The 5 Most Common Fat Loss Myths I See

  • By Michael Weitzman
  • 02 Dec, 2016

By Roland Pankewich- Clinical nutritionist


Dr. Michael Koskiniemi

This is probably one of the most misguided areas that many folks painfully toil through to achieve their desired levels of body fat and esthetics. I like to help people simplify and optimize anything to do with their health so without further ado, let’s examine the 5 most common areas where I see people go wrong in the quest to get lean.

Mistake #1: Drastic calorie cutting

It seems like a simple solution to lose weight, simply eat less and you are bound to succeed! Sadly this is what I call a “flat earth” way of thinking. Just because we see it as flat…..doesn’t mean it’s true. The question becomes why does this approach fail? Let’s examine the details of metabolism to get a better idea. Each of has a unique calorie requirement which means the amount of energy we need to consume to maintain our bodily functions. If we reduce this amount drastically, the body is essentially in crisis with a necessary biological change happening as a result of thinking there’s a food shortage. What are the associated changes that happen?

1.         A slowing of metabolism due to a lack of energy coming in

2.         A wasting of muscle which the body breaks down for energy in these situations

3.         A reduction in physical performance and strength

4.         An increase in stress hormones which greatly reduce the ability to burn fat

Add this in with a really drastic rebound where your own body encourages you to essentially binge on food and gain whatever weight you might have lost…plus more. Your testosterone levels might also crash to that of a 12-year-old girl, which won’t do you any favors.

The Fix

Get a Resting Metabolic Test (RMR) done to find out exactly how many calories you need to eat per day to hit your goal. Don’t just start calorie counting and cutting as the PRIME DIRECTIVE instead focus more on the exact number that your body provides, where your food is coming from calorie wise as well as the nutrient-density of the food. When we iNBalance our nutrient ratios and feed our bodies calorie-dense but nutrient-poor foods, we become more likely to put on more fat than we should because it takes nutrients to convert food into energy. Drastically cutting calories also cuts nutrients and we end up falling behind the nutritional 8 ball.

Mistake #2: Trying to “out-exercise” your diet

This is the other half of the eat less and move more equation many people try to adopt, and sadly it’s just another way of coming up short in your quest for abs. I am in NO WAY saying exercise doesn’t help, rather what I am saying is that it’s simply another piece of the pie, not the whole thing. What most people do in this context is endless cardio work with the goal of burning as many calories as they can. For me this would be like suggesting that someone gets rich working for minimum wage, good luck. Here is the key benefit for exercise.

1.         Resistance exercise stimulates increase in metabolic rate with accumulation of muscle

2.         It improves insulin sensitivity meaning we store less carbohydrate as fat

3.         All exercise can improve our body’s ability to burn fat for energy while not training

4.         Exercise can help manage stress levels which has a large implication in fat loss

As you can see here, exercise has A TON of value in the context of fat loss, the thing is it’s very easy to out eat the caloric expenditure of the workout. Think of going out for endless wings and beer after playing a hockey game! You can’t just train with the intensity of a spider monkey and expect things will change.

The Fix

You need to optimize your nutrition around your training sessions and get biofeedback from your training sessions from a heart rate monitor. We need workout fuel before training from good quality foods and in certain contexts some supplements like amino acids which can aid your performance. Using a heart rate monitor ensures you are not under training, over-training, and that every session counts. Too often I see men and women guzzling a ton of empty calories to “carb up” post training, and totally over exercising, it’s likely working against your goal.

Mistake #3: Considering total calories and not where they come from

There is a shift is the nutrition world and I think we have finally overcome some long-held beliefs that probably did more damage to people’s health then we care to think about. That being said there is probably now more confusion than ever on WHAT we should be eating. The in-depth details of this are way beyond the scope of this article but I will share some of the best tips I have used to help people improve their health and appearance at the same time.

