On the weekend, we provided comments for an article in the Courier-Mail, on this very topic ‘staying healthy whilst working from home’. Since your working environment may have changed dramatically recently, here are some tips for staying healthy despite the change to routine:
If you’re used to packing a healthy lunch each day continue to do this every morning before you actually start work. If you don’t prepare something healthy in advance, you’ll go to the fridge mindlessly at lunchtime and be more inclined to choose something less healthy… or even Uber eats instead!
Keep a large glass of water at your desk and continually sip throughout the day. Topping up gives you a chance to stretch your legs, gets the blood pumping and gives you a moment to refocus. If you don’t stay hydrated you may mistake hunger for thirst. Plus you’ll feel lethargic and might even get a headache.
If you’re in an exercise pattern already, keep it the same! Don’t promise yourself you will ‘just do it later’ because chances are you won’t. Slot it in as normal. And if it’s not part of your routine, then with all the extra time you have minus commuting… Why not make it a habit from now?
Stock on up fresh veggies to use as a base for salads or lunchtime wraps and fruit for snacking. There are amply supplies of fresh products at your local fruit and veg markets. It’s the supermarkets that have been cleaned out. Support the little guys. And stocking up on pasta and confectionery has no benefits right now or ever for that matter.
As the weather cools, consider popping something rich in nutrients into a slow cooker first thing in the morning. It will be ready in time for lunch. vegetable-rich dishes with either pulses or some form of meat protein are a great, healthy and filling option. Keep an eye on our Facebook page as we will be sharing heaps of recipe ideas over the coming weeks.
Actually, eat proper meals. If you get into the habit of skipping lunch altogether, you will be hungry and you’ll go for quick snack foods high in sugar continuously for fast pick me ups and you’ll only come crashing down again.
From personal experience (keeping it real as always) the hardest part about working from home is avoiding mindless eating as a result of procrastination. To avoid this, it’s best to make sure you don’t have temptations lying around – like chocolates, chips, and biscuits. Apps that boost productivity are really handy as well. For example, the Pomodoro app is a free download on your computer that encourages you to focus for 25 minutes at a time and then allows you a 5-minute break. Psychologically it works! It’s like having a robot boss on your computer keeping you accountable to your work and stopping you from mindlessly walking to the kitchen!
We hope that helps. If it’s business as usual for you (but from home instead) and you’d like to seize this opportunity to work on your general health, reach out and book an appointment here – we are still operating by Skype / in clinic 6 days a week.
We hope that you and your families are safe and well during this unprecedented time that we are all facing right now.
We wanted to assure you that we are here to help support you as best as we can. This is our first mass communication in relation to Coronavirus; essentially because there has been so much information from everywhere at all angles, I (Katie) felt it better to hold off and communicate more personally to each of you as your appointments arose. However, the time has come to put out some assurances and options for you moving forward regarding any upcoming appointments you may have with me or Nicole here at The Balanced Nutritionist:
Firstly, Nicole will only be seeing her clients via Skype, Zoom or phone effective from now until the foreseeable future. If you are a client of Nicole’s, but you’d prefer to see someone face to face, I can take over your care for now. Otherwise, Nicole can still care for you just as effectively by any of these methods and you won’t even have to leave the comfort of your lounge room.
I will continue to provide consults in clinic OR by Skype / Zoom/phone depending on your preference. There is mass communication already circulating in relation to best practice when it comes to face to face interactions; I won’t add to this as I trust that we have had this drilled into us from all angles.
Roughly 40% of our current client base is from other states including Victoria, NSW, WA and even NZ. So please rest assured; we are well set up and experienced at providing our consulting services via Skype / Zoom or phone and assure you that the effectiveness of treatment will not be compromised.
Should you wish to move your upcoming appointment to Skype / Zoom or phone, you can either phone ((07) 3063 2710) or email us (hit reply) now OR inform Michelle when she contacts you for confirmation. Confirmations will be done 4 days in advance from this point forward to allow for scheduling changes etc.
We are able to post orders for supplements via express postal services should you prefer an online appointment or simply need to restock and don’t want to call into the clinic.
On a final note, if you are experiencing financial hardship due to a sudden change in employment or similar, BUT you really require our services please reach out so we can see what we can offer you during these times.
A few general words from a professional, nutritional perspective…..
