Nutrition is key
How food can work for you, not against you.
Simply put, diets don't work. If they worked, we would NOT have 30 percent of the population obese and sick. There are many strategies to losing weight but another diet is not one of them.
Let's first ask a few questions:
Have your doctors and therapists really helped you change your lifestyle? Not just your diet but your whole way of living?
Are there addiction issues in how you eat?
Are there emotional issues in how you eat?
Is exercise more of a drain then a gain?
Do you have social and family support for the lifestyle changes you are working on?
These are crucial questions.
Evidence shows that cutting the carbs and sugar will bring your insulin levels down, and this will allow you to burn fat. But make sure to talk to your doctor first. This is especially true if you are taking medications.
Where I'm coming from:
As a student my first experience working with diabetic/ heart patients was at Spalding rehab in Boston. While Spalding has a good reputation, I was shocked that they were so cavalier with their patients.
On the cardiopulmonary unit, the patients were in one stage or another of dying of heart disease and were in a state of crisis. Their basic vitals were not stable. For example, many had out of control blood pressure and very swollen legs from edema. Most of the patients were on the edge of a heart attack.
There was no talk of a cure even as they talked in fancy language about the physiology of the diseases they were supposedly treating.
Here is what was wrong with what I was seeing:
They were not looking at the entire person; only signs and symptoms.
There was no attempt at lifestyle changes beyond a little added exercise.
They were not listening to the patients.
There was no real connection or understanding between the patients and the medical staff including therapists and doctors.
Why was a well respected medical institution treating its patients so badly? Basically, the staff was clueless about what was killing their patients and how to help them. (They are trained in following the official medical standard of care.)
With obese patients they were asking them to eat less and move more. And take plenty of pills.
Gary Taubes in his book Good Calories, Bad Calories, explains that it is mainly the sugar and carbohydrate rich diets, not eating too much, that is causing weight gain. In other words, there is a science to understanding why certain foods make us fat and cause metabolic disease.
But if you don't understand the problem you are going to give up.
The medical staff at Spaulding, highly educated doctors and therapist, were essentially giving up on their patients because they had the wrong framework to solve the problem.
It takes evidence to understand a problem and to solve it. We have more then a hundred years of evidence showing that obesity is not caused by this simplistic calorie model of weight gain. Here is the evidence:
1) Animals given high sugar diets will binge on sugar. It's the sugar not the calories. (See study here.)
2) Simply eating less will bring your metabolic rate down setting you up to gain the weight back as you become hungry and miserable. It's not counting calories that count! It's food quality (Food quality study.)
3) The key to understanding why we get fat is understanding what makes our hormones act in certain ways. The most important of these hormones is insulin.
The old medical advice to cut the calories is wrong. This will not help you lose weight.
Losing weight is really about the quality of the food you eat. Is your diet elevating insulin? Elevated insulin can contribute to multiple health issues including weight gain.
But it's not so simple because many of us have become addicted to these sweet and starchy foods. It takes time and effort to break this addiction.
How does exercise help? Exercise plays three key roles in this process:
Exercise helps build muscle that stores and metabolizes glucose. As we get older we lose muscle and strength training can bring it back.
Exercise can help bring glucose down in the blood, thus dropping insulin. So exercise and intermittent fasting can work together to burn fat.
Exercise helps psychologically by giving a sense of accomplishment. I personally love hiking and I always get a boost when I make it to the top of a mountain. This kind of mental boost is important in lifestyle change. Exercise might also help break the addiction cycle by increasing endorphins that help you relax.
But exercise alone will not solve the problem. It needs to work in tandem with good nutrition.
The old simplistic advice - to eat less and exercise more to burn calories is flawed because it does not get at the root of the problem. This incorrect advice, along with a mountain of sugary foods, has set us up for a medical and health crisis.
Let's use science and give this another try. Take the time to study and understand the problem. This will empower you to make the changes necessary to improve the quality of your life.
How I can help
I help clients lose weight with an individualized plan, depending on your specific needs. I charge $60 per hour.