1.         Look at a paleo-style diet template: remove crappy carbs, sugars, oils, processed foods

2.         Don’t overconsume protein, more protein doesn’t automatically equal more muscle

3.         Focus on health fats: omega 3, 6, MCT, coconut oil, grass-fed butter, olive oil

4.         Drink filtered water at a minimum of 2L per day

5.         Think about eating differently on days you train: intense activity vs sedentary lifestyle

As you can see with this last mistake there is no simple fix because suggesting one single way of operating would be bad practice as everyone has unique requirements. Having said that, these general guidelines are a great place to start and to make you think about what and when you are eating if you are working towards a goal. The nutrition industry has a lot to wade through but ultimately having a solid foundation will allow you to build upon it.

Mistake #4: Following a “Low Fat” Diet

Blame this misconception of poor word association and absolutely ZERO knowledge from a consumer perspective. Let me explain what I mean. The word fat is actually a term to describe a chemical compound that provides energy to the body among many other essential functions. Our body also stores energy in the form of these fat compounds as it’s essentially an insurance policy against dying from famine. Where I think the major disconnect is, is that many people make the automatic assumption that eating fat makes you fat. This could not be further from the truth! Dietary fat is actually one of the best nutrients to consume to help us lean down and optimize our health. The key is knowing how to prioritize food selection to support this notion.

The Fix

This one takes a little more work so I will give you a guiding principle of basic foods to incorporate to make it easier. Getting familiar with foods that contain different healthy fats makes it much easier to consume a variety of them every day.

Omega 3: fish, walnuts, flax/chia seeds

Omega 6: brazil nuts, pumpkin seeds, chicken

Mono-unsaturated Fat: olives, avocado, macadamia nuts

Saturated Fat: grass-fed butter, coconut, animal protein

You might be thinking that the saturated fat column goes against everything we have been told as being bad for you, in a way it fundamentally does. The recent mounting evidence has really changed the perception of the nutrition industry on the dangers of saturated fat and cholesterol which was always more of a hypothesis than a proven fact. I am not saying go and eat butter by the pound daily, but I am suggesting that you have no need to fear it and other healthy fats because besides providing us with energy, every food on this list in very dense in nutrients which are the key components in running the machine that is our body. Consume healthy fats at major meals and reduce the starchy carbs and your blood sugar levels will be far more stable, you won’t get hungry as often, and you will put yourself in a better position to burn more fat for energy.

Mistake #5: Don’t constantly eat and snack

Somewhere along the way, it became a religious belief that eating every 2-3 hours like a grazing animal was optimal to stoke the metabolic fire. I can’t dispute the fact that yes, your digestive system will be working overtime to always be digesting something. This in and of itself is an issue for another article but let’s say that your digestive system will respond like you would if you were over-worked and under-rested over the long term. The issue with this concept is that we are constantly feeding ourselves throughout the day when it’s not required by the average human who is mainly sitting at a desk not burning energy on their feet (some professions aside). If you were to examine our biology you would find we are actually made to be able to go for periods without eating (hence our ability to store energy in the form of body fat). When we constantly eat we never actually tap into these energy stores to sustain us and as a result we simply burn the energy coming in which might cause some greater issues depending on our food selection.

The Fix

Designing your meals to be more substantial will help to not allow hunger to rear its ugly head within an hour or two. This is a basic structure I designed for people who are trying to trim down and it’s very easy to mix and match different foods in the formula.

1.         Include protein, healthy fat, fiber, and nutrient dense food at all meals.

2.         Start the day with a moderate protein, high fat, and low carb breakfast (total departure, I know)

3.         Aim to go 4 hours minimum between meals, focusing on hydration which helps burn fat

4.         Use higher carbohydrate foods as pre-workout choices

What a Day Might Look Like

1.         Breakfast: vegetable omelette with ½ sliced avocado and green tea

2.         Lunch: Meal salad w/ protein, sliced sweet potato, walnuts, veggies, olive oil

3.         Pre- Workout Meal: protein meal replacement bar (be careful of ingredients in these)

4.         Dinner: Steak or Chicken w/ 2 different green vegetables and quinoa

5.         Snack (if needed): handful or raw nuts/seed or unsweetened coconut

Not only will these meals be substantial enough to not induce hunger right afterwards, but they will keep blood sugar levels in check as constant fluctuations will predispose you to not only weight gain if chronic, but bad food choices when that blood sugar crashes. This is when logic doesn’t always prevail over willpower…..

