Personalised Weight Loss
By Áine Fanning – Herbalist, Naturopath & CNM Lecturer
CNM reveals why fad diets don’t work and recommends proven methods of weight control.
If you walk into any book shop or do a search on the internet you will quickly see how many books and websites are dedicated to the topic of weight loss. As humans, we have a complex relationship with food. We need it for our very survival, but more than that, it also represents many other factors in our lives. We associate it with family time, celebrations, business, and we have many positive and negative emotions around it. So, why, with so much knowledge and the amount of time and effort people put into it, do some people not lose weight?
We are now seeing that weight gain and weight loss are more than just an ‘energy in, energy out’ equation.
A recent series of articles in the medical journal ‘The Lancet’ reviewed the research that was out there and came to the conclusion that short term, high weight loss diets don’t work. An approach to weight loss that is becoming much more popular is a personalized approach that is based on long term healthy eating and taking into account underlying issues in the individual.
As modern science understands more and more about our genes and our bodies, we are seeing that, on a biochemical and metabolic level, we as individuals are very different. Our genetic inheritance from our parents combined with factors such as diet, stress, illness and toxicity can have a dramatic effect on various different body systems and influence how we gain and lose weight.
Once we recognise are our own unique barriers to weight loss, we can then overcome them and shed the weight.
If you have been struggling with weight, then maybe you can identify with some of the common barriers below:
Emotions – Something most us are aware of is the link between our emotions and our eating habits. The association with celebrations and positive emotions can have us overindulging on occasion, but it is often the link with negative emotions that sees people overeating on a regular basis, leading to continuous weight gain over time. Eating well and for health should be about enjoying food, but not using food to feed our emotions.
Stress – Modern life can be physically and emotionally stressful, and if we don’t deal with this stress in a positive manner our bodies go into “fight or flight” response. This response is there so that we can escape dangers. It causes many changes in our bodies, including making us more alert and making our muscles ready for flight. It also moves energy away from our digestive and immune systems. Research suggests strong connections between stress and weight gain through elevations of cortisol – one of our main stress hormones. Cortisol has also been shown to have a negative impact on insulin resistance, blood glucose balance, maintenance of lean protein and cognitive function.
Thyroid Hormone Imbalance – A recent study in the USA found that 9.9% of the population had an undiagnosed thyroid hormone imbalance. I assume that figures in Ireland would be similar. One of the main conditions associated with thyroid imbalance is Hypothyroidism (lowered levels of thyroid hormones). Some of the symptoms of Hypothyroidism include easy weight gain and a difficulty losing weight when trying, feeling cold and tired and sluggish. On the other hand, if someone has Hyperthyroidism (increased levels of thyroid hormones) they may have difficulty putting on weight, palpitations, fast heart rate and can feel hot all the time.
Blood Sugar Handling – Our bodies are made to deal with the sugar in our diets through the production of insulin, but with increased sugar in our diets, we are seeing more people developing Insulin resistance. This is a physiological condition in which the cells in the body become more resistant to the effects of insulin, which causes the body to create more insulin. Increased levels of insulin cause the body to store more fat, and insulin itself can be stored as fat. There is a wealth of research on the links between insulin resistance and weight gain.
Digestive Imbalances – If our digestive system is not working as well as it should, we will see weight gain in terms of bloating and discomfort, but it is becoming increasingly evident that – if our gut flora is out of balance – this has an effect on our actual weight levels. This involves poor digestion and absorption of fibre and other nutrients. Fibre has been shown to be beneficial for weight control.
Constant Dieting – Dieting itself can lead to weight gain long term. Low calorie diets can lead to increased appetites through the regulation of the gene Leptin, and they can also cause the body to think it is starving and therefore – when fat is consumed again – it is stored at a higher rate rather than being burned for energy, in case we are going to be starved again.
Taking a positive personalised approach to your weight loss that includes meditation, stress management and addressing underlying imbalances can empower you to not only lose that extra weight but also create a positive relationship with food, letting you find the joy in eating, cooking and being healthy for life!
Always seek the advice of a GP and/or Nutritional Therapist/Naturopath when looking to identify and address imbalances.
CNM are now accepting enrolments on their Diploma courses in Nutritional Therapy, Herbal Medicine, Acupuncture, and Naturopathy.
Áine works for CNM, the College of Naturopathic Medicine and also has private practices in Dublin 2 and Dublin 14. You can contact her for a consultation 0863788857 or firstname.lastname@example.org