Ketosis and Meal Replacement Therapy: How Low To Go?

How Low Can To Go?

Ketosis and Meal Replacement Therapy: How Low To Go?

How Low Can To Go?

What's My Goal?

The numbers on the bathroom scale get all the attention, but isn’t our real goal to reduce our body fat? Fortunately, that’s exactly what happens when your body doesn’t take in enough energy to satisfy its needs. First, it burns the glucose reserves (glycogen) in your liver, and muscles, which can be depleted in less than 24 hours, before switching to “fat-burning” mode.

Fat-Burning Mode (aka Ketosis)

In “fat-burning” mode, your body breaks down fats into ketones and uses them for energy. This process is called ketosis, and it’s the reason you hear so much about ketogenic diets, also called keto diets or simply keto. When you achieve ketosis, your body becomes incredibly efficient at burning fat for energy. 

In fact, it’s so good at it that it will preferentially burn fat for energy over glucose (carbs). This not only results in rapid weight loss, but also has a host of other health benefits, including improved mental clarity, decreased inflammation, stabilized blood sugar levels, and a feeling of well being.

...mental clarity, decreased inflammation, stabilized blood sugar levels

Very Low-Carb to go Keto

The key to achieving ketosis is to severely restrict your intake of carbs. When you do this, your body has no choice but to burn fat for energy. The problem is that most people don’t know how many carbs they should be eating, or what the right balance of fat and protein is. 

Further complicating matters, the human body requires adequate protein and will canibalize its own lean tissue if your diet does not provide enough protein. Extreme dieting can be dangerous to your health, and in some cases even fatal.

Medical Weight Loss

This was addressed decades ago in the medical community with the creation of Very Low-Calorie Diets (VLCD’s), which allowed patients to consume 500-800 calories each day, while eating low-carb (less than 70g) and low-fat (less than 15g), while also eating high-quality protein (75g or more). 

Patients routinely achieved significant weight loss, averaging as much as twenty pounds of weight loss per month for extended periods of time. 

In a study we conducted for WEA Trust Insurance (NAASO 2001), VLCD patients and bariatric surgery patients had comparable weight loss results at five years, which highlights the success of VLCD therapy.

...averaging as much as twenty pounds of weight loss per month

Popular Treatment Trends

Over the last two decades, VLCD’s have become less popular than a more balanced approach which includes both meal replacement therapy and traditional whole foods. This is sometimes called a “modified” or “partial” meal replacement plan, and there are many variations, both medical and commercial.
There are a number of reasons for the rise in popularity of these modified plans. First, VLCD’s are difficult for most people to sustain. This is because they are restrictive by nature and require a high level of commitment and self-discipline. Second, there is now a better understanding of the role whole foods play in maintaining gut health, which is fundamental for overall health and wellness.

Most approaches use shakes, bars and other nutritionally designed products, with one or two additional meals per day. This meal plan can still lead to rapid weight loss; however, The ketogenic effect is less pronounced and the rate of weight loss will be slower. Regardless, many find the less restrictive plan to be easier to follow.

How to Measure Ketosis

The most precise way to measure ketosis is by blood testing with a glucometer, which can be done in both medical and non-medical settings. Urine testing isn’t as accurate but may provide complementary information when used alongside blood tests. However, for the majority of people dieting, the amount of ketones present will not show up on an at-home urine test—that’s more fit for diabetics testing for ketoacidosis.

In most cases, it will take two to three days for the transition to a fat-burning metabolism. Over the first 24 hours you will burn up your carb reserves and shed water (think frequent bathroom breaks). You may get dizzy or lightheaded, and headaches are also a possibility. Stay hydrated and follow your nutrition plan and within the next day or so, you will begin to feel better. Your energy level and lack of appetite will be the best indicator that you are on track.

Final Thoughts

The bottom line is that if you want to achieve ketosis, you need to restrict your carb intake. However, there is no need to go to extremes. A more balanced approach, which includes both meal replacement therapy and traditional whole foods, is more sustainable and can still lead to rapid weight loss.
So, how low should you go? It really depends on your individual goals and preferences. If you’re looking to lose weight quickly and don’t mind being restrictive, then a Total Meal Replacement plan may be right for you. If you want to lose weight at a slower pace and are interested in maintaining gut health, then a Modified Meal Replacement plan may be a better option. Ultimately, the best approach is the one you can stick with long-term.

If you’re ready to make lasting changes in your life, our team is here to help. We have the experience and expertise necessary to help you create a personal plan that fits your lifestyle. Let’s get started today!

Change For Good: Making changes that last

Why is change hard?

Change For Good: Making changes that last

Why is change hard?

Why is it a struggle to make lasting changes?

It’s not easy to make lasting changes to our behavior. We often start out with the best of intentions, but before long we find ourselves slipping back into old patterns. Why is it so hard to change? And more importantly, how can we make changes that actually stick?

What do we mean when we say "lasting changes"?

When we talk about making lasting changes to our behavior, we’re referring to changes that are permanent and sustainable. This means that the new behaviors we adopt need to be something we can stick with for the long haul, not just for a few weeks or months.

It’s important to be realistic about what we can accomplish in the short-term, and focus on building habits that will eventually become second nature.

