How To Lose Weight Without Counting Calories

February 26, 2022

Most of us have been taught that to lose weight, we need to cut back on calories. As it turns outs, this old outdated theory of “calories in/calories out” really doesn’t work for most people. In this show, we’ll share some real life stories of folks who’ve successfully lost weight, not by counting calories, but by eating real food rather than processed foods and by decreasing insulin resistance.

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KARA: Good morning. Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today's show is brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. My name is Kara Carper. I'm a Licensed Nutritionist and a Certified Nutrition Specialist. I also have a master's degree in holistic health, and I am a mom of a 10-year-old daughter, which you know what that means, right? Lots of driving around to all the fun activities, carpooling, etc.

As far as in the nutrition world, though, I wanted to share something that I recently had the opportunity to do. It was a really great experience. I had an opportunity to be one of the presenters of our brand new six-hour Menopause Solutions Seminar. So this seminar is packed with a lot of really valuable information; life changing information, and it was Melanie Beasley, another dietitian and myself, we co-taught the seminar. And some of the things that we talked about were solutions for hot flashes, solutions for sleep problems, anxiety, incontinence, even wrinkles, and how to avoid weight gain during those kind of perimenopausal and menopausal years.

So the six hour seminar, it's available now online at So you can, you know, you can go online and get more information. You can watch that in the comfort of your own home and the great thing: it comes with a survival guide. I believe it's 75 pages of really packed material. So it's a, it's a really great program. Sorry. I feel like I'm a little biased, but you know, a good part of like a year kind of working on that with a great team.

Menopause Solutions

So I'm excited to be in the studio today with my co-host Brandy Buro. Brandy is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian and really looking forward to doing this show with you today, Brandy.

BRANDY: Thank you, Kara. I'm excited too. It's really great to be in the studio with you today. Before Nutritional Weight and Wellness, before working here, actually listening to the podcast, you were one of my favorite presenters. So this is such an honor to be here with you today.

KARA: Thanks Brandy.

BRANDY: And today's show is “How to Lose Weight Without Counting Calories”. So if you're a listener out there who's trying to lose weight, that's our number one recommendation: stop counting calories.

KARA: That's right. And so, first of all, that might come as a big surprise what you just said, Brandy, I'll just repeat that. For weight loss, we do not recommend the calorie counting approach if weight loss is a goal. So that might stop you in your tracks if you are hearing that kind of for the first time. A lot of people have memorized, for example, how many calories are in their favorite box of cookies or bag of chips. I know it is girl scout season. I will admit my daughter is a girl scout. So we're in the middle of this first time being in the middle of this cookie season.

Now I personally don't know how many calories are in the cookies, but I know that's a message that is out there. How many, you know, counting calories. So I'm kind of curious how many listeners know what the calorie count is in the box of cookies. That is a message we've been told for decades is if weight loss is a goal, we need to count calories. We need to cut back on calories. For example, if we cut out 3,500 calories, we're going to lose one pound. If we cut out 7,000 calories, we'll, we'll lose two pounds. So Brandy, I was wondering if you could just explain a little bit to our listeners why this approach isn't working for most people, that is the calorie counting approach.

BRANDY: Right. It turns out this approach to losing weight, that calories in calories out is a little outdated. We've learned a lot since this recommendation has sort of been the mantra for weight loss. It's not a really sustainable plan for a lot of people, but this is still advice you might be getting from your doctor. You know, it's old habits die hard, right? It but the thing is doctors; that's not really their specialty. Weight loss is not really their specialty, but there's a little more research out there now. We know a little bit more about how to do this successfully. It's probably a method you've tried in the past: low calorie, low fat. And maybe you've learned this for yourself that you just end up feeling miserable. It's really hard to do to restrict your diet like that. You maybe feel shaky, maybe a little moody because you are, you're not eating enough. And after a few days or a few weeks, your cravings get the best of you. And you're just driven to the foods that you've been told to cut out of your diet.

