Troubleshoot Stubborn Body Fat
You’ve been following your training plan, getting to the gym at least 4 times per week and pushing yourself hard each and every time. You are being strict with yourself about what you eat (majority of the time), but you aren’t dropping bodyfat as you would expect
You see other people eating bad food, but are in better shape than you, are you doomed with your current body shape and bodyfat?
The answer is nearly always NO, you are not doomed, and there are many different reasons for stubborn bodyfat. Continue reading to learn what could be holding you back and what to do about it.
First and foremost you need to make sure that you are not overeating. Secondly, take a look in the mirror and think am I really giving it all I have in he gym or when you pound the pavement? Or are you leaving something in the tank when you are there, not quite pushing through the pain barrier and hitting the extra reps? If that’s the case then forget trying these strategies and put in the work.
That being said lets look at total calories that you should be consuming
Use the following equation to calculate your daily intake
Your bodyweight in pounds (kg x 2.2 = pounds)
Multiply your weight by 10
Example: 75kg x 2.2 = 165
165 x 10 = 1650kcal
Use the following table to decide what your activity level is
|1 Light Training Session per week||1.1|
|2 Medium Training Session per week||1.2|
|3 Training Sessions per week||1.3|
|4 Long or Intense Training Sessions per week||1.4|
|5 Hard Intense or Long Training Sessions per week||1.5|
Choose your activity level and multiply that to the amount you calculated previously
Example: 1650 x 1.3 = 2145kcal
This is now your baseline intake, where you can now decide to either increase or decrease calories from that figure to either gain weight (muscle) or lose weight (bodyfat). You will either add or subtract 250-500kcal from your baseline
Example: 2145 – 250 = 1895kcal
Therefore, in this example the person would be aiming to consume 1,895kcal per day, ensuring they are exercising 3 days per week in order to be in an energy deficit and in turn drop bodyfat.
Breakdown your macros:
Protein: 2g per kg bodyweight
Fats: 30% of total calories
Carbs: make up the remainder of your calories
There are great tools out there that you can use to track your food directly on your phone, such as myfitnesspal. Track for a week and see where your calories are at, and what your macro split is, then move to the next steps.
Many people, now realizing that fats aren’t the devil, and actually serve an important role in a healthy diet, are incidentally over consuming them, pushing their calories through the roof. Nuts, eggs, avocado, oils and animal meats all contain fats. The issue arises when suddenly you find yourself with a bag of nuts next to you at work that you pick at all day long, accidentally going through 3 or more handfuls of nuts, not too mention that you have already had an avocado and eggs that day already. Maybe you even had granola for breakfast as well, this sends your caloric intake skyward for the day, and when you think you have been healthy you have actually consumed way too much causing you to put on bodyfat.
Calories are on point, but your still not dropping the bodyfat you desire. Here is where the calories in vs calories out debate falls down. It is assuming that everybody digests and assimilates their food exactly the same. You can’t tell me that someone who has been on medication for 20 years that has been eating away at their intestinal lining is going tp absorb the same amount of nutrients to a person who has been strict with their food choices, keeps inflammation low and is 15 years younger is going to absorb the same nutrients. NO WAY!!
Here is a non-exhaustive list of list of possible reason why you may not be getting the results you deserve.
- Cellular level/energy production
- Poor sleep
As stated earlier, this is a non-exhaustive list, but a great place for you to start. The question is where to start? Read through each strategy below and see if any resonates with you and start there. In my experience, I will generally start with improving gut function, then move to adrenal support and lastly thyroid/energy production. Simultaneously, improving hydration and sleep strategies alongside any strategy I choose.
Signs and Symptoms
- Lack energy
- Can’t sleep at night
- Constipated or diarrhea
- Skin issues – acne, eczema, blemishes
- Weight Fluctuations
- Can’t lose weight
- Constantly sick, i.e. you feel as though you pick up every big that’s going around
- Constantly hungry
- Joint pain and unexplained aches
Our gut contains a mucosal barrier, which is like an internal skin, that is responsible for keeping the ‘bad guys’ out and allowing what the body wants and needs to diffuse through and get into general circulation. The ‘bad guys’ are partially digested foods, bacteria, toxins, yeasts, and fungi etc that need to be excreted.
The mucosal barrier is extremely sensitive and can be damaged very easily by consuming any of the following: herbicides, pesticides, food additives, foods that you are sensitive to, chemicals, medications and more. This can cause damage to our ‘internal skin’ and now allow gaps to appear in the lining enabling undesirable molecules to get into general circulation leading to a humoral response and a pro-inflammatory state.
Interestingly, due to a damaged intestinal lining, internal structures of the small intestine such as your micro villi and villi that are responsible for secreting specific enzymes that break down our food further to allow them to diffuse through can no longer achieve these tasks. This can lead to apparent food sensitivities being developed that don’t actually exist. Let me give you an example
Growing up you never had a problem with dairy products, but now for some reason you have developed some sort of lactose intolerance out of the blue. A potential reason could be due to the fact that you have been taking medication or are gluten sensitive or have a bacterial overgrowth that damaged the micro villi. The micro villi contain an enzyme that breaks down lactose, but because it is now damaged (due to any of the above) you feel bloated and unwell every time you have dairy. When the true reason is potentially due to having gluten for example, not due to dairy at all……
Consider the following factors that occur daily leading to a damaged intestinal lining
- Rushing when we eat and not chewing your food thoroughly
- Lack of HCL
- Lack of bile from liver and gallbladder
- Pancreatic dysfunction
- Food sensitivities
- Infection – parasite, bacteria, yeast, fungi
- Remove common food allergens (see allergen list below) for 14 days and then slowly re-introduce one food at a time every 3-4 days and monitor how you feel
- Reduce food additives and processed foods
- Have your HCL tested
- Take a broad spectrum digestive enzyme
- Measure your current fibre intake (goal is 10-15g per 1,000kcal)
- Support supplements – glutamine, zinc, vit A, curcumin, boswella
- Slippery elm if you are constipated
- Psyllium husks if you have diarrhea
- Broad spectrum, high potency probiotic
- Drink adequate water, i.e. your weight in kg = amount of water in ounces
- g. 75g = 75 ounces of water
- Multiply by 0.03 to calculate amount in L
- Talk with an integrative health practitioner if symptoms don’t improve to get an intestinal permeability test done, pathogen screen or complete digestive stool analysis
90% of allergic reactions are from the big 8
- Nuts from trees (brazil, hazel, almonds, walnuts)
Signs and Symptoms
- Sinuses and Allergies
- Moodiness and Irritability
- Tension (in neck)
- Digestive Problems
Trying to establish what exactly is the number 1 stressor causing your progress to halt, can often be the most difficult part of creating a plan to rectify the issue.
