Weight loss: the larger picture
For every 5 points on the BMI scale above 22.5-25 BMI you have a 30% increased chance of mortality. That means if you have a BMI of 35-40 you only have a 60% chance of reaching the age of 70. This is due to all the comorbidities associated with obesity. The most common associated complications include: Type 2 Diabetes, sleep apnea, asthma, joint degeneration, fatty liver, high blood pressure, acid reflux, incontinence, depression and gout. The OMA has listed 57 comorbidities of obesity.
Here’s the most common situation for my weight loss patients: a patient sits across from me and I ask them “What brings you in today?” and they reply “My doctor told me to lose weight”. Unfortunately, they are then left to figure out how to lose the weight, which is a big feat on its own. Not only are you trying to do one of the most difficult things: lose weight! But you are also trying to navigate the expanse of literature on weight loss. Which diet?… Which exercises? And far too often people just give up.
What I want to tell you is that each person is different! What worked for your bestfriend may not work for you. There are so many other factors to weight loss that these diets and plans do not account for. Here are some other important factors we need to look at when wanting to lose weight:
- Sleep – a good night of sleep causes 25% less cravings and you will be 25% less hungry. Sleep allows your body to reset all the hormones associated with weight including insulin, leptin, growth hormone and cortisol. Good sleep consists of getting enough sleep, creating a sleep routine and getting the right kind of sleep.
- Stress – did you know hidden infections, blood sugars imbalances, food intolerances, nutrient deficiencies and gut bacterial imbalances are all chronic stressors on the body. When you think of stress, most people think of the perceived stress, such as a busy lifestyle. There are so many other things that will cause stress in our body and have negative impacts on pathways that will cause weight issues.
- Insulin resistance – insulin is necessary in the storage of sugars, and these stores are necessary for times of fasting. Insulin resistance is when the body no longer recognizes insulin and we then start to produce a lot of insulin. When we have too much insulin, fat gets trapped!
- Thyroid – the thyroid hormones regulate your metabolize, someone who produces less of these hormones will have a slower metabolism and will burn calories slower therefore will start to put weight on or may have issues losing weight
- Food sensitivities – intolerances to food unlike allergies can cause a wide range of symptoms, inflammation in the gut is one of the most common, this inflammation can cause you to improperly digest food, it also starts an immune response where the body recognize food particles as a foe and attacks it causing stress in the body and stress makes it harder to lose weight
This is just a short list, there are so many other factors that can play into weight loss issues, but these are the most common after diet and exercise. Your Naturopathic Doctor does an extensive intake to go over all the potential factors that are preventing you from losing weight. They will send you for pertinent lab work and then make a personalized plan with you which may include dietary/lifestyle changes, herbs/supplements and potentially acupuncture.
By Dr. Matthew Pace, N.D.