And then you find yourself in the fast food lane or in the cookie jar. It's a really tough cycle to break. And the two pounds that maybe you did lose after working so hard for so many weeks or months, once you fall off that plan, they come back almost as fast as you lost them. And maybe they brought a few friends with them, maybe a few more pounds tacked onto that. And then that, that whole cycle is so frustrating. You know, it is a lot of work and you end up feeling like you've done something wrong. What's wrong with me? What, what am I doing wrong?

KARA: Yeah. And isn't that a message, Brandy, when you're meeting with clients that you probably hear, like, what am I doing wrong, wrong? What kind of like I'm a bad person almost.

BRANDY: Oh, definitely. There's a lot of guilt and shame around this approach.

KARA: There really is. So Brandy and I just want to share with you today, as nutritionists, we know there's nothing wrong with you. If this resonates with you, it's not your fault. If you've tried counting calories, if you've tried low calorie dieting, and it ended in frustration, it's, it's really the, probably just the wrong plan for you for your individual needs. There are some diet plans out there supposedly recommended by experts. But they don't work for most people. So it's the old calories and calories out message; it's been handed down year after year as being the solution for weight loss. But we know as dietitians and nutritionists, it's seldom works. And this is true, especially when we're talking about wanting long term sustainable weight loss. So we'll talk more in the show about why this approach tends to fail. A lot of it really has to do with low blood sugar, almost like people, their bodies end up feeling like they're starving from the, the low calorie, the low fat. People get so hungry and they're not able to sustain the few amount of calories that they're eating and then they end up sabotaging their weight loss efforts.


KARA: So, and you know, in, in the past, we've even heard of certain doctors, even dietitians and nutritionists who have questioned their patients or clients kind of like, are you tracking your food? Are you, are you really not eating that much because you should be losing weight? And I think the point that they maybe were missing, the misinformation, is the low-calorie eating can actually lead to a slower metabolism because it damage our cells and, and creates more insulin resistance. So more difficult to lose weight. And again, we'll talk more and more about that as the show goes on.

BRANDY: Yep. We're going to, we're going to dig into how insulin resistance is a pretty important piece in maintaining successful weight loss and losing weight in the first place. I just kind of want to review a little bit about why weight gain is a concern, you know in dietetic school we're taught that a body mass index that's greater than 30… And just to review what body mass index is, it's sort of a way of categorizing your weight into certain categories of what's “normal, overweight or obese”. So the higher your BMI, what we found over the years, that there's a strong connection between developing chronic diseases like heart disease or hypertension.

So, you know, losing weight has been connected to reducing your risk. So doctors are going to recommend that you lose weight if your, your weight falls in the obese category. And since the 1950s a lot of the recommendation behind losing weight has been that low-fat, low-calorie diet as a treatment for obesity. Maybe you've been on a diet like this in the past. Did it work for you or did restricting your calories leave you feeling deprived, hungry? And maybe eventually so desperate you just find yourself binging. Well, let's see, after, you know, 50, 60 years of following the low-fat, low-calorie diet plan, the obesity rate in the United States is 42%.

So it's safe to assume that maybe this isn't working. You know, the obesity rate has gradually climbed pretty dramatically during that time. So it seems, yeah, this isn't working. We need to find a new plan. This isn't, and if it is working for people it's not sustainable, right?

KARA: Yeah. That's such a great point because we all know someone who has tried the low calorie, calorie counting approach and has lost weight. But I think the, the bigger message is, is it sustainable? Is it, and it also, is it healthy?

BRANDY: Right. Are you getting the nutrients you need to right support like a good quality of life?

KARA: Energy, moods; how are your energy and moods with a diet like that?

BRANDY: Exactly. So, yeah, this is a, a difficult plan to follow and most people don't stick to it. So with the current rate of obesity at 42%, and most people, three out of four people in that overweight category or obese, we need to take a deeper look into the science and find a plan that works; a plan that supports not only overall health, but just a healthier weight and a stronger body.

KARA: Yeah. You make some really good points there, Brandy. And also you, you know, I think a lot of people think, oh, I need to, especially if they're in the overweight or obese category, I need to lose weight to be healthy. But I mean, our approach has always been, sometimes we just need to heal the body. We need to start looking at health, quality of life. Weight loss often will just come naturally, right; after we notice all these other benefits. So, well, it's time to take our first break. And you're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. So let's, let's spend some time today talking about an important weight loss factor. We probably all know this, but we have to keep repeating it.

