FIX THE PAIN
LEVEL UP YOUR LIFE
Lesson 3: Top Tips to Lose Weight and Improve Nutrition
This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website.
One picture holds the key for most people to lose weight more effectively! Keep reading and scrolling and you'll see what I mean.
Let me ask you a few questions:
When a girl’s body adds fat to the hips and breasts during puberty, what causes the increase in body fat?
If a bodybuilder takes testosterone and HGH and adds muscle mass, will he be more hungry and gain weight? What causes both the increased hunger and weight gain?
Picture an elite 11 year old gymnast whose parents are both over 6 feet tall. What will keep her from going to the Olympics? If she starves herself and works out constantly, can she overpower it?
Congrats if you answered "hormones" to all three questions! If you answered correctly, you just said that hormones can increase fat, weight, hunger, and are more powerful than “eating less and exercising more”. Don’t you think that maybe they should be part of the weight-loss discussion?
Certain hormones tell our body to grow; some tell us to get taller, some tell us to add muscle, and some tell our bodies to get fat. When these hormones are present in our body at high levels, our bodies will follow those messages with any energy present in the body. If that gymnast starves herself, she will experience extreme fatigue, but her body will grow anyway!
So what hormone tells the body to get fat? Insulin! Look up insulin on Wikipedia and you’ll see that insulin “forces fat cells to take in blood glucose, which is converted into triglycerides.” Having high insulin is like taking a fat-producing steroid. The bodybuilder above eats more because the hormones are causing his body to grow. The same logic applies to insulin. Insulin causes fat growth causes increased hunger. Look at the picture to the right to see how powerful this effect is. The picture is a person with diabetes who injects himself with insulin in the same two locations over a period of years. The fat cells in those areas respond by growing. Simple! Notice the man is thin overall…
People’s bodies have regions that respond to the hormone insulin differently. If a man has higher amounts of insulin present, his belly will usually get bigger. If a woman has higher amounts, her hips and butt will often get fatter. Ever seen a person with a big mid-section but slim arms and legs? Every day, right? We all also know people whose bodies don’t get fat at all even when high amounts of insulin are present. Lucky them! But if your body has regions that respond to high insulin by getting fat, your way to decrease fat is to consistently keep your body in a low insulin state.
Insulin increases in direct response to the amount of sugar and simple carbohydrates you eat. Eat a 600-calorie bowl of ice cream, and the sugar in it spikes insulin. It’s like you flipped the on-switch for your fat-building machine. Then the sugar and fat in the ice cream are the building blocks to create fat. In contrast, 600 calories of meat, cheese, and vegetables won’t spike insulin. Even though some building blocks are present, the on-switch for fat building isn’t flipped so your body simply won’t create fat.
Soda, candy, frappucinos, and ice cream are obvious sources of sugar. However, many foods thought of as healthy create large spikes in your insulin. Many wheat breads and pastas, tortilla shells, bagels, rice, fruit juices, milks, and yoghurts have the same effect on your insulin as eating a candy bar (or two). To learn more about different foods’ effect on your blood sugar look up “glycemic index” and “glycemic load”. Low glycemic index and load foods do not cause your insulin to increase much, while high glycemic foods can be thought of as the insulin on-switch for your fat-building machine. Click through to Harvard Medical School’s webpage “Glycemic Index for 60+ Foods” and you can see that wheat bread has a glycemic index just one point below white bread!
“Why don’t we just follow the common advice to ‘eat less and exercise more’ to lose weight?” Imagine you were invited to an expensive, deluxe all-you-can-eat dinner with the instructions to show up as hungry as possible. What would you do that day to make sure you show up absolutely ravenous? Personally, I’d eat less and exercise more! Can you see the irony that the plan to be as hungry as possible is also the plan that we’ve been told to lose weight? It’s no wonder that “eat less and exercise more” doesn’t work well for most people!
So to have successful weight loss and maintenance, we’re looking for plans that consistently keep your body in a low-insulin state and that don’t have you feeling hungry. My research and observations of patients, family, and friends who have had success dropping weight and keeping it off have led me to recommend three main diets, though there are many variations of these.
Weight Watchers – The most recent update to the Weight Watchers plan allows unlimited vegetables and fruits and assigns the most points to higher glycemic load/index foods. As a result, we have had patients drop between around 30 pounds up to 160 pounds and maintain the improvement for years while being able to eat enough to never feel hungry. If you enjoy the group meetings, points-based food tracking app, and the ability to have some insulin-spiking treats with clarity about how much you can have, consider Weight Watchers.
Paleo/Primal – These diets cut out food groups that a theoretical hunter/gatherer human wouldn’t be able to get while roaming through the woods. No grains, dairy, sugar, or processed foods. However, you can eat unlimited vegetables, moderate fruits, healthy fats and protein sources so you shouldn’t feel hungry. The most popular version of this is the Whole30 challenge diet where people eat this way for 30 days and often drop 15-20 pounds in that time. Personally, I dropped 25 pounds in two months through the Standard Process Purification Program in 2010 and have maintained the improvement ever since by basing my diet on these philosophies. These diets also eliminate many foods that can negatively affect people’s health, and the period of elimination can reveal the problem food. I personally found out that gluten was the underlying cause of year-round allergies causing sneezing, stuffed-up sinuses, and constantly itchy roof of my mouth. I'll share more about this below.
