Lunch & Learn Webinar

Body in Balance: The Blueprint for Healthy Weight Loss with Dr. Romi Raina, ND

Guest Speaker:
Dr. Romi Raina, ND

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND

Webinar Date and Time:
26/04/2023 12:00 pm

Why Crash Diets And Extreme Workout Regimens Don’t Work?

Dr. Romi Raina has helped many people achieve healthy weight loss. He has been a practising Naturopathic Doctor since 2008 and realises the importance of healthy weight loss. It’s connected and tied to many aspects of health – prevention, care, and primary care for people of different ages and walks of life.


Q. What is healthy weight loss? How does it work?

A. An element of a healthy weight loss journey is having guidance from someone who knows the journey. We all need help sometimes, and one of the biggest things is having motivation and support, guidance, check-ins and accountability.

We need a smart and strategic approach while being realistic and practical. Healthy weight loss is health-oriented. We focus our conversation and efforts around that. It acknowledges an individual needs: the person’s health profile, challenges and opportunities. Knowing that landscape is important.

It also has to be flexible and sustainable. The idea is to get the job done and move on and live an enjoyable life while not having to be on a diet anymore. Creating that sustainability involves a change in physiology and behaviour.

We don’t want to do hard things on the body or put pills or supplements if we don’t need to. Instead, we focus on using our lifestyle and how we eat and move to make our body work best.


Q. What’s your take on specific diets like keto, paleo or zero-carb? Is it something you recommend to patients?

A. This is a fundamental question because I do see it a lot. The idea of a zero-carb or keto diet reminds me of when people would talk about avoiding fat as a nutrient. I’ve met patients who’ve used it, and they’re not sustainable. It’s hard to eliminate one whole category of foods, and we think we can do that for a very long period. Initially, the body does lose weight. But then, if we want to go back to eating the normal way, which is the goal, we see a regain more than the amount that used to be there.

The three nutrients: carbs, fats, and protein, remind me of a stool with three legs. If you break off one of the legs, the stool will easily fall. Eliminating one of the three nutrients leaves us without the support we need. We paint all carbs as bad or simple carbs. Whereas carbs also have our most healthy foods like broccoli and asparagus. This also speaks to the larger issue: with healthy weight loss, there’s no shortcut.

The timeline for weight loss can extend to when the body gets into the place where healthy weight loss occurs and behaviour change has occurred in activity, eating and stress management. Losing one or two pounds a week is an achievable place to arrive at, but it takes time to get there – weeks, if not months.

Many changes occur before getting to the phase of shedding one to two pounds per week. We see an initial boom of losing about five pounds of water weight, we start feeling better, and our mood, energy, and sleep improve.

Often, there’s a long plateau that’s normal and healthy. During that plateau, changes are still happening; you just can’t see it. Cells are changing; biochemistry is changing. And that takes time. In a few weeks, we create that biochemical uptick in the tissues. And now we’re seeing the fat shrinking and muscle growing. We have to stick to our macronutrients. There are no shortcuts to it. And it takes time.


Q. How can a person stay motivated through a plateau phase that lasts for weeks?

A. Many people tip-off when they hit the plateau. But we should be celebrating. It means you’re halfway there – don’t turn back now. But it is hard, 100%. It’s a challenging period because the efforts are out of balance with the results initially.


Q. What are some other factors that we need to think about in terms of weight loss?

A. It is scientifically demonstrated that dieting alone has about a 95% failure rate in 5 years. You’ll regain that weight in five years or sooner if you’re just dieting. We want to adopt generally healthy practices; it doesn’t have to be perfect, but generally healthy.

Physical activity and movement are the other major component or the second piece of the pie. If we lived in a society where we were forced to walk 20 minutes to work every day and 20 minutes back, we wouldn’t have to do more physical activity. But we’re a sitting culture with health impacts that must be acknowledged. We must incorporate physical activity in a consistent regular fashion that is enjoyable for us.

The third piece of this pie is the ‘everything else’ piece. This consists of a few things, but a big one is stress. It can chip away at us whether it’s intense short-term, medium-term, semi-intense, or long-term stress. In our biochemistry, we have cortisol. Stress day in and day can change our biochemistry and how fat is distributed to our midsection.

We also have behavioural change. When we’re stressed, we may emotionally eat. Or we may be too busy and skip meals which leads to binging. Acknowledging that whole piece of biochemistry and behavioural changes that comes from stress has to be done.

