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Thoughts on Weight from a Naturopathic Perspective

Weight is not always indicative of health.

Muscle vs fat mass is more important to indicate disease risk than BMI or Waist measurements. Being overweight however is a common thread in most chronic illnesses and is a major risk factor so is never ignored.

How much someone weighs is considered in context. Gender, ethnicity, activity levels, disease activity, hormonal involvement (i.e., perimenopause) are taken into account. Factors such as sleep, stress and mental/emotional health are also considered. Appetite is linked to our emotional state as is what we choose to eat. We also consider habits, convenience and perception of healthy food.

The dreaded word “diet” will be used to describe what a person eats, not a temporary eating plan or calorie counting. Preferred terms such as Nutrition or Nutrient density will replace this – highlighting the important reason for eating.

Nutrient density will be assessed.

Studies have shown that quality of diet – i.e., one high in nutrients - is more affective at managing weight than a less nutritious one even though the calorie count is the same. This is why you might hear practitioners say, “count nutrients, not calories”. This also puts focus where it should be when eating – How is your food medicine?

When Weight gain is good

If you are doing resistance exercise or strength training, you may build muscle and therefore gain weight. While the scales moving might cause panic, it usually precedes fat loss if everything is in place to support this process. This is one example of how weighing yourself is not helpful or productive. Instead, concentrate on how you feel and any improvements you might notice in energy and digestion.

When building muscle however, your dietary intake is very important, especially macronutrients (fat, protein & carbohydrates).

How Naturopathy can help when you have health concerns:

  • Identify any underlying conditions that affect fat or muscle mass will be explored, such as thyroid imbalance or hormonal changes.

  • Gently adjust lifestyle where necessary – no drastic “diets” or exercise regimes. Nutrition and fitness will always play a part in weight management and is likely to involve daily activity and swapping certain food choices around.

  • We will also help you get the correct amount of macronutrients for you activity level i.e. protein, fat & carbohydrates.

  • Improve drivers of overweight such as appetite, poor sleep, gut health and high stress.

  • And of course, emphasize the importance of health over weight.

Jo Knight

Naturopath, Herbalist, Nutritionist, Researcher & Educational writer.

Get in touch for a free 15 minute discovery call today!


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