Welcome to another edition of the Doctor’s Note where we talk about what’s on our minds when it comes to your health.
This week we’re going to talk about what you need to do to STAY LEAN.
How To Stay Lean
It’s a philosophy. A way of life.
It’s not a diet.
One thing I tell my patients everyday is that life isn’t fair! It’s different for different people.
Your “beanpole” buddy may eat twice what you do and twice as bad, yet they’re skinny and you’re not. Maybe it’s the other way around.
Metabolism is one reason for this.
Everybody’s metabolism is different. Our hormones, genetics, and environment are all different.
This means that people may have to approach staying lean differently.
I’ll give you some general guidelines, because I’ve been doing this long enough to pick up on some things that apply to most people.
General Guidelines To Stay Lean
It’s easier to stay lean with a lower carbohydrate, moderate protein, and higher good fat diet.
In other words, you want to eat a lot less carbs, a lot more good fats, and a moderate amount of protein.
Not too much protein because of gluconeogenesis, which is a fancy term for your liver making more sugar. It can turn the protein into sugar which turns into fat.
Note: Remember sugar and excess carbs convert to fat as a storage form.
In this next section, I’ll go into some detail on carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
In most cases, carbs should be what you eat the least amount of.
When you eat carbs you want low-glycemic carbs like vegetables and berries.
A lot of fruits are high in sugar. Fructose is worse than glucose as far as it turning into fat, because you can’t recognize when you’re getting too much of it.
Have you noticed when you eat fruits you’re never really full? That’s because fructose kind of bypasses that satiety center. It’s metabolized differently by your liver.
So think of veggies and berries as the carbs you’ll want to eat.
Limit the amount of carbs you eat.
Note: There are some vegetables you want to stay away from like potatoes and beets.
I’m not saying you have to completely eliminate the carbs you love (ie bread). But try to eat less of them. For example, if you have a problem cutting out bread, do low amounts of sourdough bread.
You can get most of the protein you need by eating grass fed beef, organic poultry, and lots of small fish.
Of course you get good fat from your fish and meats, along with the protein.
Same thing with nuts and eggs.
Avoid cashews and peanuts. Peanuts are not even a nut. They’re really a bean. Plus, there are so many people who have allergies related to peanuts that it’s best to avoid them altogether.
Oils are a great source of healthy fat. Avocado oil, olive oil, coconut oil, are all very good for you.
Avoid vegetable oils. Never use them!
I love fish, especially the smaller fish.
You probably shouldn’t eat tons of tuna because of the mercury that can be in tuna.
Avocados, which are a fruit, are 70% fat and very good for you.
Cheeses are fats, but you want to avoid processed cheese. Some of your aged cheeses are really good for you if you can tolerate dairy.
Same thing with eggs. Eggs are full of good cholesterol. Remember cholesterol is not the demon that most people think it is.
Eggs, even though they’re full of cholesterol, will not raise your blood cholesterol.
Dark chocolates are a good form of fat.
Chia seeds are mostly fat. FULL FAT yogurt is great if you can tolerate dairy.
There’s a lot of carbs even in Greek yogurt. So make sure to get FULL FAT yogurts.
In general, that’s what I think you should eat.
I think you should also practice time restricted eating, or what many call intermittent fasting. I do this everyday except for maybe one day on the weekend.
I love intermittent fasting. What this means for me is that most every night I try not to eat between 7:00 PM and 12:00 PM the next day.
It used to amaze me that I could do this, and now it’s just routine. I find myself not getting hungry in the mornings.
I also have a lot more energy.
It’s great if you’re trying to lose weight because your body, during this time of fasting, is in ketosis, which means you’re burning your own fat for energy.
You don’t have to do a keto diet all of the time to get into ketosis on a daily basis
I think intermittent fasting works better. There’s very few people that can stay in ketosis full time. Therefore, I haven’t found the keto diet to be reasonable for most people.
General Guideline To Staying Lean: Low Carb, Moderate Protein, High Good Fats, and Time Restricted Eating.
Supplements should be the foundation of your diet. You need vitamins.
In my practice of preventive medicine, I’ve learned a lot (from my patients and myself) of what works and what doesn’t when it comes to nutrition, hormones and vitamins.
What I’ve come to realize is YOU DEFINITELY NEED VITAMINS.
Vitamin D is by far the most important vitamin (it’s actually a hormone) you have.
The other essential ones are:
- Vitamin C
- Magnesium at night
- A good probiotic (I love DigestShield)
- Omega 3’s
Those are the biggest ones.
I take a lot of vitamin supplements everyday. If you want to check out what I take and what I recommend per age group you can find that list here.
Other ways to stay lean:
- Increase your water intake
- Coffee (add a pinch of baking soda)
Lastly, think about your GUT HEALTH. That’s why I’m big on probiotics, prebiotics and enzymes. DigestShield, my favorite brand of co-probiotic, has all three in one pill. That’s why I talk about it so much.
Gut issues can lead to autoimmune diseases and all kinds of inflammatory situations in your body. This leads to virtually every disease out there including cancer.
It’s different for different people. Certain people can’t tolerate dairy, glutens, or lectins.
This goes back to how staying on a lean diet is unique to the individual.
Hormonal analysis, evaluation, and treatment certainly come into play as well. You definitely want to get your hormones checked starting at age 40. It’s not just testosterone, estrogen, progesterone. It’s also DHEA. Insulin is a hormone. Vitamin D is a hormone. It’s your thyroid hormones, and your adrenal hormones like Cortisol. Stress. They all come into play. As your hormones decline you decline.
If you want to get a test that covers most of these hormones, the Cleveland Heart Panel is a great place to start.
There’s not a one size fits all on how to stay lean, but I hope these general guidelines help you along the way.
FINAL TIP: To live a long healthy life, make sure your waist is small.