Excessive weight can have detrimental influences on both our physical and psychological well being. Returning to what is good for our bodies — a healthy diet, enhanced movement and energy and balanced emotions — is integral in the pursuit of weight loss. So if you are having trouble losing weight, maintaining weight after dieting, or you are gaining excessive body fat, here’s why naturopathy for weight loss is worth considering.
Naturopathy is a holistic approach to wellness that treats the cause of health issues, not just the symptoms and the whole person, not just the affected area. It is based on the principle that the body has the inherent ability to heal itself. Using a range of therapeutic techniques, the mind, body and emotions are supported during the healing process. Naturopathy can alleviate a wide range of conditions and is suitable for all ages, and you do not need to be unwell to benefit from naturopathy.
These include treatments that boost the body’s natural healing potential, restoring harmony and helping to prevent disease, including:
Some Naturopaths are also trained in:
Weight gain is a complex process of biochemical reactions and navigating this for your own individual body composition can be difficult (which is why we recommend talking to a nutritionist). A healthy weight is much more than a number on the scales, counting kilojoules, or being a “size”. For some people, it can be more complex than just eating less and exercising more. Some of the underlying causes of weight gain can be:
The simple answer? Yes. If your weight gain is due to poor diet, overeating or a bacterial imbalance, it can often be corrected with a gentle cleansing/detox program, some extra physical activities or gut health advice with the guidance of your naturopath.
Naturopaths look at your overall, holistic health, including assessing your medical history, dietary habits and identifying any underlying issues. The reason many people fail when trying to lose weight is because they don’t address these issues. So as soon as they stop their weight loss program, they put the weight straight back on again.
Naturopaths will typically start by helping you to uncover the underlying cause of your weight problems. They will then decide on the most effective holistic treatment for your individual needs, and the treatment will differ depending on many factors.
A holistic approach is effective because, as mentioned above, weight gain can be a symptom of other unaddressed issues. Not only can these impact your body composition, but they also affect your overall health and wellbeing, as weight issues can become the cause of other diseases, including cancer, heart disease and diabetes.
Treating weight issues in this way can therefore not only assist with achieving adequate and lifelong weight control but also other health issues.
Some studies have shown that up to 95 percent of weight-loss diets fail, and most people regain the weight they had lost within a five-year period. This can be due to:
Naturopaths will work with you to create a plan that involves “real life” recommendations to help you lose weight at a consistent and steady pace. This will involve making nutritional recommendations and teaching you the principles of healthy eating so you can develop a healthy relationship with food and a happier, healthier body.
Good nutrition and food choices matter, and natural, whole and chemical-free foods are the foundation for good health. Studies have shown that many Australians aren’t getting the vitamins and minerals they need for a healthy lifestyle — these include zinc, iron and magnesium.
This is alarming, as zinc is an essential mineral required for metabolism and good immune function, iron is involved in essential bodily functions, including the transport of oxygen in the blood, and magnesium is essential for healthy nerves, muscles, bones and blood sugar levels.
In terms of a naturopathic diet for weight loss, naturopaths will help create a diet and exercise plan that works best for you and your requirements. They will also identify any nutrients you may be lacking to ensure your body is being supported throughout the program. This may come in the form of natural supplements, herbal remedies or dietary adjustments.
We are all individuals, however, our optimal weight is a balance between our muscle levels and our body fat, and they are influenced by our height and the size of our frame. Ensuring that you have enough muscle is critical to helping you keep your weight stable.
Muscle cells have many important functions, including supporting fat burning, metabolism and providing structural support. Resistance training is vital for building muscle, however, balancing your nutrition is also a key determinant. This is because your body requires specific nutrients to help muscle cells function optimally. If these are missing, it won’t matter how much weight training you do, your muscle cells won’t be able to do what they are supposed to, and you will be left feeling tired and unable to shift weight.
Muscles also weigh more than fat, so the muscles you build with weight training need to be of good quality. Naturopaths can offer this through a Vitality, Longevity and Health Ageing analysis (VLA test). Also known as a Cellular Health Analysis, it is a scientifically validated test that uses a Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis to accurately measure some of the key biological markers of ageing.
It works by passing a very small electrical current (which you cannot feel) into the body at the hands and feet and measures how much electricity is passed from the hand to the foot. It works with a software program that can accurately calculate a range of body parameters, including:
Those who can benefit from a VLA test are those who want to:
Regular readings done by your naturopath will allow them to gauge your muscle mass and whether you are losing fat. So essentially, if the scales show you’re heavier, they can determine if this is due to gaining fat or muscle.
Sometimes the emotional attachments or “baggage” we carry around manifests into physical weight. Failure to address these emotional drivers prevents us from losing weight, no matter how hard we try. You may be aware of them, or they may have been slowly building and compounding over time.
This emotional weight, which can become physical weight, can be used by us as a form of protection and serve as a way to keep us “safe” if you are fearful of a weight loss journey.
Optimal weight loss happens when your head, heart and body are all on the same page. Naturopaths can work closely with you to help you minimise some of these emotional roadblocks and encourage you to live the life you truly want to live.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, excessive weight gain is caused by an imbalance in the body of the liver and spleen organ systems, leading to poor metabolism. Increasing scientific evidence shows that acupuncture can support your weight loss journey. Some of the ways acupuncture can assist with weight loss include:
Chinese herbal medicines are mainly plant-based, but some preparations include animal products or minerals. Depending on the herb and its intended use, they can be packaged as pastes, powders, tablets or lotions.
Different herbs have different properties and can balance particular parts of the body. Prescribing a particular herb or concoction of herbs means the naturopath’s diagnosis has taken into account the state of your Yin and Yang and the elements governing the affected organs.
There are a range of traditional herbs that can assist with weight loss and support your body during and after losing weight by: