There is probably nothing more challenging for patients and Doctors than implementing and carrying out achievable and long term effective patient weight loss programs.
From a Naturopathic perspective, improving an overweight individual’s health with diet modification and adequate amounts of movement that improves range of motion and metabolism are key cornerstones of weight management.
The health of an individual should always be the first priority, then fitness and finally weight and body composition. While fitness is definitely a large component of health there are healthy people who may not be fit, especially as they age. I have seen many healthy 94 year olds who I would not consider fit, but they have health. On the other hand being fit is not always an indication of health. Witness famous marathon runners and athletes who are considered fit but not heart healthy as they die early in life of heart attacks. If a person is healthy and fit yet maintains 10 or even 20 lbs. of extra weight it is my opinion a non-issue if that person is healthy.
Once healthier diet modifications are implemented and caloric intake is optimal for weight and muscle mass goals, therapy customization based on an individual’s unique needs can be introduced.
Fad diets, magic pills and pharmaceutical drugs are short term fixes that do not result in improved health and are to be avoided unless one likes circular routes to success.
Unfortunately, not everyone is going to be able achieve the “slim and trim” build as defined by society and the modeling industry. Naturopathic approaches to health and weight management are more focused on optimal weight as an outcome of a healthy lifestyle.
Anova Health has developed a weight management protocol with resources that have been successfully implemented with our patients. These steps and guides can be modified based on a patient’s needs and include supporting meal replacements and supplements that can be utilized to assist in weight loss.
There are many great supplemental products and meal replacements that can make the process easier and more fun but it’s the basics that still must be addressed including caloric and glycemic tracking.
We prefer to utilize www.myfitnesspal.com for dietary tracking but you may also choose to use other helpful sites such as www.fitday.com. Tracking and refining dietary choices is the more effective and educational way to engage in learning what works for each individual. Even though caloric goals can be achieved with poorer food choices, consuming alkalizing unprocessed foods should be stressed to reduce metabolic acids that result in more oxidative stress and toxin retention.
Total P.H.A.T. function (pituitary, hypothalamus, adrenal and thyroid) function plays a big role in cellular metabolism and therefore weight management. Depending on your clinical expertise and training, by all means use all the physiological and functional medicine monitoring tools available to help understand endocrine and hormonal balance issues with patients when funds allow this.
Rather than trying to micromanage hormone balance with hormone replacement therapy, true Naturopathic integrity requires addressing the underlying issues including diet, nutrition, digestion, intestinal health, stress factors and liver methylation function. The product AvinoCort, with avian embryonic growth factors, has proven to be in a class by itself in supporting P.H.A.T. function and serotonin levels. Body composition and water monitoring are also very important to monitor for safe and effective weight loss programs.
Finally, I would also recommend that appropriate mental/emotional patterns that impact weight be addressed when appropriate because of its effect on P.H.A.T. and overall happiness and well being.