5 Tips to Prevent and Treat Obesity
One of the most common issues I see with my patients is being overweight. It may be their low energy, joint problems, or poor digestion that makes them come in, however, I commonly find that people have an excess amount of fat, especially in the abdominal area. Did you know that 24% of Canadian adults are obese, which is 10% higher than two decades earlier? And children don’t fare any better, since about one in four Canadian children are also overweight.
Being overweight and obese increases the risk for developing arthritis, asthma, certain cancers, heart disease, diabetes, gallstones, gout, high blood pressure, and fatty liver disease. Obesity and its related health concerns lead to at least 10% of doctor visits – so saving your own health has a role in saving our costly health care system.
Here are some of my tips for helping to prevent and resolve obesity.
1. Improve habits. One of the simplest tips is to shift a particular habit that is affecting your health. It could be something like over-eating, since you always overate since being a young child – changing that could make the difference in stopping perpetual weight gain. It could be the habit of eating mindlessly in front of the television or computer, or while you work. Another habit is with respect to the time you go to bed, or always waiting up until your spouse comes home from working the late shift – it may be that getting more sleep and uninterrupted sleep can make the difference in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
2. Address nutrient deficiencies. Although it may be counter-intuitive, I often find that people who tend to overeat tend to have nutrient deficiencies. It could be that poor quality foods have low nutrient content, or that the foods you eat lack the variety to make sure you get a sufficient level of each of the nutrients we need to function properly. Either way, when there are nutrient deficiencies, your metabolism just doesn’t work optimally. Correcting your deficiencies allows for all of your body’s billions of daily reactions to happen more smoothly.
3. Improve sleep and reduce stress. Poor sleep quality or insufficient sleep can lead to elevated stress hormones. When your body perceives a stress, the stress hormones are produced, which can affect your insulin levels and thereby affect your blood sugar levels, and metabolism overall. By simply improving your sleep and reducing your stressors, you can make a significant impact on improving your chances of keeping or getting a healthier weight.
4. Tastebud rehab. Many people have strong food cravings, particularly for sweets or salty food – which can lead to weight gain and water retention. In the naturopathic nutritional counseling that I give my patients with weight concerns, we ‘rehab’ the tastebuds. Basically, by avoiding the foods you usually crave, for about two to three weeks, you reset your body’s craving, and have essentially retrained your tastebuds to be a bit more neutral, and also sensitive to the foods you eat.
5. Metabolism support. Many people are slow in their metabolism. It could be just related to insufficient exercise, though it could also relate to their state of nutrition, digestion, or hormonal health (eg: stress hormones, thyroid function, insulin levels). It is useful to get extra testing to find out where the issue(s) lie, to best support you where you need it most. To get an idea of how to evaluate your metabolism, see my metabolic support program.
For more information, or to book a naturopathic assessment and treatment program to improve your overall health, call 905-597-7201. Learn more at www.Familynaturopath.ca.