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The Secret to Fast and Easy Weight Loss

Posted Dec 08 2009 12:00am

BikiniIn This Issue:

By James LaValle, R.Ph, ND, CCN

We have only six short weeks left until Memorial Day, the unofficial start of summer and bathing suit season for most people. If your New Year’s resolution to lose weight hasn’t worked as well as you had hoped, don’t despair. There’s still time to look better at the beach. And I can tell you how to do it.

Several studies comparing different methods of weight loss give the scientific evidence that supports what I’ve been telling you all along: low-carb eating plans are the best way to lose weight.

The first study, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association,1 compared the weight-loss results for 311 overweight and obese women who were assigned to follow either the Atkins (very low-carb), Ornish (very low-fat vegetarian), Zone (40% carbs) or LEARN (calorie-controlled, low-fat) diets. Those on the Atkins diet lost 10.3 lb compared to an average of 4.6 lbs in the other groups, and interestingly, far fewer people dropped out on the low-carb diet compared to the other diets.

Study two, from the Journal of the American Dietetic Association2 looked at how a low-carbohydrate/high-protein diet compared with a high-carbohydrate/low-fat diet on ratings of hunger and eating restraint. Both groups ate less, but the low-carb group was significantly less hungry. Not surprisingly, they also lost more weight.

Study three is from the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism.3 This study of 53 obese women compared a very low-carbohydrate diet to a calorie-restricted diet with 30% of the calories as fat.  The very low carbohydrate diet group lost almost 16 lb in 3 months, and more of the weight lost was actual body fat compared to a 9-lb weight loss in the calorie- and fat-restricted diet.

There you have it.  In all three studies, low-carb diets led to the greatest weight loss. End of story, right?

Well, not quite. There is no doubt following a very low-carb diet will help you lose weight for the short term, and if that’s all you’re after, I’ll see you at the beach! But wouldn’t it be nice if you could sustain that weight loss?

Time after time I see study authors concluding that because compliance with low-carb diets starts to wane over time, they are ineffective.  Well, no diet works if you don’t stick with it, but in a way they are right.  What good is a diet you can’t maintain?   And what good is short-term weight loss if you will only regain it?

That is why many years ago I began to evaluate weight loss, and I identified several underlying conditions or hidden factors that make losing weight either very difficult in the first place or else lead to regaining weight.  I discussed each of the underlying factors at length in my book, Cracking the Metabolic Code .  However, over the years I have found that there are five of these underlying factors that can be addressed fairly simply.

That’s why I developed a version of my Metabolic Code Diet that gives you simple strategies you can implement immediately to address some of the most common diet saboteurs:

1. Hunger  
2. Insulin resistance 
3. Stress-related carb cravings
4. Inability to sleep 
5. Unrecognized food sensitivities

It also addresses some of the common pitfalls of very low-carb diets like constipation.

With this e-book version, you can develop an eating plan you can stick with and you can address common underlying factors that undo the best of diets, time and again.  So you don’t just lose weight, you keep it off.

If you can’t lose the weight you want in this self-directed version of the Metabolic Code Diet, you can still be greatly encouraged because not only have you started to learn the diet you will need to follow, you have learned that you have deeper metabolic disruptions.  In order to lose more weight, you need to dig in and find out what they are.

I can’t tell you how many of my patients find that bit of information to be a tremendous relief, because it means that your weight gain truly has not been your fault.  No more guilt and needless self-effacement!

What you need is more thorough testing to evaluate underlying metabolic disruptors for example, heavy metal toxicity that can disrupt thyroid hormones. This and other metabolic disruptors make weight loss inordinately hard.   In doing further testing, you get a realistic picture of what is going on with your metabolism, and then you can go about the work of correcting these areas.  This puts you back on the road to better health, and yes, eventually even weight loss.

So, do a very low-carb diet for quick weight loss if you want, but if your deepest desire is to never cycle on and off those very low-carb diets again, then consider trying my Metabolic Code Diet approach.


[Ed. Note: James LaValle is the founding Director of the LaValle Metabolic Institute, one of the largest integrative medicine practices in the country.  Dr. LaValle is the author of The Metabolic Code Diet: Unleashing the Power of Your Metabolism for Lasting Weight Loss and Vitality and the Executive Editor of THB's The Healing Prescription.  To learn more, click here .]

