The importance of vitamin B12 within the human body cannot be overemphasized.
Without it, our bodies will simply not function anywhere near optimally.
Sadly, it can take years of experiencing sub-optimal health before you begin to manifest clinically recognizable B12 deficiency symptoms. It may take you living with chronic fatigue, nervous system dysfunction, depression, and more for years before your deficiency is identified and addressed. It is estimated that some 23% of adults aged 19-64 are deficient in this essential nutrient – those odds jump up to as much as 62% of adults 65 and older. There are a number of reasons why you might be in this segment of the population, and luckily there are a number of options for ways you can remedy your lack of B12. Get ready, because you’re about to learn all you need to know about the benefits of B12, the use of B12 injections, some signs you may be deficient, and how to get B12 injections delivered to your door from a reliable source in order to start living with more energy and vitality now.
What is Vitamin B12?
B12 is an essential vitamin, meaning we are required to get it in our diet or we will literally slowly break down – like a car if you forget to check the oil.
B12, technically and scientifically named cobalamin, is a water soluble vitamin that our bodies can store (to some degree) for around 4 years or so. This ability to store B12 is why people are able to live with a deficiency for so long. Our bodies will strategically use what it has available in order to complete processes required for survival – a phenomena called the triage effect that can be observed with any of the finite resources the human body utilizes.
Having a diet devoid of B12 may mean you are following a strict vegetarian or vegan eating style or you simply aren’t effectively absorbing it from animal sources. Unfortunately, there just aren’t many non-animal sources that can provide enough B12 to support normal physiological function. In this case, supplementation is an absolute necessity. Oral B12 supplementation can be entirely effective at bringing up your levels if done consistently, and if absorption is not an issue. In order to absorb B12 from food, our gut requires something called intrinsic factor which is produced in the stomach. There is a small percentage of the population who lack the ability to produce an adequate amount of intrinsic factor to be able to absorb B12 however, and inflammatory gut conditions are also able to cause these same issues with absorption.
Are You Running Low on B12?
B12 plays an impressively important role in the body, and depleting your stores will throw a major wrench in normal physiological function. Thankfully as humans we are able to survive for quite some time while burning through our supply.
Like we mentioned before, this is likely a contributing factor for the alarming percentage of adults that have developed B12 insufficiency without even being aware of it.
Some of the common signs of B12 deficiency include weakness, tiredness or lightheadedness, heart palpitations or shortness of breath, pale skin, a smooth tongue, irregular bowel movements, neuropathy, vision loss, and mental problems including depression. While these all cannot be exclusively attributed to a Vitamin B12 deficiency, they are commonly accepted as potential signs or even a direct result of missing out on enough of B12. If you are running low on B12, filling this deficiency may have profound implications on mental health, vitality, and longevity.
Benefits of B12
B12 is responsible for quite a bit.
In general, vitamins are typically pretty important in one way or another, but B12 is especially vital for normal operating conditions to occur within us. It is used as an integral part of the process of turning the food we eat into a usable form of energy. B12 also helps with the creation of healthy new red blood cells, and is absolutely crucial for brain and nervous system function. If that didn’t seem important enough, this all-star B vitamin also supports enzymes that synthesize DNA, and B12 deficiency is thought to play a causal role in depression for some people.
On top of all those reasons why it should be considered an invaluable nutrient, it appears that ensuring you have adequate levels of B12 in your body may be especially important if you are trying to lose weight.
B12 for Weight Loss
Because B12 plays a crucial role in turning the food that you eat into usable energy, a deficiency can make it unnecessarily difficult to shed some extra body fat.
Considering one of the most common symptoms of a relative B12 deficiency is chronic fatigue, it seems like the odds are stacked against being able to lose weight while you’re running low on this vital nutrient. But wait, when it comes to the impacts B12 has on the weight loss process, there’s (sadly) more!