Over the last few weeks, I’ve witnessed some fantastic ideas relating to health and natural immunity support, from fellow colleagues being communicated via social media etc. Sometimes, this sort of advice gets shut down very quickly and dismissed as quackery. None of these colleagues (or us here for that matter) are laying claim to being able to cure viruses or anything outrageous like that. I believe the message is simply… if you have the capacity to continue working on your overall health, then you should continue to do so during this time. By strengthening our overall wellbeing, we will help our own immune systems, reducing our risk of contracting viruses in the first place (and colds – it is the season for it). Furthermore, if faced with an unfortunate diagnosis, if we are as ‘generally healthy’ as can be, it’s likely we will suffer less severely. So for this reason, we do encourage you to continue eating well, staying well hydrated (water that is) and moving where you can. This will also contribute to better mental health during these periods of increased self-isolation. Overall, we offer the following tips:
Local fruit and vegetable stores and even IGAs seem to be really well stocked with beautiful fresh produce as do local butchers. I can personally vouch for Lorenti’s fruit market, Greenslopes IGA, and England and Allsop Butcher Coorparoo. The supermarkets are being wiped clean so support these little guys; less crowded and better quality, fresh food. This is the food that will support you right now; not the pasta and confectionery being wiped out of the bigger stores.
Please drink your 2L (minimum) of pure water daily. Please. Even though it is getting cooler, you still need it!
Fresh air helps. Even if it’s just from your own backyard. I’ve upped the length of my dog walks to well over an hour a day to enjoy the sunshine, capture some vitamin D and keep moving generally. If gyms are forced to close you can continue with bodyweight strength exercises and even yoga/pilates via computer apps from home.
You can generally support your immune system naturally with nutrients like vitamin C, zinc and even some herbal products. Please ask for individual advice at your next consult. We will be suggesting immune support to all our clients at the end of consultations from this point forward; as a professional duty of care. Note that some herbs are contraindicated in certain health conditions and immune support for pregnancy is particularly specialized so do ask. No, these products won’t cure Coronavirus – but they could reduce your susceptibility to catching things in the first place.
Finally, I buy toilet paper in bulk yearly from Who Gives a Crap, an awesome organization if you don’t know them – check them out! Anyhow, I have about 60 rolls in the clinic so should you find yourself low on supplies, just ask and I’ll give you a roll or 2:).
That’s all we have for now folks. Things are changing rapidly though, therefore some of this information may change by the time you read this, but we shall do our best to keep you informed.
So you’re wondering about all of those little bottles that stare back at you in the supermarket claiming to cure all ailments from dodgy stomachs, to stubborn cellulite, to acne-prone skin?
Fear not. We are here to hold your hand through the noise and tell you the absolute MUST drink beverage for 2020. We love it SO MUCH that we even have this beverage available in the clinic for you when you book your appointment.
This beverage will:
help you to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight
help you stay regular ‘down there’
help to prevent you from overeating
help with inflammation of the joints and ligaments by providing lubrication
flush out body waste (a trendy way of saying this is ‘detoxing’ your body)
help make your skin GLOW
help to boost your energy
help you to get a good night’s sleep
Geez. You must be thinking right now, I bet if it does all of those things… it must be a bit exy right?
Well actually….. its completely FREE! It comes straight from the tap, and we are NOT getting enough of it! You can see Lexi the Lab demonstrating just how delicious and irresistible WATER truly is!
Ahhhh. Sorry about that. Just another truth buster team, its what we do best here at The Balanced Nutritionist.
Seriously BEFORE you turn to ANY expensive super beverages you need to absolutely ensure that you are drinking at least 2L of pure water each and every single day. MORE if you are male and broad because quite simply you have even more cells than an average person to hydrate.
For more truth busters, check out some of the blogs on our website. And if you’re lost in the hype of 2020 fads then we’re just a click of a button away.
This is a synopsis of the journey of a 50 year old male client of The Balanced Nutritionist who presented with Type 2 Diabetes, hypertension and raised liver enzymes on July 5th 2019. This client wanted to release 25kg of body weight to return to a healthy weight range. In addition, he wanted to minimize his need for medication and better manage his conditions with nutrition and lifestyle. For privacy reasons, this client will be referred to simply as ‘D’ throughout this case study.
