Functional Fat Burning
by Justin Lane, LAc, Functional Medicine Practitioner, East West Health
We have all heard that watching caloric intake, exercising, and eating low-fat foods will help us get fit and healthy. Still, many Americans are fatter, sicker and more depressed than ever. If you have tried to get to your ideal weight, feel energized again, and have healthy hormones, but find yourself struggling to reach your fitness goals, I have a few tips that might help you on your journey to wellness:
- RESTORE THE GUT BUGS: Research has shown that the ratio of Bacteriodes to Firmicutes bacteria in your gut determine whether you will metabolize the calories you consume or store them as fat. For thousands of years, our ancestors ate fermented foods on a daily basis which fed the Bacteriodes bugs and kept them lean and healthy. The food we eat today is molecularly different than the food our grandparents ate—especially different from the food that our Paleolithic ancestors munched on.
- EAT HEALTHY FATS: We have been conditioned to avoid fat in our diet at all costs. However, you don’t have to be afraid of fats—you just need to make sure the fats you eat come from healthy sources! Avocados, sardines, anchovies, fish, nuts, seeds, and coconut are all great sources of healthy fats. They will help you have more energy, boost brain function, raise good HDL cholesterol, lower bad LDL cholesterol, protect against the buildup of plaque in your arteries, prevent belly fat, strengthen your immune system, and improve your mood.
- USE MINDFULNESS, NOT CORTISOL: Mindfulness is more than just a catchy term. It is the one thing that will allow you to decrease cortisol—one of your fat storing hormones. Mindfulness is also the shortest route to changing poor habits into good habits, like planning your meals in advance versus going through the drive-through of a fast food restaurant. Not only does mindfulness help you make better choices, it has also been shown in several studies to reduce insulin resistance in your cells. This means that the sugar you do eat is consumed as energy instead of being stored as fat.
Getting ready for swimsuit season means looking at weight as a symptom of a bacterial overgrowth of Firmicutes, eating the wrong foods, and lack of awareness. Look at symptoms that change when you eat certain foods: hunger, cravings, energy, sleep, and brain fog. Once you make the commitment to dig deeper into the cause of your weight gain, you may be surprised at how much better you can feel without carrying around an extra 10, 20, or 100 pounds!
About six years ago I was in a very similar situation as many others: I didn’t have the energy I needed, I didn’t feel healthy and I needed to lose about 40-50 lbs. I started off by reducing my calorie intake and worked my way up to exercising at least 4-5 hours per week with high intensity. I soon found myself with less energy than before and I was actually getting bulkier and bigger, partially from muscle gain, but also from an inflammatory response that I was unaware of at the time. I finally decided to reach out to the founder of East West Health, Regan Archibald my brother. From there I had some specific tests that evaluated which foods were causing me inflammation, what bacteria and/or infections in my ‘gut’ were causing issues, and also looked at my adrenals to evaluate different stress hormone function. The discoveries were eye opening, and from there over the course of about 6 months of receiving guidance and treatment from East West Health, I was able to lose about 30 lbs and regain a ton more energy and mental clarity (that I didn’t realize was gone). Over the course of 9 months I was able to lose another 20 lbs and have maintained that ever since. Now I have spent the last 5 years understanding this approach and I love to see others achieve their health goals.
—Cade Archibald, Clinic Director at East West Health