Tag Archives: weight loss

Posted by in wellness

Leptin: Fat Loss for Smart People!

by Sean Croxton

Let’s talk about fat loss.

It’s definitely not as easy as calorie-in/calories-out. That seldom works from anyone in the long term!

Why? Well, because your body is super smart and wants nothing more than to ensure your survival in times of famine (either real or self-induced).

Since it’s the giving season (isn’t it always?), here’s a section on the forgotten fat loss hormone leptin from my ebook The Dark Side of Fat Loss. The only thing you’re missing are the really cool graphics that go with the text.

If you’re not much of a reader, you can watch the video instead.


Chapter 2: It’s All About the Hormones

The Dark Side knows that dieting makes you fat.

It knows that every time you go on a diet, you end up heavier than you were when you started. This is no coincidence. It’s just basic human physiology with a dash of logic.

Your weight gain is not a simple matter of overindulgence and indolence, but of survival and miscommunication. You are NOT a gluttonous sloth with a predisposition for stuffing your face all hours of the day while planted firmly on your backside. There is a perfectly good answer as to WHY you eat too much and move too little. It’s just that no one bothered to tell you until now.

The answer is not one of psychological defect — you just want to be fat — or thermodynamics, but of hormonal imbalance.

Getting All Hormonal

Hormones are the chemical messengers that tell your cells what do. Since your body is made up of 50-75 trillion of these cells, you certainly want to be sure that they get the right messages and do the right things. Your health depends upon it.

Hormones do it all. They are what make you a man or woman. They put you to bed at night and wake you in the morning. They govern your heart rate and blood pressure. They calm down your anxieties and relieve depression. They help you digest your meals. They control your sex drive. They fight stress and infections. They regulate your blood sugar. And they are also responsible for the burning and storage of fat. Any and all attempts to lose fat without first restoring the proper function of the fat-burning and fat-storing hormones will be in vain. Hunger and hardwiring trump willpower every time.

Many volumes and literally hundreds of thousands of pages have been written on how hormones impact human physiology, function, and fat storage. In fact, the human body contains more than 100 different hormones. This stuff can get pretty darn complicated! So in this chapter, we will cover the basics. If you wish to go deeper down the hormonal rabbit hole, please refer to the recommended materials and scientific references at the end of this chapter to further your understanding.

While we’ll keep it rather simple here, I guarantee these fairly basic concepts will go well above and beyond anything you’ve ever heard or read before regarding how your body burns and stores fat. I even recommend you break out a pencil and paper for note-taking. As you take notes you’ll likely end up with a messy sheet of paper with arrows pointing from each hormone to several others, demonstrating their interdependency. This hormonal interplay exemplifies the extraordinary balancing act your endocrine (hormonal) system must perform in order to keep your body’s fat burning furnace fired up.

The interdependency among hormones is both a gift and a curse. Like dominoes, when one hormone falls out of balance, others soon follow. Imbalances can be a matter of excess or deficiency. In other words, you don’t want too much of a hormone and you don’t want too little.

To illustrate this concept of too much or too little, let’s consider the amount of water you drink. If you drink too little, you become dehydrated and your body begins to shut down. If you drink too much, you can throw off your electrolyte balance – a condition called hyponatremia – and end up in the ER. Neither situation will lead anyone to believe that water is bad for us. The problem resides in its excess or deficiency.

In the same regard, too much or too little of a hormone can cause serious health problems. For example, too much thyroid hormone — called hyperthyroidism — may give you heart palpitations, cause chronic anxiety, and keep you awake all hours of the night. Conversely, not enough of the same hormone — called hypothyroidism — will cause you to gain weight, make your hair fall out, and have you feeling frostbitten on a warm sunny day.

If you are a woman (pro female bodybuilders, for instance), too much testosterone might give you an Adam’s apple and a Tom Selleck mustache. Too little will pull your libido right out from under you and keep you from burning fat and building muscle.

Instead of too much or too little, you want just enough. In the pages that follow I will show you how your body employs hormones — primarily leptin and insulin — to ensure that you have just enough bodyfat and blood sugar. Once these vital hormones lose their way, the result is an internal environment that is highly conducive for a
reduction in metabolism, increase in appetite, sedentary behavior, and storage of fat.

Your weight gain is what I like to call survival gone haywire. To understand this concept, we have to go back.

