Health Column: A balanced approach to weight management |

Health Column: A balanced approach to weight management

April Schulte-Barclay
Free Press Health Columnist
ballet dancer's feet
Getty Images/iStockphoto | iStockphoto

What if your goal of achieving a healthy weight was made with the intention of feeling healthy emotionally, physically, and mentally? Not only is that possible, it is the only way to reach a healthy weight and maintain a healthy weight.

Before I was a Doctor of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine, I was a professional dancer and got paid to live my dream. However, behind the applause and fancy costumes lurked an obsession with achieving the perfect dancer’s body. I immediately began counting calories and over-exercising. As time went on, my weight inched lower and lower. At the time, I didn’t consider my over-exercising, my restricted eating, and my dependence on ibuprofen to get through the pain as a problem. But I did have a problem, and it became a problem for years to come as I spiraled into bulimia, liver problems, and I went into an early menopause thanks to hormonal imbalances.

Enter Chinese medicine school. I wanted to pursue a career in Chinese medicine because it had the qualities I was looking for in becoming a health care practitioner. It is more natural, considers all aspects of health as interconnected, and can address the “root and/or the branch” of most health conditions. The decision to go to Chinese medicine school would save (and change) my life.

Through my schooling, I learned how our physical bodies are related to our emotions and how an imbalance in one organ system affects other organ systems. With the help of one of my amazing mentors who practiced Chinese medicine and acupuncture, I was able to get my liver enzymes back down into normal range, improve my digestive and mental/emotional health, and start menstruating again. However aspects of my eating disorder still lingered.

It was not until after I graduated, and I was faced with starting my own practice, that my transformation into a healthier person would be more complete. I was motivated to help other people achieve health, and I knew I could not do that while I still had an eating disorder. Beyond Chinese medicine and acupuncture, I also sought help from psychologists, body workers, naturopaths, chiropractors, and nutritionists to round out my care.

By working with each separate practitioner on different aspects of my health, I was able to connect the dots and create a plan back to health. It essentially “took a village” to nurse me back to health and to a healthy weight. It was with that in mind I created a health center that helps connect the dots for our patients. Since then, I have witnessed time and time again the exceptional synergistic power of practitioners working together, face to face and directly with each individual patient, to create a plan to accumulating wellness.

One of the greatest testaments I have heard from our patients comes from a woman who created her health-care team and wellness plan with the goal to lose weight. After reporting the pain in her knees was gone, she was experiencing more energy, and she was feeling happier, she said, “I’ve realized it is not about the weight and it never was.”

I thought to myself, “Success!!!”

April L. Schulte-Barclay is a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine and is a licensed acupuncturist. She is licensed by the Colorado Board of Medical Examiners and is certified by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine. She is founder and clinic director of Healing Horizons Integrated Health Solutions, located at 2139 N. 12th St. #7. For more information, call 970-256-8449.

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