An Integrative Approach to Weight Loss
This is something we've written about before but that comes up again and again: the best strategies for weight loss.
For anyone who received our July newsletter, this will be a refresher course for you, so feel free to skip ahead to the last section; but for those who did not-- good news! There are many ways that you can get over the holiday hump, keep your New Years resolutions, and start to lose weight, and many ways that we can help you.
Unfortunately, the outlook for anyone trying to lose weight can be pretty grim. New research is revealing that willpower is a limited resource, and relying on it alone will lead us eventually to grab the donuts instead of the hardboiled egg for breakfast. Not only that but exercise actually increases our hunger hormones, and the food industry is purposely manufacturing foods that trick us into not feeling satiated, so that we proceed to eat more and more calories of them. “Eat less, exercise more” is a steep uphill battle.
If your weight is impacting your health or confidence, you don’t have to struggle alone—we can help you take back the upper hand and improve your health. The key is finding the right approach that YOU can stick with-- consistency is the path to success.
Weight loss programs we offer
The HCG diet
The HCG diet is an effective prescription for breaking through a weight loss plateau and achieving profound results. HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) is a prohormone that decreases hunger, allowing one to stick to a calorie-restricted diet comfortably, and creates an anabolic muscle-building state, preventing the muscle breakdown that often occurs with significant weight loss. The HCG diet is a physician monitored program involving weekly check-ins with a nurse, daily HCG injections, and an easy to follow diet that will produce results.
Ideal Protein is a short-term weight loss plan that educates dieters on smarter lifestyle choices, which increases our dieters’ chances of keeping excess pounds off after they’ve lost weight. Our method focuses both on weight loss and post dieting weight management. Ideal Protein offers the following benefits: A food program which includes a wide variety of spicy, sweet and salty foods, smarter eating education, and expert guidance and professional support under the tutelage of your personal weight loss coach, with whom you’ll have weekly check-ins.
The Rothfeld Apothecary also offers a wide range of supplements that can help give you an edge—nutrients and ingredients that actually target the root causes of weight gain, not dangerous diet pills.
5 supplements that help with weight loss
1. Crave Arrest
If you are a “stress eater,” or you struggle with insatiable, diet-wrecking cravings, CraveArrest is the perfect ally. It is designed to promote an optimal balance of the major neurotransmitters, including serotonin and dopamine, that affect many types of cravings, such as those for food and smoking. Tyrosine and 5-HTP are included in this product in an ideal 10:1 ratio for superior anti-craving results, while taurine and the adaptogenic herb Rhodiola are present to promote a healthy stress response.
We’re finding out more and more about the importance of a healthy, diverse gut microbiome for immune and GI health, but also more recently, for maintenance of a healthy weight. In a recent study, researchers found that children who took antibiotics several times before age 2 tended toward obesity later in life. Even if you have not taken antibiotics throughout your life, you have undoubtedly been exposed to them in the water supply or in the consumption of animals that have been fed antibiotics (often to fatten them up). Restoring healthy gut bacteria appears to be an essential step to restoring digestive health and a speedy metabolism.
We already discussed probiotics, but chlorella helps to support a healthy microbiome as well! By supplying a rich source of prebiotic fiber and fueling the healthy regeneration of gut microbes, chlorella may as much as triple the rate of probiotic growth in the intestines. Other potential health benefits include maintaining healthy blood sugar levels and proper liver function (two absolute keys to weight loss!), and supporting natural detox processes, which may reduce toxic inflammation and help remove obstacles to proper hormonal balance. Chlorella usually has poor bioavailability due to its thick cell walls, so fermented chlorella is best for optimal digestion, as the fermentation process weakens and breaks down the cell walls for better intestinal absorption.
Cravings for salty or sweet foods and the accumulation of belly fat are often some of the first symptoms of adrenal dysfunction. The hormones produced by our adrenal glands are the key players in the stress response. When we are stressed out, the adrenal glands release adrenaline and cortisol, because evolutionarily, these hormones prepared us to fight or flee from imminent threats to our survival. The problem is, in our modern world we are often chronically in this fight-or-flight state due to common daily stressors. This is a problem for our waistlines, because the hormones released when we are stressed make us less sensitive to leptin, a hormone that signals to our brain that we are full. Additionally, cortisol keeps insulin levels high so that our brain and body have the energy needed to deal with a dangerous predator or live through a famine, but since we are usually sitting in rush hour traffic and not, in fact, trying to outrun a lion, that energy is not burned through at the same rate it is mobilized, and the glucose is stored as fat. Long story short: restoring a healthy stress response is often a necessary and missing piece in the weight loss struggle. A good start is staying well hydrated, limiting sugary foods, and taking a daily adrenal support supplement.
