Addressing Obesity: A Holistic Approach to Weight Loss

The concept of holistic treatments involve both mind and body. Most weight loss programs and exercise programs focus only on the body. In order to lose weight successfully, both body and mind need to be taken into account since each affects the other.

Body

This is the aspect of weight loss that is most often practiced, talked about and written about. Your ‘body’ program will include both a weight-loss diet and an exercise program. We all know that when we consume more calories than we burn, we gain weight. In order to lose weight, we need to consume less calories than we burn.

The diet should consist of low-fat, high protein foods and most nutritionists agree that limiting carbs is important if you want to encourage your body to burn off fat reserves. Whether or not you decide to count calories, limit your diet to lean meats and plenty of healthy fruit and vegetables with small servings of carbohydrates or starch.

However, this is a generalization, and though it works for most people, it may not work for you. For example, allergies and inflammation may cause water-retention which leads to bloating and excess weight. If your diet is not working for you, consider consulting a doctor or nutritionist to determine what is right for you.

Develop a rational exercise program that is fun, can be fitted into your schedule and that does not over-tax your body. Many people try to do too much too soon and as a result become discouraged. Remember that muscle development is as important as calorie burn. If you’re not sure what kind of exercise will suit you best, consult a fitness professional. Remember to check with your doctor before embarking on an exercise program if you have any health concerns.

If your exercise program does not make you feel good, it is wrong for you. Don’t give up. Try something else instead.

Mind and spirit

These are the most neglected elements of weight loss programs. For example, there are reasons for eating that have nothing to do with hunger and everything to do with our spiritual or emotional state at a given time. Be alert as to your reasons for eating in order to determine which triggers cause you to overeat. For example, ‘comfort eating’ is something we indulge in when we are feeling low. What triggers this? Being aware of the phenomenon helps us to control it.

Another way in which mind and spirit affect our weight is the presence or absence of support during a weight loss attempt. Enlist the support of friends and family or join a class or group where members support each other. Having someone to turn to when we are confronted with problems, concerns or temptations is of immeasurable help in sustaining a weight loss program.

Sometimes, we overeat because of emotional problems. If we are unable to deal with these ourselves, seeking help is a sensible solution. A counselor can help us to process the underlying feelings that become obstacles to successful weight loss.

Last but not least, avoid self-blame and despondency when you break your diet or skip exercise. One lapse is not the end of the world. Pick up the pieces and keep on going. A little cheat now and then is perfectly healthy, but if we indulge in a guilt trip and comfort eating, we are undermining our road to holistic weight loss and enhanced wellness.