If you're like many Americans, you've had your fair share of battles with weight. Whether it's a few pounds or a hundreds of pounds, we've all struggled to achieve and maintain a weight that allows for optimal health. Being overweight can lead to more serious medical conditions, and can increase your chances of heart attack, stroke, and type 2 diabetes. With close to two thirds of the US population classified as overweight or obese, this is a problem of epidemic proportion that doesn't seem to have an end in sight - and possibly due to a sinister reason.
The weight loss industry is a multi-billion dollar a year mega-force that is constantly pushing the new 'wonder drug' or the next fat melting supplement or exercise equipment, always priced at that sweet spot that makes it less painful for you to give them your money on a product that sounds too good to be true, because it is too good to be true. The one thing in common that all of these approaches share, is they are almost certainly guaranteed to fail because they all approach weight loss as a one-size-fits-all solution. While their diet plan or supplement may have some immediate effects, as soon as you end the diet or stop taking the supplement, you regain the weight you lost - and many times, you gain even more. And then the next new diet craze comes out, and we are all sucked back in when they say things like 'If you've tried and failed at other diets, this one is the diet for you!'
The main problem with diets is, they are diets! They are marketed and sold as short-term fixes.
Your weight struggles didn't happen overnight. The extra pounds are a response to environmental and emotional stressors, as well as hormonal imbalances which can't be controlled or corrected by following a general diet.
Effective weight management can only be achieved through adopting a lifestyle that encourages and promotes healthy weight. This means embracing a lifestyle that includes a healthy diet—in the sense of foods you consume, as opposed to being on a diet where you restrict caloric intake for short-term losses. It means detecting and removing the environmental stressors, correcting emotional distress, and working to create hormonal balance so your body is no longer fighting against itself.
How does Functional Medicine approach weight management?
Our approach starts with testing your body to understand how it metabolizes food. We measure thyroid function, cortisol levels, and insulin resistance to determine if those factors are contributing to your weight gains. Then we develop a medically guided lifestyle plan that is created for your body. The plan includes educating you to know what foods to eat to get healthy, and which foods to avoid so you stay healthy.
So you're going to make me cut foods out. Isn't that a diet?
In the very beginning stages of your customized weight optimization plan, you may need to temporarily eliminate some foods to allow your body to heal. This is especially true when your cortisol hormone levels are very high throughout the day, which causes chronic inflammation, and that is one of the main causes of excessive weight gain. Once the inflammation has been cleared, we slowly reintroduce those foods to see how your body handles them. In cases where your body has an intolerance or allergy to something like gluten, then that will require a life-long change, because your body does not process that protein correctly.
We elimate the things that trigger inflammation and lead to weight gain. That's where this differs from a diet that restricts calories, because to have life-long results, it means you have to make lifestyle changes that you will follow for the rest of your life. Common foods that cause inflammation are wheat and most grains, dairy, and sugar. Those items are among the first to be removed from your lifestyle, and once you are feeling the positive effects of this, you may never want to let them back in.
Ok. So what can I eat?
We have custom tailored meal plans and recipes that make your new lifestyle easier to embrace. The meals are tested and delicious, and will help you to develop healthier eating habits that reinforce this healthy lifestyle.
That sounds like a lot of work
Anytime you introduce positive changes that will have a profound effect on your life, there is going to be some potential to be overwhelmed. We are here to guide and support you through the most challenging part of this lifestyle change. Follow-up testing is recommended to check metabolism rates, heart health, adrenal and thyroid levels, and to measure your progress and keep you on track.
Can I just do a surgery?
Surgery and invasive procedures should be avoided because they don't address the root cause of the condition. So while the weight will come off due the severe caloric restrictions demanded by physically altering the size of the stomach, the weight will come back if you continue to eat the same foods that caused the weight gain to begin with.