How to Lose weight - without counting calories
7 min read
Dr Suresh Khirwadkar
Sounds too good to be true?
- You really mean I can lose fat and not count calories? - yes
- I can lose fat and still eat nice food? - yes
- I can lose weight without doing endless exercise? - yes
- Sign me up! - read on
Weight loss vs fat loss
It may seem obvious, but we need to talk about the important difference between weight loss and fat loss. Most people reading this are properly looking for advice on fat loss, and that's what we are going to to discuss here, so you are in the right place.
It's important to recognise what we actually mean though, because I do see this quite a lot. People get upset because they are not losing weight, they think they have stalled, or plateaued, but actually they are just building muscle and losing fat, so the scales aren't budging.
But their fat is going down!
What's the secret?
Whoa hold up a little.
I know you are keen to get the key to losing that weight, but it's not quite that simple.
We all 'know' the basic equation is
Calories in vs calories out
But is it?
If it was, it would be easy to lose fat. We'd all be slim and nobody would be overweight. Obesity would be a thing of the past.
But this isn't the case.
The Set Point
What? What do you mean it's controlled by the body?
This is what we mean by the 'set point'.
We've all been there and done that. We've all experienced it, whether you know it or not.
If it were simply calories in vs calories out, we'd all keep gaining weight until..well we would never stop. We would also just be able to lose weight easily without even trying, we would simply cut the calories and our weight would fall.
but that never happens
THE SET POINT
What is this set point? And what sets it?
It's basically the body saying 'I want to be this fat, and I will make it happen'.
If you try to lose weight, you drop your calories in, your body will compensate by dropping the calories out. The same happens in reverse, you don't just keep gaining weight past a point, at least not straight away. Your body will increase your expenditure to stop gaining once it's reached its desired weight.
What sets the set point?
Nobody is 100% sure, however whilst there's many theories, everybody can agree on one thing - it definitely exists.
There are some that firmly believe it is set by our insulin resistance. I believe it's the main reason by a long way, but there's a few more things that go in to it like Cortisol levels and a few other factors we don't yet know about.
In my work with patients seeking weight loss, this is the key thing that we target, but not just this.
We also work on:
- cortisol levels
- mental health including trauma
- stress levels
- physical stress
- diet and nutrition
- exercise and physical activity
- social relationships
- home life
- financial stress
This is what we mean by true holistic care AKA lifestyle medicine
Without addressing all the above, if they are issues, you will always struggle to lose that weight you want to. You can't just target insulin resistance and be done, you need the whole package. This is why most diets fail horribly because they do not address the whole person.
How does the set point control my weight?
Here's how it works.
Let's assume your body wants 100,000 calories stored as fat. If you reduce the calories in (AKA calorie controlled diet) your body will simply compensate by reducing the calories out. Why? Because it wants to have that many calories.
You don't, but your body does
Why? It's being told to. And it will make it happen. It's been evolving for millions of years and it's very good at doing what it wants to do.
If you can lower the set point, you can get the body to want to lose weight by itself, and we already said it will get it's own way and make it happen with or without you
So how do we adjust the set point?
We already discussed insulin resistance and how we can reduce that, and that's a huge driver for the body's set point. It's not the only determining factor, but it's almost certainly the largest, and probably the easiest to reduce too.
But we also need to look at everything above - our mental health, our sleep, our exercise and physical activity and our social relationships - all of these impact our weight too.
You said I can lose weight without counting calories?
Absolutely you can. I've done it. In fact I lost over 15% body fat in 3 months. I didn't do some crazy diets or exercise regime, I just followed my own advice. I don't count calories. At all. And I'm not blessed with some amazing metabolism. If I was I wouldn't have needed to lose weight in the first place.
We already said it doesn't really matter how many calories you ingest, or how many you burn, because your body will just compensate for it and adjust that equation. So it really doesn't make much sense to worry too much about counting them.
And you absolutely can eat all those lovely delicious foods we want to, just in moderation. If you look at my post on insulin resistance you will see it's about the food insulin index of foods, not the calories that influence our insulin resistance. And the insulin resistance controls our weight.
In fact, I lost that 15% fat and ate tons of fatty foods. Butter. Milk. Cream. Cheese. Sour cream. I just didn't eat all those carbs I used to.
Low carb diets are a fantastic way of losing fat, as is intermittent fasting because they dramatically lower our insulin resistance levels.
I will have more posts upcoming about those, so please do monitor these pages or subscribe to my RSS feed to get them when they go live.
So if you want the secret to weight loss, it's drop that insulin resistance, lower your cortisol, seek help with your mental health concerns, and improve your social relationships, and stop counting those calories.
I offer all these services to my patients, including dedicated weight loss services.
I will also have some Teachable Courses coming soon on weight loss that will be very indepth and well worth paying for - over 5 hours worth of consultations in one course, covering all aspects of weight loss and how to help with everything we discussed above, so please do check out my Teachable Page.
If you are wanting help with weight loss, or want your cortisol or insulin levels checked, or any other nutritional deficiency checked then please come and see me.
Alternatively if you wish to learn more about insulin resistance and how to get rid of it, check out my 2 hour course on Teachables enrol on my 1-2 hour course on Insulin Resistance