One study found that levels of B12 are consistently lower in obese adults compared to the non-obese population. What this suggests is that not only can a lack of B12 make it more difficult to lose weight, but being overweight also depletes B12. Whether B12 insufficiency plays a causal role in weight gain isn’t clear, but it seems to be a major part of the equation for a lot of people. Clearly, there are many factors that contribute to your ability to lose weight or even maintain it, but nutrient deficiencies are a common source of dysfunction throughout the human body.
Utilizing B12 injections (or oral supplements if you remember to take them) can be a potential game-changer for some individuals who are trying to lose weight. Unlike with a lot of supplement protocols, when deciding which form to supplement B12 with, there really isn’t a clear frontrunner – it’s mostly up to preference.
Vitamin B12 Injections
B12 injections are an amazing way to up your levels while avoiding any potential absorption issues, regardless of whether those issues have been identified or not.
While the percentage of the population that lack intrinsic factor and are therefore unable to absorb B12 is rather low, the amount of people with gut issues overall is relatively large. Various digestive issues affect 60-70 million Americans on a daily basis according to the American Nutrition Association. This number suggests that your odds of unknowingly suffering from nutritional malabsorption may be higher than you think!
B12 at Home
When using B12 injections at home, make sure that you clean the injection site thoroughly to prevent infection.
Typical B12 injections protocol consists of one B12 injection given weekly for eight weeks.
B12 injection side effects may include headaches, nausea, loss of appetite, and more. Overall, B12 injections are exceptionally well tolerated, but it is important that you speak with a medical professional before starting a protocol.
Buying B12 Injections Online
As with anything that you will be introducing into your body, it should be considered best practice to source your B12 from a reputable company with solid track record.
With Ikon Health you are able to buy B12 injections (or any of our other products we offer), fill out the required forms, and speak to a medical professional to receive your prescription – all from the comfort of your smartphone.
From there your products will be shipped to your home and you can rest assured that you are getting a quality source of B12. Vitamin B12 deficiency is a serious and often insidious issue that a significant percentage of the population is currently facing or will face at some point.
Lipotropics are injections offered to promote fat loss. Lipo shots help to achieve faster fat loss by increasing how fast the body is able to remove, transport, and burn fat.
Ingredients in Lipo Injections
Ingredients often added to Lipotropic injections
Vitamin B12 (Methylcobalamin)
B-Complex (mixture of B-vitamins)
Using Lipotropic shots for Fat Loss
Lipo shots are used in a number of medical weight loss protocols, due to their effectiveness in removing triglycerides (fat) from fat stores, aiding in the transporting of fat through the blood stream, and supporting the processing and removal of fat within the liver.
Do Lipo Injections Really Work?
Do lipotropic injections really work? In short, yes, Lipotropics can help to accelerate fat loss in conjunction with a healthy exercise and diet plan. Lipotropic shots won’t just do the work for you if you aren’t trying, but if you are trying, they can accelerate fat loss. Typically, clients will take 1-2cc’s (shots) per week of lipotropics. You should feel more energy, and with that energy it’s recommended to do exercise.
How Fast Can I Lose Weight With Lipo Shots?
How Rapid are Lipo Shots? The rate of fat loss while using Lipotropic injections will vary from person to person. Also, some clients may notice more energy than others. Why is this? Some individuals might be more deficient than others in the liptropic ingredients. Also, the more weight you have to lose, the faster your body will allow you to lose it.
How Long Can I Take Lipo Injections?
How Long are Lipo Shots Safe to Take? As long as you are taking a proper dosage of Lipo shots, you should be able to take them indefinitely. Still, consult with your doctor about how long you should take Lipotropic Injections.
Are Lipo Shots Safe?
Lipo Injections are very safe, as long as you don’t have an allergy to them. The only common allergy to the common lipotropic ingredients is sulfa. Individuals with Sulfa allergies should be careful with the ingredient, Methionine. Although reactions are generally mild, consult with your doctor before taking Lipotropic Shots.
Where can I Get Lipotropic Injections?
There are a number of places where you can buy Lipo injections. Keep in mind that Lipotropics have to be handled with care, and must be refrigerated, so choose your source wisely. Clients can buy B12 injections or buy lipo shots from Ikon Health through our telewellness system.
