When it comes to nutrition, I am getting pretty good: I have studied nutrient deficiencies and the issues that go along with that; I know the gut function from top to bottom and how to remove allergens, add enzymes, supplement missing components, stimulate the gut motility, improve gall bladder function and heal the gut lining.
However, when it comes to diet and weight loss, I have not figured it out. I have tried, studied, implemented in clinic and researched for years and still it seems, the more I know, the more I know I don’t know. And the more I realize how complicated the human body is. And when it comes to weight loss, appetite, body composition, motivation and will power, there are so many variables that it makes “dieting” the veritable abyss of knowledge. There is so much knowledge out there and in my head and yet, the right prescription eludes most of us. There are the diet gurus out there and there ARE very successful diet plans. However, there is NO one-size-fits-all: this IS the ONE thing I DO know. So I guess I can say I know some things and I would like to share them with you. I am attempting to put it all together. But somehow I know it is an ever-changing journey. So I am going to stop waiting til I have the ANSWER, and share what I know. Maybe you can put together a plan that works for you with some of my information and together we can forge a path that works best for you, and me.
1) Carbohydrates are not bad. Bad carbs are bad, but as a macronutrient, they are not bad and should not be as vilified as they are. The problem with carbs is that by the time most of us are adults we have done so much damage to our metabolisms that our tolerance for carbs is low and this makes it so that, yes, we need to manage our carb intake. The amount of carbs will vary for each person, depending on activity level, genetics, metabolic damage, sex, age and lifestyle. The Paleo diet removes most sources of processed carbs, junk food, sugar. The diet is NOT innately a low carb diet, but for weight loss, I shoot for 50-100 grams of carbs daily for women, upwards of 35 years old, moderately active. If you are working out a lot, this COULD go up to 150 grams. You need to figure out what works for you. This is VERY individual.
A) The Metabolic Effect diet recommends starting with 5 bites of safe, healthy starch at each meal and see how your hunger and energy levels are throughout the day as well as fat loss goals. They recommend between 5-10 bites per meal; figuring out your sweet spot. I like this since who the heck knows what a gram of carbs looks like, right??
2) Fat is not the devil. Healthy fats do not make you fat if eaten in the right amounts and if your carb load, stress, and activity level are correct. In fact, if eaten with a very low carb diet, I believe fat can be very effective in causing enormous weight loss. The ketogenic diet is a highly successful diet plan for many, many people. This diet is very low carb, moderate protein and high fat.
3) Carbs turn to fat. Fat on your body and fat in your blood vessels
4) Too much protein CAN turn to glucose via gluconeogenesis. So if you are trying to eat low carb and are overdoing the protein, you could be creating an insulin excess even if you are not eating carbs. This CAN sabotage a low carb/ketogenic diet. The answer is adding more fat and lowering protein.
5) Women, as we age, like over 40, things change. A diet that worked for us a few years ago very likely will not work for us now. This is because of hormonal changes. The answer is not to eat less and do more cardio though!!!!! See below!
6) Also, more for women than men, ANY diet we have done before, or have been doing for a while PROBABLY WILL STOP WORKING FOR US AT SOME POINT. (this was a real eye opening, frustrating realization for me!)
7) Fasting may be very beneficial if done correctly, but is NOT for everyone. (See below for details)
8) Exercise IS essential, but not for the typical reasons many think: it is NOT to burn calories. Instead, exercise must be done in a way to accomplish muscle building and proper hormonal stimulation. This, too changes after 40, ladies! (See below)
One of the KEYS I have realized to overcome many of the above dilemmas is to follow a plan that cycles macronutrients, to keep the body from adapting. As many experts in the Ancestral community are saying, we as humans, prior to about 80 years ago NEVER ate the same foods day in and day out. We were incapable of maintaining perfect 30-40-30 macronutrient ratios due to the mere fact that food was not as available as it is today. We ate with the seasons. Even 80 years ago, we could not get tropical fruit in the northern hemisphere in the winter, (if ever). We naturally ate more root veggies (starch) in the winter, more fruit in the summer, and meat when hunting or harvesting was easiest. 1000 years ago was even more extreme. We ate what grew and whatever animals were available to harvest. 10,000 years go, we ate the animal we killed for 3 days exclusively, often went a day or more without eating and lived on berries for a day or two when they were ripe and could be picked. So ancestral genetics sets us up for variability and dietary failure proves it, I believe.
So, loosely, some of the plans I have found that I like and do what I have stated above are:
1) The Bone Broth Diet, by Kellyann Petrucci (book)
This diet is a Paleo diet, with 2 days per week done as a bone broth fast.
Bone Broth is a nutrition and dietary power food, healing the gut, providing support to structures that suffer during diets and not letting you starve during fasting.
An added bonus is that bone broth is magnificent for wrinkles, skin elasticity and joints
This diet rotates macronutrients in an attempt to trick the body and blast through plateaus that are so often reached in any diet no matter how healthy and perfect it once was for weight loss
This diet is also Paleo diet based, with 5 days in a row as a low carb/higher fat paleo diet and 3 days in a row as a lower fat, lower calorie, relatively higher carb diet
3) The New Atkins Diet (book)
I know what you are thinking, but this diet has been updated slightly, thus “the New Atkins Diet” and it is what got me realizing that a lower carb diet was where it was at for me and most of us.
It is simple to read, fairly easy to follow and is not as picky about food quality as the Paleo diet, so may be a good starting point for newbies to the Paloe scene
4) There are a number of cleanses I like to mix in to my lifestyle to achieve the idea of changing things up and giving the digestion a break
I have used this protocol to achieve my lower fat, lower calorie/ fasting days.
This as a wonderful cleanse and detox and can be incorporated into your life either as a few day weight loss, digestion "time out"; or merely to get in some extra veggies.
I use it for only a day at a time at this point.
2) PaleoCleanse by Designs for Health- (purchase here
and enter patient access code 'newyou") This is a whole program with shake, pills and diet plan/food plan
In a nutshell, High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) is the method of exercise that achieves maximal muscle building, fat burning and hormonal activation that is required for fat loss at any age and is MOST important as we age.
1) HIIT training is high intensity, weight lifting (often just your body weight), whole body movements that are so intense that you naturally mix in a cardio work out. AND, you only work out for NO MORE THAN 40 MINUTES. Yes, in fact a more average time frame is 12-25 min workouts. These are done 3 days a week.
2) The other days you are encouraged to walk, do yoga, hike, or whatever you enjoy that is lower intensity. SLOW AND LONG on these days, HIGH and SHORT on workout days.
3) Sprinting every 7-10 days if you can handle this. A typical sprint workout day would only last 8-12 minutes and you're done.
Here are some links for you to go to and learn how to do a HIIT workout. Most are on Youtube and you can follow right along. Once you get the idea, you can make up your own workouts. It is quite liberating to work out as hard as you can for 12-20 mins and be totally spent, sleep like a baby and be sore for 3 days; and ONLY have to do it 3 days a week!
Here are my favorites:
More resource for dietary support: