The main reason people seek support of naturopathic doctors and integrative practitioners in general is for advice regarding natural approaches for mood support. Depression and anxiety are incredibly common and debilitating. If you are suffering please know that you are not alone.
Having a healthy mood is important for many things in life and our goal here at DAMY has been to help as many people as possible feel the absolute best they can feel physically, mentally and emotionally.
We have accomplished this through helping people lose weight, eating cleaner and exercising more. We have also spoken a lot about empowerment, communication, motivation and self-worth. Our belief system centres on the fact that we believe self-love causes positive health outcomes. It improves wellness.
In order to be healthy physically we need to be healthy mentally and emotionally first. Resources are available to all of us to achieve this goal. You just need to find the right support.
This support can come in many different forms:
1) Some people resonate very well with motivational videos, they are inspired by music for example.
2) Some need one-on-one encouragement to take action in both stress reduction and mood elevation.
3) Others are simply able to get themselves motivated. They are able to help themselves to a state of bliss that allows them to thrive.
Wherever you stand we are here to support you.
Stress and low mood make weight loss more difficult. This is a key component to the holistic approach to weight loss. We are in the process of trying to help as many people as possible reach their weight loss goals. We want to do this in a healthy way. We want the results to be sustainable. With significant stress and depression this is very tough.
You may have thought that stress causes people to not eat and then lose weight. That example is not as common as you think. Usually what happens is people feel stressed and then they emotionally eat. Even more common is that when people feel depressed or sad they emotionally eat in abundance and gain weight (or at least have difficulty losing).
We do everything we can to help stop this pattern with our members and we have great success. Today on the blog I want to share some of our techniques for stress reduction and mood elevation. We’re just going to put these here for your use. If you find benefit that’s great and if you try something that doesn’t work move on.
Reduce Stress and Elevate Mood to Support Weight Loss
- MOVEMENT: The first item on the list is exercise. Exercise is really great for mood and it also can be very helpful for calming stress. It doesn’t have to be much and it does not have to be completely exhausting, it simply needs to be enough to get blood flow moving to the brain and to get the heart rate up. That’s it. Challenging the body with weights or full body exercises can also increase endorphin release and help your mood.
2. CALMING SUPPORT: In my practice supporting GABA production is next. Gaba is a neurotransmitter that is inhibitory to the brain. It is very calming to stressful moods. To support the production we use l-theanine the amino acid found in green tea. This is very helpful for mood balancing and also helps with overall focus.
3. NUTRIENT SUPPORT: Magnesium deficiency causes low mood. It is implicated in major depression and supporting levels with simple magnesium supplementation can be very helpful for raising mood and in turn could help calm the stress response. Magnesium is also known for being calming to the muscles and can help release tension when stress is present.
4. MEDITATIVE PRACTICE: Some form of meditative practice or conscious thought is important in reducing stress and raising mood. This can be a simple act of self-talk, mirror work, contemplative meditation, using a mantra, anything you find works for you that gets you into a meditative state. I really like four-square breathing for one or two minutes in the morning but for some people it has no effect. In my practice I use a MUSE headband with my patients. This device is a neurofeedback tool that supports meditation through allowing patients to actively calm their brain waves with breathing. This technique has been very helpful for my patients.
5. DIET THERAPY: Avoiding junk food including high sugar foods, high inflammatory foods, processed foods and food additives is essential to this process. Things like MSG can affect mood, major blood sugar swings, too much Dairy and too much gluten for example can make people feel anxious. Eat clean including lots of veggies, healthy fats and lean proteins for a healthy mood.
6. HERBAL OPTIONS: My favourite herb for anxiety is passion flower but I also like lemon balm and chamomile. Sometimes a combination of these is necessary. My favourite way to prescribe acutely for stress is using capsules of passion flower frequently throughout the day. This tends to be very helpful for high cortisol and high adrenaline responses to stress.
7. BIOLOGICAL CLOCK MAINTENANCE: Keep track of your circadian rhythm. Having disrupted sleep can cause low mood and make you more sensitive to the stressors of the day. Getting a solid sleep makes you more resilient. I’m very serious about circadian rhythm. Go to sleep at the same time and wake up at the same time for best results.
To review: the supplements I really like for stress include magnesium bisglycinate, passion flower, Gaba and l-theanine. My Lifestyle hacks include circadian rhythm management, exercise and clean eating. To round out the protocol some type what mental/emotional support is necessary. Some can get away with a meditation practice and will, over time, notice major benefits. Others need counseling and that’s okay too. Find what you need and go with it.
After wearing a continuous glucose monitor for a few weeks I can tell you that stress raises my blood sugar. The act of cortisol going up when you’re stressed will cause sugar to be released into the bloodstream from the liver and the following insulin release will prevent you from having optimal weight loss results.
Keep stress low on a weight loss plan and you’ll be more successful overall. You will have an easier time reaching your goal this these tips.
Dr. David Duizer ND