Archive Monthly Archives: April 2015

Get Fat to Lose Itself!

Put your fat to work to lose more weight.

Body fat is made up of fat cells, or adipose tissue. This tissue is not just some benign energy storage bank that irritates us when we look in the mirror, it is actually an endocrine gland.

Body fat plays a big role in a lot of our basic body functions. The added tissue houses miles of blood vessels that can make our heart work harder and contribute to blood pressure issues. Fat tissue also plays a big part in sequestering toxins from our body and storing them in the fat cells, this is why when you skip meals you can feel sort of shaky, nauseous, anxiety or energy swings, it is actually a detox reaction and not actually low blood sugar symptoms. We call it toxic hunger.

Fat cells are also players in insulin and can add to insulin resistance, fat cells produce 1/3 of our body’s cortisol, and fat cells are very sensitive to estrogen and testosterone as well.

Most body fat is made up of white adipose tissue. There are small pockets of Brown Adipose Tissue (BAT) in a few distinct parts of your body (about a tablespoons worth or a little more ideally) that are very temperature sensitive and will help regulate your body thermostat. Since raising and lowering of body temperature takes a lot of energy and hormones, that BAT can be a major endocrine player and alter your metabolism.

Here is the secret, there are small amount of BAT cells mixed into your white adipose (body fat) tissue as well. A constant exposure to insulin will make those BAT cells shrink to almost undetectable levels. When our body temperature stays constant all day and especially all night, constantly warm, then the BAT in those small distinct deposits shrink and the BAT (in the white tissue) in the presence of insulin shrinks even more and ceases to be metabolically active.

This is a potential BIG DEAL. I have written about how heat acclimation, raising the body temp up then back down multiple times can stimulate Human Growth Hormone, (HGH), which helps keep insulin low, burn white body fat, build muscle and keep us youthful looking and feeling.

Now we also know that by sleeping in a cooler room, 66 degrees Fahrenheit, and exposing the skin to colder temperatures throughout the day will actually bring back our BAT (when insulin is low as well) both physically and metabolically. This means it can help with hormonal action and has been shown to burn 250 extra calories per hour during your heat acclimation.

If you have any desire to lose weight or keep your metabolism top notch, including efforts to make sure your body fat work for you might just add the momentum your have been looking for.

1. Cut back insulin producing foods
2. Sleep in a cool room
3. Raise that core temp up and down
4. Get quality sleep

Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you!

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Sugar, Stress, and Fat, Oh My!

Sugar helps keep cortisol levels high. YUCK!

The brain will make it’s own cortisol, about 1/3 of the body’s total cortisol amount. Each brain cell can make cortisol within the cell, actually stemming from the genetic compartment of the nucleus where the DNA lives.

Cortisol in is anti-inflammatory…. just think of prednisone, a corticosteroid medication, it is just synthetic cortisol. When we burn sugar for fuel it produces 50 times more free radicals than when we burn fat. The increase and constant exposure of free radicals contributes to oxidative stress (rust so to speak) and that leads to cellular inflammation.

Chronic cortisol exposure from sugar burning or stress leads cortisol to gang up with insulin and increases insulin resistance keeping circulating blood sugar high and compounding the issue and adding to many more chronic disease states.

Here is the real kicker….since this happens inside the cell your blood levels and saliva levels (where they check for high cortisol) may not reflect this issue.

Even worse is that intracellular raised cortisol levels can increase an enzyme that opens the door for fat gain and builds resistance to losing fat. Couple that with high insulin levels from Insulin Resistance and weight gain is inevitable and very hard to lose.

This is a simple attempt to describe a complex process, so my suggestion to reduce your sugar/grain intake to help off-set this cascade of health and weight issues is an oversimplified one, but an effective first step nonetheless.

There really is no way around it, refined sugar and grains are simply bad for us, beware!

Dr. Don

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Cortisol, Your Anti-Stress Hormone

Cortisol. People call it the stress hormone. It is really the anti-stress hormone. The how you deal with stress hormone. The conquer the challenge you are facing right now hormone. Historically it was reserved for life or death issues, as in the fight or flight response.

