What if we could get weight loss right as we age by optimizing our blood chemistry?
If I had a dollar for every time I heard, “I’ve been eating so well, go to the gym 6 days a week, I’m addressing every component I can think of, and I have not lost a pound! AND I’ve been doing this for 8 weeks,” I’d be a millionaire!
For years and years, the medical and scientific communities have told us weight loss requires measuring calories in vs calories out. And If you want to lose weight, just push the plate away.
In our younger years, this probably worked. But I don’t believe this worked because we ate less. It worked because our blood chemistry was more efficient in our youth. And now we know, blood chemistry changes as we age.
So, what do we do to lose weight as we age?
That’s what we’re talking about in today’s article.
Table of Contents
Medical Advice on Weight Loss
Optimal Blood Chemistry
Bloodwork to Understand Your Battle With Weight Loss
What is a Health Weight?
Bad Exercise Math
Sleep & Weight Loss
Supplements for Weight Loss
Ed’s Optimal Weight Daily Food Protocol
Do physicians know everything about blood chemistry and weight loss?
If you have a weight problem, most physicians say to exercise more and eat less. I have watched this for 40 years, and it doesn’t work for everyone. If you’re over 30 years old, and you can’t lose weight, I’d say about 80% of your weight loss problems have nothing to do with number of calories you’re eating. It’s because your blood chemistry has been altered in very unhealthy ways.
Our blood chemistry takes a hit by the lifestyle we lead. That includes the foods we eat, chronic stress, lack of sleep, and toxins in our environment. Our every day lives create the perfect storm that turns almost all food into body fat instead of energy.
If we can recreate the chemistry in our physical body that we had when we were younger, we can turn the hands of the clock back. We don’t have to live in a spiraling series of diets where we lose 2 lbs and gain 3. And feel unhealthy and sluggish. And then end up feeling bad about ourselves.
It’s not just what we see in the mirror that makes us feel bad. When your blood chemistry isn’t optimal, everything, including emotional health, goes in the wrong direction.
All the things we used to see in people who were 70+ are now hitting people when they’re 40, THREE decades earlier!
Here’s what we recommend for all people struggling with their weight.
Optimal Blood Chemistry
Order bloodwork now. When we talk about ordering bloodwork for weight loss, we have to remember that when we go to the doctor’s office, they are looking for disease. That’s a lagging indicator. Meaning, by the time your bloodwork reaches a level of disease, you already have a health problem. And the doctor is going to work with you to bring your blood levels back to a non-disease state.
But just because you don’t have a disease, doesn’t mean your body is functioning optimally. And if you want to lose weight, you need your body chemistry working like a 15-year-old kid’s. The one who can eat almost anything and not gain weight.
When I review my bloodwork, I’m looking from a functional medicine or integrative health perspective. So we can see where we are and what would be optimal. Optimal is what we MUST achieve to lose weight, not average.
Averages will take you close to the grave, and then all of a sudden, they are a disease. And most people at 45 yrs old these days do NOT have optimal blood chemistry. But I’ve seen bloodwork from enough people to know that they can move their bloodwork to optimal levels if you do the right things.
Bloodwork you Need if you Want to Understand Your Battle With Weight Loss
So, let’s talk about the blood tests we need to review to make sure our bodies are functioning at their optimal levels.
1. C-reactive Protein Levels
C-reactive protein, made by your liver, indicates inflammation in your body. This can be a result of an infection, some inflammatory disease, an autoimmune disorder, and more.
When your body is inflamed it creates far less health and more disease. But lower levels of inflammation create an environment for health and weight loss.
So, what is the optimal level? I want my C-reactive protein levels <2 mg/L.
Do NOT believe the reference ranges on this test. Most reference charts say anything under 3 mg/L is normal
and anything from 3mg/L to 10mg/L is a normal, minor rise in inflammation. What does a normal minor rise in inflammation even mean?
According to these “normal” ranges, when is disease indicated? Over 12 mg/L indicates Chron’s disease.