Ketogenic/Keto – Starting with Atkins and popular recently as a result of many stars slimming down the keto diet ("Kim Kardashian dropped the baby weight with keto!")can result in rapid weight loss. With the keto diet you significantly restrict carbohydrates while eating unrestricted fats (healthy ones are recommended such as coconut oil, real butter, olive oil, nuts, and avocados) and moderate vegetables and protein. Fat is highly satiating, and we have had multiple patients come in reporting rapid 20-plus pound weight loss while sharing, “I don’t feel hungry!” After a person reaches their goal through keto, they will probably want to increase vegetables and fruits for their nutritional value.
Look at any diet that works through this lens of how much insulin is in your body and you can see that effective diets all lower insulin, some by decreasing caloric intake overall while others just lower the insulin-producing foods. The current trend toward intermittent fasting works in part because your body is in a very low insulin state for a large portion of each day.
“Can I just exercise more?” Years of dietary advice have suggested that you can just exercise more to lose weight. That may work for some people. However, if your body responds to insulin by adding fat, then increasing exercise while still eating a consistently higher glycemic diet won’t work very well. I bike about 7,000 miles a year and understand that if I still ate the way I used to I would be significantly overweight today.
“What if I try one of those three diet types and I don’t lose weight?” Again, the answer is to look to your hormones. If you diligently try one of the diets above and your body doesn’t slim down at all then you most likely have another hormone problem. You might have low thyroid or an adrenal imbalance not letting your body lose weight. When estrogen and progesterone change as a woman goes through menopause, that can trigger a period of weight gain as well. You may need to consult a skilled doctor, dietitian, or endocrinologist who can determine what’s stopping your body from decreasing fat.
If this has you intrigued, I have to recommend reading the book: “Why We Get Fat & What to Do About It" by Gary Taubes. For me this book read like a suspense thriller and kept me up reading till 1 in the morning! It's a truly fantastic read. View thousands of reviews by people who also found this book eye-opening on Amazon!
I also recommend you spend a few minutes watching the video below by the Youtube Channel, "What I've Learned". Also follow this channel to learn the best information on all types of nutrition information and strategies.
"What if I (or a friend or family member) have diabetes?"
Disclaimer: Nothing in this email is intended as medical advice. Any information you learn below should be discussed with your medical doctor before making any changes in your medications.
The repercussions of poorly-controlled diabetes can not be understated! Blindness, amputations, impotence, fatigue, and even a strong association with dementia and Alzheimer's all result. My wife, Val, works as a homecare nurse and shares with me horrific stories of amputations directly caused by diabetes on a weekly basis.
For anyone with diabetes or pre-diabetes my highest recommendation that lines up with this information and philosophy is “Dr. Bernstein’s Diabetes Solution”. Click through to the Amazon reviews and you can read so many stories of people who were trying to follow the standard advice to manage diabetes and were getting sicker and more overweight. They read Dr. Bernstein's book and got their numbers on track and felt their quality of life skyrocket!
What actually worked for me?
In 2009 I weighed 175 pounds at a height of just 5'7". I was frustrated because I was trying to exercise regularly and thought I was generally eating a decent diet. At the start of January, 2010 I started the Standard Process Purification Program. In just 21 days I dropped 15 pounds while being able to eat as much as I wanted.
I was amazed!!!!
After completing the program, I continued with the plan while adding in eggs and cottage cheese for another five weeks. I dropped another 10 pounds. By March 1 I weighed 150 pounds.
October, 2009 compared to July, 2010! I give all the credit to nutrition changes, not exercise!
I've been able to maintain a weight of 150 or less since then all while always eating enough to feel full!
Not only did the Standard Process Purification Program help me improve my weight, it also gave me the information on how to get rid of my year-round allergies as well! Keep reading to hear the story on that!
As I went through the program, I wrote a series of blog posts, which you can view linked. Ultimately my results were such an inflection point in my life that I recorded a series of Youtube videos on my experience. Click through to watch those videos.
If you decide that the Standard Process Purification Program is worth a try, we actually carry Standard Process and can set you up with the program. Reach out for more information or send a note or give us a call to make sure we have a kit in stock.
"What about supplements?"
I don't advertise myself as a "nutrition and supplement guru". I find the number of products available to be overwhelming and admit to having trouble determining where benefits and quality and price meet to recommend a specific product.
Most health experts agree that the best plan to get the nutrition you need is through your food. I personally follow a few simple rules that emphasize eating real, nutrient-rich foods when possible.
