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Weight Loss with Naturopathic Medicine


By Thomas Stearns Lee, NMD

It seems that every year we see another national effort to lose the post-holiday "chubbies."  But the big winners after every holiday season are the publishers and makers of information and products for the weight loss craze.  For all the money and efforts involved, the average American is not getting any thinner.

The Atlanta Center for Disease Control estimates that a third of all Americans are packing around 20 or more pounds of extra weight.  Most of us know if we are members of this group.

Many of us grew up with the message, "Fat people just eat too much"?  That message still tangles millions of us into guilt and self-image issues long after science has disproved it.  We all know thin people who seem to eat for a family of four, and rotund folks who are always shying away from anything resembling a calorie.  What is as important as the amount is the type of food, timing of intake, and metabolic balance, including hormone levels.

These concepts are now entering the marketplace, and I want to present a few of the main ideas so you can make your best choices.  Many new diet products try to push the body to turn up its metabolism, or to support the hormones with herbal or mineral tonics.

These may work for a certain time, but they could exhaust you or leave you pretty uncomfortable if you overdo the metabolic stimulants.  Herbs like Ma Huang, ephedra, guarana, and Red Ginseng are wonderful tonics short-term, but they can overheat and exhaust you if taken for more than a week or two.  The term "thermogenics" applies to some of these herbal preparations.

Other ways to increase metabolism include exercise and mineral supplements, such as Chromium and Vanadium, and hormone supplements including Thyroid, Testosterone, Estrogen, or Progesterone.  Please work with an experienced natural health professional if you want to work with these more powerful hormones or tailored exercise routines.

Other systems that are reappearing are liquid protein mixtures, which several multi-level companies are now marketing.  These can be very effective with a little common sense, but they were pulled off the market because people werenít commonly sensible with them.

A high-protein diet will get weight off, but it can stress the kidneys with the byproducts of those changes.  Work with someone to minimize that risk if you experience headaches or excessive aches and pains.  To inform yourself about this strategy, read Protein Power by the Eades.  It articulates the concepts very well and will help you avoid uncomfortable mistakes.

The "approved" dieter's aids that you can reach for in any drug store are generally pretty lame.   They act by suppressing the appetite, but the resulting physical stress will slow down your metabolism and make a return of excess weight even more likely.

For an emergency all-nighter, students have used these variations on "speed" for generations.  Most of these diet drugs are not very comfortable, and they donít leave you any thinner or smarter about weight management.  They don't even help you pass the tests, but they could help you avoid a good night's sleep before it.

There are many "cleansing" types of weight loss systems on the market now.  These are often more sensible ways to feel better, and if they are used briefly with building diets afterwards, they can certainly help you get back to your pre-holiday sizes.  We have identified several with safe and effective ingredients that work well if they fit your energetic situation.

The attitude to encourage is one of kindness to yourself.  Weight gain is a survival talent that is now in our way.  Step up to choices in nutrition and supplements which will spare your muscle mass, not make you tired or achy, and keep your energy and activity level up.  An experienced naturopathic physician can help you design such a program using these concepts and natural materials.

Excess weight is usually put on from unused energy, or persistent toxins, and it's normal for your body to want to save up fuel for protection from future starvation.  Gain more enthusiasm for something outside of yourself in this life, gain a high activity level bringing that about, and you will lose the stagnant reserves you call "fat."

And please don't be sold any "magic beans" or quick tricks that don't ask you for any changes.

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