Americans are obsessed with diet and working out. Yet, in spite of the fact we have the most gyms, the most diet books, and a seemingly endless supply of exercise DVDs, Americans continue to be the heaviest, sickest people in the developed world. In a recent article, Dr. William Coleman says when it comes to weight loss, he believes we have it all wrong.
Practitioners of functional medicine see weight gain as a symptom, rather than a cause of health difficulties. Dr. Cole says we do not need to lose weight to get healthy. Instead, we need to get healthy in order to lose weight. Weight-loss resistance is actually a sign that something is wrong, and the search for a quick fix will not solve the problem.
Here are four areas in which healing may be needed: your mind, emotions, gut and hormones. How do we heal ourselves? Here are some steps to take:
1. Heal your thinking to break repetitive habits.
Most of us spend our days in compulsive unconscious thought. Researchers at Stanford University say fully 90 percent of our thoughts are repetitive, and for many of us, our thoughts are also negative. This creates chronic stress that increases inflammation and can cause long-term health problems.
Researchers at Cornell University determined we make about 200 food-related decisions every day. Because we tend to make those decisions mindlessly, we are not taking care of our health. We would do well to think of food as medicine. Some health experts recommend you practice mindfulness meditation as a way to become more aware of health choices you make, and to remove the negative, repetitive thoughts.
2. Heal your relationship with your body.
If you frequently experience anxiety, fear and anger, those emotions can keep you from achieving your health goals. Negative emotions flood the body with stress and stress hormones, which are linked to weight gain. Forgiving yourself and others can be a first start in achieving maximal health.
It is also important to love your body, and treat it with loving care by nourishing it with good food. When you try to punish your body by restricting foods, you work against your desire to be healthy.
3. Heal your gut.
On a physical level, Hippocrates said, “All disease begins in the gut,” and we now know that is true. Scientists have proven the health of our microbiome, and the trillions of bacteria that live within us, affects our health and also or weight.
Doctors often see weight gain as a result of damage to the microbiome from years of bad diet, toxins, stress and harmful medications. Herbal medicines like slippery elm, marshmallow root and deglycyrrhizinated licorice can help heal the gut. Bone broth is also recommended.
4. Heal your hormones.
While we often blame our food cravings or bad food choices on a lack of willpower, in reality you may have an underlying hormonal problem that is interfering with your ability to make good choices.
Conditions such as thyroid imbalance, adrenal fatigue and leptin resistance can be part of the problem in weight retention. Also, years of poor eating may have caused inflammation in the brain, contributing to anxiety, depression and brain fog, as well as damage to hormones.