In episode 34 of the podcast, Joe and Amber unveil their 5 pillars of healthy weight loss. They also discuss the thermodynamics of food, why calories matter (but aren't the only thing that matters) and why protein is an integral part of a healthy weight loss strategy.
The 5 Pillars of Healthy Weight Loss
1) Eat Real Food
Keto, paleo, vegan .... There are countless different dietary approaches claiming their way is the way to optimal weight loss. While each of these template diets have their own unique benefits, they can leave the door open for nutrient deficiencies if they are not designed appropriately and strictly adhered to. Nutrient deficiencies may cause a cascade of inflammatory processes in the body, hindering your weight loss efforts.
So where should you start?
You'd be hard pressed to hear any health experts argue with the approach of simply eating real food. The first step to any weight loss protocol should be introducing your body to REAL FOODS and avoiding the pre-packaged "carbage", as our friend Jenni Callihan of Eat the Butter likes to call it. Don't over-complicate things early on. Stick to the basics. Switching from the Standard American Diet (SAD) to eating foods like meat, vegetables, berries, sprouted grain breads, and coconut oil can go a long way for beginners to prepare their bodies for healthy weight loss.
2) Embrace Animal Protein
Animal products have gotten a bad reputation due to shaky science and false information perpetuated by internet personalities that don't truly understand the intricacies of the human body. To be clear .... we are talking about meat here. The truth is, when it comes to animal products, quality is key. Antibiotics and hormones that are added to factory farmed meat may interfere with endocrine functioning, cause hormonal imbalances and stall your weight loss efforts. This is a problem because when it comes to losing weight, protein is your friend. Eating about 0.8 grams of protein per lean pound of body mass will assist your weight loss efforts, so achieving this number daily should be a priority. Sure, you can use "vegan" protein sources to meet your daily protein needs, but you will likely fall short and lack a healthy balance of amino acids that your body needs for its various functions. Embrace animal protein in the form of high quality meat. In terms of meat quality, look for the label to read 100% grass-fed, hormone free, antibiotic free, free range or wild caught.
3) Don't Fear Fat
I'm sure you've heard the news: the whole "fat makes you fat" story that we have been told for the last 60 years isn't exactly true. With that being said, all fat is not created equally. Eating fat from whole foods is the best way to go. Eating avocados, pastured eggs (yes, eat the yolk!), grass-fed beef, wild caught seafood, and other pasture raised meat is the best way to incorporate high quality fats into your diet. As for the bad fats, it is our opinion that damaged fats are some of the most harmful foods you can eat.
What do we mean by damaged fats?
Fats are sensitive to light and heat, with some fats being more sensitive than others. Upon exposure to excessive heat or light, these sensitive fats get damaged and become inflammation bombs in our body once we eat them, contributing to a host of the chronic health conditions that are prevalent today. Ever wonder why olive oil is typically in a tinted container on store shelves? TO PROTECT IT!
So which fats get damaged easily?
Polyunsaturated fats are generally more sensitive to heat and less stable. The most common place we find polyunsaturated fats in our modern diets is in our cooking oils. Canola oil, soybean oil, sunflower oil, cottonseed oil, and other vegetable oils are extremely sensitive to heat. For this reason, these oils should be avoided whenever possible. Instead, replace them with more stable fats like avocado oil, ghee, olive oil and butter when cooking.
4) Nurture Your Hormones
You peel yourself out of bed and prep for the day, only to rush to work to perform tasks that leave you drained and unfulfilled. You make robotic small talk with people you don't like, then solider through traffic just to get home to more responsibility. After cooking dinner and tending to the kids, you catch up on more mind-numbing work and crawl into bed at an ungodly hour. Then you blink, and the day starts again. Sound familiar?
Modern life is not conducive to the health of our hormones. The way most of us live agitates two vital hormones: cortisol and insulin. Chronic stress causes us to overactivate cortisol, which is our body's main stress hormone. If your cortisol levels are out of whack, it can make weight loss seem impossible. This is because it messes with our blood sugar, causing a downstream effect of biological functions that keep us from reaching our fitness goals.
Couple this with the overconsumption of refined carbs that have left our insulin levels through the roof, and we've got ourselves a health crisis. As the hormone responsible for regulating blood sugar, the abuse of insulin can lead to weight gain, diabetes and a host of other conditions. Nurturing your hormones is important because the health of your hormones dictates what your body does with whatever food you consume.
If you follow steps 1 through 5 of our "5 Keys to Healthy Weight Loss" but can't seem to lose any weight, consider contacting a functional medicine practitioner to undergo lab testing to see if there are any hormonal (or other) issues that can be holding you back from achieving your goals.
5) Hit your Macros & Micros
Calories matter, they're just not the ONLY thing that matters. Depending on your individual goals, you need to make sure you are eating your macronutrients in proper proportions.
Macronutrients: Fat, Protein & Carbohydrates
Working with an expert to determine your individual macronutrient requirements to reach your goal is important. Following a template macronutrient plan without taking into account your personal biology, goals and food pleasures is a sure fire way to fall short of reaching your goals. Remember, just because a nutrition plan helped Fred lose weight does not mean that you should follow the same nutrition plan as Fred. Fred is Fred and you are you.
As for micronutrients, we are referring to vitamins and minerals. While "hitting your macros" is important to achieving your goals, "hitting your micros" shouldn't take a back seat. Many dieters can reach their macronutrient requirements by eating processed foods like pop-tarts, protein bars and artificially sweetened beverages. As a result, nutrient deficiencies can sneak up on you. Healthy, sustainable weight loss is the goal.
It's just as important (if not more important) to hit your micros as it is to hit your macros!
It can be difficult to simultaneously reach your daily micronutrient and macronutrient goals. If you need help figuring out a proper macronutrient ratio for your individual goals & would like an individualized nutrition plan, contact Joe for a Skype consultHERE.