HCG or Human Chorionic Gonadotropin is a hormone that our bodies produce naturally. During the early stages of pregnancy, women’s HCG levels will increase to nearly 2000 times the standard HCG dosage for the HCG Diet.
HCG and the Hypothalamus
Our bodies have a regulatory system that helps to control our body weight. At the core of this system is a part of the brain called the hypothalamus. The hypothalamus receives signals from the body through the use of hormones to help determine if weight loss or gain is necessary. The hypothalamus has many functions, including:
Control of hunger and appetite
Regulation of body temperature
Storage and burning of fat
Obesity: A Growing Problem
Eating habits and activity levels have changed dramatically over the last 50 years. The availability and ease of calorie dense foods with few nutrients is a key factor, but sedentary lifestyles are also playing a huge role. The human body is designed to store extra calories in preparation for a possible calorie famine. Once a person is overweight or obese, additional problems arise, and weight loss becomes considerably difficult.
Can the HCG Diet Help You Lose Weight?
The HCG Diet utilizes a VLCD or Very Low Calorie Diet in conjunction with HCG hormone injections. A very low calorie diet will cause anyone to lose weight, but in the case of the HCG Diet, the HCG hormone helps to preserve muscle mass in what would be a very catabolic state, normally. So the short answer is yes, the HCG diet can help you lose weight, but it isn’t easy. Dieters will still get hungry and struggle at times.
Before You Start the HCG Diet
Weighing yourself is important for you to see progress and to provide feedback on how your body is responding. Most doctors recommend weighing yourself every day. From time to time, weight will shift up and down without warning. This is perfectly normal as water weight increases and decreases.
Taking body measurements is a better indicator of progress. Weight loss will often slow down, stop, reverse, or speed up without warning. Measuring will give you a more consistent indicator of success and help ease your nerves if weight loss stalls for a time.
Goals are an essential part of any weight loss plan. It might be helpful to also set milestones, or smaller goals that lead up to the larger goal.
Set a Goal Date or Event
In addition to measuring progress, you will need to have a specific date that will motivate you to achieve your goal. This date can be adjusted during the diet to better motivate you, rather than discourage you.
Personal accountability may be the most important step after setting goals. If you keep your goals a secret, it becomes easy to give up later. The most successful individuals are those who follow the diet with a friend or family member.
Rewards can be very helpful. Most dieters decide to set rewards based on how much weight they lose, but there will be times when you are following the diet closely without seeing changes. It is important to reward yourself based on adherence to the diet protocol. Find ways to reward yourself, without using food as the reward.
HCG Diet Phase 1: Loading
During the Loading Phase you will take HCG each morning and eat a lot of food for two full days.
Before the Loading Phase
Here are a few precautions to think about before starting the loading phase.
If you are sick prior to starting the loading phase, please make sure you have completely recovered.
Women Only: Prior to starting the diet, make sure you have at least 5 days before your next period starts, and no sooner than 2 days after your last period ended.
Two Day Loading Phase
The loading phase lasts for two days. During these two days you will take HCG injections each morning, and eat to stay full all day.
Take 150 IU’s of HCG in the morning on both days (15 mark on syringe). If you are using sublingual HCG, follow the pharmacy label instructions.
Load up on calories both days, and keep yourself full
Eat calorie dense foods, and try to get a lot of carbohydrate rich foods
Start weighing yourself each morning
After the loading phase, you will begin Phase 2, and continue taking daily HCG injections.
Phase 2: Very Low Calorie Diet
Phase 2 is a 3-6 week Low Calorie Diet which can be repeated after phase 3 as many times as needed, until you have reached your goal. Phase 2 requires you to follow a low calorie diet while eating from a strict list of foods. Also, continue taking 150iu’s (15 mark) of HCG every morning.
Very Low Calorie Diet
Immediately after the loading phase, dieters are to follow the low calorie diet outlined below.