Unlimited veggies and fruits in a 2:1 ratio of vegetables to fruit (search the web for "dirty dozen, clean fifteen" to find which should be purchased organic)
Limited processed foods, sugary snacks, sugary drinks, grains, legumes, and dairy focusing on lower carb dairy options such as cottage cheese, Greek yogurt, hard cheeses, and half & half
Regular consumption of healthy fats to support healthy hormone production such as olive oil, flax seeds, nuts, coconut oil, avocados, and almonds
Highly satisfying proteins such as eggs, fish, meats, and protein powder supplements
Water, water, and more water!
I recently did some research to see what my fellow chiropractor friends do for daily supplementation in addition to following good nutrition principles. Most of these health conscious individuals take a few supplements daily:
Fish Oil or other Omega 3 supplement
Vitamin D supplement
Probiotic supplement or focus on intake of cultured foods/drinks
Greens supplement or juiced greens (especially if the person doesn't love and consume a lot of darker green vegetables)
Like I said above, it can be hard to know whether you need to seek out expensive brands or can get these products at the big box stores. In general, I do think it's probably better to go to a natural health-focused store like Natural Grocers or Fresh Thyme for these types of products.
"You've recommended higher fat consumption a few times! What about fat and cholesterol??"
Youtube channel "What I've Learned" has great videos addressing this question:
"So if you don't think fat and cholesterol are the biggest nutritional problem in our society, what do you think is?"
Sugar! After reading "The Case Against Sugar" by Gary Taubes and watching videos by What I've Learned I honestly look at sugar as the "cigarette of nutrition".
Natural Calm Magnesium - the One Product We Keep on the Shelves at Compass Chiropractic
Patients frequently walk out of our office on a Friday with their first bottle of Natural Calm and then come back the next Monday raving about the ways it has decreased their pain, eliminated muscle spasms, helped them sleep better, solved stubborn chronic constipation, and generally improved their life. It seems everyone notices a benefit when they start taking Natural Calm.
Two minerals play a key role in causing muscles and nerves in your body to become more and less excited. Calcium can be thought of as the exciter. Most people focus on getting plenty of calcium. However, many people neglect to get enough magnesium, the mineral which enables the muscles and nerves to relax properly. Improving your magnesium intake can improve a number of symptoms including the ones listed above. I love my Natural Calm and highly recommend it for patients dealing with muscle tension, spasms, pain, tightness, chronic stiffness, restless legs, and painful menstrual cramps. You can pick up a brochure to read other symptoms that may be helped.
Personally, I take Natural Calm shortly before bed to help me get a more restful night's sleep. I also feel it does wonders at preventing muscle soreness and speeding up recovery following my intense running and cycling workouts. Follow the directions on the bottle and gradually increase to your ideal dose as magnesium has stool loosening effects.
I share more about Natural Calm in the video "Three Top Tips to Reduce Migraines" below:
"Do you think all the people claiming to be "gluten-sensitive" are just hypochondriacs and exaggerators? Any thoughts on food sensitivities?"
I'm a skeptical and analytical person by nature. If I hadn't personally discovered that MY year-round allergies were mainly caused by gluten intake, I think I would have looked at the whole gluten-free trend with raised eyebrow.
Then I met Val, who has very sensitive digestion. She taught me more strategies to make sure that nutrition isn't harming your body.
In my opinion, anyone dealing with any of the following symptoms or conditions should watch the video below and consider trying one of the mentioned elimination diets:
- Gastrointestinal issues such as diarrhea, constipation, gas, bloating, indigestion, and conditions such as Irritable Bowel Syndrome and Crohn's Disease
- Ongoing asthma, allergy, and sinus congestion
- Whole body pain and rheumatoid type conditions such as fibromyalgia, MS, and Rheumatoid Arthritis
In the video below I (over) share:
My personal experience with food sensitivity
FODMAPs & VAL'S GAS
"Any tips for indigestion?"
As a matter of fact, I do have a super-valuable and often very effective tip to improve or even permanently resolve indigestion.
A hiatal hernia is a condition where a portion of the stomach slides up through the flat diaphragm muscle that moves your lungs up and down. When this happens, it disturbs your stomach's ability to keep food and acid from heading back up your esophagus (the tube that drops food into the stomach. Additionally, the stomach can rub and aggravate a SUPER IMPORTANT nerve called the vagus nerve that provides almost all the "rest and digest" messages to your organs and also has some control of your spleen and immune response! If the vagus nerve is affected by this fairly common condition, it can cause a host of symptoms and problems. Google the "Great Mimic" to learn more about how a hiatal hernia can give someone racing heart, chest pain, anxiety and other awful symptoms.
Watch the video below to learn more about how hiatal hernias work and a simple solution to improve them! Scroll down to the comments to see people share how this simple solution enabled them to reduce or eliminate their need for antacids or proton pump inhibitors.
I hope you get some value out of these nutritional tips and tricks.
Have a product or book that you love? Share it with me. I'll take a look or add it to my reading list. 🙂
If any of these strategies help you, reach out and let me know. I'd love to hear a tip or trick improved your life!
- Dr. Krohse