Why Can’t I Lose Weight?
There are many considerations to this question. Adrenal dysregulation? Poorly functioning thyroid? Plummeting sex hormones as in perimenopause, menopause or andropause (AKA male menopause)? How about insulin resistance? An experienced physician can go through the daunting checklist with you to help pinpoint where the trouble seems to be. Once you identify the cause, the treatment plan can be formulated. We use numerous approaches to weight loss that may include any of the 5 following.
1. Detoxification or Elimination Diet (10 days or 28 days)
- Promotes wellness, especially when someone has prolonged exposure to chemicals or synthetic hormones.
- Promotes weight loss.
- Improves energy, arthritis and joint pain, headaches and migraines, PMS, anxiety, frequent colds, heartburn, and constipation.
- Is recommended for anyone suffering from autoimmune disease, multiple chemical sensitivity, fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, digestive disorders, heart disease, arthritis, ADD, and other chronic degenerative diseases.
Dietary detoxification is recommended 1-2 times a year –– preferably in the spring and fall. A dietary detoxification protocol can last from 1 week to 2 months depending on your health goals. Our naturopathic doctors generally recommend a 28-day detoxification program and we encourage anyone to have a medically supervised detoxification if you’ve never done one before.
Detoxification involves dietary and lifestyle changes that reduce the intake of toxins while improving elimination. External toxins include a listing of the following: Alcohol, smoking, pesticides, tobacco, heavy metals, medications, oral contraceptives, specific foods intolerances in our diet. Internal Toxins can include normal metabolic by-products and excess hormones that build up and are recycled in the body if a person’s organs of elimination (skin, lungs, gut, liver, kidneys) are sluggish, impaired or diseased.
A naturopathic detoxification program accounts for the individual and their health concerns in a way that many over-the-counter detox kits do not. Our naturopathic doctor will review your health profile and incorporate a plan that may include:
- A guided diet cleanse for the month with recipes
- A medical detox food
- Supplements to support the organs of elimination (such as the liver, kidneys and lymphatic system)
- Possible weekly intravenous therapies and infrared sauna
2. Medically- Supervised Weight Loss Program
This is a physician-supervised weight-loss program utilizing prescription injections. We use a range of evidenced-based prescription medications to help aid in weight loss.
Specific stress hormones in our bodies cause us to gain visceral fat. This is the fat, most commonly situated around the abdomen surrounding our internal organs, which the body normally stores for use in a “starvation” situation. As we age, these hormone levels decline, and visceral fat tends to accumulate. Excess accumulation of visceral fat is associated with many health issues, including chronic stress, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
Associated positive side effects
- Increased energy and feeling of well-being
- Mental clarity and heightened thought processes
- Improved quality of sleep at night
- Feeling less irritable and moody
Associated negative side effects
- Initial fatigue and weakness that usually resolves itself
- Constipation (easily managed with follow up visits)
A medically supervised weight-loss program with our Naturopathic Doctors involves supplemental weekly injections of Lipotropic (MIC and B12) Vitamins to support energy; a tailored healthy nutrition and dietary plan, selected prescribed medications when appropriate and weekly body composition screening (which measures and tracks your muscle percentage, fat percentage, hydration status and basal metabolic rate.
Does this physician-supervised Weight-Loss Program work?
Our programs are successful for those who adhere to them. They are also patient-specific and may include one or no prescribed medications to aid in weight loss. We recommend started with a 5-week weight-loss program, depending on your individual weight goal and your level of discipline. Strict adherence to the chosen and selected nutrition plan will yield the best results.
Prior to starting this medically supervised Weight Loss Program, we will ask you for a pre-screening assessment. This will involve a blood test, a comprehensive questionnaire, and a personal interview to determine suitability.
3. Food intolerance & food allergy testing
Unidentified food sensitivities can contribute to many chronic health conditions including irritable bowel syndrome, reflux and heartburn, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, autism, ADD/ADHD, eczema, chronic ear infections, malabsorption, insomnia, and many others.
Types of reactions
Immediate food reaction
As the name implies, this food reaction can occur within minutes or up to 3 hours after ingestion. The reaction is caused by the presence of high IgE antibody levels in the blood, which sets off an immediate allergic response. IgE antibodies makeup only a small percentage of our immune system but exert the most severe reactions. Symptoms can include rashes or full body hives after eating an apple, a swollen throat after ingesting peanuts, or an intense headache after drinking wine.
Delayed food reaction
Delayed food reactions can occur up 72 hours after ingestion of the reactive food, making it difficult to link one’s symptom to the food eaten several days ago. Such hidden allergies are often the cause of many “chronic symptoms”. The immune response to delayed food reactions is often caused by antibodies other than IgE. They are IgG, IgA, IgM, and IgD. The IgG antibody is the largest circulating antibody in our immune system and can cross the placenta from mother to child. IgG antibodies are the most common form of immunologic-mediated food responses. These antibodies combine with the food particles in the blood to form “immune complexes” which cause inflammatory reactions in tissues. Such inflammatory reactions can occur in any part of the body, thus producing many kinds of symptoms such as headache, eczema, joint pain, mental disorders, etc.
