Influences of Weight

Dr. Stephanie Liebrecht describes a naturopathic approach to weight management. If you would like to download a PDF version of this hand out from her health talk, please click on this link: Hand Out Weight Management.

1. Diet 3. Stress 5. Health Conditions
2. Physical 4. Sleep 6. Medications


Rule #1: starving yourself is NOT the answer – slows down metabolism

Rule #2: reduce amount of calories – ie. food portions, high calorie food

Rule #3: eat slowly – takes 20 min for the brain to know the body is full

What Food Should You Eat?

Anytime Meal: include Protein, Vegetables, Fats; no starches. Water or tea to drink; no sugary drinks.

Post Exercise Meal: include Protein, Vegetables, some starches. No fats – it slows digestion of protein and starches. Starches give body fuel to recover after exercise. No sugary drinks.

Meal Portions Diagram

Figure from Precision Nutrition  

Physical Activity

Combine Weight Training and Cardio for bed results.

Weight Train: 2-3 times/wk – 10lbs muscle burns ~500 calories/day

Cardio: 30-40min 3 times/wk – alternate intensity. Ex: walk moderate pace for 2min, quickly increase pace for 1min, go back to moderate pace. Alternate this for 30-40min.


Stress hormone Cortisol influences many things related to weight gain, some including:

  1. It increases hunger and cravings, increases Insulin (promotes weight gain, increases sugar cravings), and promotes fat storage.
  2. It decreases feelings of fullness (satiety) during a meal, decreases thyroid function (by inhibiting formation of thyroid hormones), and leads to restless sleep.


Less than 5 hours sleep per night is associated with weight gain. How?

  1. Recurrent sleep deprivation leads to increased calories intake (~300 more calories eaten the next day).
  2. It decreases metabolism and increases cortisol.
  3. To improve sleep, ask your health care provider about relaxing teas, supplements, meditation, and optimal sleep environment.

Health Conditions

  1. Hypothyroidism                       5. Depression
  2. Diabetes                                     6. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome
  3. Hormone Imbalance               7. Cushing’s Syndrome
  4. Menopause                                 8. Medications – 10-15% of weight issues

Weight Management: Make A Plan

  1. Make your environment work with you, not against you. Ex: no junk food in house
  2. Identify what keeps you from achieving past goals of weight loss.
  3. Plan your meals, so you know what to buy at the grocery store.
  4. Start small – making too many changes at once can be overwhelming. Focus on 1-3 things at a time. Ex: first 2 weeks eliminate sugary drinks.
  5. Support from family, friends, gym trainers, groups, etc.

Note: popular weight loss supplements such as Garcinia cambogia, Green Coffee Bean Extract, Raspberry Ketones, etc. show no significant evidence for supporting weight loss. I suggest not wasting your money on these products. Rather put that money towards healthy food options and physical activity!