The purpose of this report is to draw attention to the power of individualized dietary interventions and professional support in the presence of chronic health conditions. Between the 5th of July and the 12th of October, D released 25kg of body weight, was taken off all diabetes medication (as directed by his GP), significantly lowered his blood pressure medication and improved his overall wellbeing. For the full journey, see below:
Initial consultation July 5th presenting concerns:
Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus, diagnosed more than 10 years ago. Oral medication (metformin) in use,. Most recent HbA1c* was 11.6
Blood pressure issues for close to 15 years.
Triglycerides were 3.2 on latest blood tests despite cholesterol medication.
Occasional muscle cramping particularly in feet
Uncomfortable with current weight
Unable to exercise due to shoulder and hip issues
Energy not ideal particularly in the afternoon
Family history of blood pressure issues and diabetes type 2
Motivated to change nutrition and lifestyle to release weight and improve blood pressure and diabetes management.
Initial consultation July 5th Medications and stats:
Diabetic medication twice daily / blood pressure managed with 2 separate medications taken twice daily / cholesterol medication
Weight: 124.9kg / waist measurement 114cm
Initial consultation July 5th nutritional and lifestyle habits:
D was not a big drinker; a couple of nights per week
Rarely drank soft drink
Water intake was around 1L
Plenty of protein in the diet, but perhaps a little too much mindless snacking as a habit – this was most likely driving up blood sugar and making weight loss challenging.
Initial consultation July 5th Initial recommendations:
Advised to bring in some low impact exercise
Reduced size of breakfast and asked D to eliminate snacking altogether, focusing on just 3 quality meals
D began logging BSLs* regularly
D began keeping a food diary which generally helps with more mindful eating by default
Second consultation 3rd August Medications and stats:
D had followed recommendations to a tee
BSLs had initially ranged from 8 to 11mmol/L in early July. By the middle of the month they were more often sitting between 5.5 and 7.5mmol/L (readings taken at various times through the day).
Diabetic mediation reduced and evening blood pressure medication reduced as directed by GP
Weight 118kg; a reduction of 6kg.
Waist circumference 110cm; a reduction of 4cm
Second consultation 3rd August Recommendations:
D embarked on structured Metabolic Balance® program*
Foods and quantities matched to D based on extensive blood work, medications, medical conditions and physical statistics.
GP aware and supportive of this dietary approach
Third consultation 23rd August Medications and stats:
Under direction of GP, metformin (oral diabetic medication) was stopped after 10 years of being mediated for diabetes.
Fasting BSLs consistently sitting between 4.8 and 5.
No issues with hypoglycaemia* although blood pressure dipping low at times hence further changes to blood pressure as per below
Evening BP medication no longer used (as directed by GP)
Weight reduced to and waist
Energy fairly consistent, rarely feeling hungry.
Hamstring pulled unfortunately so not much chance of introducing structured exercise into lifestyle at this point
Third consultation 23rd August Recommendations:
Continue with structured food plan, addition of more healthy fats
Keep consulting with GP and keep recording daily blood pressure to ensure medication adjusted accordingly to ensure no low blood pressure episodes.
Fourth consultation 14th September Medications and Stats:
Current medications consisting only of ½ dose of morning blood pressure pills plus cholesterol pill.
Still consistently releasing over 1kg of body weight a week, with minimal loss of lean body mass*
Had introduced a few meals off the plan and noted a fast response to ‘white carbs’ i.e. white rice – a good lesson to learn moving forward*
Fourth consultation 14th September Recommendations:
Advised to start trialling some foods outside of original plan and monitor blood sugar response particularly to other low GI carbohydrates
Avoid ‘white’ cabohydrates and high wheat carbs at all costs due to effect on BSL
Prescribed multi mineral formula to support nutrient status whilst still releasing weight
Fifth consultation 12th October Medications and stats:
Current weight is 100kg, and according to VLA, body fat is now ideal for frame size. An overall loss of 25kg.
Waist measurement down to 97cm*, an overall reduction of 17cm.
D wanting to discuss remaining BP medication and cholesterol medication with GP
Fifth consultation 12th October Recommendations
Relaxing some aspects of the program with a view of maintain wellbeing and blood sugar readings. Review again in 6 weeks.
Bring in some exercise with a view for this to become habitual once received the all clear on injuries.