Water is an important weight loss factor


Water; eight glasses, eight, eight ounce glasses is the magic number. This is actually kind of a starting point because for most people, two quarts of water is what your kidneys are excreting in a 24-hour period. So, you know, don't overload your kidneys. Start with eight, eight-ounce glasses, especially if you're not there yet. Determine how you feel. And you may need to increase that. And we will be right back.


BRANDY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Today, we're spending a little time talking about water. We always recommend filtered water if you can, that's free of chemicals. Here are a couple signs that you might be dehydrated. Are you struggling with constipation? Do you feel thirsty a lot during the day? Maybe you have joint problems, some stiffness, some pain. If you answered yes to any of these questions, why don't to first try drinking eight glasses of water every day for a week and then reevaluate.

KARA: That's really good advice. And I think before break, you know, we had said that's a good starting place, right? Because I mean, especially if someone is, think about if they're drinking caffeinated beverages or alcohol. We're not recommending that, but the reality is that those are dehydrating. So we would need more water. Or what about the person who is an endurance runner or exercises high intensity for an hour a day would need, you know, have to replace whatever you lose through sweat with more water.

BRANDY: Correct.

KARA: Yeah. So that 8, eight ounces is it's a really good place to start. So Brandy before break, I mean, our topic today is why we really feel, and we have the science to back it up, why counting calories is not the approach to weight loss that we recommend for sustainable weight loss, but for overall just health and, and quality of life as well.

So, and if you are listening and if you're someone who has counted calories in the past, I bet that you've come across plans that maybe either recommended three shakes a day. Does that sound familiar? Or what about eating pre-packaged meals? Of course, prepackaged meals have controlled calorie counts, right? And they're typically low calorie. So the calorie counting plans, they all have that same goal; lowering and controlling the number of calories. When we work individually with clients who are categorized as obese, we understand that obesity it's, it's a very complex health problem. And we consider it a chronic disease that has a lot of contributing factors. So for most people think about it, it takes years, right; to become obese. That is not a condition, a chronic disease that occurs overnight. So just like any other complex chronic disease, when we would be working with a client, a short-term solution is not going to be the answer. Unfortunately, the idea of a quick turnaround in weight loss by doing the calorie and calorie out approach. I think that's why it is so appealing to some; that gives false hope. Don't you think Brandy?

BRANDY: Oh, definitely.

KARA: And clients often end up feeling like you had said before, kind of more defeated. You said, I think you said there's some shame and maybe guilt what's wrong with me. Is it my fault? Because maybe they feel like they're failing. They're not losing the weight on a diet like that. So we just are, we're going to keep emphasizing this because I think there is some of that guilt and like, what am I doing wrong? So if this sounds like you, it's not your fault. That calorie counting low calorie method is just likely not the right plan for you.

If counting calories doesn’t work, what does work?


BRANDY: Right. And I think we then are asking ourselves, what does work then? You know, I don't know anything else. What is the plan that's going to get me on the track to weight loss? Well, let me share a little story about myself. I have my own personal weight loss journey. My journey started much earlier in life. I was a very young teen, barely a teen; 13, but I was already 50 pounds overweight. I actually did fall within that obesity category, but I didn't make the connection about my diet and my weight. I, I didn't realize that the soda I was drinking every day or the three pieces of toast with sugar and cinnamon on top or the three bowls of cereal I had every morning, that was putting fat on my body. You know, something that I did pick up on though, you know, I, I didn't necessarily know the full connection of what I was eating and my weight, but something I was picking up on at a pretty young age was that fat was getting a bad wrap.

You know, we had a lot of low-fat products in the house, low fat, fat free salad dressing, the low-fat margarine spread; big tub of it in the middle of the kitchen counter. And something I remembered just in preparing for this show; it kind of conjured some memories sitting at the table in the cafeteria as a kindergartner, our teacher would walk around the table and say, you know, “If you take the skin off the chicken, it's lower in fat and that's healthier.” So at a very young age, I was getting the message that fat is bad. So I thought, okay, maybe if I cut out the fat, that's going to help lose weight. I needed to get a handle on this. And I kept drinking the soda. I kept eating the cereal, but I kept gaining weight. So finally, you know, at a certain point you just have to, I was just a little bit frustrated with myself.