When this fast action hormone gets secreted it suppresses your standard go to action hormone testosterone in men as well as women. Cortisol throws off other hormones and plays a role in all chronic, degenerative diseases of today as well as depression, anxiety, insomnia, chronic fatigue, mental decline, ruins our libido and sex drive, and lowers our quality of life.

Flash forward to today, we pump cortisol at high levels and steadily throughout our day, every day. But very few of us are fighting or flighting.

Here are some actions that have been shown to elicit an acute cortisol reaction:

Poor Sleep
Refined Sugar/Grains
Alarm clock going off
Cell phone alerts
Checking email
Microwave oven proximity
Running late
Driving
Mild dehydration
Financial distress
Arguments/bad relationships

There is a price to pay. Today we see epidemically low levels of testosterone and the series of problems with other hormones that testosterone helps regulate. It is a mess.

But stress is part of life right? Not the stress we deal with. Modern lifestyle stress is invented. It will not harm us, kill us, eat us, nor do we need to run it down to feed ourselves or our family. We have created the stress associated with much of what we deal with on a daily basis. We have created the social construct that keeps us swimming in cortisol. What is worse we have taught this to our children and convinced them it is real and should be accepted as such.

There are many proven ways you can redefine your physiological, psychological reaction to perceived stress, here are a few:

1. Quality Sleep
2. Being physically fit
3. Mental Conditioning
4. Avoiding chemical exposure (contact or ingestion)
5. Periodic Fasting
6. Breath Work
7. Meditation
8. Body work
9. Goal setting
10. Positive social activities

With Cortisol, like any hormone, high peaks are an issue but pale in comparison to steady, constant, exposure. Peaks are what happen to us, are events in life we have a hard time controlling, but the continual secretion combined with the slow dissipation of cortisol from our system creates the constant exposure from the “stress” we have accepted and produced ourselves.

Get clear on what is really important in life. Let go of what is not. Work on your body and mind. Involve your children, form your tribe or join one you like, because it takes a tribe, not a village, it takes a choice not a status quo. You can do this. After all what is the alternative?

Don’t worry, be happy my friends!

Dr. Don

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P.S. Do you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING? Feel like you've been let down? I understand! If you want to see if I can personally help you in your health journey... schedule a call with me and let's discuss what you've been through and where you are now... where you want to get... and how I can help you get there.​ >> CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE PHONE CALL WITH ME <<

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Burn Fat by Breathing

How Your Breath Stokes Your Fat Burning Metabolic Fire!

Did you know your lungs are powerful metabolic organs? Have you ever wondered where your fat goes when you “burn” it off? When I used to ask patients this and I would hear a lot of interesting answers from it evaporates, or it melts in sweat, to we pass it in the bathroom.

Well, here is how it works. Depending on what metabolic fuel you have set your body to run on, whether you are a SUGAR BURNER or a FAT BURNER, the given fuel source as glucose or fat (triglycerides) are liberated from food or stores in your body, or both, and get broken down into a form that can travel through your blood stream and get into your cells to “burn.”

As that fuel “burns,” it gives your cells, tissues, and organs the energy to move, detox, breath, and function. Yes, each individual cell “breathes,” so to speak. Each cell takes in the fuel, breaks it down for energy, and processes out the by-products. Some of those by-products get neutralized and pass through and out of our body in our urine, bowels, and sweat, yet the majority of it passes through our lungs. In fact, 84 percent of the fat that is lost turns into carbon dioxide and leaves the body through the lungs, whereas the remaining 16 percent becomes water.

Here is the point: there is a feedback mechanism that can turn up or slow down your fat burning and expelling process. Believe it or not, it is your rate and efficiency of breathing during a workout. We breathe out carbon dioxide because it is toxic to us, so your body will not let it build up much at all. Therefor the faster you can rid it from your lungs the more the body will be able to process by breaking down more body fat. Oh, and by the way, this process is completely calorie independent….the whole calories in vs. calories out concept……it is just a vague guess, don’t bank on it.

Remember, this is a metabolic process and your metabolism is not run by calories. Hormones control your metabolism, and although specific foods, chemicals, and nutrients will affect your hormonal responses, pure calorie count does not.