This synopsis of D’s journey so far has been written based on the CARE case report guidelines to ensure the synopsis is as objective as possible. This summary was prepared in consultation with clinical notes taken during consultations. D has read this report in full and confirms it’s accuracy as well as providing consent for it to be published.
The take home points for the reader of this case study include:
Comprehensive and individualised nutritional prescriptions are a truly powerful solution to chronic and debilitating health conditions
Food groups don’t necessarily have to be excluded. Exclusions of any whole foods should be based on an individual’s reaction to them – not on a societal level.
Professional advice and support is critical particularly where medical conditions and medications are involved. D benefited from the support of Katie King, nutritionist as well as his General Practitioner to monitor his medications closely.
This is not individualised advice. Consult a professional if you want results like this.
These results are proportionate to effort. We can guide, support and advice but ultimately D had the right mindset to make changes to his nutrition and he deserves these results.
*The term ‘diabetes reversal’ is used in medical literature and the exact criteria for reversal is still debated. However, according to the World Health Organisation, most agree that a HbA1c under the diabetic threshold of 6.5% without the use of medication does qualify. More here: https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6520897/
*HbA1c: a test which gives an average of the previous 2-3 months blood sugar results)
*The specific instructions given to this client have been deliberately excluded from this case study as they suited this particular person. The same interventions applied to someone else may not have the same outcome. For safe and effective results, you should work with a suitably qualified practitioner. Book your consultation here.
*BSLs: blood sugar levels
*Metabolic Balance® program is a German medical program that we have received extensive training in and offer at The Balanced Nutritionist. The exact foods and quantities of foods ideal for a person (based on extensive blood work, medications, medical conditions and physical statistics) are prescribed to a person and a structured program follows. Meals are clean, but balanced. Each meal contains protein and fibre rich vegetables as well as fruits and even starch are generally included in a Metabolic Balance® program.
*Hypoglyaemia: low blood sugar (to the extent that it may lead to disturbing symptoms like dizziness, feeling faint, weak or shaky.)
*Lean body mass: the difference between total body weight and fat mass; ideally you always want to preserve lean body mass as it accounts for muscle mass.
*VLA: a scientifically validated test we use in clinic to accurately monitor changes in body fat, lean body mass, hydration and cellular health.
*White carbs: please note that each diabetic is unique. Some, for example may respond fine to fruit others may find it spikes blood sugar. Part of the journey of any diabetic who wants to manage their condition as best as they can through diet, is discovery which foods are most problematic for them. They should then be avoided at all costs.
Here at The Balanced Nutritionist, we see a variety of clients with many different health conditions. These range from conditions characterized by pain and inflammation, digestive disorders, mental health conditions, fatigue, and of course, reaching a healthy weight. Whilst many of our clients will come in and see us with a multitude of symptoms that they would like to see improve, the one that most place the most weight on (pardon the pun)… is their actual WEIGHT. In fact, even when there is a multitude of other symptoms that are having a very negative effect on quality of life… it still comes back to that one number on the scales….
Nicole and I, as the nutritionists here at The Balanced Nutritionist have spoken about the issue of ‘weight’ and what we, as a society, think it means, at length. Working in weight loss is hard…. Its like walking on a tightrope. We want to make it clear that our goal at The Balanced Nutritionist is to help people be as healthy and as happy as they can possibly be by choosing great, healthy whole foods that are good for their body most of the time. However, because some of what we do comes down to weight AND because it’s a big issue to many of our clients, we want to make it clear that:
We do not want to create or contribute to any fear that may surround food.
We do not want people to think that perfection, when it comes to food is the only path moving forward because this is certainly not what we advocate
And we certainly don’t want people to have an unhealthy relationship with their bodies.
For us, the weight conversation can be a tricky one. What we really want to help people with is ‘reaching a healthy weight range’, and this is a term that we often use during clinical consultations. We are NOT about having that thigh gap… or that six pack. In fact, its common for us to ask clients to remove influences that promote this thinking from their lives… as it can be unhelpful. We are however aware that weight and health are intricately linked. You can not ignore one and acknowledge the other.