YogaCutting Edge Fitness:

By Missy Hawthorne, RN, CSCS

The excitement of spring is upon us and as the days get longer and temperatures warmer, more runners than ever are pounding the pavement. Whether enjoying a leisurely jog or training in hopes of completing your first marathon, just be aware, as the miles rack up, so does the risk of injury.

Some of the most common complaints heard from runners are sore feet, knee pain, back problems, tight hamstrings and hips, tendonitis, and muscle pulls and pain.1 There’s no doubt about it, running takes some planning and some effort to avoid these kinds of injuries. And to do that, many runners are now looking to a surprising solution yoga!

Yoga and running have always been on seemingly opposite ends of the exercise spectrum, but this is no longer true. With its emphasis on muscle stretching and strengthening, studies show that yoga helps runners avoid or heal injuries by developing two very important skills: correcting imbalances in the body, the most common cause of sports injuries, and awareness in the mind.

Preventing and Healing Injuries
Pain felt by most runners is not usually caused by running but from imbalances that running makes worse. Yoga can help by strengthening what is weak and stretching what is tight. For example, in most runners the large muscles of the legs (the hamstrings, calves, quadriceps and hip flexors) are tight and need to be released. Yoga poses that stretch these muscle groups but strengthen the weaker hip abductors and rotators create more balance in the lower body. Once more balance is achieved, most of the common complaints of runners including knee, back and iliotibial band pain are relieved.2

So how does yoga increase awareness in the mind and how does this help runners? Let’s face it, many runners develop injuries, but continue to train in spite of what their body is saying.  Yoga helps you become more aware of the sensations in your body, and the difference between “good” pain and “bad” pain.  By developing more self-awareness in yoga, you become better equipped to tolerate the safe or “good” pain, e.g., the “burn” of the long distance run, but learn to listen to injury pain that is telling you to slow down and allow your body to heal.

Improving Performance
Yoga can improve performance by improving flexibility and increasing core strength, but it can also drastically improve energy management. The practice of yoga is centered on the breath. Yoga teaches you how to slow and deepen each breath, thus conserving energy. Another big lesson in energy economy is posture. Poor posture equals wasted energy. Yoga teaches proper form and alignment especially during long holds of challenging poses. Learning this kind of relaxed effort and taking it with you to the road can boost your stamina and speed.2

Running can be more than exercise, as many runners who experience the peace of mind that comes with a long run know.  And yoga can greatly enhance both of those aspects of running. If you bring your body into balance, and take a deep breath, you can run long and hard for years to come!


[Ed. Note: Melissa Hawthorne, RN, BSN, CSCS is the owner of Priority Fitness Personal Training and Wellness.  She is a Master Trainer for the Resist-a-ball Company, ISCA Personal Training, Kick-boxing, and Beamfit.   Melissa serves as a fitness consultant for the LaValle Metabolic Institute.  To learn more, click here .]

Weight loss Weight Loss:

By Laura LaValle, RD, LD

In traditional approaches to dieting, one of the tools that seems to improve weight loss is food journaling, writing down everything you eat.  This method works because it helps control the mindless eating that people do just popping something in your mouth even if you aren’t hungry.  In fact, one study found that food journaling every day led to twice as much weight loss among dieters.1

While food journaling may help control mindless eating, as a dietitian I have observed that it doesn’t help people who are just flat out hungry.  Out of all the dieting side effects, I find there is nothing that will undo a diet faster than hunger!

At LMI, we incorporate three important hunger-busting components into our Metabolic Code Diet because eating healthy is much less of a struggle when the food choices and quantities can quiet a rumbling stomach. What good is a lower calorie diet if it only leaves you so hungry you eventually snap, food journal or not?

One of the biggest allies to any dieter is protein. This macronutrient now has several studies showing that diets higher in protein reduce appetite.2 As a bonus, people adhering to lower carbohydrate, high protein diets also experience a spontaneous reduction in their calorie intake.3

So, filling up on healthy organic protein sources such as eggs, poultry, grass-fed beef and wild-caught fish is a far superior calorie choice than any 100-calorie snack pack. Your body will reward protein with a feeling of satiety, but will usually rebel against the cheese do-dah’s (or whatever carb is in that snack pack) with a blood sugar drop and subsequent hunger pangs.

