Cardiovascular and Metabolic Health - Weight Gain

According to Statistics Canada, one in four adult Canadians are obese. This number has risen steadily since 2004 and has enormous impacts on the rising risks of chronic diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

In the face of hundreds of weight loss programs and fad diets out in the market today, one can get easily overwhelmed on what the best approach would be. In many cases where weight loss is achieved, the program or diet becomes unsustainable and all (or more) of the weight is regained. This can lead to dissatisfaction, skepticism and ultimately reverting back to old habits that have led to the weight gain in the first place. For those seeking a more comprehensive, individualized and long-term solution, Naturopathic Medicine may be the key.

Here are 7 important factors we discuss with patients to help them achieve their goals.
1. Stress and Emotional Eating
Stress is ubiquitous in today’s environment and it can drive the habit of emotional eating. Emotional eating occurs when one eats for reasons other than for nourishment and hunger such as boredom, anxiety, depression, and cravings. The types of foods that drive emotional eating are often high sugars and simple carbohydrates because of their ability to quickly boost energy and temporarily satisfy. However, such effects are short-lived. There are many ways to address stress and emotional eating by understanding what the person’s triggers are and formulating a plan to address the stressors. We may recommend various guided meditations, breathing techniques, exercise and acupuncture.
2. Brain Chemistry
The balance of neurotransmitters can affect our ability to respond to stress appropriately and effectively. Using either a comprehensive questionnaire and/or neurotransmitter testing, we can figure out whether imbalances in serotonin, dopamine, GABA, or epinephrine may be playing a role in your weight gain.
3. Nutritional Deficiencies
The quality of the foods we choose to put into our bodies can impact the nutrient levels needed to constantly build and heal. Poor nutrient quality or ‘empty calories’ do nothing to support a healthy body and can lead to chronic diseases. Nature has provided us an abundance of food that has synergistic balance of nutrients needed to facilitate many processes in our body. Learning what nutrients are deficient and needed in your body can be an important way to start consuming foods that are appropriate for you.
4. Food Sensitivities
Every body is different and every one of us are tolerant to different foods. There is not one ‘diet’ that fits each of our unique physiology. Food sensitivities can challenge the immune system and create an inflammatory response leading to symptoms of indigestion, fatigue, headaches and weight gain. Food sensitivities can be detected through an elimination/challenge process or through an IgG blood test.
5. Hormone Imbalance
Hormones play an important role in managing a healthy weight. We pay special attention to hormones produced from the adrenals, thyroid and ovaries/testes because they affect metabolism, energy production, cravings, muscle gain and fat loss. A thorough case history and sometimes hormone testing can often elicit symptoms of hormone imbalance and provide us with a plan moving forward.
6. Detoxification
A large driving factor of fat accumulation and weight gain is toxicity levels in the body. Increasing levels of toxins tend to accumulate in fat cells and the body may become resistant to efforts to eliminate fat in order to protect itself from the harmful effects of toxins in circulation. We find that a well-designed detoxification program is key to mobilizing toxic load and hence, see a difference in weight loss efforts.
7. Lifestyle Modifications
Weight loss becomes unsustainable if one’s lifestyle doesn’t support the changes. From exercise, sleep, to digestion and elimination, we help patients take a more thorough look at all the aspects in their life that need to be supported to maintain results. Naturopathic Medicine is well-positioned to address all of these factors.