Naturopathic Approach to Weight Loss

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How can a Naturopath Help with Weight Loss?

When it comes to naturopathic weight loss, the calories in vs calories out equation is always true, as your body will never defy the laws of thermodynamics. Weight loss is not possible without a caloric deficit. Which is why many fad diets put such a heavy emphasis on extreme calorie and food restriction, often making the diets unsustainable. While calorie restriction is important, what a lot of weight loss diets fail to address is that the factors which affect our caloric intake and caloric output can be multifaceted and quite complex. These factors need to be addressed to ensure sustainable and maintainable weight loss.

The factors affecting our caloric input are as follows:

  • Genes
  • Knowledge around cooking and healthy eating
  • Food palatability
  • Accuracy of food labels
  • Socioeconomic status
  • Hormonal status (e.g. PMS)
  • Pharmaceutical medications (e.g. contraceptive pills)
  • Mental and emotional wellbeing
  • Sleeping habits and amount of quality sleep per night
  • Busyness, stress and being time poor
  • Prioritisation of healthy eating
  • Food quality (i.e. processed food vs minimally processed whole-food)

The factors affecting our caloric output are as follows:

  • Movement behaviours throughout the day (i.e. active vs sedentary)
  • Exercise habits
  • Basal metabolic rate
  • Thermic effect of food
  • Hormonal status (e.g. menopause, hypothyroidism, low testosterone)

Your average weight loss diet and fad diets purely focus on calories, while neglecting the fact that although a person needs to restrict calories, they also need certain nutrients from wholefoods to fuel their body and support metabolic processes for good health. They usually involve severe caloric restriction that if adhered to, will lead to weight loss. However, they fail to address and change all of the factors that have led to weight gain in the first place, such as the things listed above.

The severe caloric restriction makes them unsustainable and the lack of education around changing bad habits to good habits, usually leads to rebound weight gain. Once a person finishes or fails on the diet and goes back to their old diet and lifestyle, they are likely to put the weight back on, plus a few more kilograms. 

The body does this because this mechanism ensures human survival when food was scarce. The human body prefers to put on weight rather than lose it because fat stores are a source of energy when food is not available. These mechanisms developed to help us survive in the wild when food was scarce. Nowadays these mechanisms are sent into overdrive with increased food availability that is high in calories. Therefore, when we decide to lose weight, the body sees it as a stressor and thinks that food is scarce, which is why you feel hungry and tired, because the body tries to conserve energy. Once a person begins to give into their hunger and abandon their caloric deficit, the body will put back on the lost weight, plus a few more kilograms just in case food becomes “scarce” again (i.e. caloric restriction).

Many people often find themselves yoyo dieting over many years and this eventually causes the body to become more resistant to weight loss and it makes a person feel the effects of caloric restriction more heavily (e.g. fatigue, hunger, cravings etc.).

As a health practitioner, I specialise in helping people lose weight, as well as change their body composition (i.e. increase lean muscle and decrease fat) in a practical and sustainable way. My aim is to help people address all of the underlying causes affecting their calories taken in and calories out. This increases the likelihood of them losing weight and most importantly, keeping it off.

Call Oak Health today or book an appointment online to find out how naturopathic weight loss can help you achieve your wellbeing goals!

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