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3 Ways Alternative Medicine Can Help You Lose Weight

By Dr. Christina Stevens
Updated March 25, 2015

The key to healthy and sustainable weight loss is to make the process a lifestyle choice. It’s simply not effective to look for a quick fix using fad diets or harsh weight loss drugs, because you cannot achieve a long-term result using short-term methods.

Alternative medicine offers several ways to help you lose weight and keep it off without risking your health or radically disrupting your life.

1. Approaching Weight Loss Holistically

Naturopathic physicians treat the whole patient (body, spirit and mind) to solve the problem of excess weight, rather than just focusing on the weight itself. This leads to a multi-tiered approach to weight loss.

Identifying the causes of your weight gain is the first step. Excess weight doesn’t just fall on you from outer space. It comes from an imbalance between the amount of calories you take in and the amount you burn off. This imbalance can come from overeating, a sedentary lifestyle or both. So, your naturopath will help you figure out how and why you gained excess weight.

Creating a personal plan makes it easier for you to stick to a weight-loss commitment. Once you understand what drives you to overeat or why you cannot exercise, and whether the latter is caused by emotional issues or physical ones, it is easier to design a weight-loss program that will compensate for your weaknesses and play to your strengths.

Helping you figure out why you have not been able to lose weight on your own gives you a far better chance of success than simply handing you a one-size-fits-all diet program.

Monitoring and support ensures that you are not struggling alone. Weight loss can be difficult and frustrating. By keeping in touch to chart your progress and help you figure out a way past the inevitable plateaus, your naturopathic practitioner functions as a partner in a way that Western doctors rarely take the time to do.

Be honest with your naturopath about everything from your eating habits to your emotional triggers so that together, you can design the most effective weight loss program for you.

2. Using Natural Supplements To Support Healthy Weight Loss

Prescription and over-the-counter, or OTC, weight loss medications work by suppressing your appetite and increasing your heart rate in an effort to speed up your metabolism, which can result in quick weight loss that might seem effortless.

Like most fast and easy diet methods, however, it is an illusion. Your body can adapt to the medications, requiring larger doses that might weaken your heart. The most important downside is that if you take pills to lose weight, as soon as you stop taking them your appetite and the weight, will come back.

Natural weight loss supplements work gently to support your body as you change your eating habits and exercise regularly. The most commonly used natural diet supplements are fish oil, green tea extract and L-glutamine.

Green tea extract contains powerful antioxidants call catechins, which can naturally increase your metabolism. Fish oil helps your body burn fat more efficiently and L-glutamine can help tame hunger pangs and sugar cravings. Ask your naturopath for help deciding which supplements best fit your personal weight loss plan.

3. Managing Stress To Make Weight Loss Easier

When you are stressed, your body releases a hormone called cortisol, which encourages your body to store fat in your abdomen. This probably hearkens back to caveman days when the major cause of stress was the lack or readily available food.

Keeping your mind calm and your spirit at peace helps keep your cortisol levels under control and can make it easier for you to follow your recommended weight loss plan. This is especially true if you are an emotional eater.

Acupuncture involves placing hair-thin needles at crucial nerve junctures. This can stimulate your metabolism as well as easing pain and helping to relieve stress. Acupressure works on the same basic principles as acupuncture, but uses massage. This is a good choice for the needle shy.

Pin It Yoga is a system of controlled breathing and gentle stretching that carries oxygen to your muscles. The slow movements are relaxing, but as you progress, they become challenging enough to require focus. This eases stress, because if you are focused on your body and enjoying its new strength and flexibility, you can’t be worrying about work, bills or whatever else is stressing you out.

If you are self-conscious about taking a yoga class or there is none in your area, try a beginning yoga DVD to see if this Ayurveda discipline is right for your weight-loss plan.

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Katherine Hurst
By Dr. Christina Stevens
Dr Christina Stevens is a human dynamo who is passionate about spreading the word on alternative and complementary medicine. For the past two decades, she has been on a mission to help people reclaim their lives and their health using a wide range of alternative therapies. She has also had the privilege of being featured on TV shows in Canada and the U.S., and writes for many alternative therapy publications. “I want people to realize that any disease can be reversed using alternative treatments. My treatments and advice is based on verifiable results from clinical studies, ensuring my patients find real relief that provides them with healing and resolution of their health problems.”

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