Friday, May 29, 2015

Which type of body fat are you trying to get rid of?

For many people, the notion that weight loss = calories in minus calories out is almost cemented in their mind. As long as we are in a calorie deficit, weight loss will ensue, correct?

On paper, in text books, in clinical trials, in fitness magazines and in the doctors office, it is portrayed as that simple.

I have a very interesting theory though that I will expand upon, and hopefully be published in a bigger publication.

I've been doing some research on this theory and so far, it seems to pan out pretty well.

Here's the gist of the article: There are two types of fat-loss patients:
  • There are those who simply over eat and make poor food choices
  • There are those who are stressed in multiple ways and as a result fail to lose abdominal fat.
How do we determine who is who?

Here is a list of characteristics I see in people from the two groups
Generalized adiposity - 
  1. Poor food quality and quantity selection when observing a food eating record
  2. Larger skin folds in multiple regions of the body
  3. Soft, squishy fat around multiple body regions
  4. Body fat fairly evenly distributed among the body regions and limbs
  5. No history of prolonged dieting
  6. Minimal physical activity
  7. Somewhat sedentary job
  8. No attention to hunger/fullness cues when eating
Centralized adiposity - 
  1. Very conscious of food choices and quality
  2. Lower skin fold measurements in arms, calves, chest and thighs, high skin fold in abdominal region, mid axillary and subscapular
  3. Unevenly distributed fat (primarily deposited in abdominal region)
  4. Hard abdominal fat (they look overweight, but the belly is as hard as a drum)
  5. History of repeated attempts at losing weight with some success
  6. High demand, high pressure career, often a business owner
  7. Poor recover (ie poor sleep, dependence on caffiene, chronically tired, calories too low, deficient in certain macronutrients, micronutrients)
Now hopefully you recognize some of the traits characterized here in these 2 categories. And hopefully you indirectly see solutions to these characteristics. 

The solution for the Generalized Adiposity group is fairly simple:
  • pay attention to hunger cues,
  • eat to 80% full
  • and focus on whole foods such as fruits/veggies, lean protein and root veggies for starches
Add in 2-3 hours of exercise a week and they can expect to lose weight fairly easily.

The solution for the Centralized Adiposity group is a bit more complex. Because their's is a problem of stress and managing that stress. This study and this study demonstrated that high levels of the stress hormone cortisol is related to increased abdominal fat storage.

A big hang up for most people in this boat is the fact that they (GASP!) need to eat more and exercise a little less (assuming they are exercising). Trying to wrap your mind around that paradigm shift is a pretty tough and many people struggle with it.

An article by nutrition coach Georgie Fear has an entire section of her website devoted to "reverse dieting." In it, she outlines the steps that are needed to restore a metabolism that has been devastated by stress from chronic dieting, over training, poor recovery and poor sleep habits.

What changes does the Centralized Adiposity (Stressed) client need?
  • Make sure you're not cutting calories too low
  • Sleep 7-9 hours per night
  • Exercise at a lower intensity for 3-4 hours/week
  • Focus on hunger/fullness rather than counting calories
  • Minimize stimulants such as caffeine and added sugar
  • Perform meditative exercises that focus on breathing patterns and removing mental clutter
So take a look at the two types of fat loss clients. If you know you're overweight, you're going to fall into one of these two categories. And knowing which category you are in can save you a lot of time, headaches and frustration by knowing what to expect.

I'd love to help you no matter which category you fall into. Because we can make changes that will lead to a healthier, happier life!

Email and let's get this ball rolling!

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