How can holistic treatment options help with weight loss?

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Dr. Mehmet Oz, MD
Cardiology (Cardiovascular Disease)
There are many holistic treatment options for weight loss, including nutritional supplements and fasting. Many are poorly studied, and some may be dangerous. Two that have been studied and appear to have some benefit are acupuncture and hypnosis. Other holistic approaches may or may not work, and may or may not be safe; they haven't been studied scientifically.

Holism is not as mystical as some may think. A holistic approach to anything is simply to look at the sum of all parts, not just one particular part. Let's see how this translates to weight loss.

When you think of weight loss, the first thing that may come to your mind is 'diet'. A healthy diet (not starvation!) is certainly important for successful weight loss. However, diet is just one part of the whole 'holistic' equation. 

A holistic approach is weighing in on (no pun intended) your entire lifestyle: your sleeping habits, how often you exercise, if you smoke or drink alcohol, if you have a highly stressful lifestyle, the company you keep, and your thought patterns, just to name a few.

Imagine that you ate perfectly; chances are you may lose weight. But what if you slept poorly had high stress levels and never exercised. Do you think you would be healthy?

Being holistic can help greatly with weight loss if you begin to consider that each aspect of your entire being is connected.

Here are some examples of how to well in your being as a holistic whole:

  • In the physical: exercise, eat healthy foods, avoid cigarettes, limit sugar, fats and alcohol, and get a good night’s sleep.
  • Surrounding your physical: have supportive peers, avoid negative or tempting social situations, alleviate stress, keep a clean, organized area free of the things that cause destructive patterns (how you treat your environment is often a reflection of what is going on within you), surround yourself or spend time with things that are beautiful or motivating.
  • In the mental: deep breathing, avoid destructive thought processes, think positive, be thankful, avoid gossip or negative self-talk, write your goals and why they are your goals.
  • Outside the mental: Begin and end your day prayer or meditation. It doesn't have to be religious or mystical if that's not your thing. Just take the moment to calm your busy mind, put things into perspective and bring your goals into focus.

All of this may seem overwhelming and it certainly won’t happen overnight. But taking little steps into a holistic lifestyle will help with not only successful weight loss, but to make you a whole and healthy person.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.