Although this may seem like a big departure from what many people determine as normal, commitment and consistency with just these 5 small changes will yield some long term progress towards being leaner. I hope I passed my audition with everyone and in coming months I hope to dive a lot more into some details regarding topics like: fat loss, intermittent fasting, low carb diets, performance nutrition, and exercise! Until then be well my friends.

If you're looking to get a Resting Metabolic Test or purchase a Heart Rate Monitor and get educated on both, I'd encourage you to check out Motions Fitness. For more information and pricing please stop by Motions Fitness, call 906-228-2233, email [email protected] , or visit our website at today!

In Health

Roland Pankewich- Clinical nutritionist

By Amber Pender 27 Sep, 2017

Guest blog by  Michael Jurgelewicz, DC, DACBN, DCBCN, CNS, Designs for Health

New study demonstrates fat intake is associated with an overall lower mortality and a lower risk of cardiovascular disease

The association between different macronutrients and their correlation with overall mortality and cardiovascular disease is controversial.

Fat often gets a bad reputation in traditional medicine, although integrative functional medicine doctors and nutritionists educate their patients and clients on the benefits of consuming healthy fats. In addition, Paleo and ketogenic diets have never been more popular.

According to a new study published Tuesday in The Lancet , researchers demonstrated that high carbohydrate intake was associated with an increased risk of mortality, and total fat, as well as individual types of fat, was associated with a lower mortality.

This is a large study that spanned ten years and included 135,335 individuals 35 to 70 years of age from 18 countries in 5 continents. Macronutrient intake was recorded using food frequency questionnaires. Researchers assessed the association between the consumption of total fat, each type of fat, and carbohydrate intake with total mortality and cardiovascular disease.

As a result, higher carbohydrate intake was associated with an increased risk of total mortality but not with the risk of cardiovascular disease or cardiovascular disease mortality. In addition, the total fat intake as well as each type of fat was associated with a lower risk of total mortality. Furthermore, higher saturated fat intake was associated with a reduced risk of stroke. This large study demonstrates that fats are not significantly associated with an increased risk of a heart attack or cardiovascular disease mortality.

The Science Of Cardiovascular Diseases

It is important to keep in mind that in large cohort studies, dietary intake is reassessed over time and the participants can eat whatever diet they choose and then researchers obtain the recent or past dietary history of the participants.

In a clinical trial, the study controls the dietary intake, which is more complicated than in observational studies where the participants control their own diet.

There was also a review just published in Circulation  last month in which researchers demonstrated that lowering saturated fats and increasing polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats was associated with lower rates of cardiovascular disease. This review showed similar outcomes with fat intake and a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease, as well as carbohydrates not reducing cardiovascular disease.

Fats make up the structure of our cell membranes, and fatty acid deficiencies contribute not only to cardiovascular disease but many other problems such as eczema, poor concentration, immune dysfunction, and chronic inflammatory disorders.

Dietary fat, like any macronutrient, supplies energy. When assessing a patient, it important to look at the intake of all macronutrients. People who eat a lot of saturated fat generally eat less carbohydrates and unsaturated fat, and those who eat less saturated fat generally eat more carbohydrates or unsaturated fats. You cannot eat a lot of all  the macronutrients and be healthy. The ideal amount of each macronutrient will be specific to each individual, their current state of health, existing conditions, goals, metabolic demands, and activity level.

By Amber Pender 25 Jul, 2017

Be it because of the toxicity which surrounds us or because of bodies cannot handle properly the estrogens we produce. Whichever is the case, it can lead to an estrogen overload called estrogen dominance. And aside from the male issues you might think it leads to, it can cause serious health complications for both men and women. Thinking of shedding some body fat? Want to increase strength? Stave off cancer? Have better cognition? Conceive a child? Conquer depression? Estrogen dominance can disrupt all of those.

This article is not about how macho we have to be by driving down estrogen as much as possible. In fact, be it in male or female, estrogen is necessary for normal body function. It regulates a lot of body functions in both females and males, however a dysfunctional management of estrogen can spell disaster for your health.

