Why is weight loss so hard and permanent weight loss even harder?
Actually, for most of us, weight loss need not be that hard at all…
Ok, probably you want to strangle us right now, but think about it for a minute.
If you are reading this article, chances are that either you or a loved one in the past or still have a weight loss issue, right ?
You have probably been on one or many diets in your life and have probably lost weight, either fast or slowly on one or more of these diets. You of course have no way of knowing whether the most of your weight loss was a loss of water, lean body mass, bone density or body fat.
Like most people aspiring to weight loss, you probably regained your weight, sooner rather than later, after ending your diet or program. In many cases, your weight unfortunately settled in just a little bit higher than before you started the last weight loss intervention which is also known as Yo-Yo dieting. Hence a decades long upwards spiral in body weight pushed you to the point where it became clear to you that it cannot continue like this, for the sake of your health, your joints, your appearance, your lifestyle and your sanity. So let’s do it.
The short term solution is targeting a reduction in, primarily, body fat.
The mid term solution is reversing the described upward spiral with a downward spiral.
The long term solution is to reset your “Body Set Weight”, a weight which your body furiously defends, counteracting your weight loss successes and plans.
See, thats not so difficult.
Ok lets get serious.
Short term, you need to loose body fat however you do not want to loose lean muscle mass, bone density or significant amounts of fluids.
There are only 3 (natural) ways to lose weight:
1. Consume less calories than your expend
2. Expend more calories than you consume
3. Increase your metabolic rate
1. Consume less calories than you expend = Calorie restricted diet Any calorie restricted diet will lead to weight loss and eventually even to body fat loss. Most calorie restricted diets are painful because, in order to achieve any substantial result, you need to either restrict calories substantially and / or continue dieting for a really long time which leads to fatigue, hunger, cravings, mood swings and hormone imbalances and ultimately, resignation and weight regain. The reward for this torture is usually 0.5 to 1 kg of weight reduction per week unless you are completely starving yourself (not healthy) and you are not sure if the resulting weight loss is water, lean body (muscle) mass, bone density, body fat or which combination of these. There is a dietary intervention however that addresses these issues. The ketogenic diet or keto diet, if done correctly, focuses like a laser beam on the reduction of primarily body fat while reducing hunger and cravings and balancing out hormones. A keto diet requires you to reduce your carbohydrate intake to a maximum of 5% of daily calorie consumption while making sure that you consume adequate (20%) proteins for vital bodily functions however not too much else the body can convert excess proteins into blood sugar, hindering the essence of a keto diet, which is, entering the natural metabolic state of ketosis. As there are only 3 caloric macronutrients, the balance of the daily calories (75%) come from Fats (Lipids). Ketosis is achieved when the liver produces enough ketone bodies from consumed fats so that ketones become the main source of fuel in the body, replacing blood sugar.
As you enter into ketosis your blood sugar levels drop, causing your insulin levels to drop in line which has a knock on effect on a slew of other hormones, including the ones responsible for hunger (ghrelin) and feeling full (leptin). Once you are in the state of ketosis you are no longer hungry even if you run a considerable caloric deficit. As you are running a significant caloric deficit (-500 to1000kcal. / day), you are not consuming enough carbs to fuel your body with glucose, no excess proteins to convert to glucose and not enough fat to produce enough ketones for your body’s energy requirements. Your body therefore starts using it's own fat reserves stored in body fat to make up for that calorie deficit. The body first converts the closest fat stores in and around your organs known as visceral fat which is also the dangerous kind of fat, connected to many modern lifestyle diseases. The burning of visceral fat is evident in a rapid decrease in belly circumference on the diet along side a significant weight loss already starting in the first week. It is important to consume lots of water with electrolytes during a keto diet to avoid dehydration which could impair fat burning and avoid possible electrolyte imbalances as well as trigger the body’s emergency water and fat retention mechanisms. The down side is that keto diets are quite complicated meal plans which need to be calculated and prepared very precisely else you risk not entering or fluctuating in and out of ketosis which make your efforts obsolete or substantially reduce the impact. In future blogs we will show you step by step how to do it. Why do we know ? Cause it’s what we do, very successfully. We run a weight loss and detox retreat on the tropical island of Koh Chang in Thailand and host weight loss and detox guest all the time. Some just want to enjoy their holiday and loose a few kilos while others come to reverse their fatty liver or work on their pre (or Type 2) diabetes while yet others want to learn how to calculate and prepare real ketogenic meals and find out how to keep off the weight with healthy nutrition after they return home.