Way back.

Going Caveman

How easily we forget that regardless of how modern and high-tech things may seem, you and I are still living in prehistoric bodies. If you’ve ever seen the movie Encino Man, Sean Astin stumbles upon a caveman in his backyard frozen in a block of ice. He and his best friend thaw the Neanderthal out, clean him up, give him a wicked haircut, and end up with Brendan Fraser!

Yeah, I know it’s just a movie (it’s actually pretty funny), but it makes some great points. From a physiological perspective, cave people were really no different from us. Give them an afternoon with the Extreme Makeover team and I bet you wouldn’t recognize them on the streets.

We are cave people! What separates us most from our prehistoric ancestors is our environment. Caveman never imagined that there would be a such thing as a supermarket, that we could turn darkness into daylight, and that the famine would never come. He didn’t have a refrigerator or freezer. No free samples at Costco. No media telling him how he ought
to look or dress. In fact, the only way he knew what he looked like was by catching his reflection in a stream or puddle.

Mirrors and media were the last thing on caveman’s mind. He had more important matters to deal with, like finding his next meal while not becoming one. Survival was the
name of the game. Lucky for him, he had a few built-in mechanisms to ensure that he lived to see another day. And it is these very same mechanisms that have been working against you in your many failed attempts to starve and strain yourself to fat (err, weight) loss.

Fat: It’s Alive!

Caveman never cut calories on purpose. He never caught a glimpse of his reflection and decided it was about time he go on a diet. In fact, going on a diet would have been caveman crazy talk, especially when he wasn’t always sure where his next meal was coming from. Some days there would be plenty of food to go around. Other times the primordial fridge was empty. Since starving was just as uncool back then as it is today, the body had to possess some kind of starvation defense system. If not, you and I wouldn’t be here. The first winter famine would have been the end of us all.

As bizarre as it might sound, your fat stores are that very defense system protecting you from the perils of famine and death. You may think of your fat as just an unsightly energy storage depot. But it has recently been discovered to be an actual hormone-producing organ just like your thyroid, adrenals, and pancreas. Yes, fat is an organ!

Discovered in 1994, leptin is a hormone secreted by your white adipose tissue, otherwise known as the unwanted fat collecting on your butt, thighs, and abdomen. And it’s not just any hormone. Leptin is the master hormone, charged with the crucial role of keeping you from starving to death by monitoring how much fat you have on board. That way, when the famine comes you can live off of your fat stores until it’s time to eat. If the famine arrives and you’ve got just four-percent bodyfat, you’re in big trouble, my friend!

Leptin is in direct communication with a gland in your brain called the hypothalamus. When your fat stores are sufficient, your hypothalamus gets a phone call from leptin saying all is well and that making it through a food shortage won’t be a problem. As a result, the hypothalamus keeps your metabolism humming along and your appetite at bay since there is no need to store any additional fat.

How Diets Make You Fat

What’s important to mention here is that the starvation defense system is under subconscious control. Your brain has no idea what you look like in the mirror. Nor does it care what or who you want to look like. All it cares about is your survival by way of ensuring that you have enough fat on hand to make it through the famine that never comes.

So when our caveman—we’ll call him Link, like the movie character—was short on food, his body shifted to his fat stores for fuel. As his fat stores shrank over the scarce weeks or months, they produced less leptin. And since there was less leptin, the phone call being made to the hypothalamus was of an urgent nature. Fat stores down! Fat stores down! Mayday! Mayday!

When fat stores are on their way down, the last thing your body wants is a turbo-charged metabolism. In terms of survival, that would be pretty boneheaded, since a hot metabolism
would only serve to burn through your fat stores at a blistering pace, thus expediting your impending doom.

So when the hypothalamus gets word that Link’s fat stores are dwindling, it does a couple of really smart things. First, it tells the thyroid gland—the metabolic control center located in the throat—to turn down his metabolism. This metabolic slowdown is an ingenious survival tactic that preserves fat while matching the limited supply of food. That way Link won’t run out of fat before the famine breaks. Second, the hypothalamus increases his appetite (more on this below) so he’ll be super-motivated to go looking for food to replenish his fat stores. In other words, his body responds to the prolonged food shortage by slowing his metabolism and making him hungry.