Sometimes clients sit across from us and tell us that they need to lose weight or that they feel uncomfortable with their bodies. From a professional perspective, we know that in all honesty, their weight isn’t a problem at all. They may already be at a healthy weight range.. But fixated on becoming a particular shape or size, that perhaps they just aren’t meant to be. Sometimes, we focus on a magic number that perhaps just isn’t right for our own bodies. Some of us will naturally be leaner than others and that is ok. Sometimes, reaching the ‘magic number’ might actually cause ill health. Sometimes, it would require such rigid and unreasonable eating / exercise habits that it would be extremely detrimental. So for us, we always come back to the ‘healthy weight range’ and focus our support on helping our clients reach and accept this. It is the place where health will be good… both physical and mental!
What IS a ‘healthy weight range’
It is NOT about being a size eight, with 20% body fat, or having visible abs, a thigh gap or fitting into a little black dress.
It IS a place where you minimize your risk factors for certain metabolic conditions.
It IS where can move freely without pain and exercise without struggling
It IS a place where you feel comfortable in your own skin
It IS a place that you can maintain by choosing good, healthy wholefoods, eaten consciously with the occasional treat without guilt.
We really need to change the conversation and make sure that we are striving for a healthy weight range as opposed to the so-called “perfect body” that is sometimes portrayed as ideal. Let me tell you that the so-called “perfect body” that is portrayed at times is FAR from perfect. There is, as we talk about without clients such a thing as being too lean.
If you reduce your body fat too much:
You will compromise your hormonal health
You may compromise your aspects like your fertility
You may even compromise your muscle mass and your bone density particularly later in life.
And it’s likely mentally, that you won’t be in a good place.
It is so important to us that our clients have a balanced relationship with food. That eating healthy doesn’t become stressful or mean there is no room for variation or occasional indulgences.
When the motivation or the mechanism to become healthy becomes too stressful, then the benefits are outweighed by the additional stress that this causes.
Sometimes people come into our clinic, thinking that we will help them attain the perfect body. Or build the ideal booty. This is NOT what we are about. Having developed quite a reputation as a ‘weight loss clinic’ (even though we have never labelled ourselves as this) we walk a delicate line…. We believe that health is absolutely linked to a healthy weight… but that the concept of a healthy weight needs to be redefined.
Thanks for reading. It’s difficult to express our thoughts clearly on this topic, but we feel it’s critical we communicate our stance on this issue. And its critical everyone knows…. you are so much more than a number of a scale!
Ok. In all seriousness, our initial response was ‘seriously, did we really need a study to prove this but….’
The really interesting thing about the research here was that the subjects receiving the ultra processed foods versus those receiving the minimally processed foods, received the exact SAME number of calories and macronutrients… initially.
Participants were instructed to consume until they were satisfied and what the research found was that those receiving minimally processed foods simply ate less. Those receiving the ultra processed foods ate more – carbohydrates and fat in particular. The ultra processed group gained weight, whilst those receiving minimally processed foods lost it.
Take home points:
-processed food is completely unsatisfying for the body. Its nutrient devoid; you will go looking for more because the body is simply not getting what it needs. We discuss this with clients. All. The. Time. You have to get off the bandwagon of addictive snacks, sauces, sugary cereals and drinks.
-processed food completely highjacks the appetite. You will have not appetite control on a diet of ultraprocessed foods. You will not stop. You know… the pringles saying? Its the truth!
Doesn’t this research prove that resources would be better directed at removing said processed food from kids’ diets because that is a major underlying cause of the childhood obesity crisis. Instead of allowing another generation of humans with eating disorders to evolve?
We are PASSIONATE about simply moving people to a wholefoods program here at The Balanced Nutritionist because even THAT can see some magic happen.
If you are struggling with too much ‘packet’ convenience food creeping in to your diet, feeling sluggish, heavy and yuck as a result book online here because our Back to Basics wholefoods program is perfect for you.
Anyhow, what we would like to see from here in the research world:
-we would have loved to see the result if both groups had to consume exactly the same amount of calories but in 2 different forms still – ultra processed and minimally processed. This would prove the point that its beyond calories and macros. Processed food interferes with the body on a cellular level. It results in vastly different hormonal and neurotransmitter reactions and that is how the damage is done…. providing excess energy is only half the problem.
These principles are exactly why our current wholefoods program is working well – the Back to Basics protocol I mentioned above.
Its a ‘no counting,’ ‘eat to your own appetite’ ‘wholefoods’ based 4 – 8 week program which just takes it back to basics, supporting you with the structure and accountability to do so.
