Ep #5: You've Been Lied to... Fat Is Not the Enemy

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You guys are in for a super special treat this week! I know I spent the first few episodes really focusing on mindset and how to manage it in the best way possible, but the food you eat is just as important, and I'm giving you everything you need to know to lose weight permanently.

What comes to mind when you think of fat? I know I used to think it was an ugly, awful thing, and that eating fat would cause me to eventually die of heart disease. If you're in the same boat and avoid eating fats because you think it will, well, make you fat, I've got some big news for you today.  

I'm sharing what I've come to learn on my own weight loss and wellness journey, and why the food you eat really matters. Hopefully the information I'm exploring today will make you question some long-held beliefs that were instilled in all of us and help you start seeing your health and weight loss in a new light.

To celebrate the launch of the show, I’m going to be giving away Starbucks gift cards to three lucky listeners who subscribe, rate and review the show on iTunes. Find out how to enter here!

What You’ll Learn from this Episode:

  • The key piece to watch out for if you want to lose weight.

  • Why it's not your fault if you think you're eating healthy but you're not.

  • What I used to think was true about food and how it wasn't serving me.

  • The truth about low-fat, low-calorie foods.

  • What fat is and why we need it.

  • How to maximize your fat burning capacity.

Listen to the Full Episode:

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Featured on the Show:

Full Episode Transcript:

Welcome to Permanent Weight Loss for Busy Nurses, the only podcast that teaches busy, working nurses the practical tools they need to feel better at work and keep the weight off for good. Here’s your host, Registered Nurse and Certified Weight-Loss Coach, Charmaine Platon…

Hello amazing nurses. I love talking to you guys every single week. It's like I imagine we're all in our staff break room talking together before the show starts and we're just having this great time. And that's how it feels like for me to record this podcast for all of you guys, so I'm so excited to be here.

So, next week I'll be running the Hot Chocolate run 15K, and in case you don't know, 15K is 9.3 miles so there's a 5K, which is 3.1 miles, a 10K, which is 6.2 miles, and a 15K, which is 9.3. So the Hot Chocolate run will be in San Diego. It's a huge event. There are thousands of people there and they're all there to run and get hot chocolate at the end of it.

And I just love races. Races are so fun. And every day I'm so grateful to be part of this community. When I started running in 2013, I really noticed this in fitness. I never knew this about fitness until I got into it but whether you do Spartan races, Ninja Warrior, CrossFit, there's always this big sense of community that I absolutely love about fitness. It's the best feeling to do a race with so many other people of similar goals like you do, and to feel so accomplished at the end of it.

So anyway, I'm super excited to do that race next week with my sister, with my brother-in-law. It's going to be amazing, and by the time you're listening to this, I'll probably be heading over to San Diego pretty soon so I'll keep you guys updated.

Now for today's episode, you guys are in for a really, really special treat because I'm going to break down literally everything you need to know about weight loss. Like, everything. I wanted to make this episode very concise but also very simple so that you can really truly understand the science behind fat loss, how to actually burn fat so you can get started losing weight right now. So today, I'm going to talk about fat. That is the fat on your body, and how to effectively train your body to burn it so you can lose weight. I know in my past few episodes, like episodes one to four, I've been talking a lot about the mindset around food. And while the mindset is very important, the type of food that you eat is just as important if you want to lose weight and sustain the weight loss.

In fact, I believe that the food that you eat can actually be healing and that it could be considered medicine. It's what helps you lose weight. Not by restricting it, not by depriving yourself of it, but by focusing on eating high quality foods that will actually serve you.

Listen to this because this is key. The food that you eat matters. And if you want to lose weight, this is worth paying attention to. So what I've come to learn about my own weight loss and my wellness journey is that I was very reluctant to believe that the food I chose to eat and the food that I chose to place in my body required my attention.

I didn't want to put effort into what I ate. I thought it was a chore like it was a waste of time, and I had this idea in my brain that as long as I didn't eat fast food and that I made "healthy" choices, I'd be okay. What would be the worst that could happen, right? I mean, that was my mindset for a very long time. Like, six years. Even more than that. probably like, 10 years if you count nursing school.

But what I thought was healthy food all this time actually wasn't serving me. In fact, I was working out three to four times a week, I was running Spartan races and marathons, but I was not paying attention to what I ate. In fact, I never ever questioned what I ate. I thought that what was healthy food was healthy food. I thought that as long as I exercise like a crazy person and you heard about my crazy workouts in episode number four like, I was pretty hardcore with my workouts and I'm a very competitive athlete. So I thought as long as I worked out like crazy, the food wouldn't really matter like it would all work itself out.