Wait a minute!! Isn’t a low-calorie diet pretty much the same as a food shortage? Could leptin be the reason WHY you can’t stick to your diet and exercise program without hitting a plateau—because your metabolism slowed—or eventually getting your daily Thanksgiving on (a reference to the last chapter, for those of you reading this on my blog) — due to increased appetite — like the poor lady in the previous chapter? Remember, calories-in and calories-out are Siamese twins. You can’t fiddle with one without affecting the other. Leptin is the glue that binds the two.

By the way, will someone please tell me why a caveman would go running during a famine? Because that’s exactly what The Box has been telling you to do to “lose weight”. It really makes no sense at all when you think about it.

Why You Gain It All Back…And Then Some

When the famine breaks and Link gets his mitts on some venison and wild berries, you better believe that those calories are going straight to his fat stores. As his stores are replenished, his leptin will rise and his brain will get a phone call from his fat cells saying that everything is cool. Link’s metabolism and appetite will normalize. The famine will come again and he will be well prepared.

This is why 95% of dieters regain all of their lost weight. They simply can’t outsmart leptin. The two main conditions that set off your starvation defense system are reduced fat stores and caloric restriction (cutting calories). As you go on and off of diets, time after time, again and again, your body starts to smell a diet coming from a hundred miles away. So when you eventually pack the fat back on, it stows away a little extra for added insurance. After every diet, you end up heavier than you were when you started. This is how diets make you fatter!

Leptin Resistance: A Failure to Communicate

Your survival defense system works both ways. It doesn’t want you too skinny, nor does it want you too fat. Your subconscious mind is well aware of the fact that a portly version of you would have a hard time running from a saber tooth tiger. So it wants to keep you lean enough to fight-or-flee and fat enough to survive a famine. It prefers just enough fat.

Let’s consider what happens when a guy like me actually puts on a few pounds from having a few too many servings of birthday cake, late night cervezas, and one-and-a-half almonds. If my fat cells and hypothalamus are communicating optimally, my brain will sense the extra leptin — from my extra fat stores — and once again do two very intelligent things: it will turn up my metabolism to bring my fat stores down to where my subconscious likes them to be, and it will turn down my appetite to keep me from packing on more fat.

The human body is friggin’ smart! This is why the Dark Side doesn’t count calories. When leptin and the other hormones you’ll be meeting soon are in balance, appetite and calories just tend to take care of themselves.

I know exactly what you’re thinking. Wouldn’t overweight and obese people make a ton of metabolism-increasing, appetite-reducing leptin due to such superfluous fat stores? And if so, why don’t their bodies protect them from that same saber-tooth tiger?

Great questions! Yes, people with excess fat stores are pumping out plenty of leptin, which should relay a message to the hypothalamus that there is way more than enough fat on board. Metabolism should crank up to burn off the excess fat. Appetite should calm down as well. But they don’t. Why? Because the hypothalamus has become leptin resistant. In other words, leptin is making the call, but the brain doesn’t hear it. The darn ringer is off!

When the brain becomes leptin resistant, the subconscious mind is completely oblivious to the fact that there is way more than enough fat on hand to get through the famine. It thinks it’s dealing with a rail-thin supermodel with extremely low fat stores and leptin levels, not the overweight guy or gal trying to sweat off the pounds in Zumba class. So the brain sends out the command to slow down the metabolism and increase hunger. No bueno!

How did things get this out of hand? Leptin resistance has been attributed to overeating (not so uncommon these days), frequent blood sugar surges (from our Standard American Diet), high triglycerides (ditto), excessive fructose consumption (the stuff is in everything!), and chronic stress (got some?).

Down Go the Dominoes!!

Here is where the hormonal interplay comes into the picture. When leptin levels are low (or the brain thinks they are low because of leptin resistance), the stress hormone cortisol goes through the roof. This presents quite a problem since cortisol is a fat-storing and muscle-wasting hormone. We’ll discuss the evils of excess cortisol in Chapter 6.

Reduced leptin levels also triggers an increase in a little-known appetite-regulating hormone in your stomach called ghrelin. When ghrelin is up, so too is your appetite and food intake. And to make you even more motivated to pay a visit to a vending machine near you, Neuropeptide Y (NPY)—a hunger signal produced by your brain—surges when leptin is down. NPY drives you to crave carbohydrates. And I’m not talking about broccoli and cauliflower; I’m talking about the sweet stuff that drives up your insulin levels. And as you’ll soon learn, insulin stores fat!