Guess what happens as a result? You gain energy, clarity, happiness, health and released unwanted weight. Without math. Without stress. Without packets. Genius.
You literally can not walk out your front door these days without the latest pill, potion, supplement, spray, exercise tool, exercise program, drug or surgery being pushed your way for ‘health’ or weight loss. But despite this, weight-related chronic health problems continue to climb, as do the statistics for obesity in Australia.
I’m starting to feel rather lonely over here in my own corner, because I’m not pushing the next miracle solution… instead, I still believe that the real answer to weight loss and overall health is food! Well specifically, nutrition.
With all of the products and programs now being marketed for weight loss and health, I’m genuinely scared that we are going to forget ‘food’ is the main part of the picture here.
When I see people who have digestive complaints, it may have taken decades for them to end up in my office. Sometimes they haven’t even considered that the food they put into their mouth is connected to the digestive symptoms that they are experiencing. Can we pause and consider the irony in this?
I’m not at all saying it’s their fault or they’re silly for not realising this… there’s a lot of noise out there that stops us from seeing the obvious. We are sadly becoming such a ‘band-aid’ society that having to pause and think that what we put into our mouth multiple times a day (which literally becomes part of us) is becoming somewhat of a low priority.
It’s honestly my hope that we don’t get this way with weight loss and health. That we don’t bury the importance of ‘the right food’ underneath all the other quick-fix options that are out there.
Let’s take weight loss surgery as an example. There is currently a lot of Government money going into this option as a solution for obesity. But as a stand-alone treatment, it’s not going to work. People still need to learn how to prepare healthy meals and choose the right foods for them and their families beyond surgical intervention. Otherwise:
Metabolic health will continue to worsen after surgery, so even though calories in may be restricted, rebound weight gain may result or weight loss may simply stall before a healthy range is reached
Nutrient deficiencies will prevail. Fact: Nutrient deficiencies can lead to depression, anxiety, fatigue, osteoporosis and other chronic diseases. Drugs may resolve symptoms associated with these things, but they aren’t a solution. Aren’t we trying to solve the obesity crisis to further prevent chronic disease?
Digestion and absorption problems will either continue to prevail or become a major issue. Again, only eating the right foods and eating consciously will help to combat this.
That’s just three reasons, and I could go on about some of the other health ‘solutions’ and how we still have to bring the ‘food conversation’ into those as well. Like the fact that people are still being prescribed Duramine. This drug is also supposed to be co-prescribed with a nutritional and lifestyle program alongside it, as per all of the drug information that accompanies it, it in itself is not the solution.
Please don’t think I’m naive about the fact that changing your diet is really hard! Eating well and living a healthy lifestyle is not like flicking a switch. And it’s not like ‘healthy people’ make good choices every day. We ALL have up and down days… up and downtimes. But the important thing is that we all need to use as many tools as required in order to make good food and positive lifestyle choice as often as we can.
This is the only, true, long-term solution to living a happy, healthy life. And it’s common sense. I don’t know about you, but I’m NOT okay with surgery and injections being the new normal and what we eat continuing to be based on unconscious decisions with no thought for their consequences.
Note: Please read this article carefully and note that I’m not disagreeing that surgical or drug interventions may be a viable option for some people. However, it’s important that these options are accompanied by support and education around adopting an appropriate nutrition and lifestyle plan to support the intervention and to minimise long term side effects. It’s only then that the intervention becomes a true solution as opposed to a short-term fix.
If you have tried every diet under the sun to attain health and find a healthy weight, with no avail, Metabolic Balance® – our signature weight management program – is for you. Read more about Metabolic Balance® here.
Have you ever actually thought about what fat is? Maybe you thought it was just a storage depot, where excess energy hangs out? Like a garage? Just dead tissue? The truth is, fat cells really do have a secret life of their own.
Blubber, a spare tyre, love handles, chub… we give it funny names and we don’t like too much of it hanging around but, beyond that, most people don’t know a lot about fat cells.
Let’s talk about the secret life of fat…
The scientific term for fat cells is ‘adipose tissue’. You may have read about different types of adipose tissue: white and brown, which are not the same. Brown adipose tissue cells have more capillaries (tiny blood vessels), more mitochondria (the powerhouse part of a cell) and contain more iron, resulting in a darker pigmentation.