And I never questioned the food I ate, not even once. And this is no one's fault. I mean, we're conditioned to believe things about food that we've always learned. I mean, I remember so clearly being taught when I was in elementary school about the food pyramid in the 1990s, and I was born in 1989. And in the food pyramid that was created in 1992, we were told by the USDA that it was recommended to eat six to 11 servings of grain a day, two to five servings of fruits and vegetables, and to only eat fats, oils, and sweets sparingly.

There is this idea that eating saturated fat was related to heart disease, and I accepted this was my truth. I literally never questioned this. We're sold this idea from our parents, from our teachers, from the food industry. It's like when you learn this as a child, you accept what's presented to you as the truth because you haven't developed your own identity and your own self quite yet.

But now I'm an adult, I'm almost 30 actually, and I was realizing that there was something wrong with this picture. Like one day I went to the doctor in 2017, I had my routine lab checkup and I found out that my hemoglobin A1C was 5.9. You guys, do you remember your references for A1C?

Regular A1C levels are below 5.7. I was a borderline pre-diabetic. And this was me at my fittest state. I was in the best shape of my life, or so I thought, and I was stunned. I was horrified by that lab result. And on top of that, my triglyceride level was also not that great and my LDL levels weren't even that low either. I thought wait a minute, I thought exercise was supposed to fix all of this stuff.

So that's when I knew something was wrong here and that maybe, just maybe the food I was eating actually wasn't helping me. But I wanted to know - I was on this mission to discover why my labs are that way and why this was happening. And what did I have to eat to keep my labs in a good range? I had to find the answer because I was scared. There's diabetes that runs in my family on my dad's side of the family so I was really frightened that I could have diabetes.

So here's what I used to think was true. What I used to think was true about food, what I used to think was true about eating healthy. That if you eat less calories, low-fat food, that you would lose weight. But there's a problem with this mode of thinking. Low-calorie foods were making me hungry all the stinking time and I ate low-calorie cereal, low-calorie yoghurt, low-calorie bars and I was constantly starving.

And what did I do to stay full? Eat more cereal, eat more snacks, eat more packaged and accessible and convenient foods. And how do you think I felt eating this way on the shift? Like shoot, I would eat cereal for breakfast at 4:30am in the morning, I'd come into work at 6am already starving, and I'd be basically hypoglycemic until 11am when I had lunch, where I'd eat yoghurt, salad, with nuts, and barely any protein, barely any fat. And then at 3pm I was starving again.

So what's available to eat at 3pm, you guys? Cookies and donuts in the break room. So I ate the cookies in the break room to hold me over until the end of the shift and when I got home my mom had dinner for me and we're Filipino, and every single Filipino meal has rice, you guys. If you know anything about Filipino diet, it's like rice is the number one ingredient besides meat.

So anyway, I was eating like, literally four to five times a day and I was starving. And I hardly ate any fat. I was told since I was young not to eat too many nuts, not to eat bacon, not to eat red meat. All these foods would raise my cholesterol levels because of the fat they had and with high cholesterol levels, I would most likely get a heart attack and die.

And this was my truth. But here's what I discovered that people won't tell you. In fact, many people still struggling with believing this is true because we've been conditioned to believe this for so many years by our parents, the food industry, the government, the school system, and more. The truth is eating low-fat foods with less calories won't help you lose weight at all because it's not restricting calories that causes you to lose weight, which I'm going to dive into in a bit more detail soon, but here's another truth.

Eating saturated fats will not kill you. I said it you guys. Eating saturated fats will not kill you. You don't get fat by eating fat. In fact, you get fat by eating sugar and flour. Now, this idea that eating saturated fats will increase your cholesterol levels and therefore increase your chances of getting heart disease was introduced by Dr. Ancel Keys who hypothesized from his seven-country study in 1970 that eating saturated fat will raise your cholesterol levels, clog up your arteries, and therefore lead to heart attacks.

He was that nations that consumed relatively low amounts of saturated fats have low rates of heart disease. However, newer studies that involved even more countries than seven, newer studies that involved 42 countries found there was no link between saturated fat and heart disease. But to this day, the seven-country study continues to have an affect on the dietary guidelines for Americans.

And his theory was first included in the 1977 dietary guidelines for Americans. 1977, you guys. For over 40 years or so, we've been believing that saturated fats are killing us. We still believe that this is our universal truth and to this day, even I just checked the dietary guidelines for Americans for 2015 to 2020, they still recommend to eat less than 10% of calories from saturated fats per day.

That is wild to me because I eat way more fat than that nowadays so that is like, beyond belief. Now, I'm going to talk about fat and I want to be the first to tell you that fat is awesome. I love fat. Fat is the best. Fat changed my life. Is that weird?

