Forget the severe calorie restriction, low-carb diets, fasting, and torturous exercise

Schedule your free discovery session:

The best way to see if we are a good fit to work together is to book a free 20-minute discovery session. With this no-strings-attached and no-pressure call, I will get a better understanding of your health goals and how I can help you achieve them.

You may have tried a combination of dieting, cutting out carbohydrates, intermittent or water fasting, and increasing your exercise volume. You may have had temporary results, but you either plateau or the weight comes back when you stop doing the intervention/s.

If weight loss was as simple as “eat less and move more”, you would think at least some portion of the population would have achieved success with this approach. Yet, the statistics tell us otherwise.

Why don’t these approaches work long-term? In short, because excess weight is a much more complex issue than “eating too much and not exercising enough”. Yes, there are usually dietary habits that need to be improved, but I’ve worked with clients who eat a clean, high-quality diet but still have trouble shifting the pounds. Others exercise like athletes but it doesn’t make a dent in their fat-loss goals. I’ve worked with folks that eat under 1000 calories some days, or have done keto or low-carb for months or years, yet they still cannot achieve the body composition they want.

We need to have a much more nuanced conversation about this.

Why popular weight loss interventions are unhealthy and ineffective long term

The modalities most people use to lose weight are often highly stressful (whether it feels like it or not). When you put your body through the stress of cutting calories, low-carbohydrate diets, various forms of starvation (also known as fasting), and/or grueling exercise programs, you may get results in the short term – no one is denying that. The problem is that these interventions are rarely sustainable.

But the bigger issue is rarely discussed. You see, the reason the above interventions work temporarily is because raising your stress hormones (e.g. cortisol and adrenaline) can result in weight loss, but this is not healthy weight lossIt is mediated by destructive mechanisms. 

In other words, your body begins breaking itself down in order to make up for the energy deficit, so that it can survive the stressor/s. Yes, when you diet or fast, your body is truly fighting to survive, and it will sacrifice parts of itself so you don’t die! A primary way this happens is through an elevation in cortisol, which causes your lean tissue (e.g. muscle, bone, joints, skin, and organs) to be broken down so they can be turned into glucose. As a consequence of this self-cannibalisation, you lose weight. Clearly this is not good for your longevity because elevated cortisol also causes degeneration, disease, and premature ageing.

In addition, losing weight through these stressful means backfires quickly because the body lowers its metabolic rate to compensate for the reduced calorie intake or intermittent bouts of starvation. This is again, a survival mechanism – the body is being sent signals of lack or famine, so it does what it deems is necessary to ensure your survival.

What’s the outcome? All that suffering only results in reduced lean mass (which is metabolically active) and a lowered metabolic rate, which means you will re-gain the weight easily if you decide to go back to eating like you used to. This is the corner many dieters have painted themselves into – they can only maintain their lower weight if they eat like a mouse and/or exercise a lot. Not only is this not sustainable, it is no way to live your life.

Why big calorie deficits, low-carb or keto diets, and fasting are not the way to do it

In my latest book, How to Actually Live Longer, Vol.1, I discuss at length why low-carb and ketogenic diets, calorie restriction, and intermittent or water fasting are bad for longevity. Below are some reasons why these are not optimal strategies for safe and sustainable weight loss.

    • Caloric restriction, or dieting, is deleterious because it also lowers your metabolic rate, increases cortisol, and forces your body to cannibalise itself to survive. Not to mention how horrible people feel when dieting.
    • The ketogenic diet was designed to mimic starvation. Removing or greatly reducing dietary carbohydrates sends your body the signal that it is starving, even though you’re still eating protein and fat. It then lowers its metabolic rate as a protective mechanism, which results in weight loss plateau or re-gain. A similar phenomenon occurs with low-carbohydrate diets. There is no magic to the keto diet; people lose weight on it because it is easier to eat less on high-fat diet as it is more satiating, and people often remove a lot of processed junk, crappy grains, and other inflammatory foods (i.e. they improve diet quality). The problem is what happens after you stop the keto diet…
    • Low-carbohydrate diets (without entering ketosis) require an increase in cortisol in order to make up the glucose deficit. Since cortisol opposes testosterone (which is very important for women too), these diets often result in reduced testosterone, which can have many negative health effects.  
    • A 2020 paper in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine stated: “Time-restricted eating, in the absence of other interventions, is not more effective in weight loss than eating throughout the day.” The same same study showed that it takes as little as two weeks of intermittent fasting to lower resting energy expenditure (REE) significantly in lean, healthy people. The researchers estimated the median decrease in REE at about 59 kcal per day. Over the course of a year, that equals 21,535 kcal, or about 3 kg of body fat. In addition, the authors reported that ~65% of the lost weight during the time-restricted feeding intervention was lean mass. Not a great way to lose weight by any measure.
    • A review of human trials on the effects of intermittent fasting on reproductive hormone levels in females and males showed that testosterone was lowered in both.
    • Water fasting results in an increase in pretty much all stress hormones (adrenaline, noradrenaline, cortisol, growth hormone, glucagon, serotonin) and a decrease in testosterone, DHEA, and thyroid hormones (T3 and T4). At the end of the fast, you will have easily lost 20-30% of the weight as lean mass, and your metabolic rate would be lowered.