So, how can I use this info to help me burn more fat? Breathe! You will expel the most fat with a varied intensity model, or what we call metabolic workouts. Burst, peak, HIIT, all fall into the Variable Output Exercise model that we use and teach.

Here is the key: Pace and anticipate your breathing. When you workout with a high intensity it is not about getting more air in to your lungs that makes you huff and puff as much it is about getting that toxic carbon dioxide out. So, start paced deep breathing during your workout BEFORE you feel you need to. For example, within the first few minute of my workout I will start my paced deep breathing, belly breathing pacing at 3-4 seconds in through the nose and 3-4 out through the mouth.

As your exercise progresses the nose seems to not be able to keep up, that is OK, but keep the belly breathing going the best you can and start to force air out. Think of it like you are forcefully blowing out a candle during your workouts or during your recovery time in-between. I hope this makes sense; we are planning on building a video series on our Variable Output Exercise model and give examples of this technique, so keep your eyes out for it.

So, if you are at the gym, solo, or with workout partners, don’t hold back, start huffing and puffing EARLY and keep it going and you will stimulate more fat to be broken down and liberated from your body. Pretty cool huh?

Try it out; let me know how it goes.

Dr. Don

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P.S. Do you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING? Feel like you've been let down? I understand! If you want to see if I can personally help you in your health journey... schedule a call with me and let's discuss what you've been through and where you are now... where you want to get... and how I can help you get there.​ >> CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE PHONE CALL WITH ME <<

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Do Your Workouts Make You Hungry? They Shouldn’t!

Ever Get Unusually Hungry After A Workout?

I know you do, even if just occasionally, seems everyone does at some point and others seems to experience it regularly.

For most people, we have found that this sensation of hunger really isn’t the need for food, but rather a false hunger sensation created by the hormone cortisol, AND it can be prevented in most cases.

Every time we exercise we go through the process of burning more fuel to provide the energy we need for our workout and as we do we produce more waste by-products at the same time. This is completely normal and should be expected. Think of it like this; if you are heating your home with a wood burning stove and at night it gets colder than during the day you need to stoke that fire with more wood (fuel) to produce more heat (energy) to meet your needs. The more wood you burn the more ash and soot you produce, seems logical right? The same is true in your body when using extra fuel during workouts.

No matter which fuel you are burning during your workout, sugar or fat, your needs will go up and result in more metabolic ash being produced. One particularly ugly by-product of this process is the formation of free radicals that can oxidize your cells and cause cellular inflammation. This process starts INSIDE your cells and can spread to the outside and into your muscle or body tissues producing low grade systemic and local inflammation.

Inflammation can be a big problem since most people are swimming in it due to stress and other health and lifestyle issues. But it is completely natural and the body has it’s own answer to this problem, a natural anti-inflammatory that is released first inside your cells, then your body tissues, called cortisol or what people call the stress hormone. This low grade level of cortisol from exercise, is not enough to cause anxiety or bigger issues but can raise your over all cortisol exposure and when any insulin resistance is present, will gang up with the insulin and compound both issues.

When this happens, and it really doesn’t take a lot to do this, the low grade cortisol reaction can trigger false hunger. That hunger after you work out is really a low grade cortisol reaction, more like a mild anxiety sensation that is OFTEN interpreted as being hungry, and yes, even though it is not true hunger eating will resolve it, but handling false hunger with eating will make the whole issue worse and cause other problems over time.

What is the answer? An anti-inflammatory diet, extra anti-inflammatory supplements BEFORE you workout as well as upping your anti-oxidant nutrient intake. This will neutralize the free radical production from exercise as it happens and prevent the inflammation that stimulates the cortisol from occurring at the levels that can produce false hunger after working out.

So what does that really mean?

Here is what I do:

  1. Whole food, high fat, moderate protein, unlimited vegetable carb, LOW processed carb diet.
  2. One teaspoon of apple cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons of omega 3 fish oils, 1 hour (if possible) before my workout. If it is an early workout, right before bed the night before.
  3. 800 mg of natural mixed vitamin E 1 hour (if possible) before my workout. If it is an early workout, right before bed the night before.
  4. 300 mg of buffered vitamin C in water with
  5. 150 mg of magnesium before the workout and sipped during if desired.

