Naturopathic Approach To Weight Loss

by Dr. Helen Cohen, ND

As the summer gets closer, thousands of women are once again embarking on a losing battle of taking control over the shape of their bodies. This will be a second wave of dieting, the first one followed the New Year's resolutions. A considerable amount of pounds will be shed off translating into a sizable revenue for the diet industry. Most of the lost pounds will be 'found', however, often in much greater amounts. Many books will be written and lectures given on the dangers of 'yo-yo' dieting. Everyone knows by now, that dieting is the surest way to become overweight, that for every pound of valuable muscle tissue that had been lost, several pounds of fat will enter the body at lightning speed as soon as the diet is over, leaving the victim with an even greater amount of guilt, and shame, and a conviction in the terminal lack of her will power. Yet a few more revelations of this nature will enter the market.

Some authors will claim once again that dieting is a burning proof of how badly this society mistreats a woman, forcing her to compromise her health and happiness in order to conform to man's preposterous sexual ideals. Others will have a case in point as to what working outside her home and trying to become a man would do to a woman. Many new books and new therapies will explore once more the not so new hypothesis of compulsive overeating being a bad habit that needs simple retraining. There will be more meditation, affirmation, and other self-pacification techniques available. The concept behind these is also quite simple: if you still suffer from your "infantile" needs not being fulfilled, you must be a real bad girl! Some folks will embrace the neat 12-step program and check themselves out for a fashion-able and contagious case of co-dependency.

And among all this noise, clatter, and profit, a real and tangible suffering will proliferate and multiply, filling crevices and corners of life with so much rage, fear, and pain that the seams are beginning to give in, a handful of very courageous desperados from time to time discuss the 'eat your heart out' syndrome of sexually abused overeaters. Since most of them are still overweight in spite of their newly acquired insights into the depths of their wounded souls, proponents of behavior modification, affirmations, simple 'pull yourself together on a proper diet' disciplinarians, intoxicated on being able to wield so much power for so long, are only too happy point out the uselessness of that approach. But, perhaps, those poor women did not look deeply enough into their souls. Perhaps, not all of the truth was recalled and relived, not all of the road to the past was travelled, but who would dare to know? How ugly and petrifying the real truth must be, if even the most courageous of them only go half the way?

Above all, how much of THEIR truth are WE prepared to stomach? Granted, not too many people are ready and willing to embark on a tormented road of real self-discovery, but that is still not an excuse for the professionals and others who profit from dieting business not to try to encourage as many as we can, to do so.

However, it would not be fair to blame the diet industry alone for this sad state of affairs. It is, after all, a free market system, designed to respond to the demand the best it can. And it does. The demand to simply lose weight with no strings attached and no real work done in the shortest time possible - right for the bikini season - is enormous. Often these people phone a naturopathic office to inquire about our weight loss strategies.

'Can you help me to lose weight?'

'Yes, we can.'

'How do you do that?'

'We approach this from a perspective of you having an illness, a disorder that creates the need to crave unhealthy foods and a body that had been exhausted by dieting. We treat the underlying causes of your particular condition, be it a hormonal imbalance, or blood glucose problem, or compulsive eating disorder... 'No-no... I just want to lose 10 pounds off my hips. Do not worry about the rest of my body or my psyche. I do not have any problems. I just need to lose 10 - 15 pounds. How much do you charge for 10 pounds?' This is a type of programming that fuels the diet industry and sells useless books and dangerous and futile diets. Now, whether or not, it is the fashion industry, the media or even the society at large that instigates this type of conditioning or it is actually the other way around, is impossible to say. Do women want to be thin to fit into a chic dress or does this dress only sell when it is paraded on a bony adolescent with no apparent female secondary sexual characteristics? Did fashion designers create this trend out of their own perverse sense of beauty, or do we, as women, really hate our post-partum hips, and breasts and stomachs?

And do we really honestly want to look like our mothers and grandmothers? Does a man's taste dominate so much of what we buy at the boutique store? If it does, why do the pictures of hipless teenagers adorn our magazines but not theirs, not the pages of Playboy and such?

All this aside, how can a naturopathic medicine help an unhappy and often unhealthy person trapped in a dieting cycle? What is homeopathy and what can it offer to women, men, and children who are overweight and struggling unsuccessfully to lose this excess weight?

Naturopathy is a medical science that is quite different in its approach to health and disease from the orthodox allopathic medicine. It combines many very different clinical sciences, most of which are traditional ones such as Chinese Medicine or Western Herbalism, or Shiatsu, and soon. While being tradition oriented in her clinical scope of practice. a naturopathic doctor relies on a modern education in all the basic medical sciences from a pathophysiological perspective Thus, naturopathy offers an INTEGRATED or HOLISTIC approach to person suffering with any ailment, ant this is how we view the obesity as well as a state of poor health. Naturopathic doctors do not subscribe to any fashion able theory or solicit any universal diet They do not advise their patients to lost weight fast either, as this is detrimental to human health. Instead, each person h viewed and treated as an individual within a certain reference plane of their owl' sociological, cultural, economic, familial, psychic and biological characteristics. Their illness is seen as dynamic not a static pathology, however, observe( from many different angles which makes; it not only unique but also recognizable as a known pattern for which a well known and successful treatment exists; in a realm of naturopathic medicine. A naturopathic doctor, indeed is herself very unique professional, as she has a her disposal all the latest clinical and scientific data available such as physiology of obesity, cellular metabolism and information on set point hypothesis which she can combine with her knowledge and training in centuries proven clinical methods that are effective in stimulating the body to lose excess weight naturally, slowly and in a healthy way. Homeopathic remedies, acupuncture, oriental herbs, regiment of. hydrotherapy, exercise and rational change in eating habits, based on the information of the real qualities of foods supplemented by a well structure( psychotherapy is a road to a thinner, AND healthier being.

Dr. H. Cohen is a Naturopath practicing Homeopathic Medicine.

In her practice, she combines he, knowledge of homeopathy with extensive background in psychology.

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