I could go on for days on these topics, but let’s pause it there. You can read my book for the full rationale and the supporting scientific literature. The bottom line is that these interventions are not useful if your goal is healthy weight loss that is sustainable in the the long term.

What's missing from the "calories in, calories out" equation?

I’ll try to keep it short because this is a vast topic… Many factors in today’s environment are contributing to excess weight gain and weight loss “resistance”. Some of the most prevalent ones include: 

    • Hormonal and metabolic imbalances: Lowered thyroid function, elevated cortisol and estrogen, and insulin resistance can all drive excess weight gain.
    • Polyunsaturated fatty acid (PUFAs): Seed oils have permeated the food supply and are a major driver of insulin resistance, obesity, and chronic disease. Omega-6 PUFAs can lower the metabolic rate by interfering with thyroid hormone production and metabolism, driving inflammation, and contributing to insulin resistance and cellular damage. When they make up the mitochondria (the energy generating organelles inside our cells), energy production is hampered – this suboptimal capacity to turn fuel (glucose, fat) into energy can result in it being stored as fat instead of being burned (or oxidised) for energy.
    • Xenoestrogens: Compounds in plastics like BPA and phthalates and many other chemicals in common products mimic the hormone estrogen, which is well-known to drive fat deposition and cause water retention. Phytoestrogens (such as those found in soy) also play a role in some people.
    • Obesogens: These include various drugs, pesticides, flame retardants, industrial chemicals, and environmental pollutants. We are exposed to these through many vectors including household products, cosmetics, air pollution, and contaminated food. 
    • Persistent organic pollutants (POPs): These are difficult-to-breakdown chemicals that get stored in our fatty (adipose) tissue. They interfere with metabolic function, disturb hormone balance, and, when released during weight loss, can cause damage in the body.

Many of the above compounds are hormonal or endocrine disruptors (EDCs) that are now recognised in their ability to contribute to obesity and various chronic diseases.

I hope now see why you may have found it hard to lose the excess weight. There are a lot more pieces to the puzzle and most people do not consider these. You may also be starting to understand why it’s important to be much more strategic about weight loss. If not, perhaps the next quote from a paper titled Lipophilic Environmental Chemical Mixtures Released During Weight-Loss: The Need to Consider Dynamics will make it clearer:

Intentional weight loss can increase health risk in the long-term, despite short-term benefits, because human adipose [fat] tissue is widely contaminated with various lipophilic environmental contaminants, especially persistent organic pollutants (POPs).

Why quick weight loss is a bad idea

Let’s pretend you could actually lose the weight for good using the stressful modalities outlined above. Is that going to benefit you long-term? It seems like as early as 1993, research indicated that losing a lot of weight may do more harm than good. The quote from a paper titled Long-term effects of change in body weight on all-cause mortality. A review reported surprising findings:

Evidence suggests that the highest mortality rates occur in
adults who either have lost weight or have gained excessive
weight. The lowest mortality rates are generally associated
with modest weight gains.

Not only is our fatty tissue a deposition site for numerous chemicals, many of us have stored a lot of PUFAs over the decades. If we begin liberating large amounts of fat while our livers and detoxification systems are in a precarious state (which for many is the case, given that non-alcoholic fatty liver disease, or NAFLD, afflicts some 30%+ of Americans), we may be asking for trouble.

As you can see, weight loss is not something to approach recklessly. You can’t just wake on New Year’s Day and say, “That’s it. I’m going to get in shape,” and start running, cutting calories, and fasting. That will not end well. At the very least, without a plan you’re unlikely to see it through. 

We need to be intentional and strategic, because the consequences of the wrong (i.e., impatient) approach can be serious. 

Okay, let’s talk about solutions.

How I will help you lose the weight safely and sustainbly

I hope by now you understand that you need to get healthy to lose the weight, not the other way around. If you’re looking for a quick fix or magic pill, you will not find it here (or anywhere). If you’re looking for someone who will help and support you on your way to becoming healthier, improving your diet quality, and creating sustainable habits, you’ve come to the right place.

