Chances are, you probably already know what you need to do to lose weight: cut out the sugar, drop the processed foods, increase your veggies, and exercise more.

But what happens when that’s not enough?

Naturopathic Theory of Healing

The naturopathic approach to healing is simple: give the body what it needs to heal itself, remove obstacles to cure, and get out of the way. There are other treatments that can be added for symptomatic relief while this is happening, but that’s the basic approach. If you’re already eating well and exercising but the weight just won’t come off, there’s an obstacle to cure somewhere. The next trick is figuring out what it is.

Finding the Obstacle to Cure

You can run down the check-list here, or jump to the one that sounds most like you. (Notice there are a lot of linked articles if you need more info on any one of these.)

  1. Eat high quality, not just low calorie. Vitamins and minerals act as cofactors in a number of enzymatic processes in your body. High quality foods are nutrient-dense: they are whole foods, dark green leafs, colorful fruits and veggies, whole grains, and grass fed or free range meat, poultry, and eggs. In addition, because the soil isn’t what it used to be, there are four nutritional supplements I recommend everyone should take.
  2. Clean up the gut. Make sure you are not only putting the right nutrients in your body, but that you are also absorbing them. If you have any gut symptoms that have not cleared up, this might be a clue to why you’re having a hard time dropping the weight.
  3. Are you stress-eating? If you tend to eat for comfort, it’s good to recognize that this is a real addiction. You may not be able to deal with this on the level of willpower without addressing the underlying emotional drive to eat.
  4. Get plenty of sleep. There is an inverse relationship between hours of sleep per night and BMI (Basal Metabolic Index). Less sleep = increased cortisol, which = increased blood sugar, which = increased pounds. If you have a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea, you will need to get it diagnosed and treated as well. (Often sleep apnea comes as a result of excess weight, and will go away as you drop pounds… but it’s hard to drop the pounds while you still have sleep apnea. It’s a catch-22, so for this reason, getting the apnea treated medically may be necessary initially.)
  5. Deal with your stress. Just like lack of sleep spikes your cortisol, so does chronically high levels of stress. It’s best to simply decrease sources of stress, of course; if this is not an option, though, at least consider some adrenal support.
  6. Balance your thyroid. There’s an epidemic of hypothyroidism; here are a few of the possible reasons for it. Your thyroid is intimately connected with your adrenal function, and is one of the primary hormones responsible for your metabolic “set point.”
  7. Cleanse your liver. The liver has two main jobs: first, to break down toxins, and second, to break down the fat that the “good” cholesterol (HDL) brings to it from the peripheral tissues. If your liver is too busy with the first job, it’s not going to prioritize the second. Compounding this problem is the fact that many of the toxins in our world are fat-soluble, and your body stores them in the fat; this means as you lose weight, you also flood your liver with more toxins than it can handle, which makes weight loss harder. It may really help the weight to come off if you focus on detoxing your body.

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