Keto Conversation

 (This is a keto consultation with a real client. The client’s name and any identifying information has been removed for confidentiality.)
Hendrik:Hi, Marsha. How can I help you?
Marsha:I've been struggling with my weight for a long time now, especially as I move into middle age. I just want my old figure back. I want to be able to look at myself naked in the mirror without breaking out in depression.
Hendrik:I'll help you lose weight if that’s what you want.
Marsha:Yes, I know. I am very thankful for your offer to help me.
Hendrik:Can I talk freely with you about this topic without offending you?
Marsha:Yes you can. I realize I have to pull myself together.
Hendrik:Ok, but you can't beat yourself up about it. Let me ask you this. What parts of your body are you least happy with? And don't say all of it!
Marsha:Belly (especially after that pregnancy) and my butt - of course - and my legs have never been particularly beautiful.
Hendrik:Ok, legs, butt and belly. Is that all?
Marsha:That’s way enough! I need a lower body transplant.
Hendrik:That’s what I wanted to get at. You recognize this!
Marsha:What do you mean?
Hendrik:What I mean is that the bottom half of your body is where you carry your weight. In looking at your pictures, nobody would guess you have a weight problem based on your face. It's not like you have a triple chin. Your neck looks normal. Your chest, arms, etc. all look normal too. You carry all your weight in the bottom half. Why do you think that is?
Marsha:I have no idea... I have just an awful body. Nature has not treated me well. It´s the way it is but that doesn´t mean I have to like it. I hate it!
Hendrik:Let me explain why your lower body is bigger. I’ve studied this a lot. It’s genetic. Do you have siblings with the same problem? And did your mother?
Marsha:My sister definitely and my mother... I can´t remember. Actually she was always slim.
Hendrik:So your sister has the same body type? Is she about the same size as you? It could have skipped a generation from your grandmother to you and your sister.
Marsha:She's the same size as me, yes.
Hendrik:I hate to tell you, but it’s true. Only science can fix this. But it’s correctable. You have a situation where the adipose tissue, also known as the fat cells, store more fat in your lower body. The fat cells there are bigger. It’s determined by genetics. But it’s not a foregone conclusion. It can be controlled. Do you know what insulin is?
Marsha: Yes.
Hendrik:What does it do? What is its job?
Marsha:It regulates the blood sugar.
Hendrik:Yes, and does what with the excess sugar?
Marsha:Stores it in the fat cells?
Hendrik:Yes! Insulin is known as the fat storage hormone. It is responsible for determining how carbs are either burned for energy or stored as fat for future energy use. Your body has only two possible energy sources. What are they?
Marsha:Fat and sugar.
Hendrik:Fat and carbs.
Marsha:Yes, sorry... carbs.
Hendrik:Really foods like bread, rice, pasta and potatoes are like sugar ... because starch converts to sugar in the body. So how does your body decide whether to burn carbs or fat? If you eat fatty bacon and a bowl of pasta, which will your body burn?
Marsha:I think carbs are easier to burn.
Hendrik:Your body will always burn carbs first. The default mode of our bodies is carb burning. Do you think thousands of years ago people ate lots of carbs? Hunter- gatherers?
Marsha:No, of course not.
Hendrik:Thousands of years ago, what did they eat?
Marsha:That´s the keto or paleo thing, right?
Hendrik:Yes. Millenia ago people ate whatever vegetables they could find. Before farming even began. And they ate animals. Protein and fat. Lots of fat. And when they killed an animal, they ate well. But the food would run out and they might not have another kill for 3 more days. Or more. What did their bodies do for energy if they ate little for days?
Marsha:They tapped into the fat cells?
Hendrik:Yes. Their bodies knew how to convert body fat into energy. It’s called fat burning. Or fat adaptation. It’s normal. Our bodies evolved over thousands of years to work this way. Even let’s say in 1940, were people eating lots of soda pop, candies, chocolate bars, milkshakes, waffles? Cakes, pies, pastries? It's really only in the last 50 years or so that industrial production of food decided we should all eat processed garbage. It used to be that we ate eggs, meat, cheese, vegetables. Not frozen dinners, frozen waffles, cola, candies and pies. One slice of cake was a treat once a week or even less. Now people eat those kinds of treats every single day. Are you still there?
Marsha:Yes, I'm listening to you.
Hendrik:So now that we bombard our bodies with carbs, which is not how our bodies are designed to work, the pancreas has to secrete insulin all day long to turn the excess sugar into fat, stored in the fat cells. Our bodies were not designed to burn carbs. Only fat. But the modern diet caused this massive problem. 1 in 7 Americans are diabetic or prediabetic and this is spreading across the world. And this is also linked to many COVID-19 deaths because obesity and diabetes are contributing factors leading to complications with this virus. Are you following?
Marsha:Yes, I'm listening.
Hendrik:Ok, so how do we get our bodies to function as they should? Fat burning mode? Because I can tell you right now that you can starve yourself as much as you want and exercise as much as you want but you’ll never get rid of the fat in your fat cells unless . . .
Marsha:Unless what?
Hendrik:Well, your body cannot burn fat as long as you keep feeding it carbs. It has to be one or the other. If you feed your body both, it will burn only carbs. And after you eat a bowl of cereal you’ll be hungry an hour later. A piece of toast with jam? Still hungry. A bowl of pasta? Doesn’t last. More likely you’ll go for the milkshakes, chocolates and pastries! They are delicious. And they feed your sugar addiction.
