Most Canadians Are Overweight
As of 2004, 23% of Canadian adults are obese and an additional 36% are overweight1. This means that over half of the current Canadian adult population has a body weight which is too high and puts them at an increased risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes2 and cancer3. These statistics have jumped significantly over the past 3 decades, for example in 1978/1979 only 14% of adults were obese1.
Why Do People Gain Weight?
Body weight depends on calorie (or energy) intake through food and energy output through exercise or exertion. While fewer calories in and more calories out is important for weight loss, actually making a plan to effectively lose weight is not as simple as 3 – 2 = 1. Many people have a hard time losing weight and have tried a number of diets, exercises, herbs, vitamins and other tricks without success.
Losing Weight Naturally
Maintaining a healthy weight can be challenging but is definitely possible with clear goals, a well-constructed plan of action and determination. A goal weight loss of 1-2 pounds per week is safe and fairly easy to attain with a solid plan in place. My approach to helping people lose weight naturally has four components:
- Dietary Education. Knowing what food choices help or hold you back from achieving your goals is important. This includes how different foods affect energy, mental clarity and mood. Calorie, fat, carb, fiber, sugar and protein content of foods are also important to know when planning diet changes to ensure balance.
- Exercise Education. Exercise is an essential part of any weight loss plan because it helps to burn calories. Different exercises work better for different people but overall any exercise is much better than no exercise.
- Removing Obstacles. Obstacles to weight loss include certain medical conditions, certain medications and emotional eating habits. Each obstacle to weight loss requires a different approach to overcome it, for example a person with an undiagnosed thyroid condition will need treatment for this condition to normalize their metabolism and control their weight. A person with iron deficiency anemia may have intense fatigue and will need to be treated accordingly.
- Supportive Supplementation. There is a lot of information and misinformation regarding herbs and natural dietary supplements for weight loss. As of writing (August 20th, 2013) a google search returns 48 million results for “weight loss supplements”! A few supplements and herbs have good research backing their effectiveness for weight loss but most are based on low quality or no research. Raspberry ketones, for example, became popular for weight loss after one study in mice4 was blown out of proportion.
Maintaining a healthy weight is at once simple, sometimes confusing and often challenging. It is however, one of the most essential components of long-term health and disease prevention. Weight gain is one of the most common complaints that I see in my office and also one of the conditions which I see best results with. Getting on the right path is essential and as the saying goes, every journey begins with a single step.
- Tjepkema, Michael. 2006. “Adult Obesity.” Health Reports. Vol. 17, no. 3. August. Statistics Canada Catalogue no. 82-003. page 9. /studies-etudes/82-003/archive/2006/9276-eng.pdf
- Poirier P, Giles TD, Bray GA, Hong Y, Stern JS, Pi-Sunyer FX, Eckel RH. Obesity and cardiovascular disease: pathophysiology, evaluation, and effect of weight loss. Arterioscler Thromb Vasc Biol. 2006 May;26(5):968-76.
- Calle EE, Rodriguez C, Walker-Thurmond K, Thun MJ. Overweight, obesity, and mortality from cancer in a prospectively studied cohort of U.S. adults. N Engl J Med. 2003 Apr 24;348(17):1625-38.
- Harada N, Okajima K, Narimatsu N, Kurihara H, Nakagata N. Effect of topical application of raspberry ketone on dermal production of insulin-like growth factor-I in mice and on hair growth and skin elasticity in humans. Growth Horm IGF Res. 2008 Aug;18(4):335-44.