At Chattanooga Functional Medicine we believe that weight management is an essential component to health, sexuality, longevity and appearance. Is there a reason that all weight-loss diets, successful at the onset, generally return the individual to the starting weight at a year? It is because the body was not balanced functionally at the onset of the diet. If cortisol (adrenal glands), thyroid, insulin function and hormones aren’t in balance, no weight loss program will work. A balanced body can take the weight off, and keep it off.
Excessive weight, in the form of obesity, is rapidly becoming the health care scourge of the developed world. The metabolic derangements that accompany this weight are affecting our health, and new research is showing that these abnormalities are likely affecting the health of our future generations. The concept of epigenetics, in which the function and activation of the DNA is changed without actually changing the DNA itself, is causing heritable changes that are being seen in our children. Without altering the genetic coding of the DNA, factors such as stress and obesity are changing the way that the genetic information is processed for us, our children, and our grandchildren.
For too many years the approach to obesity has been one dictated by the media, the food and dietary corporations, and Big Pharmacology. For too many years we have been told that consumption of fat is dangerous, and that the obese or overweight person need only eat differently, take a pill, or do a little more exercise. Understandably the best path to take is confusing, and the access to the opinions and commercialism on the Internet make the process even harder. The human body, and the soul within that body, generally don’t want to be “fat”, but several environmental and biological factors are strongly persuading our fat cells to grow in spite of our best intentions. If we fail to consider these factors in the treatment of obesity, we will have little hope of promoting lasting changes to the patient’s health, increasing the risk of obesity related chronic diseases such as cancer, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. So how does a functional approach differ in the treatment of obesity?
To begin with, it is essential to understand that our environment is strongly influencing our fat cells, the way in which these cells function, and the cellular messaging that is taking place throughout our body. The environment may be a food choice, a toxin (pesticide, hormone or plastic) that exerts hormonal effects on our cells, unending stress in our lives, or food allergies and sensitivities that are changing how our immune system works. But the environment may be an internal one as well, such as a hormonal dysfunction in our energetic hormones insulin and cortisol. Our own sex hormones are well studied, and known to influence how fat is stored and metabolized. Perhaps the most salient factor contributing to obesity, but poorly appreciated, is the health of one’s gut. The current literature is replete with studies associating different bacterial populations in our gut and obesity. In the obese patient, the fat cells are autonomously choreographing a mutiny on the other metabolic and hormonal processes. Often many things need to be considered and fixed in order to cure the patient, not simply the amount of calories consumed.
So to simply prescribe an appetite suppressant, or a drug that changes our brain chemistry’s reward center, and think that this is going to solve the problem is a simplification of the problem. In order to maintain a strong foundation in which to repair the gut, balance the neurotransmitters, optimize nutrition and hormonal pathways, the treatment of obesity must be approached functionally. At Chattanooga Functional Medicine we understand the complexity of the multiple factors contributing to the altered physiology associated with obesity: diet and reward, toxic exposures and detoxification pathways, hormonal balance, and nutritional deficiencies are all considered in depth.
But don’t think that all this will be done without a thorough and frank discussion about dietary choices and exercise. The problem is that in contrast to the sermons of modern media (hawking pre-made meals and “ab-ripper” balls), this is not all that is needed. You may be surprised to learn that the dietary modifications recommended by CFM typically don’t leave the patient feeling hungry, and generally do not involve counting calories. The disease of obesity is a function of your body being kidnapped by multiple elements in the environment. By eliminating these elements, optimizing detoxification pathways, balancing hormones, modifying dietary choices and practices, and utilizing well studied herbal and nutritional therapies, the changes that occur will be real, tangible and lasting.
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Contact us to setup your New Patient Appointment and meet Hannah Wright, NTP.
Hannah has a passion for educating her clients about the importance of eating a wholesome, nutrient dense diet. Her primary focus with clients is fostering a transition from a SAD diet (Standard American Diet) to a diet of Real Foods. She believes that proper nutrition is the foundation for a healthy and vibrant life, and she is dedicated to helping you make well informed food choices so that you can feel your best and enjoy what's on your plate!
Hannah is a Certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner and holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Psychology. When she is out of the office you will find her experimenting in the kitchen, working in her garden, and skating with the Chattanooga Roller Girls.
Call the office to schedule an Initial Nutrition Consultation today or Sign up for The RESTART® Program, a 5 week nutritional program with a 3 week sugar detox built in.
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