Weight Loss and Weight Management
Weight loss and weight management can be a challenging problem for many people. There are many issues at play in weight gain. The simplest are diet and lack of exercise. But the story does not end there. Anyone who has struggled with his or her weight realizes that there is more going on than just exercise or a proper diet. If it were that simple, there would be no need for medical weight loss clinics and the obesity rate in the US would not be over 60%.
Factors we address:
• Nutrition and diet
• Medical factors
• Low Testosterone
• Stress factors
• Genetic factors
The medical issues at play in weight gain include food allergies and intolerances, hormonal imbalances including low thyroid and poor adrenal function. Other factors include stress, genetics, and lifestyle. Stress plays a large role in our appetites and can lead to many of our "bad habits". Stress eating comes in the form of either salt cravings, sweet cravings, or both. It is often said that weight loss is a journey -- at OC Medical Tustin we cannot stress this enough. We do not seek to provide overnight results or cut corners to lose weight fast. We seek to guide our patients through this weight loss journey and help them safely reach an optimal weight providing them with the skills necessary to maintain that weight for a lifetime!
The first factor that comes to mind when attempting to lose weight is diet. Most associate food group elimination and calorie deficit as the keys to a proper weight loss diet; however, balance and nutrition are far more important components. Balanced, in this case, does not mean equal parts, but rather having plenty of all the food groups. Balanced diet means a balance of proteins, carbs, and fats in our diet. For carbohydrates, complex carbs are best and a rainbow diet is optimal.
A rainbow diet means plenty of color in our diet and that means fruits and vegetables. Good fats are the mono and polyunsaturated fats. Avoid all trans fats, which are found in processed foods and fried foods. Some saturated fats are good but too many are not good. Omega 3, Omega 6, and Omega 9 fats are healthy and should be part of a balanced diet. Lean proteins include fish, chicken, lean beef. Avoid fatty meats, which have very high saturated fats. Having a balanced diet also helps achieve sufficient nutrient intake.
Our nutritional state is heavily related to our diet, but to be healthy we must be balanced nutritionally. Today, plants do not have the same nutritional quality that they had 50 years ago due to poorer quality soil. If nutrients are not in the soil, they will not get into the plant. Today’s soil is deficient in a lot of minerals that make up healthy soil. This translates into less quality fruits and vegetables. Additionally, farmers harvest when fruits and vegetables are not fully ripe. This is timed so that when they arrive in our grocery stores, they are ripe or near ripe. Most nutrients in our fruits and vegetables occur during the ripening process while still on the vine, tree or in the ground. Therefore, having a balanced diet may add nutrition, but it may not be enough. Other options to attain optimal nutrition involve vitamins and supplements.
The importance of exercise in weight loss cannot be stressed enough. However, it is more important to exercise to have a healthy lifestyle than to reach a lower weight. Along with burning calories, exercise improves muscle tone, decreases mental stress, improves hormonal balance, improves detoxification, increases our metabolism, reduces fat, improves bone strength, and improves mobility. There are even studies that show that mental function also improves with regular exercise. Exercising to achieve a healthier lifestyle, rather than to burn calories, is essential for weight loss and overall health.
Perhaps the most difficult weight loss factor to improve is our lifestyle. Lifestyle is not something we do every once in a while, or when we feel like it. Our lifestyle is what we do regularly, week in and week out, month in and month out. Contrast with getting all inspired to lose weight after the holidays and then going to the gym for a few weeks and then quitting. This is not a lifestyle change. To lose weight, and keep the weight from coming back, a lifestyle change is required. Commitment to getting enough exercise, having a balanced diet, and ensuring that all other aspects of our health are in check are imperative to reaching and keeping your ideal health and body goals. This in no way means that you must never eat dessert again or that you cannot ever miss a workout. It simply means that healthful practices become dominate in day to day life. Indulgence is perfectly acceptable in moderation.
Sleep is another factor that plays a role in weight loss. Sleep is the time our bodies and minds rejuvenate. During REM sleep (deep sleep) our brains release human growth hormone (HGH), which has the effect of making repairs in our body. During sleep, our brains also replenish neurotransmitters to prepare us for the stresses of the coming day. Sleep deprivation is associated with weight gain and many other health issues. Therefore, getting enough quality sleep is an important factor that is addressed with not only our weight loss patients, but all of our patients.