For your body to optimally turn food into energy rather than fat, you need your c-reactive protein in the optimal zone of less than 2 mg/L.
What causes C-reactive protein to be high?
– lack of sleep
– too many carbs
– many diseases
2. Fasting Insulin Levels
The medical community’s “normal ranges” for fasting insulin vary widely. Most doctors say anything between **2.6-24.9 mcIU/ml** = normal. But most research shows anything over 7 indicates serious metabolic issues in your near future.
In reality, anything over 3 – 4 will cause trouble when you’re trying to losing weight. Why? Because insulin’s number 1 job is not to balance blood sugar. It’s meant to store energy to use later. When you have a chemical in your body to store food for later, and it’s elevated, you can look at a cracker and put on weight! Not literally, but elevated insulin is meant to pack on the weight. Because it’s gearing up for deprivation of calories later.
We are programmed to live through famines. And insulin was meant to help preserve you…to survive. And stress and lack of sleep are key indicators to your body that famine is coming.
When I look at my numbers, and I’m wanting to lose weight, I want my numbers at 2 and under.The knife and fork + sleep are the strongest medicines for your insulin levels. Click To Tweet
Missing meals due to time, because you’re busy and stressed, will raise cortisol, which raises insulin.
What supplements help with fasting insulin levels. I have gone from fasting insulin levels of 10 – 12 and controlled that down to 2 and below by managing my knife and fork, my sleep, and using supplements like Omega 3s.
3. Omega 3 Index
The Omega 3 Index is regarded as the number 1 most accurate predictor of mortality before any other blood tests show issues. It predicts mortality and insulin sensitivity before insulin tests. The average American has 4% to 4.5% omega 3s in their blood cell walls. Turns out, that’s not nearly enough! As a matter of fact, some sources say you increase your risk of a cardiac event by 90% if your levels fall in the 4% range or below. Research suggests a test result of 8% – 12% significantly decreases your risk of cardiac event.
Omega 3s are the king of helping process insulin and triglycerides.
How do we control Omega 3 Index levels?
– Eat regularly
– Lower carbs
– If I had extremely high levels of fasting insulin, I would consider taking herbs like Berberine. Berberine has been shown to produce similar insulin sensitivity results to Metformin. And it’s natural!
4. Lipid Panel
Looking at insulin is not the easiest way to tell if you’re insulin resistant. The best way to see if you’re insulin resistant is through a lipid panel. That would include LDL, HDL, and triglycerides.
Rule of thumb: If triglycerides are a 4:1 ratio to your HDL levels (e.g. you have triglycerides of 200 and HDL of 50) indicates insulin resistance. If I see that level on my panels, I’m in an emergency “fix it” role. Because I know that indicates increased inflammation and insulin resistance, which will cause consistent weight gain.
Don’t follow the old-school USDA information for lipid panels. The food pyramid is ridiculous, and will produce insulin resistance if you follow it.
5. MTHFR Genetic Mutation
This gene effects your metabolism and can cause weight gain or the inability to lose weight. You can combat this gene by taking care of your microbiome and inflammation.
Other Blood Chemistry Levels to Check for Optimal Health
Vitamin D – you want levels to be at least 50 nanograms to decrease disease significantly
CBC/CMP (complete metabolic panel)
Ferritin (iron storage) – no more than 60
What is a Healthy Weight?
Before we get into my food protocol for getting to and maintaining your optimal weight, let’s define healthy weight.
Many people don’t have any idea how to measure whether they have a healthy weight or not. Sometimes we use BMI as a proxy for healthy weight. And honestly, that is an antiquated measurement that does not differentiate between lean weight (or muscle) and non-lean weight (fat).
I believe a healthy weight for you is a blueprint that is encoded in your DNA. I’m programmed to weight 173 lbs. I wanted to be a big body-builder. I wanted to weight 200+ lbs. And when I was running marathons, I weight 150 lbs. But nature wanted me to be at 173. As we age, we need to find the weight that nature really wanted for us.
I can look at my body weight when I was between 16 – 20 yrs old, and that gives me a clue about my natural healthy body weight.
