I had the opportunity to attend a talk by author and researcher Dr. John Berardi. As always, JB had a very powerful message. Here are some highlights from his lecture:
Important vs. Interesting: There is a mountainous amount of information on weight loss hitting us from every possible angle. It therefore becomes vital to discern between what is important and unimportant. Unimportant aspects (so called noise) usually includes: Sluggish thyroid, toxins, cortisol and any number of fat burning supplements you aren't currently taking.
The Important 5: What really works?
1. Exercise: Any exercise is better than no exercise, but to get the maximal results, resistance training and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are essential. You may have to work up to higher intensity training and hiring a trainer for a couple of sessions isn't a bad idea. 5 hours a week of exercise is about what you need to make significant changes.
2. Food: Do not dig your own grave with a knife and fork. Most people are not honest with themselves when it comes to their food intake. JB's basics for food consumption are as follows;
- Eat every 2-3 hours throughout the day.
- Include lean, complete protein at every meal and snack during the day. Aim for about a gram per pound of body weight.
- Include veggies at every meal and snack throughout the day. The ideal amount of servings of fruits and veggies are 8-10.
- Include a variety of healthy fats in the diet daily. Include olive oil, avocadoes, flax oil, fish oil and raw nuts.
- Consume carb-rich foods only after exercise. Eat mostly whole grain carbs and consume them after exercise when your body best utilizes them.
- Follow the principle of Hara hachi bu - eat only until you are 80% full.
3. Supplements: Most diets fall short in attaining all vitamins and minerals. 4 supplements that Dr. Berardi recommends are as follows;
- Protein supplement
- Fish oil
4. De-Stressing: North Americans appear to have a skewed perception of what it means to relax. We consider our 1-2 week annual vacations our time to rest. Ideally, we should be taking time daily to relax. Scientifically speaking, we need to balance our 2 main brain functions; our sympathetic activity (fight or flight) and our parasympathetic activity (rest and digest). Many of us are too sympathetic and are causing our adrenal glands to work overtime and disrupt our body's ability to manage blood sugar, sleep, mood, thyroid function and sex hormone activity. JB suggests reading, drinking tea, drinking red wine while listening to music (think Beethoven, not The Offspring).
5. Know what to do when the above steps aren't working: We need to realize first that needing this step at all is very rare. The most common problems in this case are;
Poor ATP production: ATP is the universal energy currency in our bodies. Poor ATP production may be caused by sub-clinical anemia and/or insulin problems.
Low thyroid activity: This may be an issue of poor thyroid output, poor conversion or low thyroid hormone activity.
I really appreciated the back to basics approach of this talk. It's a good reminder to revisit some basic things we may not be doing in our lives to improve our health.