Diagnosis of food intolerances & food allergies
Obviously, immediate food reactions can be identified easily. However, delayed food reactions are much more difficult to diagnose. According to recent research, IgE antibodies cause immediate food reactions and delayed food reactions are often associated with IgG antibodies. We test for both IgE and IgG reactions in our comprehensive food panels via a blood test. This test has a 99% sensitivity and reproducibility, and a 15% false negative. What the false-negative means, is if you’ve avoided any particular foods for greater than 3 months, they may not show up on your results if you are reactive. To correct for the 15% false negative, it is advisable to have a liberal diet for several weeks prior to your blood draw.
All of our food tests include 96 IgG food sensitivities and 12 IgE food allergies. We also offer expanded panels that offer 184 IgG food sensitivities and 25 IgE food allergies. Please contact our office for price inquiries.
4. Ketogenic Diet
In a nutshell, the ketogenic diet is a very low carbohydrate diet with adequate protein and high fat. While this may sound difficult for some, it’s proven quite successful and we make it easier for you the get started. It has the best research outcomes and it has one of the highest rates of compliance long-term. People feel good, have lots of energy, lose weight; and this motivates them to keep it up.
We will provide you with resources, recipe ideas and get you started on the right track. Follow up visits allow us to monitor your body composition to ensure you are losing fat and not muscle mass, ensure you are consuming enough calories and to help you to lose weight successfully and for the long-term! Read more here to check out the latest research.
5. Insulin resistance & metabolic restoration
Insulin Resistance or Metabolic Syndrome is also called Pre-Diabetes. Insulin is a hormone made by your pancreas to help control your blood sugar levels. Insulin allows sugar to get from your bloodstream into your cells. Then your cells can use it for fuel or store it for later use (as fat). If you have metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance, the cells of your body aren’t paying attention to insulin very well. So you are unable to access the sugar floating around in your bloodstream for energy. This means that higher than normal amounts of insulin will need to be produced to get that sugar out of your blood and into your cells. High insulin contributes to inflammation, abdominal weight gain, hormone imbalance, increased risk of cancer and cardiovascular disease. Insulin Resistance or Metabolic Syndrome is pre-diabetes and, if untreated, can ultimately lead to diabetes.
What causes insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome?
Factors that have been shown to cause or contribute to metabolic syndrome or insulin resistance include:
- Poor diet
- Being overweight
- Lack of exercise/physical activity
- Sleep apnea
- Hormonal changes such as pregnancy, peri-menopause, menopause and andropause (male menopause)
- Some medications including steroids and antidepressants
- Some medical conditions such as Cushing’s and Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
- Vitamin and mineral deficiencies
What are the signs & symptoms of pre-diabetes?
You may be unaware that you have insulin resistance issues. Some of the signs and symptoms are similar to those of diabetes. Others are evidence of higher than normal amounts of insulin. Symptoms of insulin resistance may include:
- Excess thirst
- Frequent urination
- Weight gain
- Hormone imbalances (excess estrogen or testosterone)
- PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome)
- Elevated cholesterol
- High triglycerides
- Elevated HbA1c or glycated hemoglobin
- High blood pressure
- Metabolic Syndrome
- Fatigue or muscle weakness
- Gestational diabetes
- Acanthosis nigricans (darkened patches of skin on the neck, underarms, elbows, knees, knuckles)
What are natural treatments for insulin resistance or metabolic syndrome?
Insulin resistance can often be helped by addressing a few key areas of health such as diet, exercise and stress reduction techniques. A diet rich in low starch vegetables, little/no refined sugar, good protein and healthy fats is important to reduce your risk factors for developing insulin resistance. A Ketogenic Diet has been found to be the most impactful for metabolic syndrome, but also for diabetics who are currently on medications.
High-stress spikes cortisol, blood sugar and insulin. Stress reduction techniques like yoga (and other exercises), meditation, breathing practice, clinical therapy, acupuncture, and massage therapy can all be beneficial.
Our naturopathic doctors will work with you to help you manage your symptoms, prevent diabetes (or treat existing diabetes), and get to the source of your insulin resistance through your own individualized treatment plan. It may include:
- Specific dietary modifications –– eliminating food intolerances; increase in fibre, vegetables, fats and protein, decrease in starches and sugars; increase omega 3 fatty acid-rich foods; education and recommendation for a ketogenic diet or intermittent fasting.
- Vitamins, minerals, enzymes –– may include chromium, vanadium, alpha-lipoic acid, B Vitamins, and others.
- Botanicals –– such as devils club, gymnema, momordica, and milk thistle.
- Exercise Guidance and recommendations
- Stress reduction techniques, tools and resources
Testing for pre-diabetes/diabetes & research
We use a variety of Blood Tests that can include HbA1c, 2-hour post-prandial glucose and insulin, fasting blood sugar, fasting insulin, fasting cholesterol, triglycerides, Glucose Tolerance Test with insulin measurements or a GTIR test.
Every patient is assessed as an individual and we put together a customized naturopathic treatment plan to help you regulate blood sugar, lower insulin, restore metabolic function, and reduce symptoms of insulin resistance, pre-diabetes or diabetes. The food you choose to eat and how you move are the foundation of your plan. Cited below are a few studies related to additional treatments that may be recommended for insulin resistance, but there are many more natural treatment options.
Supplementation with omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids was found to improve markers of insulin resistance. Source: European Journal of Lipid Science and Technology, 2011.
Dehydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), a steroid hormone in the human body, was found to improve insulin resistance and inflammatory markers in the elderly. Source: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/21566261 [Elevated levels of DHEA can be a sign of insulin resistance in PCOS].