Diets for weight loss have shown to be ineffective and harmful to our health, yet we continue to buy into whatever program we think will help us to “lose those pounds for good!”
With a multimillion dollar industry constantly bombarding us with their images of what the perfect smile, the perfect body, the perfect scent – and now they even suggest we develope a close, personal relationship with our herbal shampoo (for perfectly orgasmic hair, I suppose), it’s no wonder why most people feel less than… perfect.
From an early age we’re programed by the media, the fashion industry, and our peers to believe that something must be wrong with us if we don’t have the genetic makeup of a super model. We begin to feel inadequate on all levels, and thus begins the quest for that magic bullet; which comes in the guise of diet pills, fad diets, crash diets, liquid diets, cosmetic surgery, and whatever else will make us resemble those computer-enhanced photos we see on the covers of fashion magazines.
We need to understand the fact that our body weight is based on our body type, genetics, and eating patterns, and not on “industry standards.” There are also cases where excess weight is gained because of conditions such as food allergies, sluggish metabolism, chemical toxicity, insulin imbalance, excessive dieting, psychological factors, and nutritional deficiencies. All of these conditions are often treatable with alternative therapies.
No matter what you’ve been told, all the many and varied weight loss programs, fad diets, and clinics cannot insure successfull, healthy and permanent weight loss. Neither will counting calories, skipping meals, working out all day long, starving yourself, or binging and purging.
What will work is a sensible Weight Management program, which means a well-balanced diet (based on your body type). Food nourishes both the body and the brain. In fact, the brain has first call on the available supply of nutrients. Therefore, mental symptoms are often the first effects of nutritional deficiencies.
Excessive weight loss regimens will indeed help you to “lose those unwanted pounds for good!”… by dieting yourself into a early grave.
Acupuncture has been successful for some as a treatment for eating disorders.
Another alternative is Behavior modification, which can be undertaken through group or individual sessions under the guidance of professional personnel, and alone or in conjunction with other approaches. The goal of behavior treatment is to modify unhealthy eating behavior and physical activity habits, typically focusing on gradual changes.
Yoga and t’ai chi are among the exercise or relaxation techniques that can reduce anxiety and increase body awareness. Alternative therapies may help with some of the symptoms of anorexia, and can serve as useful adjuncts to treatments that address nutrition and the emotional roots of the disorder.
For weight management programs, herbs are usually broken into two groups. The first group is taken to correct a condition that contributes to weight gain, the second is given to directly promote weight loss.
As an example, plantain for reducing absorption of fats and creating a feeling of fullness, fennel seed for digestion, burdock or dandelion root to enhance liver function, and kelp to correct a sluggish thyroid gland.
Ephedra sineca, also known as ma-huang, has become a popular ingredient in natural weight-reducing formulas. This particular herb can benefit anyone with a history of chronic dieting. All herbal remedies should be part of a comprehensive program that includes permanent lifestyle changes.
CAUTION: Ephedra and yohimbine should be used only under medical supervision.