When we are born, we have a greater proportion of brown to white adipose tissue but, as we age, we develop more of the white stuff. Generally, brown adipose tissue is accepted as ‘good fat.’
White fat has fewer mitochondria and blood vessels than brown fat, thus resulting in its lighter white or yellow appearance. White fat is the predominant form of fat in the body, originating from connective tissue. Its main job is to provide energy reserve in the body. Where there is adipose tissue there are also lots of adipokines or adipocytokines being produced by the fat tissue.
Adipocytokines are hormones and cytokines (or cell signalling proteins) secreted by adipose tissue (adipo = fat, cytos = cell and kinos = movement). Adipocytokines are a bit like messengers delivering information.
Here are five examples of different types of adipocytokines that fat cells ‘spit out’ on a regular basis and a bit about how they affect us:
Resistin: This is a hormone. An aptly named hormone because it literally means ‘resistance to insulin’. In basic terms, resistin reduces the ability of other cells to respond to insulin, therefore resulting in higher blood glucose levels and potentially contributing to the development of insulin-resistant conditions, like type 2 diabetes (1).
Plasminogen activator inhibitor–1: This is a protein that inhibits other substances in the body that help in the process of breaking down blood clots. So, therefore, when its overproduced in the body (due to an excess of fat cells) there is a higher risk of thrombosis (that’s blood clots in our blood vessels) and more risk of cardiovascular events (2).
Pro-inflammatory molecules (such as TNF-alpha and interleukin 6): Research indicates that the adipocytokines secreted by fat cells in lean individuals are more likely to be anti-inflammatory in nature(3), whilst those produced in overweight people are more likely to be pro-inflammatory. Inflammation is associated with poor health and all chronic disease, so it’s definitely not a state we want to be promoting in the body.
Sex hormones: Some sex hormones can be produced by adipose tissue, in particular, oestrogen. Again, there are a number of chronic health conditions linked to higher oestrogen levels and/or high oestrogen to progesterone ratios (e.g. breast cancer). In overweight men, circulating oestrogen levels are also notably higher than in leaner men, while testosterone levels are lower than average (4). Low testosterone can lead to low mood, low libido, low muscle mass and a host of other symptoms in males.
Leptin: Leptin is a protein that communicates with the brain, signalling ‘fullness’, therefore plays a critical role in appetite control. Increased circulating levels in overweight people due to the higher amount of fat tissue producing leptin, has raised the concept of ‘leptin resistance.’ This is similar to insulin resistance in that the body may stop responding to the messages that leptin is trying to send the brain. This may be why some people struggle with appetite control and may rarely feel ‘full’ or ‘satisfied’ after meals.
We often hear about the risks associated with being overweight, but we rarely discuss why this is the case. It’s not just the stress on the body from carrying some extra weight – its far more complex than that, as you can see.
I know there were a lot of complicated names in that list above, but the message is simply this: being overweight is more complicated than just being overweight. And, I mean that in the kindest way possible.
In research studies, fat is generally referred to as an endocrine organ (hormone-producing organ) in its own right and scientists have isolated over 50 substances that are ‘spat out’ by fat cells. That’s 50 substances capable of talking to, interacting with and having an effect over the other cells in our body. And, as you can see, they definitely have some pretty significant effects!
I really believe this highlights the need to look at weight loss from a holistic viewpoint. It can not be about ‘eating less and simply exercising more’. In fact, this approach will probably serve to heighten inflammation even further! We really want to reduce inflammation, achieve hormone balance, improve insulin sensitivity, address the psychology of weight loss, incorporate appropriate movement and eat the right foods for the body, of course. Please consider all of this if you are looking for the right weight loss approach for you.
Meanwhile, we stand behind the personalized, research-backed program, Metabolic Balance, because we know it addresses all of these factors and more. And that is really the key to losing fat and keeping it off.
There has been a lot of interest and support in my ‘little’ project to create a Metabolic Balance® recipe book (the constant mess in my kitchen suggests this project ain’t that little…). All the support has been lovely, but I thought I’d clear up some of the confusion around what to expect. While many of the recipes may be tasty and easy for those of you simply looking for ‘healthy’ wholefood meals, the Metabolic Balance® program is extremely specific. Here are some of the hurdles that I have to account for in creating suitable meals and a taste of what to expect from the book….
