Many people would like to lose body fat for various reasons. Having a high percentage of body fat is known to be one of the most common causes of ill health. Elevated fat mass also increases the frequency and duration of muscle and joint aches and pains, and reduces energy production causing fatigue.
Weight loss is a very personal goal but it often fails. It fails because diets are often restrictive in foods and therefore restrict the spontaneity of a fun lifestyle.
Many patients who visit the Plymouth Naturopathic clinic for other health concerns end up losing weight if they were overweight at the initial consultation. This is simple due to a change and growth into a healthier lifestyle. This is not a quick process but is often a sustainable one if it is accompanied with the right encouragement, inspiration and support.
Fat loss not muscle loss

Most calorie-restricted diets produce disappointing results principally due to the excessive loss of muscle mass. This loss of muscle reduces your metabolic rate (ability to burn calories) and increases the likelihood of putting the fat back on (yo-yo dieting). Losing muscle mass and reducing your metabolic rate tends to create a vicious cycle, which causes hormonal and metabolic abnormalities that eventually promote further fat gain.

Why loose the fat weight?

Everyone will have their own priorities but here are a few:

  • Improved energy levels and wellbeing
  • Reduced risk of developing many chronic diseases
  • Healthy aging

The ketogenic or fasting approach
How it works, a short introduction.

A ketogenic or intermittent fasting program is designed to help you become an efficient fat burner, simultaneously improving many aspects of your metabolism.

Your body has four main sources of energy. It can burn fat, glucose (carbohydrate), protein and alcohol (ethanol). When the body burns fat it produces substances called ketones. These are produced normally, and when the ketones are measured in urine, fat is being burned efficiently.

High levels of dietary carbohydrates, also known as glycaemic load foods (e.g. sugars, breads, grains, rice, potatoes) work with the hormone insulin to switch off fat burning and therefore increase fat gain. It becomes virtually impossible to lose fat if you have raised your insulin levels.

Therefore when your body’s blood sugar and insulin levels are low enough you will switch to a higher level of fat burning.

So, to burn fat you need to restrict high glycaemic load foods to a level where your body will produce less of the hormone insulin and consequently increase the rate of fat burning. Eating less food is not the answer, eating the right foods is crucial to switch on fat burning.

The ketogenic system or intermittent fasting is effective because the body maintains its muscle mass, which helps you to break the yo-yo cycle and importantly maintain the weight loss.

A Naturopathic approach

Treatment for fat loss will always start with a detailed naturopathic consultation, establishing your goals and expectations, and to determine the likely dietary and lifestyle factors that are contributing to excess weight.

Initially the treatment will be focused on implementing the ketogenic or fasting protocol. This will be coupled by both nutritional and lifestyle support and guidance. Having regular contact with your practitioner is highly recommended in the early stages of this fat loss program. This is to encourage the development of lasting foundations for health and therefore sustainable wellness.

The treatment will help you avoid some of the common pit falls. These include the plateau effect, life events and the need to fully support the detoxification and eliminative channels of the body during fat loss. At the Plymouth Naturopathic Clinic we hold regular Fast Talks and Forums which have been very well received (click here to see some of the feedback). These forums have helped people share ideas and the many different ways of approaching the intermittent fasting process, adding to the levels of support and encouragement which are often helpful when losing weight and maintaining your desired weight.

Implementation of an integrated bowel, liver and kidney support program may assist in reestablishing a healthy weight. Correcting digestion, repairing the gut wall’s integrity, minimising permeability and improving kidney and liver function may all play a role in helping the improve the lifestyle needed to maintain a healthy weight.

An elimination/challenge trial may be helpful in uncovering sensitivities, and the removal of known food irritants is important.

Alongside the nutritional treatment there are other lifestyle changes, both short and longer term, that can, if appropriate, be incorporated into your daily life to help you towards your goals.