Weight Loss Without Surgery

Interested in medical weight loss without surgery? The functional medicine approach to weight loss looks at the hidden causes that make it difficult to lose weight such as inflammation in the body, toxins stored in the body, disruptions of beneficial bacteria in the gut, sleeping less than six hours a night, elevated insulin preceding diabetes, elevations of cortisol the stress hormone and unsuspected food sensitivities. These causes can be evaluated through lab tests and lifestyle and nutritional changes can treat them. Without addressing them a person can diet and exercise endlessly and end up frustrated with minimal results. Most doctors and dietitians have learned that weight loss is simply calories in and calories out. This simplistic understanding ignores underlying biochemical processes that affect weight loss. Doctors trained in Functional Medicine understand these basic biochemical processes.

Medical weight loss through a functional medicine approach does not use diet pills, hormones or surgery. It is about getting the body in balance through lifestyle and dietary changes and possibly using specific nutritional substances backed through research. This helps a person’s body to work with them rather than against them. This approach does not promise rapid weight loss. A pound a week for women and 1-2 pounds per week for men is considered to be a safe rate of weight loss. Our therapeutic lifestyle program called FirstLine Therapy will assess your body composition through a non-invasive bioimpedance analysis to determine percentage muscle mass, fat mass, water distribution and your basal metabolic rate. Then a trained Lifestyle Educator will design a Mediterranean diet with you based on your metabolic rate. We will measure your body composition at each visit every few weeks to make sure you are retaining your muscle mass while losing fat. We will check relevant blood tests every few months. So if you are interested in medical weight loss see our success story video and give us a call.

Help Me Lose Weight – Part II

In Help Me Lose Weight Part One, I discussed how lack of sleep can create a hormonal imbalance to slow down weight loss. In today’s blog here is a question I ask everyone who is struggling to lose weight, “How often have you taken antibiotics in your life?” I ask this question because antibiotics disrupt the intestinal environment of bacterial we all have which is about 3 pounds. Yes, we all carry several pounds of life sustaining bacteria which starts growing at birth. In addition to antibiotics, a fast food diet high in fat and sugar can also disrupt the gut bacteria by starting a low grade inflammatory process that disrupts the chemical signals of glucose and insulin regulation by gut hormones. These individuals are screaming. “Help me lose weight.”

The evidence is growing. Cecil Lewis of the University of Oklahoma a member of a team of scientists studying the DNA of ancient gut bacteria says, “My first hypothesis would be that chlorinated water and antibiotics fundamentally changed human microbiomes (i.e. gut bacteria).” Other research on gut bacteria has found that obese individuals tend to have a makeup of pathogens in their intestines different from that of people who are of normal weight. In one experiment, researchers found that an obese mouse’s gut microbes extracted more of the calories from a given piece of food than did those of non-obese mice. This caused the obese mice to gain more body fat than the non-obese mice did. But even stranger, in a type of mouse with a different mutation that leads to obesity, transferring gut microbes from the obese mice into other mice led the non-obese mice to eat more.

So the answer is a change in the diet to whole fresh foods, minimally processed, high in fiber, low in fat and sugar. It may also be necessary to rebuild the good bacteria through probiotics containing live cultures of lactobacillus and bifidobacterium. In part III of ‘Help Me lose Weight‘ I will cover another hidden cause of weight loss frustration. See our success story video.

Help Me Lose Weight: Part I

Help Me Lose Weight

Frequently it is necessary to look beyond diet and exercise for the hidden obstacles that make weight loss a frustrating experience. I see some patients who limit their calories too much and exercise too much to “force” the weight off. Sometimes I hear, “If I eat over 1000 calories per day I gain weight.” There is more to weight loss than just calories in and calories off. What is in between is your own biochemistry including hormones you probably have never heard of…but more on that in a minute. I recently saw a woman in her early 40′s who was frustrated with lack of weight loss even though she had been following the dietary plan in our FirstLine Therapy program and being active. At her last visit I asked her about her sleep. She said she goes to bed around 10 or 11 but gets up at 3 am when her husband goes to work and does not go back to sleep. She gets up just to see him off not because he needs anything done for him. So her main concern is “Help me lose weight.”

Researchers in the long term nurses study in 2006 found that the women sleeping 5 or fewer hours per night were 32% more likely to experience major weight gain, defined as an increase of 33 lb or more, and 15% more likely to become obese during the 16-year study period than the women who slept at least 7 hours per night. In addition, women who slept for 6 hours were 12% more likely to have major weight gain and 6% more likely to become obese compared with women who slept at least 7 hours per night.

The key result was that sleep deprivation decreases the levels of leptin (a hormone produced in our white fat cells) which signals to the brain that the body has had enough to eat, producing a feeling of satiety with a corresponding increase in the levels of ghrelin (a hormone produced in the stomach and pancreas) which increases the sensations of appetite and hunger.

So for my patient, it will be necessary to make a lifestyle change to better “regulate her hormones” and have an easier time of losing weight. In my next Help Me Lose Weight blog I will cover another hidden cause of weight loss frustration.

Dr. Mark Hyman’s suggestions to decrease risk of diabetes

Decrease Risk of Diabetes

In this video Mark Hyman M.D. of the Institute of Functional Medicine, reviews some easy common sense steps to decrease risk of diabetes and pre-diabetes. Did you know that rye bread contains special fibers that decrease blood sugar? So rye bread can be thought of as a “medical food” to help people with blood sugar problems. But don’t get the packaged rye bread from the grocery store that is mixed with white flour. Go to a local specialty bakery and ask for the dark pumpernickel rye.

Just like with any medicine dosage is important. For rye bread or any whole grain the recommended amount is one slice per day. As Hippocrates is quoted: ‘Let food be thy medicine and Let food be thy medicine and medicine be thy food”. Dr. Hyman also discusses the basic components of the Mediterranean Diet, the most highly researched diet in medical literature for diabetes and the Metabolic Syndrome.

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We incorporate the same dietary and lifestyle changes he mentions in our therapeutic lifestyle program called FirstLine Therapy. See our success story video.

FirstLine Therapy – Dr. Oz on Living Longer

FirstLine Therapy Tucson

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In this short video Dr. Oz discusses five important factors that can help promote a longer and healthier life. They seem so simple you might ask why doesn’t every one follow them. Yet these simple lifestyle changes can help prevent the most common diseases in the Western world such as heart disease, stroke, cancer, osteoporosis and many weight related problems. We address all of these lifestyle factors in our therapeutic lifestyle program called FirstLine Therapy. We can measure your muscle mass, body fat and water distribution to help you achieve a healthy body composition. Please see our video for success stories.