The biggest challenge, by far, for just about every body we talk to regarding health and fitness is how to lose fat and maintain a healthy weight in a sustainable way. There is a lot of confusion, and no doubt many different viewpoints about the best way to go about it. As an example, most nutritionists will say that fat gain is a matter of consuming more calories than one is burning off, and to lose fat one must burn more calories than one takes in. Seems simple enough...if you eat 3000 calories day but you burn only 2500 calories a day, the excess 500 calories a day will be stored as fat. Therefore, to see fat loss would require more exercise to burn more calories...and consuming less calories on a daily basis to make the body burn stored fat for fuel. Let's say that the guy in the above example decides to take in 800 less calories a day and at the same time attempts to exercise enough to burn maybe 500 calories a day more than usual, he will be in a negative energy balance of 800 calories a day. Since there are 3500 calories in a pound of fat, he should see almost one and a half pounds of fat loss a week.
This is known as the calorie in/calorie out model...and it has a dismal track record. It has an over 90% failure rate. Why is this so?
Simply put, it has everything with what we tell the body to do. We send signals all the time by our environment, food choices, meal timing, and mindset far more than by how many calories we eat. Getting back to the example above, the signals he is sending to his body is that there will be...from now on and for who knows how long, only about 2200 calories coming in on a daily basis in conjunction with far more exercise than he is used to. The body will adjust to this, and start shutting down. It will slow the metabolism through various mechanisms so that it will now only burn 2200 calories a day instead of maybe 2500 calories a day that it did before. Feeling cold, tired, hungry and unmotivated is a guarantee. Moreover, if he starts eating the same amount of calories as he used to, which he will when he stops making progress, he will gain even more weight and he will have adjusted his "set point" even lower than it was before. These are the signals he is sending to the body.
This is not what we want. We want to send the signal to the body to use fat for energy...and keep a high metabolism. If we do this successfully, the appetite will self regulate and there would be no need to worry about both counting calories and attempting to maintain an unsustainable exercise regimen. As mentioned earlier, this can be done with the right food choices and better meal patterning.
Is it possible to know if we are burning fat or not?
Unequivocally yes! Current technology is remarkably accurate in determining if we are in fat burning mode or not. The body runs on two different fuel sources: glucose and fat. Glucose is the preferred energy source for the body because it is easily accessible. The liver and muscles have a limited store of glucose called glycogen, and when the glycogen stores are depleted (does not have to be completely depleted, but close), the body will shift to using the fat stores. It will create ketone bodies out of the fat and it is the ketones that will supply the energy requirements of the body. Interestingly, the brain can run efficiently on ketones as well as the muscles, and when you think about it, even a lean individual has plenty of energy reserves. For perspective, a man who has ten percent of body fat weighing in at 170 lbs will have 17 pounds of fat. This equals 59,000 calories of stored energy. The point is that the body, through evolution, is designed to have large energy reserves...even when lean, to survive times of scarcity. The problem of modernity is that we encourage the body to live off of glucose while rarely tapping into the fat stores, and at the same time encourage even more fat storage. This is the big reason why people struggle with weight gain.
So the body, when burning fat, will produce ketones to use for fuel. It is ketones that can be measured accurately by testing for acetone in the breath (acetone is one of the ketone bodies...there are three total), and research shows that a measurement of 2PPM or greater correlates with an elevated state is fat metabolism. This is the state you want to be in for fat loss, and with regular readings you can fine tune your diet and exercise program to be in a regular state of fat burning in a way that works for you over the long term. We find that the acetone measurement is an invaluable tool to use in the quest for fat loss. We use the Levl ketone breathalyzer because it is easy and non-invasive to use, and we are able to upload the data to a personalized dashboard so we could make on the spot recommendations for optimum results.
Considering that fat loss is the main objective, we design the eating plan to accomplish that in a nutrient dense, healthy and sustainable way. Understanding that food choices, indulgences, and culture strongly influence eating patterns, we take these points into consideration to make the journey to healthful eating a seamless process. Additionally, continued monitoring of acetone levels helps to insure optimal fat burning potential.
A good indulgence is hot chocolate made with 100% cocoa and real whip cream
The best way to start your successful journey is to know exactly where you are. Imagine back packing in the Colorado Rockies for three days. You would not dare to attempt it without some planning ahead of time. So it is with your nutrition. You need to know exactly where you are, what steps need to be taken, what contingency plans you will need when things don't go according to plan, and simply a good idea of what to expect.
You will get a pamphlet on the Hystrength(sm) nutrition program, and we will go over the important points. You will also have a questionnaire that you fill out ahead of time so we can talk about what your current eating patterns are, and look for ways to improve your diet in a way that can work with you.
We will also take measurements. We will take down your weight, body composition, and girth measurements. The scale tells only part of the story. We need to track actual body fat and girth measurements too to see if you did indeed lose body fat...of if you lost muscle too.
And finally, we will do a breath test to see if you are presently burning fat or not.
This will lay the foundation for a successful journey to fat loss and a healthy lifestyle.
"Fat bomb". Made with cream cheese, jalapenos, and bacon. Yum!
Grocery Store Visit
Are you struggling with reading labels? Are you confused about what is "healthy", and what is junk food? We can help. Let's take a walk around the supermarket and see what would be good food choices, and what would be bad food choices, and what you can indulge in from time to time. In this trip, we will take a close look at many food labels and break down what they really mean. We will also explore and discuss the foods that should be the cornerstone of your diet, and what foods should never be in your cart.
Nordic Bread. Made with nuts, eggs, cream cheese and topped with butter. Notice no grains...but very tasty
Follow Up Nutrition Consultations
Important for re-evaluating eating patterns, goals, and staying on course