Medical herbalist Nicola Parker analyzes how to get your figure back
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A number of years ago, I opened a weight loss clinic alongside my herbal medicine practice.
I find many weight loss programs to be faddy and difficult to maintain. I would also refuse to stock weight loss products, believing most of them to be ineffective.
Many of the products advertised online are sold alongside herbs which act as a colon cleanse, boasting significant weight loss within days.
The problem is, that most colon cleanses are laxatives and since stool weighs fairly heavy, this miracle weight loss is much more likely to be the result of laxative use than actual fat burning.
For gym goers and fitness enthusiasts, calorie counting can be an effective method of weight management, but as more and more people came to me for advice, I realised that a different group of people existed.
People eating healthily, cutting down their calories, regularly going hungry and still struggling to lose weight.
I’d often spend a long time in conversations with people like this, digging into their medical history and current meal program, to isolate the cause of the unexplained weight gain or stagnation in weight loss.
These conversations were often rushed, undertaken in a busy environment or with a person who had to rush out and only wanted a quick fix answer.
So in response to the lack of any similar services, I opened a weight loss clinic which focuses on a different style of weight management. Locating the source of unexplained, excess, weight.
Anyone can reduce their calories, but if you are doing this and still not seeing results, it can lead to a miserable and hungry existence. Here are some of the issues I regularly see in my weight loss clinic that are not calorie related.
Firstly, it’s not always fat. If the weight you are concerned about is a frontal, pot belly; a swollen, almost pregnant looking tum – chances are, it’s not fat.
Frontal, abdominal bloating is often caused by gas or a sluggish bowel. Gas doesn’t weigh anything and a belly full of gas often gets bigger through the day, especially after eating. If your tummy is flat on waking and then gets larger later on, you don’t need a low calorie diet, you need a gut flora overhaul.
Cut out sugary foods and excess fruit and juices while taking a probiotic for more effective results.
If that middle weight gain isn’t just frontal, but all around the waist, then this may be down to related to poor blood sugar control.
Slender arms and legs with an apple or pear-shaped torso? Blood sugar regulation is going to be key in managing your weight. Get your blood sugars tested to ensure you’re not diabetic.
If not, then dietary intervention could help a lot more than your waistline. Eat regularly, ensuring you don’t go hungry, focusing on high protein and high fibre.
Refined carbs are a no-no for blood sugar diets. Nutrients like chromium and cinnamon can help with sugar cravings and I use a combination formula called Metabolic Balance which is specific to blood sugar support.
Feeling lethargic? Can’t lose weight no matter what you eat? Get your thyroid checked.
If everything is all clear, bring your results to a local herbalist or ask your GP if it’s possible that you have sub clinical hypothyroidism.
This is when your thyroid is slightly sluggish but not enough to warrant medication. If this is the case, your energy will be low and weight loss will be difficult.
Dietary intervention can be tough here, but there are nutrients which can support thyroid function, such as sea kelp, selenium and tyrosine.
Again, I use a combination formula called Thyroid Support and it does wonders for my patients who show signs of a sluggish thyroid.
If your diet seems healthy but you’re not seeing results, see if there is a local weight management clinic near you that does more than just reduce the number of calories going in.
Humans are complex creatures and a healthy diet should not make you miserable.
My three rules are that meals should be tasty, inexpensive and easy to prepare. Don’t be a slave to calories, make your food serve you.
l For more information or to book an appointment with Nicola, contact her clinic on 01524 413733.