CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT IS NOT THE FULL PICTURE
CALORIES IN, CALORIES OUT IS NOT THE FULL PICTURE…
Weight loss is much more complex.
by Liz Moon, NP
When is the last time you heard someone say, “I just ate less and exercised more to lose weight”? The answer is probably never. That is because the answer to weight reduction and being well is much more complex. We know that calories play some role, but it has a lot more to do with where those calories are coming from, how your body weight is distributed, habit loops, sleep, your gut microbiome, exercise, I could go on and on but hopefully you get the idea. Read more to learn about these additional contributors to the complicated weight management scenario (and come visit us to learn how they may be optimized in YOU to help achieve your weight loss goals):
- Insulin resistance
- Leptin resistance
- Macronutrient imbalance
- Visceral fat
- Gut microbiome
- Habit loops
- Physical activity
First, there are a host of metabolic (or hormonal) parameters that can sometimes be at odds with one another, making weight loss more challenging. The first one that most people are familiar with is a hormone called insulin. Insulin is a hormone produced by the pancreas that helps unlock the body’s cells so glucose from food we eat can be used as energy. It may be easier to think of insulin as the key that unlocks the door to the cell to use glucose as energy. With insulin resistance, the lock is sticky and the key (insulin) can’t open the door. This in turn leads to a cascade of events that contribute to metabolic disease and weight gain.
The next possible hormone culprit contributing to weight gain is called leptin. This is an appetite regulating hormone which is produced by our fat cells. Leptin sends a signal to your brain’s hypothalamus that “I’m full, stop eating.” Patients will often mention they don’t get that signal, or it takes too long. This can be related to leptin levels being too low or high levels indicating leptin resistance.
**These hormones as well as other laboratory tests (cholesterol, blood sugar, liver function, and inflammatory markers) are easily done in our office with quick turn around and thorough explanation of how they are impacting your goals.
So, a calorie is a calorie is a calorie, right? WRONG! Our Registered Dietitian, expert in weight management, Claire Allen will be able to educate you on all the ins and outs of macronutrients. Macronutrients include fats, proteins, carbohydrates (including fiber). She will walk you through how to identify these macronutrients and record them in MyFitnessPal. She reviews your tracked food regularly and makes customized changes to your plan on a weekly basis.
Another important factor to consider is, how you carry your weight; think apple shape vs. pear shape as an example. We know individuals that carry more of their weight in their midsection or throughout the abdomen tend to have higher levels of visceral fat. Visceral fat is the “scary” fat that can surround organs within the abdomen. We know that having a higher level of this is linked to chronic disease like diabetes and heart disease. And guess what, it tends to be associated with insulin resistance!
**We have great testing for visceral fat assessment. We partner with an organization called VisionQuest that offers the GOLD STANDARD in body composition analysis called DexaFit. They offer our patients special pricing of $75/test or a four pack of tests for $265, which can be nice way of tracking progress other than the number on the scale.
What about sleep and your weight…well check out this previous blog citing all the details of how fragmented sleep or sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain and the inability to lose weight. And you guessed it, it has links to insulin resistance.
**We have an AT HOME SLEEP STUDY MACHINE that screens patients for sleep apnea in the comfort their own home! You don’t have to worry about going into a lab and trying to fall asleep in a new environment.
Prepare yourself to hear these infamous buzz words, “the gut microbiome”, much more frequently. As has been mentioned previously, we know our gut bugs play a role in all kinds of bodily functions and your metabolism is a major one. This article from Healthline does a great job explaining how our gut microbiome influences our weight by simply stating, “your gut bacteria can affect how your food is digested, how fat is stored and whether you feel hungry or full.” One of the best ways to start optimizing your gut microbiome and facilitate weight loss is by eating MORE FIBER! Review my recent blog about how the simple act of eating more fiber helps people lose weight versus complex, rigid diets.
Probably one of the hardest parts of weight management is sustainability and maintaining new healthy habits. That is why we have a fantastic Behavior Coach/Counselor as part of our team, Jed Foster. He shares several strategies he employs with patient in one of his recent blogs. They include but are not limited to acceptance, celebrating accomplishment, mindful eating exercises, positive psychology, and how to be realistic with goal setting.
Finally, let’s talk about exercise, activity, or simply moving your body more. If you are motivated to put intentions into action, which of the overwhelming number of fitness options should you choose? You want to make the most of your time when you commit to exercise, so finding a specific program or combination of programs that will give you the maximum return for your time is a must! Shayne Welch our Physical Therapist/Fitness Consultant can help you make the right choices. She has several connections to local fitness studios and gyms with special discounts and free trials to determine what will be the safest choice that work best for you.
If you or someone you know is tired of trying the latest fad diet and want a comprehensive approach that will lead to sustained results, please contact us today. Our team of experts is waiting to support you. This program is almost always covered by insurance (at least partially), please contact our front office and we will be more than happy to investigate benefits for you! Call 224-407-4400 or enter a visit request on our website at www.compgihealth.com. We look forward to hearing from you soon!