When you alter nature significantly, you’re going to pay a price. So, mentally, we need to get past what we believe a great weight should be and realize optimal health comes at the weight nature intended for us.
Faulty Exercise Math
When I worked out at the gym this morning, I saw I burned 350 calories. With the calories in vs calories out mentality, most people use exercise as an excuse to eat more calories. But we need to remember that exercise increases cortisol, which will drive insulin up. So, I don’t believe, especially as we age, that we can eat the amount of calories we “burn” in the gym and maintain our weight.
Don’t get me wrong, exercise has numerous benefits that we need. And we should definitely take advantage of them!
You’ll look better, build more muscle – so you’ll be more tone, and best of all, you’ll lower your all-cause mortality.
“An increase in cumulative time spent in vigorous physical activity lowers your all-cause mortality risk.” – Dr. Peter Attia
Cumulative time spent in “vigorous” physical activity lowers your mortality risk.
A Word on Sleep and Weight Loss
When you don’t sleep, the body accumulates toxins, the adrenal glands get exhausted, and they start screwing up with the production of hormones, and you go down a slippery slope and you’re out of control. That’s when very few things work because your blood chemistry is completely out of whack.
Quality of sleep is more important vs the amount of time you spend sleeping. Some people say they get 8 hrs of sleep, but they’re really counting the time their head hit the pillow vs the time they get quality sleep.
I have finally come to understand that I need to count, not when my head hits the pillow, but when i actually go to sleep. As we age, we tend to wake up in the middle of the night. There’s some brain chemistry happening there, but also, for men, there’s the prostate and having to urinate in the middle of the night.
What saves my life is a supplement called GABA. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I can get back to sleep with 1,000 mg of GABA. GABA helps me get back into deep sleep. Deep sleep lowers cortisol, and that helps with insulin resistance.
Going Bigger to Get Small
In closing, sometimes you have to go bigger to get smaller. And what I mean by that, is we need connection. Connection to each other but also to something bigger than ourselves. Something that provides us with contentment and joy and peace. That might include climbing rocks and connecting with nature or playing with your child or going to church. Whatever it is, our bodies NEED down time. We need something that gives us joy outside of ourselves. And we need connection.
Must Have Supplements for Great Blood Chemistry & Weight Loss
I LIVE by the Core 4 supplements and won’t go without them. I believe they are THE must have supplements for everyBODY. And they help keep your blood chemistry at optimal levels which leads to ideal weight.
So, what are the Core 4?
Core 4 – the retirement account for your physical health
– omega 3 – be careful to avoid brands with heavy metals
– probiotics – be sure they’re effective!
– superfoods – greens – detox your liver and feed your good gut bugs
At Nutrition World, we only stock effective supplements. And we pick manufacturers with great track records for clean products.
Try Our Vital Omega GOLD
Ed’s Optimal Weight Daily Food Protocol
How to get the knife and fork right.
I love following a slight keto philosophy. On a recent podcast, Dr. Peter Attia espoused eating 1 gram of protein for every pound of body weight. And he emphasized the importance of increasing your protein as you age.
In spite of following a keto philosophy, I’m almost never in ketosis. Let’s call my diet “keto-like.”
Here’s my daily diet protocol.
- Taste the rainbow! Nature’s rainbow, that is. Incorporate colorful, quality foods into your diet at least 2 times per day.
- Be strategic with your carbohydrates. You don’t have to eliminate, but lessen your overall intake. And, when you do incorporate carbs, be sure that they’re unprocessed and unrefined.
- Consider intermittent fasting (IF) for 13 – 14 hours per day. No matter what diet you follow, IF helps to balance insulin and cortisol.
- Eat fats! Incorporate healthy fats with EVERY meal. Think avocado, MCT oil, ghee, olive oil (high quality sources), nuts, & seeds. Fats slow the rate of carb absorption, which is key to maintaining an optimal blood chemistry level.
Blood Chemistry Conclusion
The key to weight loss as we age is making sure our bodies are functioning optimally. The good news is, it’s not as hard as you think.