My approach to healthy, sustainable weight loss:

    • Strategic: You need to understand that just like it didn’t take a month or two to gain the weight, you cannot expect to lose SAFELY in a couple of months. We need to lay the groundwork first by addressing stressors, habits, lifestyle, diet, and detoxification.
    • Sustainable: No big calorie deficits, or exclusion of carbohydrates. You will eat close to your caloric requirements throughout the program. The focus will be on diet quality and improving metabolic function, rather than reducing food quantity.
    • Safe: We’ll support your body’s detoxification system, reduce toxic exposures, and guide you through cleanses which will allow you to excrete stored chemical toxins and to better handle the release of PUFAs from stored fat. 
    • (Relatively) Stress-free: No starvation (a.k.a. fasting) or intense exercise regimens. Putting yourself through these stressful interventions is likely to backfire (by lowering your metabolic rate), while also ageing you faster. We’ll focus on movement strategies that don’t raise stress hormones, and preserve your body, joints, and willpower.
    • Supported: Your protocols will be tailored specifically for your needs and will take into account your goals, life situation, time constraints, and other variables. We’ll meet at least once per month and be in contact through chat, so you have the support you need to make life-changing dietary and lifestyle habits.

What the program covers

Since every person’s health status and situation is radically unique, every client gets an individualised program and support. You can expect us to cover most or all of the following areas during the time we work together.

    • Data gathering: You may get some blood work that will help us tailor the protocol and guide the program. We may run additional hormone panels or other tests, if appropriate. These are usually optional, unless there is an indication of deeper metabolic dysfunction.
    • Diet tracking, analysis, and optimisation: We’ll understand your dietary habits to help you remove harmful foods and add foods that are health-promoting (there is always room for improvement in this area, with great benefits to be reaped).
    • Dietary macro-nutrient optimisation: We’ll figure out the right ratios of protein, carbs, and fats for you.
    • Diet quality: This is a critical aspect of long term health and sustained weight loss. As you saw, we’re exposed to many xenoestrogens, obesogens, and persistent organic pollutants through low-quality food, so we need to address any lack in this area promptly.
    • Stress reduction: Sustainable weight loss will likely be extremely difficult unless we identify and address your biggest sources of stress (psychological and biochemical).
    • Supplementation: Intelligent nutritional supplementation to accelerate your progress and address imbalances.
    • Detoxification support: Laying down the groundwork for supporting safe weight loss and reducing your toxic exposures. 
    • Antioxidant support: Helps you to mitigate the damage of mobilising/burning stored polyunsaturated fatty acids.
    • Gut function optimisation: An integral aspect of health.
    • Liver function: Toxins, estrogen, and PUFA breakdown products are dealt with in the liver, hence you need yours to be working smoothly.
    • Lifestyle factors: Identify and address/ameliorate lifestyle factors contributing impeding optimal health.
    • Exercise and movement: We’ll work together to design a stress-free movement plan that will support your goals.

Schedule your free discovery session:

The best way to see if we are a good fit to work together is to book a free 20-minute discovery session. With this no-strings-attached and no-pressure call, I will get a better understanding of your health goals and how I can help you achieve them.

Heath Consulting Packages

All client packages now include access to my comprehensive course Detox Workshop ($249 value). This 13+ hour course is considered as an essential educational resource for my clients as it covers many adjunct topics such as reducing toxic exposures and supporting your detoxification system, both of which are needed to achieve optimal health and body composition. 

Starter 3-Month Package

Get out of a rut / Accelerate your health journey
$ 225 p/m
  • Initial Consultation (75-min)
  • 90-day health-building protocol tailored specifically for you
  • 3 x 45-min consultation calls
  • Help with ordering lab tests​
  • Lab test results analysis and protocol recommendations
  • Chat support between sessions
  • Free access to my Detox Workshop (12 months)
  • Package cost is paid upfront: $675

6-Month Package

When you're ready to take it to the next level
$ 175 p/m
  • Initial Consultation (75-min)​
  • Initial protocol design and on-going course-correction recommendations
  • 6 x 45-min consultation calls
  • Help with ordering lab tests
  • Lab test results analysis and protocol recommendations
  • Chat support between sessions
  • Free access to my Detox Workshop (12 months)
  • Price if paid in full upfront: $1050
  • Installment plan available (3 x $400)

Premium 12-Month Support

For truly lasting health and lifestyle transformation
$ 125 p/m
  • Initial Consultation (75-min)​​ + Protocol design + On-going course correction
  • 12 x 45-min consultation calls
  • Help with ordering lab tests
  • Lab test results analysis and protocol recommendations
  • Chat support between sessions
  • Free access to my Detox Workshop (12 months)
  • Price if paid in full upfront: $1800
  • Installment plan available (5 x $400)
Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® practitioners do not diagnose, treat, prevent, or cure any disease or condition. Nothing we share with our clients is intended to substitute for the advice, treatment or diagnosis of a qualified licensed physician. Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® (FDN) practitioners may not make any medical diagnoses or claim, nor substitute for your personal physician’s care. It is the role of a Functional Diagnostic Nutrition® practitioner to partner with their clients to provide ongoing support and accountability in an opt-in model of self-care and should be done under the supervision of a licensed physician.