Weight loss is such a perpetually growing concern that has been the source of investigation since the 1960’s. But after decades of every diet plan, cleanse product, fat burning supplement, shakes, bars, celebrity fitness gurus, and every new pop-up “medical weight loss” center… the problem continues to climb. Why? Because none of that crap works! It’s a commercialized system preying on the desperation of its public consumers, and when you buy a fat burning supplement, all you’re getting is a well-advertised bottle of tree dust with a photoshopped image of a sponsored fitness competitor (who probably doesn’t even take that supplement) that will make you crap your pants.
Sorry to be blunt, but the fact is that we’re all chasing something that doesn’t have an answer. There isn’t ONE answer to this. Once the world commercialized weight loss, it stopped making any sense whatsoever about how to lose weight, and in my opinion, it made the problem worse. There’s a largely collective belief formed by media messages, “celebrity trainers”, “gurus” and marketing puppeteers that anyone can lose weight, get ripped, “melt away fat”, and look like these fitness models plastered all over internet, in magazines or on the news. All anyone has to do is follow this or that protocol, take these or those supplements, do the Hcg diet, get some cool-sculpting done, perform cardio for an hour each day or buy this workout video, etc. Or maybe we should all do yoga like Madonna so we can look like her? Or be a vegan like this celebrity because she looks amazing, too? Or eat 12 meals a day and train like Hugh Jackman because, hello, Wolverine? This is a massive problem affecting millions of people who simply just want to lose weight. I can promise you that Madonna does more than yoga, nom’sayin?
When someone approaches us about weight loss, they are usually on their last leg and very frustrated. This is understandable, especially for those who seem to do everything right but continue to face challenges losing the weight. When the results do not match their efforts, weight loss becomes an emotional, as well as physical struggle.
Morally, it’d be devastating to market products or cookie-cutter programs to the masses, and we know it’d be an insanely successful way to make more money. But because we know that weight is not the problem, it’s merely a symptom of the problem, we must incorporate a high level system of integration, preceded by practical and clinical assessments on each individual.
Weight Loss: One Size Does NOT Fit ALL
Everyone is differnt, this we can all agree on. But take into considerations the nutrient requirements, lifestyle factors, and exercise program differences needed to tailor a weight loss plan based on gender, height, weight, age, medical history, family history, current health, allergies, medications, supplements, dietary habits, pain conditions, past or current injuries, hormone imbalances, musculoskeletal misalignments, sleep habits, daily schedule, budget, willingness, motivation, stress levels, etc and so on. Also important to note is that a weight loss plan will need to be distinctly different depending on how much weight a person wants or needs to lose. Every single one of those factors, and more, goes into figuring out how to lose weight, which is why a fitness magazine, blog, facebook page or celebrity guru cannot tell you the best way to shed some pounds.
Below, for example, is why one supplement, or one cleanse program, or one specific diet (re: Paleo vs. Keto vs. Vegan etc) can not and will not work for every person the same way it may work for a handful of others. This is hands down, without a doubt, the correct way to find out what works for YOU. And when you walk into our studio or send us an email, this is what you have to do (sorry, not sorry):
- Health, Lifestyle & Fitness goals Q&A
- Medical history
- Current health & symptoms
- Current medications
- Known or suspected allergies
- Past injuries and/or surgeries
- Current injuries and/or surgeries
- Dental health
- Integrative Health assessment (mental, emotional, physical)
- Risk evaluations on all systems of the body
- Extensive review of correlative symptoms within past 3 months
These are usually filled out and reviewed before the first appointment and consultation. It’s important, first, to understand what the main symptom, complaint and/or goal is for the client seeking to work with us. From there we need to have an integrative understanding of our client’s health history, current symptoms and diagnosis, as well as medications, allergies and all current or past injuries because this information gives us the keys to know exactly how they will lose weight (or why they can’t lose weight). Medications can affect gut health and hormones which can hinder the body’s ability to effectively mobilize and release fat cells. Allergies can cause inflammation which can lead to water retention. Injuries and surgeries (past or present) can leave scars that inhibit circulation and limit oxygen to critical visceral components, and the results are surprisingly vast throughout the body. Why is dental health important to weight loss? For starters, if someone has poor dental health (cavities, hematosis), that tells us that there is likely an overgrowth of bad bacteria not only in the mouth, but also in the gut (think how often you swallow everyday). If your gut is overgrown with bad bacteria, this can lead to poor digestion, cravings and abundance of toxins being stored in the body- and toxins are stored in fat cells. Why is mental and emotional health important? Often the missing link and most weight loss plans, stress can actually cause weight gain or retention due to the hormonal havoc it causes over time. Mental and emotional health is also important in understanding cognitive-behavioral triggers that could sabotage a person from reaching their goals. This portion of work is the most difficult to get through, but hands down the most critical piece of the puzzle. A person can workout 5 times a week, eat 100% clean everyday, sleep well, and drink tons of quality water… but if the mental and emotional bodies of a program are not addressed, then the CBT (cognitive behavioral triggers) will always return and it leads to a return of old patterns which will slowly or quickly land you back where you started (or worse). Continue reading for information on how we take all of this information to the first appointment and begin mapping an individualized program.
Consultation & Interview (1st appointment):
Document Foundation: Bio-individuality
- Height & weight
These factors are the drawing board for who you are as an individual. The basics. Without any other information, these five things tell us the basic foundation for what your nutrition & hydration requirements will be, and how to build from there. These will be factored in with all of the information provided from the intakes to fine-tune exactly what should go into a nutrition and lifestyle program. A 29 year old Hispanic female who is taking an oral birth control will need to increase B vitamins significantly as part of the program vs. a 42 year old white male who is in excellent health and fitness condition and absent of any prescription medications. But the 42 year old man may be an athlete that requires a high level of awareness around his nutrition in order to perform. Both will be significantly different.
