Friday, May 7, 2010

Another Fat Loss Success: Interview with Liz

Fat loss is a struggle for most females. Recently, a study in The Journal of the American Medical Association showed that in middle-aged females, who actually exercised regularly, still steadily gained weight over the decade they were followed. Now, there were many limitations to that study, which I discuss here. Exercise, more precisely, high-intensity exercise is an important part of losing fat (the JAMA study looked mostly at low-intensity, steady-state exercise). I have helped many clients lose significant body fat (here is another success story). In fact, it has become routine for me to help others reach their fat-loss goals that I developed my fat-loss time management hierarchy for easy application for anyone.

In order to have an effective fat loss, high-intensity exercise and proper nutrition work synergistically. They provide the ONLY way to preserve lean muscle mass, while losing almost exclusively body fat. Many popular 'diets' result in up to 25% of weight loss due to loss of lean muscle mass. I advocate modifying your nutrition intake with real, whole foods. I help clients apply some basic nutrition guidelines that help them get the nutrition they need to support the high-intensity training, control their appetite, and easily curb overall Calorie intake. The key is making it simple and flexible. Oh, and there are the ever-elusive intangibles that make or break anyone's pursuit of fat loss. They are: focus, motivation, accountability, and support.

Liz is a recent success story. While Liz has been a client for a long time, in January she decided that she really wanted to focus on losing body fat. We focused on her nutrition and followed her body fat levels for 12 weeks.

As you can see, Liz did an awesome job over the last three months. The results speak for themselves. Liz took some time to answer some questions for my readers:

What was your fat loss goal?

I started at about 28% so placed my goal at 25%. I believe I reached that in 6 -8 weeks. Decreased the goal to 18% for the long run. I think I am around 21% at this time.

Have you tried to lose fat in the past? If so, what methods did you use? Where you successful?

I have tried watching fat intake in past with no change in carbs, or actually higher due to low fat food. Had lot of highs and lows with hunger pangs and cravings. Brought everything low fat/light. That didn't work. Tried counting calories and exercise...loosing about 5 lbs. But unable to easily maintain. Tried exercise with no diet change. That didn't work either.

The nutrition guidelines naturally result in a lower carbohydrate level in your diet. Did you feel deprived while on the lower-carbohydrate diet?

Not at all once I got into the rhythm of increasing the protein and fat in the diet. Increased fat and protein definitely keeps one feeling full and satisfied for longer without all the highs and lows of a low carb. diet. Plus seemed to have more energy. Never felt like I was hungry and craving certain foods. Overall felt really good.

What foods were you eating on the low-carb, moderate fat, moderate protein diet?

I increased my egg consumption the most. Hardly ever ate eggs by themselves. Now eat 2-3 a day in different forms. Yummy. Increased vegetable and salad intake with lots of fresh herbs. I went from 4 slices of bread or pasta a day to 0. Drink water/tea for beverage 90% of time, with occasional milk and alcohol thrown in there:) Stopped diet pop. Kept my meat intake about the same from various sources.

Did you have to count Calories on the lower-carb diet?

At first I tried to,to get an idea of how much I was consuming. Found that with the higher fat and protein I was eating less so staying about the same calories per day, so stopped counting after couple of weeks. Now I don't watch it at all. Just know roughly how many carbs. in food products and try to keep between 50 -80. Once reach fat goal then will try to keep carbs b/80-100 to maintain and stay on track.

Did you have any problems giving up breads and sugar?

The hardest part for me getting started was giving up the bread and pasta. Love both. But as I decreased the sugar and grains found easier to give up and not crave. Partly I believe because the fat and protein is so satisfying. Stopped diet pop instantly. Bread took the longest with my habit of having 2 pieces of toast in the morning. Took about 3 weeks to give up. Still love bread but look for alternatives so I don't eat it. For example tuna salad with herbs on lettuce wrap with tomato instead of a sandwich. No longer need sugar on my fruit...however cream is delicious and allowed:) If I really have a sugar attack. Dark Chocolate 85% couple squares takes care of the sweet tooth with some almond butter and non sweetened coconut flakes...thank you Dan.

Any thing else?

I feel that with the fat-loss nutrition guidelines that Dan gave me, planning and eating healthfully is easy. Once you get a feel for how many carbs are in different foods one doesn't really have to think to much about calories. One stays pleasantly satiated without all the highs and lows. Fun trying out new recipes and different ways to eat. I am not a great cook, but have enjoyed the challenge of new foods and tastes. I feel great. Haven't increased my exercise regime at all and lost and keep loosing fat/weight. Who could ask for anything more. I am hoping, now that I am not working with and being accountable to Dan each week, to be able to continue.

Thanks, Liz. Great Job!

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