Minimum Amount of Time on the HCG Diet
After starting the HCG Diet Protocol, Dr. Simeon noted that a person must follow the diet for a minimum of 3 weeks in order to adapt to burning fat as a primary fuel.
Maximum Amount of Time on the HCG Diet
Dieters will often get excited about the rapid changes in body weight and shape, and try to overextend the duration of the Low Calorie Diet. In the long run, this will most likely cause a reduced metabolic rate. In order to maximize results over time and guard against rebounding, follow this set of guidelines:
Don’t exceed 6 weeks on the HCG diet.
Follow Phase 3 after every 3-6 week round of HCG.
The HCG Diet Plan (800 Calories)
HCG Diet Phase 2 Food List
Ground Beef (93% Lean)
Eggs – 2 whole
Cottage Cheese – 1 cup low-fat
Serving Size: 3.5 oz. / 100 g (or otherwise listed)
Lettuce – as much as desired
Peppers – as much as desired
Hot Peppers – as much as desired
Celery – as much as desired
Spinach – as much as desired
Cucumbers – as much as desired
Asparagus – as much as desired
Cabbage – as much as desired
Onions – as much as desired
Field Greens – as much as desired
Serving Size: 1 cup (unless otherwise listed)
Apple – medium
Cantaloupe – 1 cup
Orange – medium
Honeydew Melon – 1 cup
Grapefruit – half
Banana – 1/2
Strawberries – handful
Grapes – 1 cup
Blueberries – handful
Kiwi – 2 Kiwi Fruits
Raspberries – handful
Tomato – 1 tomato
Blackberries – handful
Peach – 1 medium
Huckleberries – handful
Pear – 1 medium
Serving Size: As listed: Do Not Exceed
Additional Phase 2 Instructions
Water: Try to drink at least 8 cups of water each day. Water is an essential element in the weight loss process. You should drink enough water to have at least 3-5 clear urinations per day.
Calorie Counting: Don’t worry about counting calories during Phase 2. Just eat foods from the list in the quantities allotted.
Coffee and Tea: Black coffee and tea are permissible in the morning. If you would like, you may flavor coffee or tea with stevia and/or almond milk (40 calories/serving).
Diet Soda: While diet soda won’t cause the diet to fail, you should not exchange it for any of your water servings. You still need to drink at least 8 cups of water in addition to any diet soda you drink.
Crystal Light and other Calorie Free Beverages: Other non-caloric drinks that you are accustomed to drinking should be handled like diet soda.
MCT Oil or Coconut Oil: MCT, or Medium Chain Triglycerides are fats that are derived from Coconut Oil. MCT works great for low carbohydrate and low calorie diets because it supports ketosis, provides energy, and guards against constipation. MCT Oil can be used for lunch or dinner as a salad dressing ingredient, mixed with any combination of salt, vinegar, and seasonings. Also, you should use it as your cooking oil.
Salad Dressing: There are a few options for salad dressings. The first is MCT Oil. MCT Oil is a perfect complement to the low calorie diet. You can mix it as mentioned above to make a dressing. Walden Farms offers calorie free salad dressing and condiments that are okay to use on the HCG Diet as well.
Protein Shakes: Some protein shakes are okay to use on the HCG Diet for a protein serving, although whole foods tend to keep you fuller for longer. Choose shakes with very little carbohydrates and fats.
Seasonings: Any calorie free seasoning is permissible on the HCG Diet. Be sure to check labels.
Sweeteners: We recommend using Stevia, Splenda or Sucralose to sweeten your foods.
It is important to understand how fast you should be losing weight on a weight loss program, and have realistic expectations. Most clients can lose up to 1 pound per day, but it isn’t the same for everyone. The larger you are, the faster you lose. Women who only weigh 120-150 lbs will probably not lose a pound a day, but a man who weighs 300 lbs probably will lose a pound a day for a time.
Water Retention on the HCG Diet
Fluctuations in water weight happen at the beginning and end of all low carbohydrate diets. Generally, this water fluctuation can account for somewhere between 2-5 lbs. Do not panic if you experience these rapid changes in weight because they are not related to fat loss or gain.
