We often attribute weight gain to a lack of willpower, emotional eating, and addictive tendencies, and that certainly could be part of the equation for many of us. However, those issues do not exist in a bubble. There may be very tangible reasons why we struggle with our relationship to food. I’ve chosen a photo of an iceberg to represent this section, because I believe the emotional factors may just be the tip of the iceberg. The iceberg below the surface consists of several issues that are often crucial to weight loss. 

Weight gain could be due to adrenal insufficiency, thyroid dysfunction, insulin resistance, out-of-balance hormones like estrogen, progesterone and testosterone, plus other irregularities. And the food itself is not so innocent either! Eating processed foods with pesticides, heavy metals, and Genetically Modified Organisms (GMOs) can interfere with our body processes and contribute to weight gain. Not all food is created equal. A calorie is not just a calorie! The food source does matter. 

We also need to address the pollutants in our environment that enter our bodies through the skin and lungs. Women take in hundreds of synthetic chemicals each day through skin creams, makeup, hair products, perfume, and other personal products. Our bodies often react to these toxins by holding onto fluid and causing bloating or edema in order to dilute and neutralize the toxins. This puts a strain on the liver. In Chinese medicine, when the liver is out of balance, emotions like anger, depression, frustration and impatience can show up. This can trigger emotional eating and sabotage our desire to lose weight. Avoiding toxins and gentle detoxification is an essential part of the weight loss process.

STRESS can wreak havoc on our hormones and set us up for cravings and overeating. Stress is not just caused by negative emotions from a hard day at the office, financial difficulties, or traffic jams. Eating excess sugar, skipping meals, eating the wrong foods, or living with chronic pain can also elicit the stress response in our bodies. Stress can disrupt the adrenals and the thyroid, making us prone to weight gain.

Functional medicine can pinpoint hormonal irregularities, nutrient deficiencies, brain neurotransmitter issues, detoxification problems, and more. By combining that information with nutrition, supplements and lifestyle counseling, we can get to the bottom of the weight gain issue and chip away at the iceberg. Acupuncture, an important addition to the weight loss process, can help heal and fine-tune the organs so they work more efficiently. Acupuncture can also balance the mind and emotions, regulate hormones, and lessen unhealthy cravings. In fact, acupuncture has been shown to increase serotonin, a neurotransmitter that elevates mood and reduces anxiety, depression, addiction, stress and insomnia. And a good night’s sleep promotes more Human Growth Hormone (HGH), which helps us stay young, thin and fit. 

The issue of weight control can either be a vicious cycle or a catalyst for positive change. With the multi-faceted strategy that I practice, weight loss can be achieved, stabilized, and maintained.

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PERSONALIZED MEDICINE
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