Magnesium is required for more than 300 chemical reactions in the body, including blood sugar regulation, and many of us are often deficient in it. A 2013 study in the Journal of Nutrition found that higher magnesium intake was associated with lower levels of fasting glucose and insulin (markers related to fat and weight gain). You could truly be doing everything “right” but if you are short on magnesium, your body will cling to those pounds like a kid with a popsicle on the 4th of July. The kind of magnesium that you often find in commercial products is Magnesium Oxide, which has little to no bioavailability in the body. In other words, it’s a waste of money, and will not increase your magnesium levels. Magnesium Citrate is highly bioavailable, and can also help get things moving if you are constipated.
Other important steps you might be neglecting
1. Get your mind right!
The first step in your weight loss journey should be acknowledging why you want to lose weight. Whether to feel strong, lean and powerful or to be around for and active with your grandchildren, identifying your why will help anchor your commitment to something more meaningful than just numbers on a scale.
Another important aspect of mindset is belief. Your mind sends powerful signals to your body. In order to lose weight, you have to believe that you are capable of it, and that by working toward it consistently, it will happen for you. If you tell yourself constantly that your genes are bad or you can never lose weight, you may be self-sabotaging. Don't forget-- the belief that something will work has such a powerful physical effect that we have to control for it in clinical trials. We call it the placebo effect!
2. Make movement a lifestyle
Take a look at your routine. Is daily exercise a part of it?
Maybe you HATE exercise. Maybe you cannot stand going to the gym and feeling like you're on a human-sized hamster wheel. So find what you like to do-- better yet, find 3 or 4 things you really enjoy, and rotate them. For me, I love yoga and hiking, and I've discovered a newfound appreciation for the gym. I bring my favorite upbeat music and 30 minutes of cardio intervals fly. With a friend there for some positive peer pressure, I have even started to enjoy weight training. Rotating activities I love makes it less likely that I'll get bored, and motivates me to keep doing it.
Maybe your thing will be taking walks after dinner with your spouse, sweating through free YouTube dance classes with a friend, or biking to work. There are endless ways to get moving, and once you find out what you enjoy, "finding time" to exercise will become effortless.
You might even find some unexpected creativity. Already doing the dishes? Throw some music on and make it a party, adding in calf raises, squats and sweet dance moves.
3. Bulk up-- with fiber!
Along with making sure you are properly hydrated, you should be eating 25-30 grams of fiber a day. On average, Americans get only half of that amount daily. Fiber keeps you fuller longer, so you won't be hungry as often. It also prevents constipation (when you are properly hydrated), can lower blood cholesterol levels, and may help prevent colon cancer. A great way to increase your fiber intake is by replacing your sandwich with a large salad at lunch, having the whole fruit instead of a fruit smoothie, and adding gluten-free oatmeal to your breakfast rotation.
4. Rest to digest
Most of us spend the majority of our time in active, fight-or-flight, sympathetic nervous system mode. We often have elevated stress hormones because of a dicey commute, a stressful job or life situation, or physical stressors like sugar or tobacco, or even overexercise.
The problem with this is we need to be in parasympathetic nervous system mode to digest our food, which falls to the wayside when we are stressed so we can more efficiently pump blood to our extremities and outrun a threat or fight it. Not digesting our food well can lead to elevated insulin levels, nutritional deficiencies and leaky gut, which can make losing weight very difficult and also contribute to a wide array of other health issues.
Taking a few deep cleansing breaths and focusing on the sensory experience of eating can help to switch on "rest and digest" mode. So while you're eating, put down your phone, switch off the television, and just enjoy eating.
5. Check up on your thyroid health
Does it feel like your metabolism has been switched off? It might not just be your age. By now, you probably know that an underactive thyroid can cause your body to stubbornly cling to excess weight.
Most mainstream doctors tend to only test TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) and maybe T4, and based on those numbers, tell you that your thyroid is in perfect working order; but that is only one small piece of the larger thyroid puzzle. To truly have a full understanding of thyroid health, your doctor should be looking at your TSH combined with your symptoms, as well as free T4, free T3, Reverse T3, and thyroid antibodies. Many patients have difficulty converting the inactive T4 to active T3, and therefore have hypothyroidism symptoms. Unfortunately, it can sometimes be hard to find a doctor who is willing to test and diagnose an underactive thyroid if TSH levels come back in the (outdated) normal range.
Do you already know you have autoimmune thyroid disease? Cutting gluten out of your diet completely may be an essential step to managing your disease, losing weight, and preventing any further damage to your thyroid, as gluten is structurally similar to thyroid tissue, and when it escapes your gut, your immune system attacks your thyroid as well as circulating gluten proteins, wreaking hormone havoc.