Please keep in mind that your actual leptin levels don’t have to be low for this hunger-inducing, fat-storing cascade to take place. If leptin and the hypothalamus are in a state of miscommunication (leptin resistance), leptin may be sky high, but the brain is deaf, dumb, and blind to it.

Now would be a good time to think back to the question posed by Taubes in the previous chapter, “WHY do you overeat?” I hope the last few paragraphs shined a little dark on that.
Again, your body would rather you not starve to death. And that’s exactly what it’s thinking when you cut your calories in an attempt to lose weight.

You can’t cheat the system. It’s way smarter than you.

Click HERE to order your copy of The Dark Side of Fat Loss!!

Sean Croxton
Author, The Dark Side of Fat Loss

Posted by in fit

FFD Workout: Hardcore Park-Core!

by Sean Croxton & Jenn Culver

I will never look at a swing set the same way again!!!

Jenn Culver of TravelFit Personal Training stops by to put you and me through an amazingly creative core workout.

You must try this one! It actually made me a bit sore. And I never get sore!

Here’s what we did:

* Pikes – 10 reps
* Alternating knee tucks – 12 total reps
* Alternating arm plank with rotation – 10 total (I punked out!)
* Hamstring curls – 10 reps
* Swing-outs – 15 reps

Rinse and repeat for 2-3 circuits!

Enjoy the weekend. I’m on my way to Vegas!

What happens in Vegas…

Sean Croxton
Author, The Dark Side of Fat Loss

Posted by in podcast, wellness

Lights Out! Is Lack of Sleep Making You Fat?

When it comes to health and wellness, most of us are suffering from a bad case of tunnel vision. I like to call it “being stuck in The Box”.

The Box is fairly limited in contents, usually consisting of two things: diet and exercise. They’re all we seem to talk, argue, and debate about.

What’s the best diet?

Which burns more fat: long distance cardio or interval training?

Yadda. Yadda. Yadda.

It never ends. And worst of all, a lot of the answers we get seldom seem to work. Is there something we’re missing?

Last month, Gary Taubes, author of Why We Get Fat, was on UW Radio. He and I discussed the first law of thermodynamics, otherwise known as the law of conservation. This is the law that the calorie-counters cling to. It states that energy cannot be created or destroyed but can only change from one form to another. In other words, if you eat more calories than you burn, you store (conserve) those excess calories (energy) as fat. Do the opposite and you burn fat.

I can hear the calorie-counters letting out an “amen” right now. The first law of thermodynamics is indisputable! And I agree. The law is in fact true. However, as Gary pointed out, at no point does it address WHY we overconsume those calories.

Now let’s take a step outside of our pretty little Boxes.

People like me focus so much on how our diets have changed over the past 10,000 years. Actually, scratch that! Our diets have changed tremendously just in the last decade. While all of these nutritional and lifestyle rearrangements transpired, our genetic framework barely changed (just 0.01% according to Dr. S. Boyd Eaton). And as Dr. Cate Shanahan pointed out in her book Deep Nutrition, our old school genes expect old school foods, not any of this newfangled (I stole that word from Sally Fallon) processed crap most folks eat today. I think we can all agree on that.

But what else has changed?

Well, let’s rewind 10,000 years ago (actually we don’t even have to go back that far). We, like every other species on the planet, lived according to the sun, moon, and stars. Yes, we were “lazy overeaters” as Art De Vany would say. But we were also “seasonal overeaters”.

Seasonal undereaters.

Seasonal breeders.

And seasonal sleepers.

Back then, the long days and short nights of spring and summer brought abundant food as the trees grew fruit. This was followed by the short days and long nights of famine, a time when we took to our caves and chilled out for the winter. The trees grew no fruit. The freezing weather made hunting quite a challenge. Snow and ice covered the soils, keeping the wild vegetation from springing forth.

Just think of growing a garden in the middle of snow season.

Every so often, the power goes out in your neighborhood. Let’s say it’s about 9pm and you don’t have candles. The pitch black you experience is what your ancestors experienced every day when the sun went down (that is, until fire was domesticated). Chances are you get incredibly bored because you can’t access Facebok, Twitter, or my incredibly awesome blog here. What do you do?