1, Metabolic Balance® is strictly food. I mean… literally, food only. No sauces, no packets, nothing processed, not a drop of soy sauce here or a touch of mustard there. So flavor must come from basic spices, dried and fresh herbs, salt, pepper, garlic, ginger and very clean broths only. On the upside, this is one of the reasons I do love Metabolic Balance® – it teaches people to cook with real, basic ingredients. And one of the reasons why it works too – far too much of what we put in our mouths these days is not actually ‘food.’ Its chemicals – made in a lab. Not grown in a field. These fake foods are wreaking havoc with our hormones, our gut, our immune system, our metabolism, our health and as a result our LIVES.
2. It is completely individual. This is not a lie. There’s not say, 100 templates that exist and every person is ‘matched’ to one of them. No two plans are the same. Each individual receives a list of recommended proteins, fruits, vegetables and starches and from this list they create their meals. Each individual is also designated ‘quantities’ of each food group to consume. In general, the more complicated the case (i.e. someone with multiple medical conditions and / or ‘poor’ blood test results’) the more limited the food plan. While someone with less complicated pathology is likely to get a less restricted plan. So when writing a recipe book, this makes things rather hard… would you not agree? In putting the book together, I am trying to provide recipes based on all possible proteins that may exist on a plan and then build in a couple of different options as accompaniments based around different vegetable combinations. I am also including substitutions wherever I can so that the recipes can be ‘adapted’ to suit most people’s plans. Further to this, each week I am pulling out a ‘different’ plan to base my culinary creations on for that week. My own personal Metabolic Balance® plan had lots of options so if I wrote all the recipes based on that, the book wouldn’t be a very helpful resource to those with restricted options*.
3, Metabolic Balance® is not a ‘dairy free’ ‘gluten free’ ‘soy free’ ‘egg free’ ‘grain free’ ‘fat free’ vegan program. See point 2 above. Some people… get milk on their list! Some people will be able to eat gluten on their plan! Some will have more vegetarian options, others will feature beef, some won’t have red meat. You get the point. I hope if you have been following me for a while you have ‘gotten the gyst’ that I am not a namer and shamer of food groups that are ‘bad.’ Personally, I take creamy cows milk in my coffee, I eat gluten everyday and sometimes I’ll take chickpeas over a steak but other days it just doesn’t cut it. I LOVE this point about Metabolic Balance®. Again, its about the individual. Not about the latest craze. Further to this point, the blood tests on Metabolic Balance® do NOT test for allergies, however these can be ascertained separately and then excluded from a plan. Many people I see in clinic are convinced they may have certain ‘intolerances.’ Intolerance testing is expensive and not always helpful and in my experience, signs of ‘intolerances’ tend to sort themselves out on a Metabolic Balance® program.
4. Although not entirely relevant to the recipe book discussion, Metabolic Balance® is a highly supported program. Anyone on a Metabolic Balance® plan must be guided by a degree qualified Nutritionist consistently through the program. Its not a ‘quick fix’ program. Many of the people who embark on a Metabolic Balance® may have had health issues for many years. Its a restoration process – back to good health. Sometimes it concerns me that people who have complex pathology will try short term fad diets or shake programs or be guided on the topic of their health and nutrition by someone with absolutely no professional qualifications. Having a serious medical condition and / or being overweight does require professional support. Its a physical, mental and emotional journey back from this state. And yet, we still search for the magic pill….
Enough now. I hope to have the first edition of the book out for current Metabolic Balance clients in about 5-6 weeks time. However, it will be at least 3 months before I properly publish and release it. If you are doing a Metabolic Balance® program then I hope it is an invaluable resource. If you are thinking of doing a Metabolic Balance® program than it will be a great starting point to ‘feel’ the program. If you simply want to check out some really quick, clean, wholefood meal ideas then it may also be a bit of fun for you.
For more on Metabolic Balance check out this page here. Thanks for reading and keep up to date on the progress of the book via Facebook and Instagram.
*The more restricted plans are necessary for those with complex pathology that have a great deal of healing in front of them to restore health. Remember that Metabolic Balance® is designed by Medical Doctors and Nutritional Scientists, and accounts for complex conditions and medications – restricted plans are ‘checked off’ by a team and plans are ‘expanded’ on as a person’s health improves. Healing through food at its best.