I had to figure out what worked, but when I finally cut out the sugar, that's when I found success. I cut out the processed foods I was eating. Soda was a big one for me. That was the first thing to go. Next I cut out the processed foods. You know, we didn't have fast food back then, but I had a freezer full of those frozen pastries, toaster pastries, pizza rolls, egg rolls. So, you know, I cut those out. I had to eat something. I replaced those foods with vegetables, something I inherently did know was good for me, but, you know, I didn't love them. So that's probably why I wasn't eating a ton of them. But I found some ways to make them taste good. I found out that actually cooking them in butter, maybe some olive oil, they weren't so bad.

And I, over time I learned to love them. You know, and this, this was really successful for me because I was so young, my, my body responded pretty well and pretty quickly actually to eating real food. The pounds did come off. It still took about a year, maybe 18 months to get that 50 pounds off. But you know, I did it and for the most part, I've kept it off all this time. That isn't the story for a lot of our clients. You know, we don't have a lot of young teens coming in with you know, the goal to lose 50 pounds. Many of our clients are maybe more in their forties, fifties, and it's a little harder at this age.

KARA: Sure. Hey, well, first of all, thank you for sharing your story, Brandy. I mean, I think listeners, it's always nice to have a dietitian or nutritionist be vulnerable and willing to share their story. So, and it, I just have a quick question. So you said that you started, you were eating vegetables and you're like, oh, and I discovered ways to prepare them and they tasted really good with butter and olive oil.


KARA: So that's where we get our flavor, right, is from all those wonderful, healthy fats. And they're satiating too, so…

BRANDY: Right, right.

KARA: They probably naturally just the vegetables maybe appealed to you more.

BRANDY: Yeah. They were more appealing. I didn't really know the full health benefits I was getting from them. I just knew that’s what was working and I just rolled with it.

KARA: That's great. Well, like you said, I mean, I'm sure that a lot of people can relate to your story, but I'll share a client story that might be just a little bit more typical of a, a common, typical client that we would see, and illustrates that losing weight, it can be complicated. It can be complex sometimes.

Grace’s weight loss story


So Grace is a client who had about 40 pounds to lose. So she actually was considered obese and she did have some health problems in addition to being obese, which is often the case. She had been diagnosed several years ago with an autoimmune condition. You've probably heard of it: MS; multiple sclerosis. So her goal because MS is an autoimmune condition, she had a goal to follow an autoimmune eating plan to support her health while losing weight. And during this process, you know, what she shared with her dietitian was she had more energy, felt stronger and she felt better. And the plan that she was following included animal protein, vegetables, and healthy, natural fats; eating, eating a combination of those three macronutrients at least four times per day. She said her moods were better, especially when she was getting that adequate animal protein.

She also cut out bread and cereal. So it was what we call a real food plan. And we actually have a little bit more to talk about Grace. But we're going to go to a quick break. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition.

Signs you could be dehydrated


So we're going to talk more about water. Let's see if you are dehydrated. So a couple questions for you. Do you feel tired? Where's your energy? How do you, you know, how's your energy? Are you having issues concentrating? Are you overeating? Sometimes being dehydrated is, you know, you're actually, you feel hungry, but you're just thirsty. So after break, we're going to give more information on signs of dehydration.


BRANDY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. Here are some more questions to help you assess whether or not you're dehydrated. Are you struggling with dry skin, maybe dry eyes? Do you have dry, brittle hair? If you answered yes to these questions, let me suggest drinking eight to 10 glasses of water every day for 10 days and then reevaluate.

KARA: And so before a break I was also giving a little bit information on water and just asking listeners to kind of think about signs of what dehydration feels like. So if you feel tired, if you're having some brain fog, trouble concentrating, or if you just feel hungry all the time, these are signs of being dehydrated. So just like Brandy's said, just really get back on track with drinking at least eight glasses of filtered water. Try it for a week, then reevaluate and kind of look at after a week, how's your energy? How's your focus and your concentration? Maybe you're not feeling those strong hunger pangs. So just give it a try. It's amazing what hydrating can do for the body.