Emotional stress can rob us of a fulfilled life. We must understand how to let go of negative emotions that negatively impact our health and poison our relationships. So, the question is, how do we manage stress? There are many ways people find to deal with stress and many of those ways are not healthy. Many patients turn to drugs, legal or illegal, to manage their stress. Our approach to deal with stress is to address thoughts, to reframe how we look at situations that are causing us stress. When we reframe, the stress dissipates. We also seek to replace unhealthy stress management habits with healthier ones so that our patients can alleviate their stress without harming their health.
Other factors include medical and genetic factors. These factors play a major role in weight loss for many people without them even realizing it. Instead they fail to understand why they cannot lose weight and seek extreme diet and exercise regimes, hoping that will work better for them. Such factors include food allergies and food sensitivities that may go overlooked or untreated as well as the role of genetics in health risks, eating behaviors, and optimal diet and exercise. At OC Medical, we address both of these issues as part of our weight loss initiative in order to help our patients better understand what role their background plays in their weight loss and healthy lifestyle journey.
Food Allergies and Sensitivities
Most people, when they think of food allergies, think of immediate allergic responses to food such as hives, or wheezing, or even anaphylactic shock in severe cases. While these are certainly food allergies, there is also a delayed allergic response that usually occurs several days after eating the offending food. Most adults know which foods they have an immediate allergic reaction to but seldom know which food causes the delayed allergic reaction.
To be clear, an allergic response is a response that is mediated by the immune system. However, many people are sensitive to foods and have responses to certain foods which are not mediated by the immune system. The distinction is not always clear.
Food allergies are very common as nearly 60% of Americans have food allergies. About 80-90% of these allergies are developed slowly over time by repetitively eating the food. The allergies can often be eliminated by avoidance of the food for a few months and slowly reintroducing it into the diet, however, people often crave the food they are allergic to making it difficult to eliminate the food allergy.
Signs of food allergies include:
• Dark circles under the eyes
• Lack of energy
• Horizontal creases in the lower eye lid
• Chronic fluid retention
• Skin rashes
Other symptoms include canker sores, Celiac disease, diarrhea, stomach ulcers, mouth ulcers, nausea, vomiting, constipation, gas, gastritis, IBS, malabsorption, indigestion, gallstones. Chronic bladder infections, migraine headaches, ADD, depression, anxiety, memory loss, seizures, joint pains, muscle aches, asthma, chronic sinusitis, constant runny nose, eczema, psoriasis, chronic swollen lymph nodes, red itchy eyes, puffiness under the eyes, and acne.
Identifying which foods one is allergic or sensitive to can be tricky. One method that has been used for years can help to figure this out. Simply eliminate the suspected food from the diet for 1-2 weeks and take note of symptoms. If symptoms improve, then that indicates that there may be sensitivity or an allergy to that food. Blood tests can also help in this matter. We use a lab that tests 87 different foods for delayed allergic responses including vegetables and spices, as well as environmental toxins specific to the geographic region. Results from these kinds of tests help identify offending foods and also can help to follow progress once the food is eliminated.
Treatment of food allergies and sensitivities involve the 4R’s. This stands for Remove, Replace, Re-inoculate, and Repair. Remove means that you are removing the offending agent. This means an elimination diet where the offending food(s) are completely eliminated from the diet for 1-6 months depending on the severity of the symptoms. Replace refers to replacing things like digestive enzymes and stomach acid that may be deficient. These are digestive factors that help break down food for absorption.
Re-inoculate refers to re-introduction of good bacteria into the gastro-intestinal system. This is accomplished by taking a robust probiotic. Proper bacterial balance is critical for proper gut function. When people consume allergenic foods for a prolonged period of time, they can alter their gut flora and this exacerbates the symptoms. Once the offending foods are removed from the diet, it is absolutely critical that proper bacteria are also re-introduced into the gut. Good bacteria aid in digestion by breaking down food, producing vitamins, short-chained fatty acids, removal of toxins, activating beneficial genes, turning off harmful genes, and many other effects that scientists are only starting to uncover. Along with beneficial bacteria, prebiotics are also reintroduced. Prebiotics include fructans, insulin, fructooligosaccharides, arabinogalactans and fiber. These support the beneficial bacteria without stimulating pathogenic bacteria.