Another primary hormone involved here is the thyroid. And if there are struggles with weight loss, the thyroid needs to be examined. Insulin is the third one that should be on the list for some investigation analysis. If our blood sugar regulation is hampered somehow, it’s like running up against a brick wall; we can only bash through it if we address it specifically.

If you talk to anyone who’s done anything of challenge, they will tell you that half the battle is in your mind. Motivation and our goals and values are important factors in keeping us moving forward.

While I don’t want to undercount or discount the importance of physical activity and healthy eating, other components of healthy weight loss need to be acknowledged.


Q. What does goal-setting look like, and how does it help?

A. Goal setting is an integral part of the initial conversation. When I see patients, they often have a goal in mind, which could look like, “I want to lose 20/30 pounds in X amount of time.”

I always want to look at that goal through the lens of health. It’s interesting what we’re finding with respect to health and how “lean” we should be, especially as we age. Having a little bit of meat on the bones is good for our health in the long term. We live longer, and we live better that way. I like to share that information with people and revise our goals and timeline.

Some people have hard timelines because it could be the summer or wedding season, and I respect that. Sure, we could make those efforts. But if we can remove the timeline, that’s a better health situation. All that we want to see is progress.

The objective is often in the patient’s mind, but once they get started, we revise the goals. Acknowledge it and then forget it. Don’t think about it, don’t dwell on it, keep it at the back of your mind.

As we progress, we also introduce new goals – short-term and medium-term. Short-term goals are things that we’re going to achieve in the coming days or weeks. They’re often related to something we can change quickly, like choosing what to eat a salad for lunch, buying specific products or limiting desserts to the weekend. It could also be things like clearing a spare room and setting up a treadmill.

We also have medium-term goals or milestones. These are more outcome-based or even performance-based. Medium-term goals happen over a couple of weeks or a month or so. It might be walking around the block twice in the 15 minutes. So your intensity is increased, or something like that.

Let’s say you do a two-kilometre walk or run as your regular workout. Set a goal that you’ll do a three-kilometre run or walk for charity by the end of the summer. Then, you’re even closer to that long-term objective. If we string together enough short-term goals and milestones, you’re happily reaching your long-term goal.


Q. How do you address concerns about metabolism with patients?

A. Metabolism is an important thing. Everyone has a different set point and a different starting point. If you’re a person who has a slower metabolism, that needs to be acknowledged, and it needs to be changed. The beauty of metabolism is that it can be changed. The goal is to speed it up.

Metabolism is the speed at which the body does its biochemical work and burns calories. And so if we have a fast metabolism, the food is burned up and not stored in our body. Healthy weight loss is a body composition change from lessening fat to increasing our body’s muscles and muscle content. If we have more muscle content in our bodies, it means our metabolism has sped up. This here is sustainable weight loss.

Through physical activity, we increase our metabolism and create larger muscle mass. This also creates the context where it is just a phase. After a point, you won’t necessarily need to go to the gym and have physical activity to that same level. In maintenance mode, you don’t have to do the heavy-duty work and watch everything you eat. Your metabolism is kicked up, and you enjoy your life. So that’s why we do want to increase metabolism. We want to create sustainable, healthy change.

About Dr. Romi

My journey in medicine began long before becoming an ND. I worked in a community health center in Manaus, Brazil, alongside traditional healers in Q`eqchi, Guatemala and I was a medic in the Canadian Forces for nearly twenty years.

After obtaining degrees in Science and Anthropology from McMaster University I was inspired to learn a holistic form of medicine that maintains a scientific approach, so I pursued Naturopathic Medicine. Now I’m licensed by the College of Naturopaths of Ontario, and I’ve been practicing since 2008.

My education is coupled with extensive experience which allows me to gain a deeper understanding of the health and wellbeing of my patients. In my practice I draw from my expertise in integrative medicine to treat every patient individually. My aim is to alleviate symptoms while improving overall health and addressing root causes.

In addition to my private practice, I’m on the clinical faculty at the Canadian College of Naturopathic Medicine. And in my spare time I enjoy reading, camping, skiing, and gardening with my family.

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND in Etobicoke - HealthBuddha

About Our Host

Dr. Danielle O' Connor, ND

Dr. Danielle has been a licensed Naturopathic Doctor for almost 20 years, practicing and living in the Halton region. She is deeply dedicated to helping her patients figure out the root cause of their health concerns and supporting them with foundational support like healthy eating, targeted supplementation, counselling, and lifestyle recommendations…  About Danielle O’ Connor