More on Grace’s weight loss story


So another thing that we were talking about before break was just a client story about a client, Grace, who was in the obese category. And she also had an autoimmune condition, multiple sclerosis. And this is Grace who wanted to lose 40 pounds. So I was just sharing that, you know, she cut out bread and cereal. She started eating real food at least four times per day. And eventually she did become completely gluten free and basically sugar free. So it was a great anti-inflammatory eating plan. So it all sounds great, right, Brandy?

BRANDY: Oh yeah.

KARA: And she was feeling good, but then life happens and we, we hear this all the time from clients, but she had some people come from out of town and stay with her. Then she had some travel. The sugar, kind of the treats kind of started sneaking back in. And what she realized is that sugar and flour, which she had previously given up and felt great, sugar and flour were not her friends. She realized this because once she started eating them, she literally could not stop.

One cookie led to another, kind of just led to the whole package. And she wasn't sleeping. She had more aches and pains and her mood suffered as well. So Grace is a, a client who had some complicated health problems, but she also had some lifestyle habits that she needed to change if she wanted to continue on her path of, you know, the weight loss and the feeling great; high quality of life.

BRANDY: And it's so great that she was able to experience what it felt like when she removed the sugar, you know, that can be really motivating to encourage yourself and to just to stay on track and figure out ways to alter your lifestyle to make that happen more consistently. And even as dietitians, you know, if you've been listening to the show for a while, you know that we all have our personal stories, our, our personal struggles, sugar cravings being one of them for a lot of us.

So we understand that there are a lot of reasons to have sugar cravings. There's a lot of root causes behind that. You know, sometimes it's just from not eating enough, you know, it could be just low blood sugar triggering those cravings, or it could be starting a new medication or not enough protein in the diet, or just like you said, with Grace, there are other lifestyle habits that we need to adjust in order to make this work for us. Yeah, she had, Grace had a lot of sugar cravings and, but she knew that it was inflammatory. She knew it wasn't serving her. Especially for somebody with MS, inflammation is something we need to get a handle on. And it's true that she was also on some medications that could have been contributing to those sugar cravings, but she also had this really bad habit of skipping meals.

Skipping meals led to low blood sugar, which just kind of sent her on that snowball of sugar cravings and finding herself having down the package of Oreos. But she had that in the back of her mind that if I'm skipping meals, I'm reducing my calorie intake, which should lead to weight loss.

KARA: Oh, good point. Kind of back to the calorie in calorie out myth.

BRANDY: Right. So she wasn't really thinking about the backlash of what could happen when she skips meals. You know, she thought she was doing her body good, but you know, it just made it more difficult to resist that pan of brownies in the break room. And pretty soon the whole pan is gone. Something else she didn't realize was that that little glass of wine she had at the end of the day to unwind would typically be followed the next day by cravings for anything sweet.

Here we are, again, back in the break room, looking for cookies. And like I said at the beginning of the show, the solution for obesity is really complicated. It’s complex and figuring out the reason behind these sugar cravings, same thing. It's, it's very involved. There's a lot of reasons we could be dealing with these cravings. Sleep is something I don't think many people realize can be tied to sugar cravings.

KARA: Oh, it's such a big one. Right? We, I mean, we do whole entire podcasts on this, don’t we?

BRANDY: Oh yeah. It's so important. And you know, when Grace had those guests over or when she's traveling, you know, her sleep schedule is just thrown off. You know, she probably stayed up a little later, maybe two or three hours later than she normally would, but like clockwork she's up the same time every morning. So her sleep is cut short. Maybe she's only getting six hours every night instead of the eight she's used to. And now she's dealing with sleep deprivation on top of the effects those medications had on top of skipping meals.

So, you know, this is a very convoluted mess. So she needed a plan. She needed a strategy to kick this habit. So what we tried was, you know, for the whole month of January, let's commit to no sugar. It's kind of a different version of dry January.

KARA: Sure.