This usually translates to too much estrogen and too much of the wrong form of the hormone in the body.

Click the link below to continue reading.

By Sarah Koskiniemi 26 Jun, 2017

How to Fix Rounded Shoulders

If you’re reading this, there’s a very good chance that you have round shoulders. And if you’ve had  rounded shoulders for a long time, chances are you want to find a quick,  permanent way to resolve the problem. There is such a way, one that often doesn’t involve any exercises or uncomfortable soft tissue work. Let’s take a closer look.
Poor posture is the  culprit behind a variety of conditions including, ankle, knee, shoulder, hip, back pain, cervical pain, and headaches.

Poor posture is the culprit behind a variety of conditions including, ankle, knee, shoulder pain.

Round shoulders are an unnatural posture   characterized by an   exaggerated curvature   of the upper back and often a forward positioning of the head. Exercise by itself   may not be the solution to resolving this condition, and some exercises may even make it worst.  
Unquestionably,   the most popular exercise   in the weight room is the   bench press. Those whose workouts focus on the bench press at the expense of   other muscle groups are susceptible to having round shoulders   due to the overdevelopment of the pectorals and the anterior (front) deltoids,   muscle groups that when they contract can pull the shoulders forward.

By Sarah Koskiniemi 26 Jun, 2017

Ankle injuries are among the single most common type of injury that occurs to athletes, but you don’t have to be a jock to find yourself suffering from ankle sprains and strains.

First, consider that the difference between a sprain and strain is that a sprain occurs to a ligament, and a strain is an injury to a tendon or a muscle. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases reports that about 850,000 Americans injure their ankles each year. Of these, 85 percent are sprains.

By Sarah Koskiniemi 26 Jun, 2017
Posturology is a fast, painless way to make dramatic improvements in your posture and appearance. With Posturology you can also increase athletic performance and help permanently resolve many of the causes of back, neck, knee, and foot pain. And you can achieve it all without exercises, stretches, foam rollers, back supports, orthotics, or drugs.
By Sarah Koskiniemi 26 Jun, 2017

Have you ever had a side  that was weaker than the other on a particular movement or exercise?

When the body is out of alignment, even if only slightly, this causes  muscular compensation. This phenomenon can cause the muscles that cross that joint to contract with less force. If you are  weaker on one side, this can be a sign that the joints are misaligned.

When the body is out of alignment, even if only slightly, this causes muscular compensation.  

The  mechanoreceptors surrounding  the joints send inhibitory signals to the brain, who in return  prevents the muscles from firingas many motor units in an effort the prevent injury from happening because it senses that the joint  is not functioning properly and could thus be unstable or unable to handle large loads.

So a very strong individual like a  strongman competitor or powerlifter can lift incredible loads and  yet still be imbalanced and prone to injury.

In conclusion,  a very small discrepancy in the symmetry of the body can thus affect  function of all joints and their surrounding muscles. This has important impact on performance, and can have profound consequences in the long run, in just about anyone.

A very small discrepancy in the symmetry of the body can affect the function of all joints.
By Sarah Koskiniemi 16 Jun, 2017

Tyrosine, an important amino acid you may not know about

Like almost any nutrient, be it a vitamin, mineral, or botanical extract, amino acids are best introduced to the body via whole foods. In this way, they typically come packaged along with complementary and accessory nutrients that facilitate their absorption and fulfillment of their biochemical destinies. (It’s so nice of nature to do that for us, isn’t it?) But in just the same way that certain disease states, both acute and chronic, can increase the body’s need for particular vitamins and minerals above the levels someone would reasonably get from food alone, certain conditions may warrant supplemental amounts of amino acids.

There’s branched chain amino acids for potential skeletal muscle growth, tryptophan (and its metabolite, 5-HTP) for lifting a low mood or helping to promote sleep, and  glutamine  for gut health and tissue healing and repair after trauma.

What about tyrosine?

Like its aromatic amino acid brethren (phenylalanine and tryptophan), tyrosine is a building block for neurotransmitter synthesis. Unlike phenylalanine and tryptophan, however, it is not technically an essential amino acid, since it can be synthesized from phenylalanine. (For individuals with phenylketonuria [PKU], tyrosine  is  essential, as they lack the enzyme that facilitates this conversion.)

