While food sensitivities and food allergies have a lot in common, and even share many of the same symptoms, the underlying mechanisms for each are distinct, and only one of them is potentially life-threatening.
It is a staggering fact that over 70 percent of adult Americans are now overweight, with nearly 40 percent being considered clinically obese. With a booming weight management industry worth over $66 billion, these numbers seem almost incomprehensible, sending a warning sign to struggling individuals and the medical community alike.
The currently accepted dietary methods — based on the idea of "calories in and calories out" — simply does not tell the whole story and often fails to work. When it comes to successful weight management strategies, integrative medicine emphasizes the need for a nutrient-dense diet with an overall, holistic sense of health, as opposed to quick fad diets, strict caloric restrictions, and physical overexertion.
The popularity of scientifically unproven and often quite dangerous fad diet plans is not decreasing. Millions of struggling individuals reach for these as a last resort, hoping for rapid weight loss and easy-to-maintain results, usually without having to make permanent sacrifices. Unfortunately, none of these efforts work in the long run, and they often lead to even more complex weight- and health-related problems.
Unhealthy lifestyle choices — whether in the past or the future — often lead to weight gain, along with the likelihood of developing chronic diseases. It is not a sensible idea to follow overly restrictive diets for a temporary period, as once the allotted time is up, the weight is most assuredly going to rebound, leaving you in a far worse place than before. Sticking with such a plan as a permanent dietary habit is not a solution either, since these diets are not sustainable. Instead, the mindset of temporary dieting should be altogether replaced with building lifelong, sustainable, and custom-tailored lifestyle habits — none of which can be supported by fad diets.
Unfortunately, while there are many beneficial foods, vitamins, and other supplements that can boost your already practiced and sustainable weight management efforts, miracle solutions don't exist. From healthy cooking skills to portion control, to finding an enjoyable physical exercise and thinking long-term, a holistic approach to weight management can never be replaced with rapid diets. This is especially true when one is moderate to severely overweight, which likely goes hand-in-hand with hormonal imbalances, ineffective organ functions, and various other, often undetected diseases.
Instead of struggling alone, trying out one diet trend after another, it is crucial to find an integrative primary care physician who thinks holistically and views the presence of excess weight as a symptom of more significant underlying problems. Integrative medicine offers just that: moving away from rapid and restrictive diets towards long-term weight management success, grounded in developing lifelong healthy habits.
An integrative primary care physician focuses on finding the root cause of weight problems. Tests such as blood work are important steps in determining your overall health. Depending on the results from your exams and tests, a persistent weight problem may be easily corrected with allopathic medicinal methods.
While nothing can replace the value of a nutrient-rich diet that is devoid of sugar, processed foods, and harmful toxins, it is essential that your primary care physician helps you design a meal plan that is not overly complicated and enjoyable to the taste buds. Afterall, depriving yourself of things you love is not likely going to work for the long-term. Learning to prepare old favorites in alternative ways, however, can result in a slow, yet sustainable weight loss.
Even more importantly, integrative medicine aims to teach you how to listen to your body better. Become more aware of how certain foods make you feel. Learn about what you truly crave and how to effectively control impulses, stress, and emotions so you do not overeat. Pay attention to your body’s signals. It will ensure your success in maintaining healthy dietary habits, regular physical exercise, and giving your body much-needed downtime and relaxation.
Your integrative primary care physician aims to create a personalized weight management plan that you can follow throughout your life. By doing so, you can experience gradual and healthy weight loss, ensuring that you will never need to turn to a fad diet again.
Dr. Payal Bhandari, M.D., a San Francisco-based integrative functional medicine physician, specializes in the philosophy that “Food is Medicine”. She uses her strong foundation in nutrition science tied to how the body works, combined with her 16 years of medical expertise to aid her patients. Dr. Bhandari creates healthy weight management plans personalized for each patient’s unique physiological needs. Based on realistic and achievable goals, this plan will help with restoring your overall well-being, in a sustainable manner. Contact Dr. Bhandari and her team today to receive highly empathetic, caring, and reliable assistance on your journey towards achieving an ideal weight and restoring complete health.
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