Stressors come in all forms:
It doesn’t matter what form the stressor, your body always has the same response in releasing adrenalin and cortisol. It doesn’t matter if you sprain your ankle, get cut off in heavy traffic whilst you are running late to work or eat food that you are sensitive too, your body’s adrenal response will be very similar.
This initiates the fight or flight response that results in the following:
Blood pulls from the gut and goes to the muscles ready for action
Sugar enters the bloodstream
Cardiac Output increases
What I want you to take form this is that we are now getting the same adrenal adaptation from work, traffic, finances, relationships etc that we used to get when were under threat from being attacked by an animal ready to eat us…….
This constant flood of adrenalin and sugar being dumped into the bloodstream to ‘react’ is leading to hormonal imbalances, poor sleep, digestive issues and malnutrition.
Appearance wise, it causes us to store bodyfat around our mid-section on our stomachs because our visceral adipose tissue is very sensitive to corticoids, which is what is being released from our adrenal glands.
- Identify your main stressors – try to reduce or eliminate such as stressors where possible. If impossible than you need to find solutions to manage such stressors.
- Remove food allergens
- Avoid lactate resistance training
- Longer rest periods, moderate rep range (8 – 12)
- Avoid excessive endurance training
- A mixture of steady state cardio and intervals is your best option
- 15 sets of 15s sprints and 45s recovery followed by 25 min slow jog
- 2mins high intensity, with 4mins low intensity – repeated 4 – 6 times
- Support adrenals with
- B Vitamins
- Vit C
- Adaptogenic herbs
- Ensure quality sleep – 8 hours, with consistent sleep habits, i.e. bed at the same time, up at the same time, pitch black room, no electronics in the room, avoid screens 30mins before bed
- Ensure hydration by following the recommendations previously stated above
Signs and Symptoms
- Can’t lose weight
- Cold hands and feet
- Very low resting heart rate
- Low Basal body temp – below 36deg Celsius
- Thinning of lateral eye brows
- Bruise easily
- Poor digestion
- Upper abdominal bloating
The thyroid is a butterfly shaped gland at the base of your neck and essentially controls your metabolic rate, which is how effective your body uses the calories you consume.
Every single cell in your body has a receptor site for the active thyroid T3 that acts directly on the nucleus.
The thyroid produces both T4 and T3, with the majority of it being T4, which needs to be converted in the liver to T3 for it to then become active. T4 is made up of one molecule of tyrosine and 3 iodine. Therefore, problems can arise from an iodide or tyrosine deficiency, which can be supplemented with and iodine can also be found in fish.
For most it is more important to focus on secondary conditions that cause thyroid dysfunction.
Secondary conditions vary and come in many different forms, all of which we have the power to influence via lifestyle modifications and specific supplementation. Let’s have a look at them one by one:
Adrenals and thyroid are on the same hypothalamus pituitary axis. If chronic stress is in your life, this will lead to thyroid dysfunction in 4 different ways.
- Corticotropin releasing hormone (CRH) inhibits thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH)
- Glucocorticoids released from the adrenals inhibit TSH
- Inhibits conversion of T4 to active form T3
- Cortisol increases rT3, which binds to the same site on the cell as T3, thus not allowing T3 to have its metabolic effect on the cell
The pituitary can be suppressed from endotoxins, stress and inflammation that will reduce TSH. Endotoxins are bacterial toxins, such as lipopolysaccharides.
Your liver makes Thyroid binding globulin (TBG) and its job is to bind to T4 and T3 to transport it from the thyroid to your liver to then be converted to T3. If your body produces too much TBG this can cause a decrease in free TH and therefore a reduced metabolic effect. When too little TBG is produced, this leads to elevated TH, causing cell receptorship resistance
The ability of your cell to receive T3 will be diminished in the presence of elevated cortisol, endotoxins, inflammation and nutritional deficiencies.
As a side note, fluoride binds to the same site on your cell blocking the ability of T3 to enter the cell. Where do we find fluoride predominately? In our tap water and our toothpaste……this is a major daily onslaught that could be disrupting the effectiveness of your thyroid.
If there is any mitochondrial dysfunction it could create issues with the metabolic effect of T3
When there is an imbalance of gut flora, leading to high bad bacteria to good bacteria ratio
- Heal gut (refer to gut function section above)
- Improve liver function
- Milk thistle (silymarin)
- Repopulate gut flora with a high potency, broad spectrum probiotic
- Consume small amounts of fructose from fruit as that is your livers preferred fuel source – Example is a glass of pulp free, 100% oranges orange juice
- Avoid lactate training
If you have been trying to drop bodyfat, training hard and being diligent with nutrition, to still see next to no results, all is not lost. There are reasons to why you are not dropping body fat and by recognizing the above and going through these options you can and will reach your body shape goals.