Are you tired of trying different diets, losing weight and then gaining it all back, and then some more?
Weight loss can be a struggle for many people. There are many ‘fad diets’ out there that guarantee quick results, but they are simply not sustainable long term and can be detrimental to your health and metabolism.
The key to achieving long lasting healthy weight loss is to adopt a lifestyle, not ‘the’ diet, and to address the root cause of YOUR weight loss struggle.
A Naturopathic Doctor (ND) will typically conduct a thorough assessment, including some screening tests, in order to identify the root cause of weight gain or inability to lose weight. Here are the most common barriers to successful weight loss, and screening tests commonly used by NDs:
BLOOD SUGAR LEVELS:
When you haven’t eaten for hours, do you get ‘hangry’, a state of anger and irritability? Or maybe you get a headache, brain fog, feel dizzy, shaky or lethargic? These symptoms may indicate dysglycemia or imbalanced blood sugar levels, which have been linked to weight gain and diabetes. When we eat, our body converts carbohydrates into glucose and the pancreas releases insulin, which helps to transport glucose into our cells, where it can be used for energy. An insulin surge tells our body that we have plenty of glucose for energy, so we can hold onto our fat. Specifically, foods high in simple carbs will spike blood sugar and insulin levels quickly. Protein, fiber and healthy fats, such as fish, nuts and avocados, will help to stabilize blood sugar.
Screening tests: fasting insulin, fasting glucose, HbA1C, oral glucose tolerance test
HORMONES – “The Three Musketeers”:
The thyroid gland, which is largely responsible for your metabolism, can be underactive in many people. Common symptoms of an underactive thyroid include weight gain, fatigue, hair loss, cold intolerance, and dry hair and skin. Hypothyroidism is one of the most commonly undiagnosed conditions due to reliance on only TSH and its outdated ‘normal’ reference range, failure to do the full thyroid blood test, and failure to recognize warning signs and symptoms of what could also be subclinical hypothyroidism.
ND Screening tests: Full thyroid panel (TSH, T3, T4, reverse T3, Thyroid antibodies), and Iodine Plus (Iodine, Bromine, Selenium, Cadmium – all play a role in making thyroid hormones).
Fluctuations in Estrogen, Progesterone, DHEA and Testosterone can also contribute to stubborn weight gain. Where you store fat on the outside of the body says a lot about hormonal imbalance on the inside.
ND Screening Tests: serum and/or salivary full hormone panel. Saliva contains unbound, bioavailable hormones, which are available to act on a target tissue and cause symptoms, unlike serum, which contains bound or ‘inactive’ hormones.
Cortisol is a hormone produced by our adrenal glands during times of stress. Cortisol spikes increase blood pressure and heart rate, while also increasing our blood sugar levels, and therefore insulin levels, telling our body that it is time to store fat. Long term chronic stress and high cortisol levels can result in weight gain.
ND Screening tests: Salivary four-point Cortisol test – saliva is collected 4 times throughout the day, allowing for proper assessment of cortisol fluctuation and adrenal function.
A typical North American diet, as well as our lifestyle and increased use of antibiotics affects the microbial balance in our gut. The abundance of unhealthy gut flora damages the gut lining, allowing for partially digested food particles to enter the bloodstream, a condition known as leaky gut syndrome. The immune system reacts to these food particles and causes systemic inflammation in the body and weight gain.
ND Screening tests: IgG Food Sensitivity test – over 200 food items can be tested against your blood to determine which foods cause inflammation in your body.
How many of you have a craving for sweets or carbohydrates? Do those foods make you happy, even if it’s just short-lived? If so, then you may have a deficiency in serotonin, a neurotransmitter used by the nervous system to help regulate appetite, sleep cycles and moods. Lower levels of serotonin are associated with depression, insomnia and weight gain. It is particularly common for emotional eaters to have a deficiency in serotonin.
ND Screening tests: Neurotransmitters or organic acids tests
At MIM, weight loss goals are not only measured by weight, but also by BIA (Bio-Impedance Analysis). BIA measures your percent body fat, lean muscle mass, BMI, basal metabolic rate and overall cell health. This invaluable tool helps to properly measure progress by showing if weight loss is from fat stores or muscle mass.
Weight loss is often seen as a battle, but it doesn’t have to be. A naturopathic doctor will provide you with dietary education and address the root cause of your weight gain or inability to lose weight, after conducting a thorough assessment. This holistic and individualized approach is key to helping you achieve and maintain your optimal weight.
Click here to book a consultation with Dr. Tatiana, ND
Extended health care plans typically cover naturopathic services and some screening tests