Stress and Weight Loss

/ Author:  / Reviewed by: Joseph V. Madia, MD

When your New Year's resolution to lose weight crumbles as fast as the cookie touching your lips, it's time to admit that diets don't work.
More successful is a holistic approach to losing weight that lets you feel good about feeding your body the nourishment it craves.

"By understanding the whole person, including emotional reasons for eating, stress triggers, medical history and physiological factors, we help each individual approach food in a whole new way," said Henri Roca, M.D., medical director of Greenwich Hospital's Center for Integrative Medicine.

Dr. Roca, board-certified in Family Medicine and Holistic Medicine, works with the Center of Integrative Medicine's registered dietitian and epigenetic nutritionist to help people understand why they eat what they do. "We look at the emotional aspects of eating and the habits an individual creates surrounding their relationship with food," said Roca, who points to genetics, metabolism, hormones and physiological factors as potential stumbling blocks to successful long-term weight management.

"Stress alone can have more of an impact than most people realize. Chronic stress can lead to increased cortisol levels, which stimulate glucose production in the body. Excess glucose is converted to and stored as fat, particularly around a person's midsection. A chemical chain reaction can occur inside the body and sabotage the best weight loss efforts," said Roca.

Cutting back on calories and adding or increasing exercise are proven to assist with weight loss, but they do not provide enough motivation for people who have been repeatedly unsuccessful at reaching their weight loss goals.

The Center of Integrative Medicine's holistic approach begins with a medical evaluation to assess a person's overall health (physical, mental, emotional and energetic) and determining what, if any, metabolic, hormonal, gut, allergy or immune dysfunction may exist, since these issues can have a profound effect on weight loss. A nutritionist listens to the patient's personal goals, evaluates her or his body type and then customizes a program that includes nutritional counseling, meal planning, exercise advice and stress management techniques.

Auricular (ear) acupuncture is also provided at each session to control cravings. General acupuncture, health coaching and advice on dietary supplements are offered. Personal training is offered, and the importance of physical activity is emphasized for long-term weight loss success.

Marcia Simon

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