Tyrosine readily crosses the blood-brain barrier and is the starting point for producing L-DOPA, dopamine, epinephrine, and norepinephrine. It is also the building block for thyroxine (a.k.a. T4, or thyroid hormone), but inadequate tyrosine is usually not the limiting factor in thyroxine synthesis. Individuals with suboptimal thyroid function might benefit from supplemental tyrosine, but likely only if hypothyroid symptoms are due primarily to insufficient tyrosine availability. Owing to its role in neurotransmitter and catecholamine synthesis, it has shown benefit for alleviating depression, acute stress, narcolepsy, and cocaine addiction. (With regard to cocaine addiction, tyrosine and tryptophan may be an effective combination, with these amino acids blunting the cocaine “high,” and reducing the depression that may result from drug withdrawal.)

Tyrosine competes with other large, neutral amino acids (phenylalanine, tryptophan, leucine, isoleucine, valine, and methionine) for transport across the blood-brain barrier, so for optimal efficacy supplemental tyrosine is best taken on an empty stomach, or perhaps with a carbohydrate-containing meal or snack that is low in protein. Taking vitamin B6 along with it may facilitate the conversion of tyrosine to dopamine, as the vitamin is a cofactor for the aromatic amino acid decarboxylase enzyme that catalyzes the reaction.

The Brain and Mood Link

Considering tyrosine’s role as a precursor to dopamine and thyroid hormone, it would seem that tyrosine supplementation would be a slam dunk for improving depression. Yet,  results are mixed . Randomized, double-blind, placebo-controlled studies have  failed to show efficacy for tyrosine with regard to depression ; nevertheless, anecdotal evidence indicates there may be a role, so it’s possible it depends on an individual patient’s presentation. Depression is multifactorial, so there may be cases where supplemental tyrosine will help alleviate symptoms, and others where the issue is unrelated to inadequate levels.

On the other hand, tyrosine may be helpful for supporting cognitive function in acutely stressful situations.  A  review looking at the effects of tyrosine on behavior and cognition  found that “tyrosine loading acutely counteracts decrements in working memory and information processing that are induced by demanding situational conditions such as extreme weather or cognitive load.” Most likely this is due to the influence of tyrosine on restoring healthy brain catecholamine levels. Other researchers had similar findings—that it does enhance cognitive performance, particularly in short-term stressful and cognitively demanding situations.  One study’s authors caveated this  by saying that it “is an effective enhancer of cognition, but only when neurotransmitter function is intact and DA [dopamine] and/or NE [norepinephrine] is temporarily depleted.”

Final Words

Fortunately, it is an inexpensive compound to supplement with, so patients may be inclined to give it a try if their health care professionals suspect some of the symptoms they present with may be related to suboptimal tyrosine and/or reduced levels of hormones and neurotransmitters that come from tyrosine.

Note that tyrosine should not be supplemented in pregnant or lactating women, nor in individuals taking MAOIs for depression. Individuals with Parkinson’s disease may benefit from supplemental tyrosine, for the production of dopamine, but it should not be taken at the same time as levodopa, due to possible reduction in the drug’s efficacy.

By Sarah Koskiniemi 13 Jun, 2017
When your grip strength  improves, less neural drive is needed for the forearm and hand  muscles to perform other exercises. That is why many trainees report breaking training plateaus ranging from dead lifts to curls. Charles Poliquin discusses how you can instantly increase your strength grip through Posturology.
By Sarah Koskiniemi 13 Jun, 2017
Correcting posture can have a huge impact on sports performance and injury prevention. Here is a short video of a chin up preformed by   Allan McVaughn   of the men’s Basketball Team, before and after postural correction.
By Sarah Koskiniemi 13 Jun, 2017

Weight lifting is important to begin to building muscle mass and size, however it isn’t the only key element of shoulder training.

Posture is essential if you want to be injury free and want to start adding serious size to your shoulders.

Visual feedback and equal weight distribution are important to ensure that your muscles contract accurately.

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