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.
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.