process.
Your naturopathic provider will help you address poor sleep habits because it will help you manage your body’s:
Leptin: The Leptin hormone helps manage your appetite control.
Ghrelin: The Ghrelin hormone influences your appetite and desire to eat carbohydrates.
Cortisol: The cortisol hormone signals the body to conserve energy as part of the “fight or flight” response.
To help address poor sleep habits, your naturopathic doctor may recommend a combination of stress support, nutrient support, herbal or homeopathic remedies, or an appropriate level of physical activity, among other activities.
Other tips include:
Remove all sources of artificial light from your bedroom while preparing to sleep. Remove night lights, lit alarm clocks, and other screens from your sleeping area.
Turn off screens at least 30 minutes before bedtime. The blue light produced by our screens mimics daylight— tricking you into staying awake longer.
Get your hormones checked. Hormonal imbalances in serotonin, cortisol, melatonin, estrogen, and testosterone can all contribute to sleep problems.
#5: Encourage an Appropriate Level of Physical Activity
Imagine you’re listening to your doctor tell you that to get your weight under control you need to “start exercising” or “exercise more.” Without any further guidance, you jump into a high-intensity interval training program to try and jump-start your weight loss.
And you promptly get an injury. Resting to let your injury heal keeps you on the couch for several more months.
Unlike most doctors, the naturalist doctors at the Pacific Clinic of Natural Medicine create healing patient plans developed around goals for both health and weight loss.
How Can a Naturopath Help With Your Weight Loss Journey? Try a Free Consultation With Pacific Clinic of Natural Medicine
Some weight loss programs can be very unhealthy, especially those that drastically reduce caloric intake, heavily rely on processed shakes, or restrict you to only drinking sugary juice drinks.
Instead of drastically restricting what you eat, a naturopathic doctor is instead focused on including a large variety of healthy foods and needed supplements in your diet. A naturopathic doctor will build a food plan built around supporting your whole body’s health— not just cutting calories.
We will take your overall health and other medical conditions into consideration when helping you create your weight loss and health goals.
Schedule a free consultation today with the Pacific Clinic of Natural Medicine to get started with an individualized plan to succeed in your personal weight loss journey.
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