If there’s one self-care topic that grabs our attention the most, it’s weight loss, especially when you’re a part of the tribe that has been struggling to lose those extra pounds. With progress, unfortunately, has come more stress, crazy schedules and poor lifestyle. “We’re definitely not making good food choices, says Arizona-based naturopath Dr Meghna Thacker, who practises at Tutera Medical. “Given our busy lives, most of us are looking for things that are fast and easy, and as a result, consuming tonnes of processed food. We’re compromising our health and sanity, all to satisfy our material needs. All this pressure creates causes cortisol (stress hormone) to peak and its production [to get] dysregulated, causing weight gain around the abdomen,” she says. Lack of movement, sleep issues and physiological reasons like hormone and/or sugar imbalances just add to our weight woes as well.
While there are several diets trending at any given moment—from Keto and Paleo to Atkins, South Beach and vegan (the list is never ending)—one size never fits all. A customised approach to diets is crucial to adopting healthy eating patterns that are sustainable in the long run, and what can be more personalised than a meal plan based on your genetic makeup? A number of companies overseas now take into account genetic tendencies for things such as digestive responses, food allergies and susceptibility to specific injuries, to create tailor-made workout and diet routines.
One such genetic marker-based programme is offered by Dr Thacker, who offers a combination diet guidelines and treatment with a natural hormone called hGC, which can trigger weight loss. But first, you need to run a genetic test that will give the doctor a report of the relevant markers. “The report gives you accurate information about your protein, carbohydrate and fat intake,” says Dr Thacker, whose own results, she reports, were spot on. “I was happy to know that I need to keep my fat intake less and eat moderate carbohydrates, the healthy kind of course. It explained why I had gained weight when I tried the Keto diet which is high in fat,” she informs.
First, the doctor will try and find the cause of the weight issue with a detailed body composition analysis to find out your BMI, body fat percent, fat mass, hydration level, etc. Once they figure the problem, they get you started on your weight loss journey. Typically, a programme like this will be limited to three or six weeks. On an average, women can expect to lose about 5kgs in three weeks, and men, around 7kgs. In six weeks, women lose about about 9kgs and men, about 14kgs.
If you’re planning to go on this programme, it’s a good idea to wait if you have a vacation coming up within two weeks. You have to be ready to commit and be mentally focused, and not get swayed by your holiday mood.
In this diet, you will be made to eat foods in their most natural states. Your options are typically lean proteins, vegetables and fruits. You will be also asked to eat six times a day to keep the metabolism up, log your weight every morning and drink over three litres of water.
Dr Thacker warns that those with a history of hormone positive breast cancer should avoid this diet, because “hCG boosts certain hormone levels.” Additionally, the literature on this does talk about the hormone possibly flaring up a gout attack, which is why it is always advisable to speak to your doctor first before you take this on.