2. Expend more calories than you consume = Exercise Of course, we all know that exercise promotes weight loss. However we also know that we need to exercise differently if we want to rival Mr. or Mrs. Universe in muscle mass or if we are training to run a marathon. Well there is also a very specific way of exercising with a main focus on weight loss. For the purposes of weight loss, the “sweet spot” for heart rate is at 50 to 70% of your maximal heart rate (HRmax). Your maximal heart rate is estimated by deducting your age from 220. So let's say that you are 45 years old then your maximal heart rate is: HRmax = 220 - 45 = 175 [beats per minute] So for optimal weight loss you would want to do medium intensity endurance exercise at 50 to 70% of your HRmax which is between (175 x 0.5) 88bpm and (175 x 0.7) 122bpm. So ideally you would target your excise in the middle of that range at a heart rate of about 105bpm. For most people this is equivalent to a brisk power walk. If you do not have a heart rate monitor you can consider yourself to be at a good heart rate if you can just have a conversation but not sing without loosing your breath while power walking.
But what about jogging, the stepper and higher intensity cardio or even HiiT training ? Well there is absolutely nothing wrong with higher intensity cardio exercises and most of them are very healthy, benefitting your entire body and mind, as well as your cardio vascular system (hence the name cardio). This article however is about weight loss and not cardio vascular health. Higher intensity cardio exercise is not as effective for weight loss because above a certain heart rate (approximately and on average 70% of HRmax ) energy in the muscles is no longer produced aerobically (with the use of oxygen) but anaerobically (in the absence of oxygen). The problem with that is that the bio-chemical process of burning fat is a process called beta-oxidation. As the name of the process implies, oxidation takes place with the use of oxygen and is hindered in the absence of oxygen. Therefore, purely and solely for loosing weight, your sweet spot for excise is between 50% and 70% of your maximal heart rate (HRmax). Here at our Thailand keto weight loss retreat on the island of Koh Chang, we go for a power walk on the beach on most days. Our tour takes us to all five beaches accessible from our site and typically takes 45-60min.
3. Increase your metabolic rate = Lifestyle hacks The list of purported, theoretical, mythical and actual metabolism boosters is almost endless and growing very rapidly. Here at our weight loss and detox paradise in Thailand we utilize the following with great success rates:
We incorporate mini HiiT’s (High intensity interval Training) into our power walks, raising our heart rate to 70-90% HRmax for 15-30 seconds and this four times during our roughly one hour walk. The walk its self as well as the mini HiiT’s substantially boost metabolic rate for a period of up to 12 hours after exercise.
We take care of our microbiome by adding plenty of soluble and insoluble dietary fibre into our diet, consuming probiotic foods and lots of short chain fatty acids from fermented foods. A healthy gut and associated lower chronic inflammation are proven to accelerate the metabolic rate substantially. (apart from many other health benefits)
A substantial part of our fat consumption under the ketogenic diet is derived from Medium Chain Fatty Acids (MCFA), known to boost the metabolic rate. This also ensures that our blood lipid profile stays in balance and that cholesterol ratios remain healthy or even improve.
We restrict our nutrient intake to a certain window during the day (also known as chrono nutrition or intermittent fasting). As our guest are not hungry during the program, we simply skip breakfast and excise in a fasted state. Intermittent fasting as well as excising in a fasted state additionally drives up our guests metabolic rate.
We drink plenty of green tea mixed with boiled rosella and our daily shot of coconut blossom vinegar as well as free flow Tea and Coffee, all also help boost metabolic rate.
While each of the above may only inch up the metabolic rate a little, together they have a significant effect on weight loss as the body burns 60-70% of its total daily calories by its basal metabolic rate (BMR).
During a keto weight loss retreat at our resort, we teach our guests all this and how to do it at home and keep the weight off permanently. This while eating plenty of delicious, real food, not soups and broths. We often even have dessert on the menu, so how about a chocolate mousse during your diet ?
Keep following our blog to learn our tricks and get a lot of interesting helpful information regarding weight loss, keto and healthy nutrition and of course recipes.
By the way ketogenic diets are now increasingly being used to fight against many other modern lifestyle diseases such as:
Obesity, Metabolic Syndrome, High Blood Sugar, High Blood Pressure, Insulin Resistance, Pre Diabetes, Type 2 Diabetes, PCOS / POS, Hormonal Imbalances, Menopausal Symptoms, Migraines, Chronic Inflammation, NAFL / Fatty Liver, Cholesterol Ratio Correction, High Blood Triglycerides, Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis CFS/ME, Chronic Inflammation, MS as well as neurodegenerative diseases.
Always consult your medical professional before making any nutritional changes.