BRANDY: But you know, at the end of the month she found that her energy was back. She had better balance. She was just in a better mood overall and she, you know, felt sharp and focused, better memory. And by the end of the month lost eight pounds.

KARA: Wow. Yeah. And that's, that's great. So it sounds like, would you say that Grace is someone that I don't know if all or nothing is the right term, but I mean like, like we had said earlier, one cookie led to two led to three led to the whole package.

BRANDY: Oh yeah.

KARA: So she kind of, maybe she did need that reboot, that no sugar January.

BRANDY: Yeah. Just some really strict boundaries.

KARA: Yeah. Just to kind of get it out all out of her, almost like a sugar detox of sorts.

BRANDY: Yeah, definitely.

KARA: Well, that's, that's a great story. And I, you know, I bet part of Grace's plan was, I mean, if she wasn't eating enough and her blood sugar was low, if she was thinking, oh, well, if I cut back on this or that I'm cutting back on calories and I'll lose weight. So she probably ended up eating more.

BRANDY: Oh, yes.

KARA: Right? So she was not only sleeping more. She was eating more. And of course, back to the high quality food that she originally was eating. The interesting thing is that Grace still makes an nutrition appointment with her dietitian every month to stay on track with her real food plan.

BRANDY: Yeah. And we need that accountability. We need, I think we all need to check in every now and then just to see kind of how we've maybe strayed off, some new challenges that have come up. That support is so important.

KARA: Yes. And of course she likes the weight loss, but her real motivation was to support her healing and the management of her MS, her chronic illness. Some clients really need weekly support. Some like Grace need that monthly support. And so, like we had said earlier in the show, instead of the approach of I need to lose weight to be healthy, Grace is someone that was getting healthy and then naturally the, the eight pounds came off in January.

Nutrition Counseling

GRACE: Yeah. That's so interesting. Great success story.

The importance of managing insulin levels to stave off menopausal weight gain

KARA: Yeah. So now maybe we could pull in just a little bit about weight gain, perimenopausal and menopausal.

BRANDY: Yes. Yeah. Actually I have a story about this. I was at the coffee shop the other day. You know, people watching, you know, innocent eaves dropping as you do. My ears really perked up though when I heard these two women sitting by me talking about weight gain and she said, one of the women said, you know, ever since I turned 50, I just can't keep the weight off. I'm not really doing anything different, but I think it's just the reality that when you get older, when you hit menopause, you have to eat less. You just have to eat less to avoid gaining weight. And her friend, maybe devil's advocate here was like, are you sure though, are you sure it doesn't have something to do with wine club or maybe the new medication you started?

I mean, there's a lot changing. I don't think you're totally right about that. You know, so I was, I was pretty invested in this conversation, and I think there is that myth out there that, you know, once you hit menopause, you're, you're going to gain weight. And it's true that there are some changes that happen at this stage of life, some shifts in hormones, you know, that can make things a little different, but I don't think it's necessarily about the estrogen or progesterone. I think it's more about insulin. I think that's the hormone that we need to worry about as we, well, not, not as we age, but through all stages of life.

And this is something that affects all of us, not just women. Insulin is a really powerful hormone. It's actually one of our fat storage hormones, but the good news is we have some control over that, you know, through balanced eating, we have the ability to stabilize our blood sugar, which has really good side effects for controlling your insulin levels.

KARA: Sure. So it sounds like what you're saying is, you know, if somebody is in that kind of age range and maybe thinking, oh, I don't have any control of the situation. My hormones have all shifted. I have this weight gain. It sounds like what you're saying is it's, it's actually more of an insulin issue. And insulin of course is raised when there are too many sugars, too many, usually processed carbohydrates.


KARA: Not enough of the proteins, healthy fats, vegetables, for example.


KARA: So by just getting back on a real food eating plan, someone like her, she could lower her blood sugars, her fasting glucose, which naturally lowers insulin. And eventually the body, the cells start to heal and weight loss just occurs.


KARA: So, yeah. So there is hope for that situation. Like I like how you said that that it's an insulin problem, not an estrogen problem.

BRANDY: Right.

