You can lose weight with practically any program that has you eating less than what you’re currently consuming. It could be low-carb, low-fat, high-protein, pre-packaged meals or counting calories to name a few. But what happens after those initial pounds come off and weight loss slows or comes to a stall?
When it’s not losing 40 or more pounds, you have those who are battling with stubborn belly fat or can’t seem to lose that last five to 15 pounds. They’re eating less, cutting their carbs and exercising like a madman, but nothing seems to work.
Here’s the deal: calories do count but weight loss is not exclusively about calories in, calories out. If weight loss was solely based on energy balance (calories in, calories out), weight loss would be as predictable as mathematical subtraction. In a 2012 study published in the Journal of American Medical Association, the notion that “a calorie is a calorie” was challenged (1). The participants in this study first lost 10 to 15 percent of their body weight, and after their weight stabilized, depending on the daily calorie ratio of protein to carbohydrates to fat, weight loss and basal metabolic rate (amount of calories burned) varied.
When weight loss varies based on the type of calories (protein, carbohydrates and fats) consumed, it’s a no-brainer that there’s more to be considered than simply counting calories. This said, the role of insulin (hormone) in your body is without question a determining factor for both losing weight and why we gain it. In one study obese women with insulin resistance lost more weight eating fewer carbs than women who weren’t obese or diagnosed with insulin resistance (2).
Weight loss is best experienced when you eat the right amount of protein, carbohydrates and fat calories. The right amount is different for all of us. Some people will lose weight best when they consume more or less total carbohydrate calories. Others benefit more from increasing or decreasing their fat calories. When you know your “Carb Threshold” you can modify the intake of your macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) and burn fat more effectively.
To better understand how I came to discover that we all have a unique Carb Threshold (the amount of total carbohydrates we can eat and both lose weight and maximize our metabolism so we keep the weight off), take a few minutes and familiarize yourself with my story. As a result of a string of events, I discovered and am now delivering a way for you to customize your carb threshold.
In 2001 I co-authored my first weight loss book “Fat That Doesn’t Come Back” followed by “Conquering the Munchie Monster” in 2007. With each of these books people lost weight. Both books focused on eating every two to three hours and eating foods in fat burning combinations.
In 2007 I signed a deal to launch my first infomercial product, the Food Lovers Fat Loss System™ that I co-developed with Provida Life Sciences. Shortly after rolling out the Food Lovers program I wanted to reach a different audience so I authored Diet-Free for Life. Both the Food Lovers program and Diet-Free for Life book were based on my methodology of eating fat burning meals and snacks. The outcome of both of these products was that thousands of people lost weight.
As I traveled the country meeting and hearing from people who were using my books and the Food Lovers program, it became apparent that not everyone was experiencing success. Some people lost weight initially but gained it back. Others followed the eating plan religiously and the weight wasn’t coming off. At first I would think they’re simply not following the program, but overtime I came to realize I had a hole in my methodology.
My desire to improve my methodology resulted in ending my relationship with Food Lovers and diving in with everything I had to find a solution. I investigated and challenged myself to figure out why some people got amazing weight loss results while others hit roadblocks. I questioned the fat burning meals and snacks with the goal of finding a way for people to be able to customize my methodology to their metabolism.
Old Dilemma, New Discovery
The weight loss dilemma in the form of a question: “Can every one lose weight eating the exact same fat burning meals and snacks?” The initial answer was “Yes.” We had people share with us that they’ve lost 25, 50, 100 and over 200 pounds with the Diet Free Life methodology. Whether it’s Dr. Bernadette Anderson who lost over 150 pounds, Tom Shimko losing 175 pounds or Casi Richie who dropped over 50 pounds. Success stories continue to come in from around the world. At the same time, we are hearing back from folk who say they’re doing everything right and the weight isn’t coming off. We are also hearing from people who previously raged about how much weight they lost only to gain it all back.
After connecting with many of the not-so-successful people we also heard that the second time around didn’t work as much. Simply put, they lost weight once using the methodology, but the second time didn’t work as well even though they did everything the exact same.
It was during this time that both the science I had discovered and my work with personal clients, that our body is constantly changing and both losing weight and keeping it off had more to do with the ratio of protein, carbohydrates and fat calories than merely calories in and by itself. This all led me to the previously hidden truth that we all have a carb threshold and once understood, we could customize our fat burning meals and snacks and burn fat more effectively.
Unveiling Your Carb Threshold
When I began researching, questioning my beliefs, interviewing scientists, physicians and both satisfied and unsatisfied customers, I discovered that with total calories being equally consumed, we as individuals respond differently to what makes up those calories. With the foundation being the Diet Free Life methodology, some people will burn fat more effectively when they consume fewer carbohydrate calories. On the flip side, others lose weight best when consuming fewer fat calories.
Knowing that we all respond to the foods we eat differently and that no blanket approach to weight loss works for everyone the exact same, we can now customize a nutrition plan specifically to how each individual best burns fat. We know that when individuals eat carbohydrates and protein sources insulin is secreted. The amount of insulin secreted varies from person to person (2). Depending on one’s insulin sensitivity, varied ways of eating produces different weight loss outcomes (3). We also know that insulin sensitivity largely dictates the best balance of proteins, carbohydrates and fat calories for the most effective weight loss outcomes (4).
You can learn your Carb Threshold by registering for our “Customizing Your Carb Threshold” program in our store at www.DietFreeLife.com. If you don’t already have the Diet Free Life Program™, it is recommended that you own your own so that you thoroughly understand the Diet Free Life methodology of making fat burning meals and snacks.
In the coming weeks, months and years I will continue to share evidence-based information that supports the application of eating according to your carb threshold.
- Cara B. Ebbeling et al. Effects of Dietary Composition on Energy Expenditure During Weight-Loss Maintenance. JAMA, June 27, 2012 DOI: 10.1001/jama.2012.6607
- The Endocrine Society. “Cutting carbs is more effective than low-fat diet for insulin-resistant women, study finds.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 21 June 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/06/100619173919.htm> Study led by author Raymond Plodkowski, MD, chief of endocrinology, nutrition and metabolism at the University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno
- Pittas AG, Roberts SB. Dietary composition and weight loss: can we individualize dietary prescriptions according to insulin sensitivity or secretion status? Nutr Rev. 2006 Oct;64(10 Pt 1):435-48. Review.
- 4. Cornier MA et. al. Insulin sensitivity determines the effectiveness of dietary macronutrient composition on weight loss in obese women. Obes Res. 2005 Apr;13(4):703-9.
Robert Ferguson is an author, nutritionist, fitness training and one of America’s leading voices of wellness and weight loss.