If you thought that was a weird statement or if you instantly felt repulsed at the thought of fat being lovable, I really want you to question what you think about fat right now. So many times when nurses or anybody for that matter think about fat, they think it's this evil thing. It's literally like saying Voldemort out loud in Harry Potter, like saying the V word.

If you even talk about fatty foods, even if it's healthy fats like nuts, people freak out and they'll tell you it's bad for you and you're going to get a heart attack if you eat that stuff. I hear it all the time. So in this episode, I'm going to break down exactly what fat is, why we need fat, and how to maximize our fat burning capacity by the foods that we eat. Not by restricting food.

So first, I really want to explain what fat actually is and I'm talking about the fat on your body. When you look at the fat on your body, what do you honestly think? Really ask yourself that. For me, for a very long time, fat was this ugly, terrible thing that I had to get rid of. I did not want to be seen as fat. I thought it was this terrible, awful thing, I couldn't be seen in public like this.

It was pretty bad. In college I remember I was so obsessed with counting calories, I kept this private journal where if I gained so much as a 0.1 pound I would literally freak out and in my journal I'd tell myself how awful I was, how negative, how terrible everything was for me gaining that weight. Yeah, that wasn't too fun. It wasn't very fun at all.

But now, I want to be the first to reassure you that fat is not horrible. In fact, this couldn't be farther from the truth. Why? Because your fat is nothing other than fuel. Fat is fuel and nothing is wrong with it. It's literally this abundant source of energy that you have right on your body.

It energizes you when you have no more glycogen stored in your liver and I want you to picture this; imagine you have to buy groceries or you have to buy something very, very important, but you don't have the cash readily available in your pocket or in your wallet. But you have a ton of money in the bank. And imagine that if you knew you had money in your bank account but you didn't know how to use an ATM machine, instead, you sat in your house and didn't get anything done until you didn't have any food at all and you just starved to death or something.

You wouldn't do that, right? If you had a bank account full of tens, hundreds of thousands of dollars and you didn't access that ATM machine, that would be crazy. And that's literally what fat is. Fat is this abundant, amazing energy source we have in our body and it's all being unused. It's not being accessed properly so it's just staying there waiting and waiting for somebody to come get it. It's just waiting for you to come access it.

But the problem is we don't know how to do that right now because of all those beliefs we have about fat, saturated fat, and all those things I told you about earlier with being on this low-fat, high-carb diet. We've left it unused because we don't know how to access it properly.

Now, here's how our body metabolizes energy, and I really want you to understand the physiology behind this because when you think about eating foods that serve you, you have to think about how the food you're eating affects the metabolism, how it affects the hormones in your body. And I'm going to keep this super simplified because I love keeping things simple

Anyway, whenever we eat something, whether it's carbs, whether it's sugar, it's broken down into glucose and glucose builds up in our bloodstream, and when glucose levels are increased in the bloodstream, the pancreas secretes insulin, and insulin helps to bring glucose in our cells. And we know this from nursing school, I'm sure all of you guys have patients with diabetes all the time. So we all know that when we give our patients insulin, it helps the glucose go into the cells and lower the blood sugar levels. So insulin allows glucose to enter the cells in the muscles and organs that need the energy right away, and the rest of the glucose that's not needed by the body at the moment is stored into our liver as glycogen.

Now, when we need energy, the liver can easily turn the glycogen back into glucose back again, and that's where we get our energy from. But here's the thing; how you burn fat is dependent on what you eat and what you're signaling your body to do. And this concept comes from Dr. Jason Fung's book, The Obesity Code, which I highly recommend to all of you if you really want to get into the nitty gritty behind the science.

But basically in his book, Dr. Fung explains that you are telling your body to burn fat by eating foods that burn fat. And you tell your body to store fat by eating foods that store fat. Every single thing you eat is information for your body, instructing it and telling it what to do. On top of that, how often you eat also affects your insulin levels. The more frequently you eat, the more you store fat.

And if you think about it, when I was eating basically four to five times a day with high-carb foods that were consistently elevating my insulin throughout the entire day, I was constantly in this fat storage mode because I was never giving my body the chance to access my fat stores. I was never accessing the ATM machine. It's like instead of accessing my own body for energy, I keep piling up boxes in front of the ATM machine to make it even more and more difficult for me to access the machine because I'm just piling more and more blood sugar, more and more glucose on top of the sugar that's already in my liver.

I'm just making it way more difficult for me to get all that money that's in my bank account, you guys. And to burn fat, you must eat your fat. The more insulin you have in the blood, the more you're in fat storage mode, and I'm going to break down exactly what you need to do so you can actually access your fat stores, access that bank account with this ton of energy in there so you can burn fat and finally start losing weight.