You go to bed.

What does this have to do with health, fat loss, and WHY we overeat? A lot.

If you knew a famine was on the way, you would get prepared. You’d likely stock up on canned foods, water, and other non-perishables. If you didn’t, you’d be an idiot and nature would weed you out. Either that or you’d be quite the freeloader. Really, I’m not sure which is worse.

Our ancestors didn’t have such luxuries. They prepared for the winter by fattening up during the summer and living off of their fat stores when the food went scarce.

Did they do this on purpose? Maybe so. But even if they were idiots, their bodies would make them get ready for the coming famine.

As you know, melatonin is your primary sleep hormone. During summer, when the nights are short, melatonin production is reduced for a couple of reasons. Of course, the first reason is that the nights are much shorter as compared to the winter. The next is that melatonin suppresses the sex hormones estrogen and testosterone. So when melatonin is down, it’s sexy time! This makes sense because pregnancy requires sufficient fat stores (which build up in summer, as you will soon learn) and it is best to give birth in the spring when there is enough food to go around. Giving birth during a famine isn’t a very good idea.

As I mentioned earlier, the trees fruit during the warmer months. This gave your ancestors access to carbohydrate for a limited time. We all know that excess carbohydrate increases insulin, which stores fat and also increases cholesterol. In summer, this is what we wanted to do. Consuming carbohydrate to make fat was how we got ourselves ready for winter. Heading into winter looking like a supermodel was bad news! What’s more, cholesterol reduces the freezing temperature of your cells. That way you wouldn’t freeze to death in your furnace-less cave.

Let’s go back to melatonin. During sleep, you make another hormone called prolactin, When the nights are long, as in winter, your prolactin has come down by the time you wake up. But in the summer, when the nights are short, prolactin spills over into the daytime. This is a key point when considering WHY we overeat (specifically carbohydrates).

When prolactin spills over into the daytime, it suppresses a hormone called leptin. Leptin is your body’s fat monitor. I’ll have to make a video about this one soon. For now, to make it simple, leptin goes to the brain and pushes the OFF button on your Neuropeptide Y (NPY). When NPY is turned on, you crave carbohydrates. This is why your ancestors loaded up on fruit and carbs as much as they could during the spring and summer. They were driven to do it by NPY! Why? Because the short nights gave them “prolactin spillover”, thus suppressing leptin, and leaving carb-craving NPY cranked up.

Of course, all of this “carbing-up” made them insulin resistant, which was actually a good thing back then. Insulin resistance and the fat it stores isn’t really a problem when your life depends on it.

Let’s fast-forward to the early 20th century and the invention of the light bulb. Now, with the flip of a switch (or the clap of our hands) we can manipulate the seasons. Long days. Short nights. Year round.

Endless Summer isn’t just a movie about surfers. It’s how we live our lives.

And the famine never comes.

Damn you, Edison.

While we fret over diet and exercise, the light bulb gets a free pass. The answer to WHY we overeat may be the fact that we don’t sleep and never turn the lights off. We advocate following Mother Nature and the foods she provides. But nature is more than just food. She is the sun, moon, stars, and everything else that originates from her. That is, until we took it upon ourselves to do her job for her.

Obesity is much more than what’s in The Box. It’s survival gone haywire.

I encourage you to step out of your Box.

You’re sure to have a light bulb moment.

Sean Croxton
In Bed by 10pm!

Posted by in wellness

Wanna Lose Weight? Then Go to Bed!

by Sean Croxton

What I Learned Today #3
Currently Reading: The Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf

I know. I know. I was supposed to be reading The China Study right now. Sorry, I just couldn’t bring myself to do it. Not that I’m avoiding it at all. I honestly just have better things to do and more great books to read with the limited time I’ve got. I’ll get to it one of these days.

Instead, I pulled Robb Wolf’s bestseller The Paleo Solution off the shelf. Great choice. This book rocks. Full of great info and pretty darn funny, too! Robb’s got jokes.

Today, I’m getting my learn on about the many hormones involved in hunger and satiety. A lot of people I consult with just can’t stop eating. They’re perpetually hungry. Nothing satisfies them, especially the high-carb, low-fat diet they’ve been scared into consuming. Not so coincidentally, these same folks can’t recall the last time they got a restful night’s sleep. They either take hours to fall asleep or they wake up every 2 or 3 hours. Sometimes both. That’s gotta suck.

