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Weight Loss - An Issue We Love to Ignore

April 11, 2011

by Dr. Kelly Jennings


No one likes to talk about it, but almost everyone is thinking about it. Lots of New Year’s resolutions center on that last 5 or 10 pounds gained over the holidays. Maybe you’ve got more you want to lose and now you’re onto Oprah’s latest – the Acai Diet. The cycle repeats itself over and over again.

And it’s no wonder! America is fat! In my mother’s country, Chile , being fat or for that matter, being thin, is not an shameful designation. People affectionately call their friends ‘gordo’, essentially ‘fatty’ or flaca ‘thin one’. Its used all the time, in such contexts as, “Hey you thin one, come over here and help me.” Or, “Hey fat girl, where have you been all my life?”

So what’s the deal with our body image in the States? Somewhere along the line, our culture got the great idea to place blame on people who are carrying around a little something extra. Spare tire? You must be lazy - lacking motivation to control your eating habits, unmotivated to get outside and move. Big backend? Hey - you’re taking up more room than you’re allowed.

Let’s just agree to talk about this out in the open. There is no shame in carrying around a little extra. Yes – it does lead to an increase in other chronic diseases and we have to be concerned – but let’s drop the guilt and tackle this like any other health issue. There are effective ways to go about losing weight, ways that work, ways that educate you on what to eat, when to eat it, what supplements can help boost your metabolism and what exercise is going to be the most fun and the most efficient for your body type.

In my practice, I first make sure there is no underlying cause for extra weight. Sometimes people come with complete adrenal fatigue or hypothyroidism. No amount of exercise is going to help these patients – they need appropriate nutritional and supplemental support, and often benefit from weekly acupuncture visits. Occasionally they will need hormonal supplementation.

Many have done their bodies harm by trying diet after diet, making weight loss near impossible. Fat cells like to hang on, they’ve got serious survival skills – just like the stuff hanging out in your attic or your basement.

What you need to understand is how food affects your physiology, what foods to choose throughout the day and what times, and ensure that there is no underlying cause for a slower metabolism (anemia is just one cause of a ravenous appetite). You’ve got to realize that there is no one type of diet for everyone, so the grapefruit diet which worked so well for Aunt Marge just may not be the best one for you.

Most people I see lose an average of about 5-12 pounds within their first month – if that is their goal and they are following my recommendations. Many have to learn how to de-stress their lives, as stress over time will eventually contribute to a system that is out of balance. Sometimes, an initial cleansing or detoxification program is all that is needed to jumpstart a weight loss plan. Yes – you do have to exercise, but it can be fun like the tango class my friend goes to.

In the end – there are great methods to help you lose weight and you don’t have to feel bad about wanting to do so. Let’s just get talking!


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