If one of your health goals is to feel better by treating the root cause of your symptoms while possibly losing weight in the process, a functional medicine approach to weight loss may be best for you.
In this article, we’ll review some of the ways in which functional medicine weight loss differs from conventional methods.
Functional Medicine Weight Loss
In functional medicine, we approach weight loss much differently than the conventional world. For starters, we believe it is important to note that your weight is NOT the cause of your symptoms. Weight bias in healthcare is a real issue, and unfortunately, it prevents people from seeking further care or finding any successful treatment. Blaming someone’s health issues on their weight is surface-level and does not address the root cause of a condition or related symptoms. By using a root cause approach, functional medicine allows a practitioner and client to work together to dig deeper into a health issue and treat the condition holistically. Oftentimes, when the root causes
of a condition are addressed, weight loss occurs!
Here are a few areas we may address to encourage whole body health that may ultimately promote weight loss.
is one of the first factors we address in a functional medicine weight loss approach. Inflammation is your body’s way of fighting against infection and injuries in an attempt to heal itself. Over time, certain factors may cause low-grade, chronic inflammation that is detrimental to your weight loss efforts. Stress, toxins, gut infections, food sensitivities
, and poor nutrition can all play a role in causing low-grade inflammation. Through personalized testing, we aim to identify potential causes of inflammation to tailor the best treatment plan for you.
Address Insulin Resistance
occurs when your cells become resistant to insulin, a hormone responsible for controlling blood sugar levels. If you have insulin resistance, you may experience frequent sugar cravings, fatigue after meals, weight gain or difficulty losing weight, and constant hunger. Your diet is the best way to reverse insulin resistance. However, rather than focusing on restriction or a trendy diet, we recommend using the PFC Method, which ensures you have protein, fat, and fiber-rich carbohydrates with each meal and snack. We use this method along with our Root Plate™ in our Root Foundational Meal Plan
Our Metabolic Support supplement
helps with weight loss resistance due to insulin resistance or other hormone or gut health imbalances. Do NOT use this supplement in pregnancy or breastfeeding and check with your doctor before using if you are on any medications.
Improve Gut Health
Your gut plays a crucial role in your overall health and weight loss efforts. More specifically, beneficial gut bacteria help you maintain a healthy gut lining, prevent overgrowth of harmful bacteria, and may even regulate your metabolism. Having a healthy and diverse balance of gut bacteria may prevent weight gain over time (1
). What’s more, some large studies have found that altering gut bacteria with certain probiotic or prebiotic blends may significantly reduce body weight and promote fat loss (2
). In general, most research shows the greatest success in using probiotics with specific bacteria from the Lactobacillus
genus. Our Root Probiotic
contains many of these important strains.
Optimize Thyroid Health
Located at the front of your neck, your thyroid
gland helps to regulate bodily functions like your metabolism, menstrual cycle, and even how quickly food passes through your digestive system. Hypothyroidism affects nearly 12 percent of all Americans at some point in their life and may cause unintentional weight gain or hinder weight loss efforts. Optimizing thyroid function
is crucial in a functional medicine approach to weight loss. However, this entails more than taking a thyroid replacement medication. For example, during a comprehensive thyroid workup, we assess how well your body is converting the main thyroid hormone (T4) to the active
thyroid hormone (T3). Your T4 hormone must be converted into T3 in order for your body to use it. This requires optimal liver and gut health, stress management, and getting enough nutrients, like zinc and selenium, that your body requires for optimal conversion. Many of these important nutrients are found in our Thyroid Support supplement
Support Natural Detoxification
Your body has a system in place to eliminate toxins and waste products. However, a typical American lifestyle usually entails a high toxic load with a nutrient-deficient diet. Unfortunately, this pairing may cause disruptions in your natural detox mechanisms. During functional medicine weight loss, we aim to support detoxification by 1) supporting the body via food and supplements with nutrients that support liver health, 2) increase intake of foods rich in antioxidants, and 3) optimize pathways in which your body can eliminate toxins via sweat, urine, and bowel movements. Detoxification is also a very important component while losing weight because the body naturally stores toxins in fat cells. When these fat cells shrink, our body releases these toxins and may try to overcorrect by encouraging mechanisms that further slow weight loss (5)
. We often see this during weight loss plateaus.
Foods that may support your detox systems include:
- Cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, kale, Brussel’s sprouts, etc.) for estrogen balance and glutathione
- Leafy greens for folate and healthy methylation
- Berries and turmeric for antioxidants
- Eggs for amino acids and vitamin B12
- Water for adequate removal of water-soluble toxins via urine.
Our Root Reset protein powder also includes important phytonutrients to support detox.
Weight loss is not as simple as the diet industry may want you to believe. A functional medicine approach identifies and treats the root causes of your symptoms and can promote weight loss in the process. At Root, our doctors and dietitians also support a mindset of abundance versus restriction. Rather than focusing on the scale, we can help you identify and treat various factors that may ultimately promote sustainable weight loss like reducing inflammation, treating insulin resistance, rebalancing gut bacteria, and optimizing thyroid health.