The Damaged Metabolism

When patients seek out our help for weight loss, it’s important to look at the person’s relationship with food throughout their life. Has extra weight always been an issue since childhood or were you underweight as a child? What kind of diet was considered normal in your household and what were the portion sizes? Were you made to clean your plate even if you were full? We look for certain patterns and often expect to see some of the following indicators:

  • Low-Protein Diets
  • Low Fat Diets
  • High Carbohydrate Diets
  • Chronic Overeating
  • Yo-Yo Dieting
  • Fasting
  • Excessive Cardiovascular Exercise
  • Traumatic or Prolonged Psychological Stress

You may notice that some of these things are very common things people do to try to lose weight. Clinical evidence suggests that these strategies can be potentially harmful to some patients and can damage their metabolism over time. A damaged metabolism is one that cannot maintain balance between catabolic and anabolic processes. The automated system that balances calories in to calories out or calories necessary for function/activity. For example, starving your body of nutrients and calories in order to lose weight, can trigger starvation mode over time. When our body doesn’t have enough energy (calories) available to use, it slows down our metabolism to burn fewer calories throughout the day. This is literally a desperate attempt to preserve energy for the body to use for normal every day functions like breathing, digestion, walking, standing, etc. So the answer is actually to eat more but there’s more to it than just that. You have to re-train your body to expect calories and nutrition on a regular basis, so it comes out of starvation mode, and resumes burning the fuel your giving it, rather than storing it.

Many people believe that weight loss is the key to improving their health, when in fact, it’s necessary to be healthy in order to lose weight! Healing the metabolism is essential before weight loss, or more accurately, fat loss, can happen.

The other very important part of this metabolism balancing picture is what you’re eating, obviously. Naturopathic Physicians understand that you are a unique person and what works for someone else may not be the right fit for you. You’ve probably heard a lot about the trendy diets on social media and the amazing results people are getting with Keto, Vegan, Carnivore, Paleo, Fasting, Etc. So how do you determine if one of these diets or lifestyles is right for you? With help from someone who really know what they’re talking about and can factor in everything else that might be going on with you such as stress, hormone imbalances, infertility, difficult menstrual cycle, menopause, excessive sweating, bad breath, body pain, arthritis, diabetes, etc, etc, etc. Its complicated! And it’s okay to be frustrated if you’ve tried everything and gotten nowhere. Its time for a different approach that puts your health and wellbeing first, with the long term goal of setting you up for successful weight loss that is maintainable.

What Does a Naturopathic Weight Loss Plan Involve?

In your initial visit online, your ND will review your health history and you’ll talk about your diet, lifestyle and goals. She may request some bloodwork to confirm or deny things like hormone function, blood glucose, vitamin deficiencies and other factors that may be affecting your metabolism negatively. If you’ve already had blood work done recently, you can request that the results be sent to the clinic. FYI, medical doctors and naturopathic doctors will interpret results of bloodwork quite differently so don’t be surprised if something your MD considered to be within normal range, is not considered within normal range from a holistic perspective.

Together, you will come up with a plan that fits your abilities and budget. The frequency of follow up appointments will be something you discuss and determine together. Some people thrive with more independence and others need to be accountable to someone. Appointments may be closer together initially, then likely will be a month or more apart as you progress with the treatment protocol.

If help with the exercise side of weight loss is also something you want, we have several options for you with our Athletic Therapist or Physiotherapists(add link)