Reducing overall cortisol exposure by true stress resilience efforts, proper sleep, reduced toxin exposure, and convert over from being a chronic sugar burner to an efficient fat burner will all help in your efforts as well. Not just for false hunger after workouts, but post workout soreness, and over-all health, healing, and anti-aging efforts.

Hunger in general is a rather aberrant sensation when you have a healthy lifestyle, but especially after a workout. Don’t be fooled by this false hunger and make the mistake of feeding it with some post-workout shake, meal, or snack when you don’t need it.

Give it a try and let me know how it goes for you!

Dr. Don

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P.S. Do you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING? Feel like you've been let down? I understand! If you want to see if I can personally help you in your health journey... schedule a call with me and let's discuss what you've been through and where you are now... where you want to get... and how I can help you get there.​ >> CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE PHONE CALL WITH ME <<

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Stress and Hunger

Stress can often feel very similar to hunger. Think of a time when you were acutely hungry and the last time you were highly stressed, or felt any anxiety. Like most people you might likely report feeling a physical sensation and discomfort in your stomach region, may feel irritable, light headed, a bit jittery, your heart rate can fluctuate up or down or even get mild headaches. Not only can these two sensations feel the same, the stress response, or the cortisol (stress hormone) reaction, when triggered on a lesser level will often be interpreted as hunger and can drive people to eat.

The catch is that you can calm these hunger/stress sensations and symptoms by eating. Just know handling things this way has a very high price. Many people, when they start to feel the effects of stress begin to look for food. They mistakenly feed their false hunger, their stress reaction to feel better and basically start a cycle of self medicating with food.

Our stress hormone, cortisol, has a very tight relationship with insulin, or the hormone that controls how we feed the cells of our body and gain body fat. When these two powerful hormones team up it can be very hard to tell them apart and they can compound your urge to eat to silence them.

So what does that cycle look like? Stress creates a cortisol reaction, you think it is hunger, you eat, and you feel better. When you eat, you raise insulin, insulin and cortisol gang up, you get both a stress response and drive insulin resistance, making you hungry again. One can drive the other pushing you to not only eat, but crave the lowest quality, easiest hit of food energy you can get in the form of sugar, grains and processed carbs. Which in turn produce free radicals that trigger cortisol and raise insulin and promote insulin resistance and weight gain.

This process and cycle is particularly powerful when you suffer from poor quality sleep. Just one night of disturbed sleep will increase insulin resistance as well as raise cortisol levels, fueling these high powered processed food cravings, and lead to a near universal over-eating at each meal the following day….if you don’t know how to break the cycle that is.

When ever you feel junk food cravings or believe you are hungry at a time that doesn’t seem to fit your eating patterns, the first thing you can do is take a 8-10 minute leisurely walk. Random cravings and off eating time hunger can easily be a stress reaction from cortisol in disguise. Historically, when we triggered our stress hormone cortisol it was followed by physical action to fight or flee. In today’s world we trigger our stress reaction all day long and don’t move our body to dissipate those hormones and they can build up and run havoc on our health, energy levels, weight, and mood. Studies show that just taking a slow walk for around ten minutes can effectively help burn those stress hormones out of our system, reduce insulin resistance, satisfy our false hunger and cravings without food, as well as keep our mind sharp and anxiety low.

Walking and breathing are about as fundamental to our life experience as anything. Don’t let these seemingly, “too easy,” stress and hunger crushing mechanisms go to waste. Your mood, tension levels and belt line will thank you for it!

Dr. Don

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If this kind of info is right up your alley… Click here to subscribe to our blog

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P.S. Do you feel like you've tried EVERYTHING? Feel like you've been let down? I understand! If you want to see if I can personally help you in your health journey... schedule a call with me and let's discuss what you've been through and where you are now... where you want to get... and how I can help you get there.​ >> CLICK HERE TO SCHEDULE A PRIVATE PHONE CALL WITH ME <<

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