If protein is our diet hero, then the diet heroine is definitely non-starchy vegetables. Does beef tenderloin and buttery asparagus or Mahi Mahi with lemony sautéed spinach sound like a diet? Vegetables not only contribute variety, color, texture and a wide array of antioxidants and phytochemicals, but also stomach filling fiber. High fiber diets provide bulk, are more satiating and have been linked to lower body weight.4

One study exploring the effects of fiber compared an apple, apple sauce and apple juice with and without added fiber and found that overall, the whole apple increased satiety (feeling full) more than the apple sauce or juice.5 To me, this finding was particularly significant because they were studying a higher carbohydrate and simple sugar food.  But it tends to hold true even for vegetables. Think of how long a big serving of Brussels sprouts or green beans would hold you compared to a vegetable juice. The fiber in the whole food is the key.

As an added bonus, it was recently discovered that non-starchy vegetables even improve insulin sensitivity by increasing the hormone adiponectin.6 So eating high amounts of protein and fibrous vegetables helps to keep you full and satisfied and improves weight loss.  And that’s why these foods are the mainstays of our Metabolic Code Diet.

There is one other nutrient that helps keep you full longer and more satisfied, and that’s fat.  It’s been known for quite some time that meals higher in fat stay in the stomach longer.  This gives the stretch receptors in the stomach time to send the signal to the brain that you are full, and thereby reduces appetite.

Of course there are some fats that end up sabotaging weight loss anyway, like trans fats; but healthy fats from nuts, seeds, coconut oil, olive oil, and even olive oil blended mayonnaises are good hunger-controlling additions to your diet.  Have you ever felt hungry after eating 5 oz of chicken salad made with a full fat mayonnaise served on a large bed of greens?  This is not a bland, unsatisfying diet!

In eating this way, there is one other important factor to keep you on the diet, and that is simply having a good variety of tasty recipes to prepare.  Our Metabolic Code Diet e-book furnishes tons of recipes to fulfill that need.


[Ed. Note: Laura B. LaValle, RD, LD is presently the director of dietetics nutrition at LaValle Metabolic Institute.   Laura and her husband, Jim LaValle, R.Ph, CCN, ND have developed the powerful and life-changing Metabolic Code Diet - containing step-by-step, easy to follow recommendations for harnessing optimal metabolic energy and turning your body's chemical make up into a fat-burning furnace.  To learn more .]

jambalayaHealthy Recipes:

By Laura LaValle, RD, LD

One of the challenges of adhering to a low-carb diet is finding lots of different ways to season and spice the same vegetables and proteins that you use over and over again.  This spicy, flavorful Cajun dish helps fill that bill, and while it may traditionally be served over brown rice, for a low-carb version, serve over steamed vegetables such as zucchini, spaghetti squash or cauliflower.

Serves: 12
Time to Table:  4 to 8 hours

Healing Nutrient Spotlight
Excellent source of vitamin C, niacin, selenium
Good source of vitamin A, iron, vitamin B-6, vitamin B-12

1 lb. boneless chicken breast halves, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 lb. andouille sausage, sliced
1 (28 ounce) can diced tomatoes with juice
1 large onion, chopped
1 large green bell pepper, chopped
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chicken broth
2 tsp. dried oregano
2 tsp. dried parsley
2 tsp. Cajun seasoning
1 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1 lb. frozen cooked shrimp without tails

*Use organic ingredients for optimal nutrition.

Mix the chicken, sausage, tomatoes with juice, onion, green bell pepper, celery, and broth in a crockpot. Add the seasonings: oregano, parsley, Cajun seasoning, cayenne pepper, and thyme. Cover, and cook 7 to 8 hours on low, or 3 to 4 hours on high.  Add the shrimp during the last 30 minutes of cook time.

Steam the vegetable of your choice during that last 30 minutes of cook time.  Ladle jambalaya over vegetables and serve.

168 calories, 26 g protein, 7 g carbohydrates, 3 g fat, 1 g monounsaturated fat, 121 mg cholesterol, 3 g sugars, 3 g fiber, 713 IU vitamin A, .1 mg thiamin,
6 mg niacin, .5 mg pantothenic acid, .3 mg vitamin B-6, .7 mcg vitamin B-12, 20 mg vitamin C, .1 mg copper, 1.8 mg iron, 36 mg magnesium, 371 mg potassium, 22 mcg selenium, 522 mg sodium, 1 mg zinc

Recipe adapted from

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