KARA: So I have some interesting information, Brandy, kind of some historical information, but I've, let's go to a break and then I can share that when we come back. You're listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Have you ever gotten to dinner and said to yourself, “What vegetable am I going to serve tonight? What vegetables should we eat? I need a new vegetable idea.” Well, we have you covered because on March 24th, Marianne will roll out her vegetable magic. And she will talk about raw vegetables, roasted, steamed and sautéed. Marianne's classes are not only educational, but they're really entertaining as well. And so this is something that you can do virtually. It's a Zoom class starts at 6:00 PM. It's only $25. So you want to grab your spot ASAP and you can do so at our website,

Cooking Classes


What can be done to help with dry skin and dry eyes?

BRANDY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. If you drink eight glasses of water every day for a week, and you still have dry skin, you may actually be deficient in a fat and essential fatty acids. I might suggest for dry skin to add two to four softgel capsules of the essential fatty acid called GLA. If you struggle with dry eyes, I might suggest adding the essential fatty acid, DHA. Again, two to four capsules is recommended every day to help hydrate those tissues.

KARA: Those are two essential fatty acids that a lot of people can become deficient in, right? Because essential fatty acid means our body, we're not producing it. We have to get it from an external source. Sometimes it's difficult to get that gamma linoleic acid or the DHA or the, you know, that's a form of basically fish oil: omega three. So yeah, so those are both great for hydration.

Research backs up the excess insulin connection to weight gain


Okay. So I started saying that actually it was Darlene Kvist, the owner of our company, came across some really interesting literature. Now this is from the 1800s. But the interesting thing about this is it pertains to what you were saying about insulin, and how a lot of times when there's weight to be lost, it's an insulin problem.


KARA: Right? Even for like women in menopause, it's not so much an estrogen/progesterone issue. It's too much insulin. So longtime listeners might have heard all of this before, but if you're new, this could be a new message. But this information has been around for decades, actually hundreds of years. So these, the writings that she came across indicate that even back in the 1800s, it kind of aligns with our science that we talk about today.

So one example, it's a book it's called The Physiology of Taste. And in that book the author stated that floury and starchy foods cause obesity; foods such as bread, pasta and potatoes. So isn't that kind of interesting? And that was a long time ago.

BRANDY: That's so long ago. And somehow we lost our way, but here we are, again.

KARA: Exactly. So another interesting historical book was written by William Banting in 1863. This, so this particular author lived in London. He struggled with weight. His weight spiraled out of control. He was having a multitude of health problems. And when he consulted with doctors, they were unable to help him. So then kind of on his own, he discovered this eating plan, which consisted of animal protein and vegetables. And all he really did is do some of his previous indulgences like bread, milk, sugar, beer, and potatoes.

He ended up losing 50 pounds and had dramatic health improvements. So he actually, he wrote the world's first diet book a couple hundred years ago to tell his story. So just kind of interesting stuff that, that Dar came across.

BRANDY: Lessons from the past.

KARA: Exactly.

BRANDY: So if we ate just too many refined carbs for a day, but maybe this is a pattern that happens week after week, month after month, year after year, this is just the way we lives of our lives, something starts to happen on a cellular level.

So when we're eating too many refined carbs, like the crackers, the flours, the pastas, our cells actually start to develop like the sticky coating on the outside. And those receptors for insulin that help us bring the at energy in, to use for energy, we don't have the ability to do that anymore. That process is sort of blocked by that sticky coating. This is what insulin resistance is. Less sugar is able to get into the cell. More sugar stays in the bloodstream and gets turned into body fat. So insulin resistance develops in not just people in their later stages of life, maybe their fifties or sixties, but this is starting to affect people earlier and earlier. Even children have been found to have insulin resistance. Maybe it's from drinking too much juice or too much soda pop. And yes, we have children dealing with this, but also dealing with obesity.

KARA: Right. Right. And we're hearing more about type two diabetes in younger folks as well.

BRANDY: Yep. Exactly.

KARA: It used to be kind of a condition of adults.

BRANDY: Yeah. I think, I think they used to call it adult-onset diabetes.

KARA: I, I, I know that changed.