Finally, the last step is repair. This refers to nutritional support for healing of the gut lining and mucosa. When foods that cause allergic responses are consumed chronically, there can be a lot of damage done to the gut lining. Once the offending foods are removed and bacterial balance is restored, the repair of the gut mucosal lining can begin. Important nutrients to support repair include glutamine, essential fatty acids, zinc, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5).
Genetic Testing for Optimal Weight Health
Our genetic testing offers personalized genetic reports that use the patients’ genetic information to determine metabolic health, risk for certain health conditions, response to medications, eating behavior traits, and nutritional needs while establishing an optimal diet and exercise regime. No two bodies are exactly alike and treating them as so, especially when it comes to health and weight loss is one of the reasons many people struggle with losing weight and having a healthy lifestyle. By addressing the genetic factors of the patient uncovering the best strategy for weight loss and healthy living becomes simple. Genetic testing is a simple, one time test that will provide a plethora of health information that will serve as the foundation for meeting the weight loss goals of our patients.
Nutra Evaluation Test
Another aspect of our weight loss and weight management service is our nutritional evaluation test which does a complete analysis of the patient’s nutrition. Once on overview of the nutrition is established, recommendations can be made on the proper strategies for optimal nutrition. Proper nutrition is imperative in establishing a healthy diet and lifestyle. At OC Medical we strive to ensure each of our patients receives sufficient vitamins, amino acids, minerals and nutrients either through their diet alone, which is incredibly difficult, or as a combination of both diet and supplementation. The Nutra Evaluation test provides information on which nutrients the patient has enough of, could use more of, or is lacking. From there we determine a realistic plan to ensure that all vitamin and nutrient goals are reached for each patient.
We do a thorough evaluation and address each individual’s needs when putting a treatment plan together. We address underlying medical issues, genetics, nutrition, and lifestyle factors. We counsel patients on nutrition, proper eating and an exercise regimen that is appropriate for them. We also help each patient make changes in their lifestyle that has been keeping them from meeting their weight loss goals. We believe that to keep the weight off long-term, a change in lifestyle is mandatory. However, lifestyle changes should be small and gradual rather than large and immediate. Incorporating small lifestyle changes are much easier and much more likely to last than significant changes. The core of our weight loss program seeks to inform the person about the weight loss factors they cannot control, the factors they can control, and how to find a balance between the two that leads to a healthier weight and lifestyle.
Strategies and Options
We employ a variety of strategies and options in order to help each patient achieve their weight loss goals using a method that is best suited for their lifestyle and needs. Medication is used where appropriate to help curb appetite. However, diet medication alone will not ensure a patient’s weight loss goals are met. Diet medication, such as phentermine, will help patients make better dietary choices and will help avoid overeating. Nevertheless, the food choice is still up to each individual.
Determining genetic, nutritional, and medical factors that often go overlooked through genetic testing and food sensitivity and allergy testing allows us to establish a lifestyle plan that is best suited for each individual patient. Each test is highly recommended and provides the framework for the best weight loss and weight management regime for each patient. Together, the food allergy and sensitivity, genetic, and nutra evaluation tests provide the best overall picture. Each test is simple, easy, and can be done on the same day or over multiple appointments.
We also offer fat burner injections which will help you burn the fat and improve energy levels and human chorionic gonadotropin (HCG) injections which can also result in dramatic weight loss. The HCG injection program requires a deeper level of commitment to be successful but can yield tremendous results in just weeks.
Based on the results from the evaluation process the proper strategies and options for each patient will be comprised into an optimal weight loss plan for each individual. From there we guide our patients through the execution process of that plan and aid them in adapting a healthy lifestyle that will enable them to achieve their weight loss, and overall health goals.
If you are interested in losing weight and adapting a healthy lifestyle give us a call at (714) 442-6642 to schedule an appointment to get started today.
By analyzing each of the factors discussed earlier and developing a plan to change lifestyle, balance diet and nutrition, and exercise, as well as the medical and genetic factors that influence a person’s tendency to gain, maintain, or lose weight we help our patients reach their ideal health and weight. We seek to help our patients understand how these factors affect their ability to lose weight and what role they play in overall health. Once this knowledge is found we are able to design a plan that best suits each individual for achieving their health goals. We provide our patients with the tools and knowledge to adapt their lifestyle in such a way that they lose the weight and keep it off.