Combating Hunger on the HCG Diet
Hunger is an extremely complicated subject that is affected by both physiological and psychological reasons. Most of the time hunger is a combination of the two.
Vegetables and Fiber Effect Hunger: Fiber can help with hunger in at least two ways. The physical stretching of the stomach is one signal of how much food has been consumed; when the stomach is stretched the brain thinks you’re full. High fiber/high volume foods (e.g. foods that have a lot of volume/few calories) accomplish this most effectively. Additionally, fiber slows gastric emptying, or the rate at which food leaves the stomach. A high fiber intake keeps us feeling full by keeping foods in the digestive system longer. Always eat your vegetables.
Hormonal Hunger: Hormonal hunger is hard to control. Often women will notice that during their period, hunger dramatically changes. Also, when we don’t eat for extended periods of time, our brains and intestines start releasing powerful hormones that cause us to feel very hungry. By that time, our hormones are often too strong, and it causes us to binge. Be sure to at least have a small breakfast each day to help control this. Also keep in mind that this hunger will pass.
Carb/Sugar/Starch: When starting a low carbohydrate diet you may feel cravings for carbohydrates, especially for the first few days. This will pass as your body converts to fat as its primary source of fuel.
Dehydration: Mild dehydration is often masked as feelings of hunger, when the body simply needs water. The confusion starts in the hypothalamus, where hunger and thirst are both regulated. Diet drinks don’t hydrate well, so make sure to get at least a gallon of water per day. Less than a gallon per day is known to slow weight loss.
Salty Foods: There are a couple of different reasons that a person may be craving more salt. Dehydration: occurs when you aren’t getting enough minerals/electrolytes and water. Adrenal exhaustion: often occurs when a patient has a history of using stimulants; coffee, energy drinks, etc. This can also occur when you have a lot of stress.
High Fat Foods: Most often fatty foods are comfort foods. This is usually a psychological matter, and a matter of habit. Be aware of physical or emotional cues that may cause your desire for high fat foods.
HCG Diet Phase 3: Diet Break
Phase 3 will provide an immediate increase in calories which will boost the metabolic rate, and provide you with a break. Phase 3 should be thought of as a practice round to see how well you can maintain your weight after a rapid weight loss stint.
3 Week Diet Break
The Diet Break will last 3 weeks. During this 3 week break, the goal is to increase calories, and allow the body to reload glycogen stores and allow the metabolic rate to recover. If you don’t increase calories, it may set you up for failure for the next round.
Introduction of More Carbohydrates
When you start your diet break, you will likely gain 3-5 pounds immediately, but don’t be alarmed. After following a low carbohydrate diet for an extended period of time, you will be depleted of glycogen (sugar). When your body stores glycogen in muscle tissue, water is also stored; this can account for a few pounds.
Increasing Calories (Reverse Dieting)
Phase 3 increases calories to the amount needed to maintain body weight. This amount of calories will differ from person to person. Your goal is to eat enough to maintain your weight. If you are gaining weight, reduce calories. If you are losing weight, increase calories. It’s that simple.
Phase 3 is a perfect time to start learning how to be more aware of macronutrients. Macronutrients are the nutrients that contain calories. The macronutrients are:
Protein: (4 calories/gram) – start with around 1gram per pound of bodyweight
Carbohydrates: (4 calories/gram)
Fat: (9 calories/gram)
MyFitnessPal We recommend MyFitnessPal on your smart phone to track your calories. By tracking your macronutrients, you will begin to have a much better idea of what you eat daily, and what foods contain the most calories. Only use this app during Phase 3, Phase 4, and afterwards to track calories.
HCG Diet Phase 4: Transition and Maintenance
Phase 4 increases calories to the amount needed to maintain body weight. This amount of calories will differ from person to person. Your goal is to eat enough to maintain your weight. If you are gaining weight, reduce calories. If you are losing weight, increase calories. It’s that simple.