- Past diets, current diet
- Meal timing, meal size, how many meals per day
- Energy evaluation after meals/snacks
- Current restrictions, if any
- Review food diary
Dietary habits tell me a lot about you and how you can (or can’t) successfully lose weight. Believe it or not, what you have
tried in the past can greatly affect your current and future attempts at weight loss. Hcg diets wreak havoc on the hormones in both men and woman, and cause a metabolic uphill battle that can last forever. Starvation diets, eating disorders, skipping meals and/or not balancing daily intake of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat can lead to severe hormonal disruption, which leads to a sluggish metabolism, if not a full blown thyroid disorder.
Think this is a lot? Too much work? Too much information to share? Well strap in, we’re not even close to done…
- Daily and weekly schedule
- Sleep and wake cycle
- Energy mapping (12 hour, when you feel your best throughout the day)
- Bedtime habits
- Wake habits
How you sleep, when you sleep (or don’t sleep) is very important information for us to determine where you could be
metabolically. Yes, that’s right. Your sleep patterns significantly affect your metabolism by either keeping hormones balanced, or by completely disrupting the necessary hormonal rhythm to maintain your very own survival, much less aesthetic wishes. If we see elevated risk factors with your hormones or glandular system on any of your intakes, for example, we will immediately look at your sleeping habits and incorporate any changes in this lifestyle area that you may need. Also, specific hormones naturally rise and dip during certain times of the day, so by mapping your energy levels, we can quickly identify which hormone(s) could be off-balance. And again, this is different for every. Single. Person.
Period. (no pun intended)
- Assess physical breathing mechanics
- Sympathetic vs. Parasympathetic nervous system
- Review digestion and circulation scores from Health Assessment intake
That is a very simple breakdown of how we focus on breathing, but doesn’t nearly cover how extensive it actually is.
Digestion and circulation are just two things effected by your breathing patterns. Those are usually the first I refer to because it’s almost 100% positive that if you’re not breathing correctly than you are struggling with digestion and circulation, and identifying that isn’t even the end there. We have to figure out which came first, the chicken or the egg? But it gets complicated and I can’t share it all here unless I just want to turn this into a book and have it published. Breathing correctly will provide oxygen (life) to every cell in your body. So just think about that. What could be happening if you are not breathing correctly? (which, by the way, is 95% of the entire world)
- What kind (if any)
- When, how often, how long
- Energy & recovery capabilities
- Favorite exercises and dislikes
- Review injuries, pain, and musculoskeletal scores from Health Assessment
- Workouts vs. Work-ins evaluation
Not every client trains with us or at our studio. Aside from online clients, even our locals are already members of area gyms or fitness classes. We definitely offer training and corrective exercise coaching on-site, but ultimately exercise is
something a person must enjoy first of all, otherwise it will be hard to keep it up. However, if we identify a problem in your current exercise routine, it must be addressed. Some people really like running, and we support anything you like as long as it’s a healthy form of movement for you. Key word: healthy. If you have highly elevated risk factors in glandular system, hormone system or show signs of repeated “wear and tear” injuries, then sadly, we are going to suggest you lay off the endurance training until you recover fully. But it’s important to find something that works for you based on your availability, capability, and likeability. If you hate it, stop it. We also need to evaluate how much you are working out or training, verses how much time is put into working in. Without balancing your energy, the cards will fall. No matter how perfect you are in every other area. To be forward, if you are spending more energy than you are restoring, then you are slowly dying. That’s a fact. And what does it matter how lean your abs are if you’re sick, chronically tired, constantly injured or, eventually… dead?
The following, final – but most important, piece of any program design is probably the most overlooked aspects to health and fitness goals across the board. It is also the most difficult part to make changes in, but keep reading if you would like to understand how and why…
- Stress loads (mental, emotional, physical)
- Lifestyle (career, financial, relationships, family/parenting, hobbies)
- Values & belief systems
- Emotional wellbeing (triggers)
- Cognitive-behavioral patterns
- Review: stress loads, support systems, time management, quality of self-care
Psychological changes cannot be seen, however physical ones can and are. That’s why this part is overlooked because we’re eye-ballin’ the mirror,the scale or anything tangible such as lab reports, neurofeedback or hormone charts. What we can see with our eyes is thing we chase because it’s easy to identify, and easy to receive instant feedback. Just step on a scale! Done! That number visually tells you whether you are winning or losing. But what if you could see your thoughts, fears, values and all the stress in your life? What if you could SEE those things in the mirror or weigh them on the scale? Frightening, right? The fact is, a person’s psychological stress will always weigh more than they do unless the same amount of work goes into shedding back unnecessary layers of the psyche. We all have our own values, and we likely have many of the same values as others, but it is our beliefs (often subconscious) about those values that drive our thoughts, feelings, emotions and thus the triggers that lead to behaviors and old patterns. It’s a journey, but one that cannot be ignored.
A program is not one-size-fits-all. Sure, all six foundations should be examined and then addressed for everyone, but each will be configured into something very specific to each individual. All of the pieces must match the actual puzzle you are putting together. If you want a quick fix, then get ready for a short-term result with longterm damages. Every program, no matter what the goal is; weight loss, pain management, anxiety, insomnia etc, must include and balance ALL six foundations.
“The main thing that everybody does is treat the symptom as is and where it is. Most pain and injuries in athletes are chronic and repetitive. If the body is out of balance, its like having a car with the front end out of alignment. If you don’t know enough about cars to recognize the front end is out of alignment, then you will notice the front tires are wearing out. Most people just get new tires without addressing the misalignment, and this leads to a lot of wasted time and money buying new tires,” Paul Chek.