Yesterday I had a 2 month follow-up visit with a patient in her 60′s complaining of hip and knee pain, constipation, and mild menopausal symptoms.  The last time I saw her, she weighed 179 pounds, with a muscle mass of 54.8 pounds, body fat at 37.6% and 45.9% water.  She had seen a naturopath in another state that diagnosed her with candida overgrowth.  I suggested she look into The Body Ecology Diet as a way to address this dysbiosis as well as a different approach to eating in general. Excess weight is the main cause of hip and knee pain.  It is more difficult to lose weight after menopause, but not impossible as this case shows. 

At the follow-up visit, she told me that she had changed her drastically and was using a lot of the suggestions I had given her and everything was improving.  She admitted that she had not been exercising except for doing .  She just got a pedometer and is learning how to use it to see how much walking she does over the course of an average day.  

I was pleasantly surprised to measure her progress quantitatively.  Here are the results: Weight 168 pounds, muscle mass 55.6 pounds, body fat 35.0%, water 47.8% and body mass index 25.5.  Despite the lack of , she still was able to lose weight and fat while gaining muscle.  This is the ideal pattern- losing fat and gaining muscle.  I was also happy to see that she was more hydrated and had less ankle and knee swelling and reported a decrease in pain.  

This case illustrates the results of a recent study that I saw repeated several times in the mainstream media last week. “ Over-eating, not a lack of exercise, is to blame for the American obesity epidemic, a new study claimed Friday, warning that physical activity could not fully compensate for excess calories.”

This is not to say that we shouldn’t exercise or that we don’t need to exercise.  The point is that many of us eat a diet too high in calories.  Energy in must be equal to energy out in order to maintain a healthy weight.  Eating more low calorie, high nutrient foods such as vegetables and avoiding high calorie, low nutrient junk foods is the way to go, of course.  Some people with need to shed some pounds to reduce the pressure on their joints in order to be able to do cardiovascular exercise at all.

 This study shows us one way that we can fight the obesity epidemic in our country.  A naturopathic physician can help you design a plan that will work for you and help keep you motivated on your healing path. 

Margaret Philhower, ND