The INs and OUTs of Weight Loss and Naturopathic Medicine

            A number of patients come to our La Mesa Naturopathic Medical Clinic after experiencing the roller coaster of ups and downs of weight loss. Some of us are lucky enough to manage with willpower and portion control, but many realize that there is much more to it. It is common knowledge that a healthy weight is better for your heart and joints, prevents diabetes, and has multiple other positive effects. However, as anyone who’s tried knows, it isn’t always easy to lose weight. The emotional turmoil is ongoing for women and men alike. Patients tend to lose weight most successfully when they are focused on the health aspects of weight loss. Knowledge can be power in understanding your body’s reasons for holding onto those extra pounds, and can give you the secrets to allowing your body to “let it go” and feel well!
            Let’s talk about the INS and OUTS of what our bodies need, and the common things that can disrupt the smooth balance and regulation needed to maintain a healthy weight. It is a balancing act of liquids, nutrition, emotions, stress, exercise, and even expectations.
             Adequate water IN allows you to stay hydrated, moves nutrients through your system, and helps you eliminate the things you don’t need. Most people don’t realize that many molecules need water to sail across the spaces (or “intracellular matrix,” as pathologists call it) throughout the body. Fluid allows the sea of many complex interactions to be efficient. Water can also carry toxins out of the body via sweat, urine, or even tears. We can increase the amount of sweat OUT through exercise, saunas, and some foods.
             While calories IN and energy spent to work OUT the calories are important, blood sugar imbalance can keep you from achieving your goals. Adipose tissues, better known as fat cells, have several functions. First of all, they make great storage, don’t they? We will talk more about letting go of the storage shortly. Adipose cells also excrete minor hormones, or chemicals that communicate with the rest of the body. When the diet has blood sugar spikes, the adipose tissue is triggered to STORE the extra blood sugar as fat. In addition, chemicals such as lectin will make you hungry. Tight regulation of blood sugar can cause the adipose tissue to dump extra fat and shrink the cell. High sugar in the diet can cause blood sugar deregulation, but so can skipping meals, supplements, and many diet plans. Get your sugar checked out and work on getting it reined IN so you can get extra fat OUT.
              Speaking of calories, malnutrition can trigger those adipose cells to hold onto fat too. Diets that cause vitamin depletion encourage the body to hold onto more since it doesn’t know when it will get what it needs. Starving on poor, nutrient-imbalanced diets will further affect your hormones and will be a danger to your gallbladder and pancreatic function. It sounds like eating less would be a good idea, but in fact, severely limited diets tell your body that it is in survival mode. The body responds by trying to hold onto all nutrients in attempt to save itself! Good nutrition IN will allow for good energy and bodily function OUT.
               Another component of weight issues that I see quite often in my La Mesa Naturopathic Medical Clinic is food intolerances. When the body is taking something IN that is irritating it, the body is less likely to lose weight. I have had a number of patients who were focusing on health and avoiding food intolerances rather than focusing on how to lose weight or counting calories, and they found that losing weight was an added bonus.
               You were wondering when I would get to stress, right? Short bursts of stress are normal, and can elicit healthy responses. Chronic stress is when we get into trouble. Chronically being under stress will cause chronic cortisol elevation and a breakdown of muscle tissue. This is when your adipose tissue is triggered to bring things IN to store, anything really. Adipose tissue storage acts like a savings account – it brings in cellular items that may be useful to the body at a later time since the body isn’t sure what’s coming next. However, adipose may also store toxins that the body cannot immediately deal with, such as plastic compounds, metals, bacteria, viruses, or emotions. After all, you are too busy dealing with stress to recognize toxins from useful molecules! Under chronic stress, the body cannot handle sorting through multiple compounds at one time, so everything is stored in the fat cell, like a closet full of junk. This can be a pretty handy mechanism of the body… except when you want to lose weight. Stress coming IN must be managed to get the storage OUT.
                Emotions dramatically affect our health, too. Negative feelings and/or judgments are not uncommon. Many of us think that we should just be able to make weight loss happen. Feelings of failure or depression can be overwhelming, and can cause unhealthy habits such as reaching for quick calories. Negative feelings may also motivate us into excessive exercise programs that can cause our bodies harm. Everyone has their own story and issues, but holding onto things that we no longer need in life can be a big obstacle, too. Letting go of things, images, or even people we no longer need can be a healthy step; your adipose cells will follow and release what they no longer need. It seems like science fiction but it is something many can associate with.
                 Blood sugar, malnutrition, chronic stress, and our emotional outlook are among the more common obstacles to losing weight, but there are also adrenal fatigue, thyroid dysfunction, gastrointestinal problems, food intolerances, and infections that can be related. Each person has his or her own mix of barriers to wellness and weight loss. At my La Mesa Naturopathic Medical Clinic I can help you seek out your answers not just to weight loss but to wellness. The investment in health that you put IN your body will allow you to get more quality of life OUT.

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