So what do you do with all this information? How do we actually burn fat? I'll let you in on a secret. It's not keto, it's not paleo, it's not whole 30. The most important thing you have to do and have to remember is that to burn fat, you have to keep your insulin levels low, and to keep your insulin low, this is my proven formula to do it. Eat two to three meals a day, no snacking, eliminate sugar and flour, and eat real food.

Now, how many of you were freaked out when you heard about the no sugar no flour and eating less frequently? I know for me, this was crazy for me to even consider. A couple years ago I was literally a carboholic. I loved bread, I love cereal, I loved spaghetti, pizza, everything with carbs because I was mostly eating carbs and I was conditioning my body to eat in this way.

But what I want you to realize, what I want you to see if there's anything you don't remember from this whole episode at all, the most simplest takeaway that I want you to know is that all you have to do to burn fat and lose weight permanently is to eat real food. So right now I'm reading this book by Dr. Mark Hyman called Food: What the Heck Should I Eat? It's a great book and it breaks down what to eat. Like, a really good blueprint on that.

And so a really great message that Dr. Hyman says in his book is that your food is your medicine. It's like imagine when you give a patient a beta blocker and you're telling your body to decrease the blood pressure. Everything you eat is medicine. And I love this analogy because basically, your food really is like a pill or tablet that you're giving to your patient. And all your meds have an intended effect as well as a side effect, right?

Think about the food you eat and what the benefit is for you, the "indication," like how we administer meds to our patients. We tell our patients what the indications of the medication is and we also tell them about the side effects. So imagine if you're thinking about wanting to eat a donut.

In the short term, you might want to eat a donut for the intended benefit of instant gratification or stress relief, but think about the side effects. What's the side effect of eating a donut? The side effect is insulin being elevated in your bloodstream to a pretty high level. A donut has a lot of sugar so you're going to elevate that blood sugar level quite a bit, which leads to like I said, fat storage mode because your blood glucose level is at such a high level that you need way more insulin to keep that under control versus eating a piece of steak that is probably the same amount of calories.

Ask yourself what you really want from the food medications you are taking, and ask yourself what the side effects will be and how these side effects will add up and build up over time if you're not aware and not truly deciding what to eat.

Here's another way to think about this. If you're still struggling with the concept of letting go of eating sugar and flour, and if you're kind of in this mindset where you won't feel good eating those foods because usually when we eat those foods we feel great. It helps us to have this dopamine hit and we feel really good. But here's something that I want you to consider; the food industry has literally conditioned us to stay out of the kitchen because we're sold on this idea of convenience. We like this idea that we're busy all the time and we just don't have time to cook. It's so much easier to buy a food that's packaged and ready to go and the food industry knows this.

They know that our brains want to conserve energy and that we want to buy the food that's convenient. But this convenience is literally causing weight gain, heart disease, fatty liver disease, insulin resistance, diabetes and even death. And you deciding to create the time you need to actually prepare your meals, actually be in the kitchen, actually take the time to cook, eat high quality foods, go to the farmer's market, go to the grocery store, the time that you take to eat real food is you literally joining the preventative medicine revolution.

That with food, we can literally reverse diabetes and heart disease. It means that you're supporting the idea of eating actual food and that your food can truly help you heal and feel better inside and out. That we're not at the effect of our circumstances, our jobs, our time, our schedule, or our school, and therefore not having to eat something that's "convenient" and low quality because our lives are "too much."

We're deciding to take complete and 100% full ownership of what we want to eat. We are taking ownership of every single thing we are deciding to place in our bodies. And I invite you all to join me in this wellness movement right now.

Now, before I go, I'm inviting all of you to join my podcast launch giveaway. And to celebrate the launch of this brand new show, which I'm still super excited about, I’m going to be giving away Starbucks gift cards because coffee is a nurse's best friend. But I'm only going to be giving away Starbucks gift cards to three lucky listeners who subscribe to my show and rate and review the show on iTunes. And it doesn’t have to be a five-star review, although I do hope that you're enjoying the show. But what I'm looking for is your honest feedback because I want to make this the most resourceful, the most valuable, and the most amazing show that's helping you to lose weight permanently.

To join my giveaway, go ahead and visit www.thenurseweightlosscoach.com/itunes to learn more about the contest and how to enter. I’ll be announcing the winners on the show in an upcoming episode, to tune in.

Alright my amazing nurses, I know that show went on a bit longer than the other ones but food is something I'm super passionate about because I really truly believe that food can heal you and that food is medicine. So thank you all for listening and tuning in today. If you're going to work today, have a wonderful shift, and if you worked last night, have a well-deserved rest, and I will see you again next week.

Thanks for listening to Permanent Weight Loss for Busy Nurses. If you like what you heard and want even more, head over to thenurseweightlosscoach.com today!

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