KARA: Because children are unfortunately acquiring that as well. So Brandy, I'm wondering if people are thinking, well, why, why does it matter? What is this insulin resistance all about? Well, it is because just like of how you explained it, I liked your explanation of the sticky coating and the cells. The reason that insulin resistance leads to high insulin and then high insulin can lead to weight gain and obesity. So, and when you gave your personal example and you indicated that you kind of, I don't know, bounced kind of quickly with your, with your weight loss. You were in your twenties, teens.

BRANDY: Teens.

KARA: Okay. And you had that 50-pound weight loss.


KARA: And I think you mentioned that it might be a little bit more challenging, you know, as, especially as men and women get more into forties, fifties, sixties, it, the weight might not come off as quickly because if you think about like decades of eating maybe more processed carbohydrates, sugars, soda; things like that. So more years of having the sticky coating.

BRANDY: Exactly. And it just gets harder and harder to control those insulin levels.

KARA: Right. So just more healing to do to heal that insulin resistance and heal those cell receptors.

BRANDY: Right.

KARA: But we want to just let everybody know that this is definitely a process that can be reversed.

BRANDY: Right.

KARA: It just might take a little more time if you've had this insulin resistance for decades.

BRANDY: Exactly. So just like insulin resistance didn't happen overnight, it's not like you wake up one day and boom, insulin resistant or diabetic.

KARA: Right.

BRANDY: So just like it took years to develop that insulin resistance, it's going to take a little while to reverse that. And most people don't know that it's something that you can work on to improve. I, many of my clients find out that they're insulin resistant after getting their annual physical, getting their labs done, and they are categorized as prediabetic or their fasting blood glucose was a little too high. And I'm always surprised to hear that, you know, they walk away without any information on what to do about that. They really aren't given any guidance that there is something that you can do about that.

KARA: Maybe just like, you know, check your, make sure you check your levels in six months, for example.

BRANDY: It's usually like a wait and see, come back next year, we'll see what's going on, you know.

KARA: No guidance.

BRANDY: But act is those numbers are not going to change unless something changes, you know?

KARA: That's so powerful what you just said.

BRANDY: Yeah. That's usually when I see clients and thank goodness, thank goodness we get to talking because my guess is in a year, they're probably further into that diabetic range.

KARA: Sure. Closer to the pre-diabetes, diabetes.

BRANDY: Exactly. So, you know, this process of reversing insulin resistance, it's not going to take a few weeks. It's probably going to take a few months, maybe a few years to heal those cell receptors. And that is by following a real food meal plan; eating food in balance, making sure you're getting those healthy fats along with some good protein with the carbs. And that takes time. But slowly the insulin, the excess insulin is reduced. Your blood sugar is more stabilized and the insulin resistance begins to decrease.

So when we're not fighting against that insulin resistance, that's when we are able to finally lose weight, cause we're using our energy efficiently. We're not storing as much of it as fat. So it's not a matter of restricting calories. It's a matter of reducing the insulin. And this is something Dr. Jason Fung talks about in his book, The Obesity Code.

KARA: Yeah. That's a really, that's a really great book by Dr. Dr. Jason Fung. I think it kind of just expands on the message that we're talking about today.

BRANDY: Yeah, definitely.

KARA: Why the calorie counting low calorie, low fat, basically starvation diets can really backfire when it comes to a weight loss goal and a health goal.

BRANDY: Right.

KARA: So it, you know, if we had a little more time, we Brandy and I were going to start talking about connection to insulin and weight gain and insulin resistance and that stress. And we know with the pandemic, it's, it's a very stressful time for people. It still is after a couple of years. And so unfortunately we only have like a minute to wrap up here, but just know that stress can create that insulin resistance. And so what you, what you do have control over in a stressful situation is what you put into your mouth.

BRANDY: Exactly.

KARA: Right? And so, because what we eat can be a stressor if we're not eating regularly throughout the day with protein, healthy fat and vegetables. So that in itself can like reduce stress on the body and lead to and lead to weight loss. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, it's to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. And it is a simple, but it's a very powerful message. Eating real food is life changing. Great to be here with you today, Brandy, and thank you for joining us today. Everyone have a great day.

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