The difficulties of making lasting changes

Making lasting changes to our behavior can be difficult for a number of reasons.

Requires Patient Determination

First, we often have a hard time breaking old habits and replacing them with new ones. Second, even when we do manage to change our behavior, it’s not always easy to maintain that change over the long run. And finally, it’s often difficult to see tangible results from our efforts in the short-term, which can lead us to give up prematurely.

Must Break Old Patterns

One of the many challenges we face when trying to make lasting changes is overcoming inertia. Our natural tendency is to stick with what’s comfortable and familiar, even if those behaviors are harmful or no longer serve us. Breaking out of our comfort zone can be daunting, but it’s essential if we want to make lasting changes. And to really succeed in making those changes, we need to replace our old behavior with new habits that are positive and productive.

Remain Calm - Stay Balanced

It’s also important to respect the power of emotions when it comes to staying motivated. When things go wrong, or we face setbacks (which is inevitable when pursuing ambitious goals), the negative emotions we feel can undermine our determination and quickly turn a minor slip into a major relapse.

Tips for creating a personal plan that works for you

There is no one-size-fits-all solution when it comes to creating a personal plan that will help you change your behavior. What works for one person may not work for another, and what works in the short-term may not be sustainable in the long-term. That said, here are some general tips that can help you get started.

  1. Start by identifying the behaviors you want to change.
  2. Set realistic goals that challenge you but are still achievable
  3. Create a timeline for reaching those goals, and break them down into specific steps
  4. Make a commitment to yourself and be willing to put in the effort required to make change happen.
  5. Find positive ways to reward yourself when you reach milestones.
  6. If you experience setbacks, don’t let them derail you. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and try again.

Be patient with Yourself.

Just remember that lasting change takes time, so be patient with yourself and don’t give up too soon. You might not always see the instant results that you seek, but in the end it will all be worth it when you’re in better shape, feeling healthier and living a happier life.

In summary

Despite the difficulties of modifying your behavior, changes can be made and sustained over time. We can help you set realistic goals and form a personal plan that works for you. We will provide support and encouragement when setbacks occur, and together we’ll celebrate your success!

If you’re ready to make lasting changes in your life, our team is here to help. We have the experience and expertise necessary to help you create a personal plan that fits your lifestyle. Let’s get started today!

SMART Goals for Weight Loss: Tips and Strategies

Set SMART Goals
Set SMART Goals

SMART Goals for Weight Loss: Tips and Strategies

Losing weight is an incredibly difficult task, and it can be even more frustrating when you set unrealistic goals. We are going to discuss the importance of setting realistic goals for weight loss, and provide strategies to help make your goals achievable. We’ll also talk about how to avoid giving up on yourself in the process!

A goal should be SMART – Specific, Measureable, Attainable, Relevant and Timely.

Specific Goals

Specific goals are important because they ensure that you know exactly what it is you’re aiming to do. This way, no matter how hard the task may be, at least you have a clear idea of what your goal is and can work towards achieving it in small increments instead of just hoping for something vague.

For example, if I ’m trying to lose weight, a specific goal would be “I want to lose two pounds this week.” If instead I say “I want to lose a lot more weight,” the goal is too general. It isn’t specific enough. Your goals need to be broken into bite-sized pieces.

“If you aim for nothing, that’s what you’ll hit!”

Measureable Goals

A specific goal can also help you measure your progress on a daily basis and set new goals for the following week, such as “My weight loss this past week was one pound; I want to lose two pounds next week,” or “I am averaging 5,000 steps per day; I want to increase this to 7,000 steps per day.”

Your weight is only one of many metrics you can use to track your efforts and progress. Be sure to explore what works best for you.

"You can't manage what you don't measure!"

Attainable Goals

By breaking your weight loss goals into specific, near-term milestones, you set yourself up for success! …and everyone loves to win. For example, “I am going to walk for 15 minutes at lunchtime, each day this week.”

Each goal you achieve, no matter how small, helps build positive momentum. You’ll feel the progress as you pass these milestones, which will help keep you motivated.

“Harness the power of success and fuel your progress!”

Relevant Goals

In order to get the most out of your weight loss efforts, make sure that you’re setting goals that are relevant and important to you. Your weight is a factor in your overall health, but your goals must reflect more than a number on a scale.

Think of the things you are going to be able to do, and the aches and pains you are going to reduce… but first and foremost, make sure you are doing this for yourself. You can be a positive influence on those around you, but only if you give yourself the attention and self-care required.

“Weight loss can't be sustained if it isn’t self-motivated.”

Timely Goals

Weight loss goals need to be short-term enough to be useful, while still allowing time and flexibility for change to happen.

One way to do this is the following:

  • set weight loss goals that you can achieve in two weeks;
  • if you meet your first set of goals, then make another set of two week goals
  • if you fall short of your goals, re-evaluate… and adjust your plan appropriately, and make a new set of two week goals;

after several successful rounds of two week goals, you can try expanding to three or four week goals.

The best scenario will be where these goals are achievable and not too strict so as to discourage progress; have ample time to work towards the next goal, but not so long that you lose focus. This way, your goals are attainable and progress is built upon itself in a positive manner.