Hendrik:The problem is you have to severely restrict carbs before your body says, “If I don’t get some energy soon I’m going to die.” Then your body remembers that it can burn fat instead! And guess what? Even if you stop feeding your body anything, it knows there is fat in your legs, on your bum and in your belly. Intra-organ fat too and that is very dangerous. Around your heart, lungs and other organs.
Hendrik:Once you go into ketosis your body switches into the fat burning mode it forgot about a long time ago because you have been feeding it carbs for so long. So once your body learns again to burn the fat you feed it avocados, olives, cheese, eggs, fatty meat. All of those delicious foods. And guess what happens between meals if you refuse to snack?
Marsha: It burns fat.
Hendrik:Yes! From your body! You can’t feed your body all day long. Three meals. Decent meals that satisfy you. You don't stop eating early and feel hungry. That will never work. You eat until satisfied. But two hours later your body still needs energy. Especially the brain. The brain burns a massive amount of energy. So your body burns the fat in those fat cells! Your body burns the body fat as you sleep. And the fat is actually exhaled as carbon dioxide.
Hendrik:There’s one other food group other than high carb that presents a problem? What is it?
Marsha: I don't know.
Marsha:Ah yes. Ok, sure. Fruit sugar.
Hendrik:Fructose, yes. Fruit has lots of great vitamins and nutrients, but you can get all of them and more from vegetables. When you eat glucose, your body can burn it immediately for energy. So you eat a big bowl of pasta before a marathon. But for some reason the liver can’t metabolize fructose and use it for immediate energy. Science proves that fructose is immediately turned into fat, stored in fat cells. This is why a few berries are ok if you must. But if you eat mangoes and pineapples and bananas, you’re in trouble.
Hendrik:I want you to know something. The fat in your legs, bum and tummy can go away. You can’t change the fact that your body wants to store fat in those areas. It’s how your body is built. Genetically. You can run and exercise all you want. But you can only target those specific fat stores through keto.
Hendrik:I recently heard from a woman who came to my last keto seminar. She used to be a marathon runner and now, at the age of 49, she runs half marathons. You better believe she exercises! Yet her legs and tummy hold excess fat. She’s built that way. Well she emailed me last week to tell me that after eating keto she has lost something like 12 to 15 lbs. Which isn’t a massive amount of weight, but she wasn't a big person to begin with. The important part, though, is that she lost most of this weight from her problem areas. She is absolutely thrilled! And she sent me before and after pictures. She’s finally targeting her fat cells. No amount of exercise can do it.
Hendrik:This is why you can have a 300 lb person who actually doesn’t eat a huge amount each day but they stay huge. It’s not the number of calories eaten. It’s where the calories come from. Carbs vs fat. This saying that "A calorie is a calorie is a calorie" is complete nonsense. 1,000 calories of olives or avocados are going to keep you slim, unlike 1,000 calories of sugar.
Marsha: You know... as long as I can remember I've been dealing with my weight problems. I've read millions of books and I've tried thousands of ways. Some worked out, most didn't. Somehow I am a little tired of this situation. I know the keto way is a good one but it's not easy to get there.
Hendrik:Listen, I wasn’t huge before I started eating in the keto way but I carried a lot of excess fat since about the age of 20 when I was in university. And it got worse and worse. But when I really studied ketosis and what it means, scientifically, I lost 10 lbs in the first 11 days. Then I went on to lose almost 40 lbs. Then almost 46. I’m almost too thin now, so I’m eating a little less strictly.
Marsha: It is a burden for my husband to constantly listen to my whining about my weight problems. I'm really tired of all of this and need to find a way to change my body permanently.
Hendrik:I actually hate the term "keto diet". The word "diet" implies it's something we do temporarily just until we lose a certain amount of weight. And then we go back to our "normal" way of eating, which consists of cakes, cookies, bread and all kinds of processed foods packed with chemicals and high fructose corn syrup! You have to start thinking of the word "diet" to mean "what we eat". Like on a television show about animals, it might say, "What is the diet of the elephant?" It doesn't mean that the elephant is on a diet. It means that we're going to look at what elephants eat. So when I say "I'm on a keto diet" it doesn't mean I'm trying to lose weight. It means I'm eating keto foods. That is the way I eat all the time. Forever. Because my body functions and looks better this way. Yes, I will cheat and eat a slice of cake once in awhile because I'm human. But the keto way of eating is my default way of eating always. There is no end date to this.
Hendrik:Listen, Marsha? If you start learning about the ketogenic way of eating and stick with it you WILL lose the weight you want. Personally, I absolutely love food! I'm a chef. But we have to stop using food as a cure for our negative emotions. If you have a weight problem it has to do with unhealthy emotions you're carrying around with you. Emotional baggage. That is a whole other topic of discussion. I think that will have to wait for another day.
Marsha: Thank you so much. I feel like the real me is trapped in this body. I feel like I can't be me, and that sucks. I'm going to think about everything we've talked about and come back to you to figure out how to implement this new way of eating. I'm going to need some help.
Hendrik:I'll be here when you're ready. Enjoy the rest of your day.

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