Of course, my job is to investigate the reason why they can’t catch the Zs they need. Usually, it’s an upside-down cortisol rhythm. Cortisol (our awakening “let’s get after it” hormone) is supposed to be high in the morning and lowest at night. As cortisol falls throughout the day, our restorative hormone melatonin rises. For many reasons (usually it’s an infection somewhere), the cortisol stays elevated at bedtime, thus suppressing melatonin and giving them that second wind. Tired all day but can’t sleep at night. Again, it sucks.

In his book, Robb drops some truth bombs about the link between poor sleep and overeating. The two go hand-in-hand due to the influence our sleeping habits have on a hormone called ghrelin. Ghrelin is produced by the cells that line our stomachs, the epsilon cells on our pancreases (or is it pancrei?), and the hypothamalic arcuate nucleus (thanks for the big words, Robb!) within our brains. This hormone does three things. It makes us hungry. Makes us want to eat more food. And it makes us fatter. Exactly what you were looking for!

By now, you’ve probably figured out that keeping your ghrelin down would be a pretty decent idea. But if you’re staying up late to catch the new Conan show, you best be sure that you’re getting your ghrelin on! And if you’re one of those “I’ll sleep when I’m dead” peeps, you should probably know that The Centers for Disease Control recently classified your all-nighters as a carcinogen. Lack of sleep will make you dead, my friend. I hope it was worth it!

If you’ve been wondering why your gut feels like a bottomless pit, you may have the answer you’ve been looking for. You’re a walking, talking ghrelin factory who can’t stop yawning! And that’s not all. You’re a diabetic now, too. According to Robb (on page 128), “just one night of missed or inadequate sleep is sufficient to make you as insulin resistant as a Type 2 diabetic”. Ouch.

The solution? Turn off the TV, log out of Facebook, and go to bed. If this doesn’t work so well for you, give me a call and I’ll help you figure it out. For a lot of the people I work with, restless nights are coming right out of their guts. Can’t sleep. Can’t stop eating. Can’t lose weight. Can’t poop. If I had a nickel…

Back to the book. See you manana!

Sean Croxton
I Like to Read and Stuff

Posted by in mind

What’s Your WHY?

What’s your WHY?

When we have a big enough reason, we will do ANYTHING to achieve our objectives. In the world of health, fitness, and weight loss, that can literally mean anything. Just a few days ago, a link was tweeted to me regarding a soap that helps with weight loss! Drop pounds in the shower!


We weren’t born yesterday. We know darn well that a belt that sends an electric charge through our abs won’t help us lose weight. We know that cabbage soup won’t keep the pounds off forever. Let’s just get real with ourselves.

Last month, I attended an outstanding business conference. One of the common themes was finding our WHY. No business takes off from day one. In fact, we’re lucky if we break even after 3 years. Success in any endeavor requires support, a plan, specialized knowledge, patience, and a big enough reason.

We can talk about health and wellness until we go blue in the face. We can make the same resolutions every year. But we will always come up short if we don’t have our WHY.

Looking good at next month’s pool party isn’t a big enough WHY.

Impressing your old classmates at the high school reunion isn’t a big enough WHY.

You’ll know when you have your own personal WHY. You’ll be overcome with emotion. Tears may even run down your face. You’ll have a crystal clear vision of your objective. And you won’t care what anyone else thinks.

What’s my WHY? Well, I have many. Here’s a handful:

1. Help others (with big WHYs) achieve health and wealth.
2. Build a gymnasium for my elementary school.
3. Open up UW Headquarters with consulting rooms, a radio show booth, kitchen, and classrooms.
4. Be financially free in two years, so I can stick it to The Man for the rest of my life.
5. Host an annual UW Health and Wellness conference with the best speakers in the real food and functional medicine.

What’s your WHY?

Post your WHY on my Facebook page or send me a Tweet!

Sean Croxton
One Driven Dude with a Monster WHY

Posted by in wellness

Book Review: Fat is Not Your Fault

Mathematics was never my favorite subject, especially when calculators were not permitted during tests. I dreaded the phrase “solve the following problems long-hand”. Ugh!