FINDING YOUR MAINTENANCE CALORIES
Maintenance calories is going to be different for each person. There are a number of factors that affect how many calories you should be eating, which include:
IMPORTANCE OF PROTEIN
Protein is the basic building block for most tissues in the body. It is also the most effective macronutrient for maintaining a healthy body composition. Protein satisfies hunger very well, supports lean body mass, increases metabolism, and tastes good.
Note: The maintenance phase provides only a basic guideline for maintenance dieting, and should be adjusted based on individual needs as time moves on. We recommend using an application such as MyFitnessPal.com to track calories for a few weeks after the diet. This will help you get a better understanding of what you are eating, and how many calories your body burns.
Weight Loss Tracking
Weigh yourself in the morning
Make sure that your daily habits before weigh-in are consistent (i.e. empty bladder first, don’t drink water, dressed or undressed)
Use the scale as your only method of tracking success
Weigh too often (1x/day max)
Body Measurement Guide
Body measurements are one of the most accurate ways to monitor changes. While the scale can indicate slowed weight loss, body measurements can tell a different story!
Why? Keeping track of a few key measurements will keep you motivated and be a voice of reason when the scale is not reflecting what you want to see. A happy dieter is a more successful dieter!
Where? The key areas for measurement are as follows:
Chest (under armpits)
For Women: Waist (smallest part of waist)
For Men: Largest part of belly
Hips (largest part around buttocks for women, Belt-Line for Men)
Thigh (upper thigh)
When? The body fluctuates during the day. Pick a time where you will be relaxed and stay consistent on the time of day. We recommend that this measurement be done weekly.
How to Get Started on the HCG Diet
If you are want to start the HCG Diet, we have made it easy for you. We have made a list of all the best HCG Diet Providers that you can visit online to Buy HCG Injections from the comfort of your own home.
Most people are largely unaware of the fact that what they are eating isn’t actually food.
Sure it may look like food, but in reality “food-like product” would be a better term for it.
Ultra-processed, hyperpalatable “food-like products” take many forms but most of them will require more resources to digest them than they provide – essentially negating one of the two major factors for why we eat in the first place: nutrition. As humans we are programmed to eat in order to obtain energy (calories) and nutrition (micronutrients/fatty acids/amino acids/etc).
Our biological drive to eat has been hijacked relatively recently, but once you have an awareness of this fact, it is possible to gain control once again. Shifting your dietary focus towards more whole foods is just one part of eating for health and longevity, but it is a major part. Whole foods are those that are closer to their natural state, have been minimally processed, contain no artificial ingredients, and by definition provide at least some of the raw materials we need to build a healthy body and mind while simultaneously allowing for greater appetite control, better digestion, and so much more. There is no single factor that will lead to you being healthy today, tomorrow, and long into the future, but choosing foods that are closer to their whole, natural state over those that have been packaged and heavily processed is typically at the foundation of any eating plan we develop at Ikon Health. Research continues to prove that there are countless health benefits to opting for an apple over applesauce, veggies over poptarts, or fruit instead of potato chips – at least most of the time. Although there are no foods that can be considered inherently bad (except maybe trans fats), we are going to cover the three major components that are often missing from these “food-like products”, and what they often do contain that you should be aware of.
Protein: building health & longevity
Perhaps the most common aspect of whole-food nutrition that most processed and packaged foods are missing is protein.
Even all the cereals and bars that contain added protein often come up short in this absolutely crucial macronutrient. Your body literally requires that you eat protein in your diet in order to survive,it is essential. Within that total daily protein requirement (most research indicates about .6-.8 grams per pound of bodyweight is sufficient for the average person, although it is much higher for athletes, there are more factors to consider).
For instance, each protein source consists of a relatively unique amino acid profile. Amino acids are the molecular building blocks of proteins and long story short, some protein sources have profiles that are more favorable to health than others. This is why protein quality must be considered as well as protein quantity – what kinds of protein you eat is nearly as important as how much total protein you eat. Processed foods are usually devoid of protein and those that do contain it often consist of less than favorable amino acid profiles. Your body needs protein to build muscle, manufacture neurotransmitters, create DNA, and so much more. Not to mention that foods containing protein (and fiber) are by far the most satiating, helping to regulate appetite and allowing you to maintain control of your diet just that much more. This satiating effect is nothing to scoff at – especially if you are dieting to lose excess body fat.
