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Holistic Weight Loss

Hey everyone, it's Dr. Bird here again. I shared this on my personal page today and just thought that I would share it here with you all too.

If you do not address mental and emotional health, stress and one's neuroendocrine system, as well as one's diet/eating habits for weight loss [because one has decided to simply take a certain product on top of restricting their calorie intake], then what will likely happen is that they will gain that weight right back once they stop the product and/or calorie restriction. There are a lot of low calorie foods that are considered "empty calories," meaning that they have no real nutritional value. I have this type of discussion a lot...let's please stop counting calories. That whole "dieting" myth of calories in minus calories burned is equal to how many pounds you will lose...ummm, not necessarily true. Our body will burn up those calories simply through its metabolic process. In order to burn body fat, one has to simply eat real food, like meats/protein and higher healthy fats with a lower carbohydrate intake are all ideal. Sometimes people think that they are losing weight on these type of programs due to fat loss, but it can also be muscle loss too (or even bone density) because of the calorie restricted, empty nutrient food intake. There are no calorie guidelines when eating real, nutritious, whole foods. And why is this? Because the nutrition is what one's body needs.

Weight gain, in my eyes, is often linked to any combination of the following: toxic, processed foods (one's toxic load), stress, trauma, mental programming, emotional coping mechanisms, and insulin resistance from any of the prior mentioned root causes as well as eating too often. We have been indoctrinated about our body requiring 3 meals per day as well. Much of what we think that we know about weight loss, dieting, and nutrition is completely untrue. Even the fitness aspect within the weight loss industry makes me shutter, especially when I see women working out so hard...because heavy cardio can increase the adrenal glands to release cortisol, which then messes with one's hormones, and can create insulin resistance because the liver then begins secreting greater amounts of glucose as cortisol increases in order to keep up with the energetic demands; however, this can all lead to having a greater issue with weight loss.

This is why weight loss requires a holistic approach. If only one or two of the imbalances, or distortions, are addressed, then the weight will likely come right back on. I'm speaking from my own experience here as well so I understand how it goes...those stress and emotional root causes sneak right up on me, which then begins the cascade of insulin resistance, metabolic dis-order, and blood sugar regulation issues so my body wants to eat carbs more often in order to pick up my low blood sugar levels and increase my energy. It gets to be a vicious cycle until you realize what is actually happening.

The way to really tell if one is losing weight in a healthy manner is to look at the areas around the eyes. Are there puffy bags and/or dark circles in that area? If so, then the adrenal glands, liver, and kidneys are stressed. When the adrenals are stressed, nutrition, but especially minerals, cannot properly be absorbed and utilized by the body. Hence, why stress reduction and neuroendocrine support are just as important as what you are consuming or doing for your weight loss, or as a way of regaining total metabolic balance in the body.

So in essence, there isn't just one simple fix (a pill, a product, etc.) when it comes to weight loss or maintaining one's weight loss. It takes complete authenticity and inner reflection in order to be honest with oneself about all of these holistic aspects that are giving way to the experience of weight gain.

-Dr. Andrea Bird, BCND, CHHP

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