Math is an all-or-none discipline. The answer is either right or wrong. There is no gray area. No in-between. A single misstep can undermine the entire outcome. I think we can all relate to spending an hour on a problem, only to later learn that we miffed on the second step. As above, so below.

Such is the case with fat loss. While diet and exercise are so loudly espoused as the sole elements of the fat loss equation, they rarely solve the problem.

Dr. Bryan Walsh, ND, goes beyond diet and exercise in his outstanding e-book Fat is Not Your Fault. Don’t let the title fool you. In no way is Dr. Walsh suggesting that one day you slipped, fell, and landed on fat. Taking personal responsibility for your health is still the first step to attaining it. Instead, he details those physiological dysfunctions so often overlooked in our modern fat loss dialogue.

My social media inboxes overflow daily with questions from frustrated individuals whose fat loss plans (typically diet and exercise alone) have either stalled or never worked in the first place. Each wishes to know why the fat refuses to budge despite two hours of daily exercise and a low-calorie diet. The answer is simple:

I have no idea. Your guess is as good as mine.

My answer may surprise many of you, but it’s simply the truth. Any practitioner, nutritionist, or trainer who knows exactly why your fat loss has stalled without gathering an immense amount of information from you, conducting a Health History Review, and/or recommending and interpreting necessary lab testing has no idea what he or she is talking about. Run from this person!

Your war with fat will likely rage on without end if you have no concept of who the enemy is.

Is your fat a matter of blood sugar imbalances that leave insulin levels elevated, keeping fat locked inside of your cells?

Is stress (mental/emotional, overexercise, smoldering infections, etc.) elevating cortisol levels thus increasing blood sugar, resulting in MORE insulin release and MORE insulin resistance, and MORE fat storage?

Or is your gut flora so imbalanced that you are unable to activate 20% of your thyroid hormone. Losing one-fifth of your metabolism can’t be good for fat loss.

Maybe you can’t lose fat because your testosterone is low. How’s your libido been lately? Will you be happy being thin but still having no sex drive?

Is your fat a product of an autoimmune disease destroying your thyroid gland? Is your consumption of gluten exacerbating this process?

Could your fat be a dopamine or serotonin deficiency in your brain causing loss of motivation, depression/anxiety, and sugar cravings?

How about a toxic liver with the inability to clear excess hormones from your body? High estrogen in men causes fat gain. High testosterone in women does the same.

Is your ongoing struggle with constipation making you fat? Poor elimination is yet another path to hormonal imbalance as hormones intended for removal are reabsorbed.

Is your stressful lifestyle causing a breakdown of your digestive lining, allowing undigested food particles to go places where they shouldn’t be? These undigested proteins floating around in your bloodstream generate an immune response thus causing inflammation, stress, cortisol and blood sugar release, high insulin levels, insulin resistance, and fat storage. And more fat creates more inflammation! Talk about a vicious cycle!

I can go on and on.

Last question: How many of the above can be solved by diet and exercise alone?

Hopefully, the imaginary light bulb above your head just turned on full blast. You can STOP banging your head against the wall out of fat loss frustration. You likely don’t have a diet and exercise problem. Actually, you may not be eating enough and are exercising too much!

Fat is Not Your Fault is your missing fat loss manual. Not only does Dr. Walsh describe physiological fat-storing dysfunctions with such clever simplicity, he also provides you with solutions. His book ranks up there with Paul Chek’s How to Eat, Move, and Be Healthy for its conciseness, readability, and overall practicality. It brings the missing puzzle pieces to the table, showing you how one piece affects the others and how the optimal function of each is the key to effective fat loss and most importantly overall health and well-being.

Fat loss is not the simple math problem it has been made out to be. It goes well beyond calories in and calories out. In fact, if it were a math problem, for some it would be impossible to solve “long-hand”. To find the correct solution, a little technology (bloodwork, stool testing, adrenal stress indexes) may be in order. Without this empowering health information, you are likely looking to solve your fat loss problem with most of the buttons missing from your calculator. You’re going to get the answer wrong every time.

Knowing what you know now and continuing to walk the beaten path of diet and exercise alone is a certain exercise in futility. In that case, your fat is your fault.

Grade: A
Comments: Loved it so much, I read it twice! Good work, Dr. Walsh!

Buy Your Copy of Dr. Walsh’s Fat is Not Your Fault HERE!

Sean Croxton, CMTA, FDN