From a naturopathic point of view, it's interesting to understand why a person is overweight and how he or she can change their eating habits for lasting change. The naturopathic approach to excessive body weight is (as it is with all other unhealthy conditions) to find and treat its cause. Naturopathy emphasizes the body's ability to heal itself and to minimize interference with the healing process. Although many diets produce weight loss, they can also negatively impact the body.
Causes of being overweight
There are many reasons that people are overweight. We tend to overemphasize the self-control part-imagining that overweight people simply lack self-control. This is not true in all cases. Laboratory tests can reveal physical problems underlying weight gain. Without treating the cause of those extra pounds, when a person cuts back on calories and increases exercise, she may still find it a significant struggle to lose weight.
In addition to laboratory tests, a naturopathic doctor also will be interested in knowing what foods a person likes to eat and when. They will want to know what their patient feels or hopes to feel when eating sugar or high fat foods, or drinking alcohol, and whether or not eating successfully fills a need.
These are some of the disruptive influences on weight management:
Diseases that cause people to gain weight include low thyroid hormone, pituitary disorders, adrenal gland malfunctions, blood sugar imbalance, and fluid retention due to drugs, liver disease, or kidney disease.
A lot of stress in life leads to the body producing high stress hormones, which include cortisol and epinephrine. These hormones lead to fat storage around the abdomen. High stress can be caused by work or family situations, or the result of accidents and injuries.
The body will hold on to extra pounds to dilute toxins in the body. Toxins can be heavy metals, pesticides, or foods and other things that the body can not process.
Food and drink addictions
Alcoholism is one addiction that causes weight gain. Sugar or coffee addictions can also cause overeating and weight gain.
The body can hold on to weight for emotional/energetic reasons. Extra pounds may help a person feel more grounded or nurtured. They can provide insulation from the world or a way to escape for a while from whatever is going on. Sometimes people eat to fill an internal void or to deal with emotional toxicity.
It is also important to recognize that some people find it difficult to make changes for logistical reasons. They may dislike cooking or lack the time it takes to implement new habits.
Treat the cause
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.