Home > The Herbal Pharmacist Consultation: Weight Loss
The Herbal Pharmacist Consultation: Weight Lossby Dave Foreman
In my last newsletter I included a sample consultation to give everyone a better idea of how to work out their specific health needs. I got such great feedback about this as an educational tool, I decided to do it again. Here are the basics of this edition's consultation:
Issue to address: I have lost 30lbs and want to lose 30 more. What do I eat?
Goal: To be a healthy weight for my age & height. Build up my immune system without spending tons of money as my funds are limited.
Current supplements: Hemp Hearts
Desired weight loss: 30 lbs
(Before I get into my response, I should mention that my online consultations at herbalpharmacist.com include more information than what I have provided here. This abbreviated consultation is meant to help you identify with this person and her needs).
Let me start by saying that I am looking forward to working with you on your health needs. Your hard work to lose 30 pounds already is commendable. Your goals to be at a healthy weight for your age and height, and to support your immune system without spending a ton of money, are well within reach. The basis of your success will be a combination of your commitment to the program and your communication with me on a regular basis.
The key to weight loss for the great majority of us is to consume fewer calories than we burn. In order to lose one pound, you must burn 3500 calories more than you consume. Based on your age, gender, height and weight, you burn 2118 calories per day just to keep going. Any extra activity will make you burn more. If you burn an extra 350 calories per day and eat 350 fewer calories per day (total=700) you should expect to lose 1 pound in 7 days. For example, 30 minutes of brisk walking daily will burn 150 calories per day or 3/10 of a pound each week. The following are other activities and how many calories you may burn in 30 minutes (based on a 140 pound person. Go to www.my-calorie-counter.com for more detailed activities and calories burned):
If you want to speed up the process, you need to either consume fewer calories or increase your activity. If you choose to eliminate calories from your diet, there are a ton of websites available to show you how many calories there are per serving of each type of food.
This all might sound overwhelming, but the reality is that you didn't put that extra 30 pounds on in 30 days, but more likely over the past several years. Let's assume that you put it on in the past 2 years: This means that you averaged gaining 1.25 pounds per month. Expecting to lose it in 30 days is unreasonable and VERY unhealthy. Your goal should be to lose 1-2 pounds per week. Keeping this in mind, you should lose the 30 pounds you requested in 15-30 weeks (more likely 15 weeks). Losing the weight slowly will also help you maintain a higher rate of metabolism and help your skin shrink back (reducing skin folds and wrinkles). I understand how difficult it is to take a look in the mirror and realize that the reason that something is wrong with you is because you caused it. Years ago, I stood in my bedroom and took a profile picture of myself with no shirt on (I was 20 pounds overweight). I used this as motivation to follow my 4-pillars of health. Diet (how you eat), Activity (exercise, as mentioned above), Spirituality (attitude about ourselves plays a huge role) and Supplementation (assistance for what may be lacking in your everyday diet or when you reach a plateau while losing weight). Occasionally I show the picture to people, and they can't believe it is me (I cut the head off of the picture). See, I too was once overweight. But now, utilizing the techniques I teach, I am able to maintain the health I desire. I learned a new lifestyle, and so can you.
With regards to how to eat, this is what I suggest: Eliminate ALL refined foods completely (go in your pantry and refrigerator and bag up everything and throw it away). This means anything that isn't in its original state (the way GOD created it). No bread, pasta, cereal, etc. NO starches either, which means no rice, potatoes, etc. Even packaged (canned, frozen, etc.) foods should be eliminated.
What you should be eating are plenty of fruits (NO juices though), veggies, nuts, seeds and legumes. ALL of the starchy/refined foods are EVIL for you with regards to your health. These should only be consumed when it is a treat/reward for doing well - NOT part of your everyday diet.When it comes to meats: Eat organic and consume 4-6 ounce servings - no more. Buy leaner cuts of pork, beef and chicken too! Fish is great, as long as it's not canned. If you get cravings, try keeping unsalted or very lightly salted nuts nearby. I suggest almonds, Brazil nuts, or walnuts. Or, keep baby carrots or some other veggie available (already cut and washed) to eat with a big glass of water. Remember that we are changing your lifestyle, and that takes time to get used to. Pray about it and then give praise to GOD for answering your prayers. Once you learn to eat the right way, this will NEVER happen to you again. Consumption of alcohol is a big no-no too. I am not sure if you do, but for now it is best to avoid it completely until you have reached your desired weight.
The fact that you claim to skip meals frequently is not helping your cravings either. You crave sweets and other "junk" foods when your blood sugar drops (from skipping meals or poor food choices), which ends up triggering cravings. If you make sure you eat regularly (3-5 times daily - small portions if 5 times daily), you will avoid energy dips and cravings for poor food choices. If you happen to skip a meal, make sure you have healthy food snacks around like baby carrots, nuts, apples, etc.
To get things going, I think it is prudent to begin your program with a good cleansing and detoxification program. This will also benefit how well your supplement program works, and can trigger improvement with many other health issues you may have. My favorite cleanse is CleanseSmart (Renew Life Formulas). This is a 30-day program. While cleansing, make sure to eat more fruits, veggies, nuts and seeds. You should also consume at least 80-100oz of purified water each day (10-13 8-ounces glasses). Eliminate other beverages as much as possible (especially coffee, sodas and juices-unless you juice at home). I find oftentimes that just cleansing the many systems of the body can help you start losing weight more efficiently.
As for additional supplements, there are a few that I find to be very helpful with weight loss, and are considered very safe and are non-stimulating. Green Tea is one of my favorites due to it's fat burning effects (consume 4-8 cups per day - follow brewing instructions closely). Combine Green Tea with the mineral Chromium (GTF) and the lifestyle changes above, and you will reach your goal in a timely manner. I usually have adults use 200mcg of Chromium 3 times daily with their meals (it is critical to eat something each time you take your supplements (except for the green tea) to make sure your blood sugar stays in a healthy zone. These supplements are only to help you get going and should not be relied on solely for your weight loss. Green tea is an extremely healthy herb and may be continued long-term for added health benefits such as immunity (one of your goals), cardiovascular health, etc.
Finally, your goal to improve/build up your immune system without spending a ton of money is very reasonable. In my eyes, removing sugar and starches from your daily diet completely (you can cheat once in awhile) is a great start. Since this is already a suggestion for weight loss, we don't need to go into too much detail here. Also, increased activity/exercise will also boost your immune function without the use of any additional supplements. If you do want to take something for immune support, I would use either Advanced Immune Support (MD Select) or Host Defense (New Chapter). These supplements can be used long-term to support a healthy immune system and function.