Nutrition wise, our top priorities are improving health, gaining/maintaining muscle mass and losing fat through a programme of high quality, healthy, whole foods. We are not interested in « losing weight », which is meaningless.
A big concern for anyone who cares about their physical appearance and their health is maintaining muscle. Any time you lose weight, a portion of that weight is body fat; the rest is lean tissue, which is mostly muscle. Proportions depend on a variety of factors, but for the average overweight dieter, 70 percent weight los comes from fat and 30 percent from muscle. Some « weight loss » diets produce even more disastrous results.
Losing muscle is a problem: first of all, it affects your appearance negatively. Then it lowers your metabolic rate and reduces insulin sensitivity, a combination that sets you up to experience rebound weight gain.
Muscle also protects against disease by serving as a reservoir for proteins used by the immune system. In older individuals, muscle loss coincides with an increased risk of disease and mortality. Meanwhile, for athletes, muscle loss hampers performance and may increase the risk of injury. Losing muscle also makes you lose your curves and muscle tone. It’s safe to say that preserving muscle mass is a primary goal of fat loss.
We are often asked about which « diet » we recommend. We do not recommend any of them. We give you nutrition principles. If you understand a few simple principles that will guide your health journey, you can apply those to any situation. Once you have your principles, nutrition is easy!
For example, if your rule is “1200 calories per day”, then you have to check every single thing you eat, doing loads of calculations and adding everything up… this is fine for a while, but how sustainable is it? Who wants to spend their whole life living this way!? Obsessing over calories may be important for professional athletes, and it can be a good tool for the rest of us to use every now and again, but it’s often not a healthy headspace to hangout in. We have often seen an obsession with food rules turn into an unhealthy obsession with food – full of guilt, self-loathing and regret.
Instead, we always recommend simple guiding principles that ensure you can make the right choices without demonising your food intake.
Here are the most important tips about nutrition:
- We hate the word « diet » because our nutritional advice has no expiration date, does not imply starvation or calorie counting (except for extreme goals), and should become a life-long habit. If you cannot do something forever, then do not even start!
- Plan every meal (and especially breakfast) around high-quality sources like eggs, fish, and meat;
- Balance protein with vegetables and fruit;
- Eat foods in their natural state and do not consume industrial food (processed meat, trans fat, refined foods);
- Eat healthy fats (in reasonable quantities);
- Avoid high-fat, high-carb combinations;
- Carbohydrate requirements vary from person to person, depending on physical activity, fat percentage, insulin sensitivity, goal, genetics, etc… we have no dogma regarding carbs: we recommend what the person actually needs at the right time.
- Don’t be afraid of salt, fat, quality meat, eggs, etc… Never listen to women’s magazines and most doctors’ nutritional advice : they are NOT a good information source when it comes to food.
We work with several top functional medical physicians. For any health issues, notably suspected hormonal imbalances preventing you from losing fat, we will refer you to one of them.
Finally, get healthy to lose fat, not the other way around! If you wake up every day thinking “I have to lose weight”, you’re negatively focusing on your weight, which emphasizes everything you don’t have and all the ways you’re failing. Instead, set your goals around building muscle, getting healthy and nourishing your body in the best way possible, so your thought pattern becomes, “I am a healthy person”. This path will inevitably lead to fat loss as a side-effect and you’ll do it in a healthy way.