Weight loss is not only influenced by our diet and exercise.
To be successful, the causes of a person’s inability to lose weight need to be identified and this is where integrative medicine is so effective. A thorough screening determining hormone levels and an evaluation of a patient’s lifestyle provides the doctor with important information allowing her to recommend an individualised treatment plan.
Fat-building hormones respond to certain types of food and therefore fresh, raw fruits and vegetables should make up the majority of your diet. Eat lean protein and whole grains and avoid sugars, starchy carbohydrates and hydrogenated oils and trans-fats.
Water is a natural appetite suppressant and essential for hydration and detoxification. In addition, water hydrates your skin making it clear and healthy.
Metabolic pathways and hormones rely on exercise to activate the systems that build muscle and assist in losing weight. It is not necessary to embark on a stringent exercise regime. Basic exercises such as walking, swimming or cycling are sufficient.
Sleep is a major contributing factor in weight loss. Most of the hormones responsible for improving metabolism, such as thyroid, testosterone and growth hormone are produced during the deeper sleep cycles. Compromised sleep leads to an increased appetite with resulting insulin resistance.
Weight loss is more challenging as you age due to the fact that your growth hormone declines. Therefore evaluating and restoring hormone balance is vital to weight control.
Stress management helps to control the fat promoting hormone, cortisol. Cortisol causes weight gain especially around the middle of the body. Exercise, meditation or yoga are helpful in removing stressors.
Addressing intestinal health and the impact on nutrient absorption and metabolic vitamin production, food allergies and utilising supplements and medications assists the hormone system in controlling appetite and speeding up metabolism.
Dr van Dyk works in partnership with The Medi-Lean Weight Loss Programme, learn more.