Dieting for weight loss requires that you cut calories – it sucks, I know. However, if you cut calories and slash your total protein intake, you have a recipe for losing lean body mass (muscle). This fact was demonstrated beautifully by a study conducted by Baylor University showing that women following a higher protein diet (up to 40% daily calories from protein) experienced greater loss in body weight, fat mass, percent body fat, and waist circumference when compared to women following a high carbohydrate/low protein diet (15% total calories from protein). This mirrors the common understanding in the fitness-research community that higher protein diets both support muscle growth (anabolism) and prevent muscle loss (catabolism). It is worth mentioning one more time – protein is invaluable for maintaining health and fostering longevity. Next on the list of reasons why packaged and processed foods just simply aren’t cutting it nutrition-wise is fiber.
Fiber: more than just metamucil
Fiber is a rather important component of sound nutrition whose awareness has long since been relegated to members of the advanced-age population just trying to keep things regular. Fortunately, fiber has undergone a bit of a renaissance in recent years and people are beginning to become aware of the benefits of eating both soluble and insoluble fiber for gut health, appetite control, and more. Soluble fiber (think oats, chia seeds, etc.) and insoluble fiber (think leafy greens, some veggies, nuts, etc.) play slightly different roles and it is important that you consume enough of each. But how do you know if you are getting enough? Well, eat whole foods and pay attention to your digestion. If everything runs smooth, you have no bloating or gas, and your bowel movements are normal (see bristol stool chart), you are probably in the fiber intake “sweet spot”.
Micronutrients: you need them whether you want them or not
While fiber and protein are both incredibly important for overall health, micronutrients are the unsung heroes of human physiology.
Depending on who you ask, micronutrients are the vitamins, and minerals (some people like to include specific amino/fatty acids to this list) that you need in small quantities from your diet in order to survive.
But just because you only need them in small amounts doesn’t mean they aren’t important – in fact, nothing could be further from the truth…
Micronutrients play countless, vital roles throughout the body including facilitating energy production, enabling DNA repair, allowing proper immune function, blood clotting, tissue growth and repair, bone health, fluid balance, and so much more. Many processed and packaged foods have been fortified with certain vitamins and minerals to try and remedy their lack of micronutrition (often caused by the actual processing itself), which is a bit like missing the forest for the trees. Adding micronutrients into common foods is a practice that was once a saving grace for the general population (see: iodized table salt) when food distribution and supply was limited. Flash-forward to 2020 and the American population generally has access to more food than ever – theoretically negating the need for grains, cereals, and other food products to be fortified with vitamins and minerals to support health – if we would just eat whole foods more often.
Unfortunately, these fortified products may still be the primary (albeit inadequate) source of micronutrients for some people. Although what is missing from packaged and processed foods may be enough of a reason for most people to switch to a more whole foods-based diet, what they do contain may be even more alarming.
What Is In Processed Foods?
Packaged and heavily processed foods are created to be hyperpalatable.
What this means is they have been designed and developed to manipulate our brain’s ancient reward mechanisms. While this isn’t meant to sound alarmist, it is important that you become aware of it.
In nature, we rarely (if ever) would encounter the ingredients and sensations found in that box of crackers, sleeve of cookies, or toaster pastries all in one place. Combining high-carbohydrate with a high-fat content triggers a deeply-rooted reward mechanism within our brains that drives us to overeat (why do you think foods like nachos, pizza, or cake are so tasty?). Our brains have not yet caught on to the fact that food is no longer scarce for most people. Calories are on every corner and in every cabinet, but our biology hasn’t realized that quite yet.
To accomplish this rewarding sensation, companies have crammed in processed vegetable oils like soybean, canola, corn, and other heavily processed and unstable oils into the same products that contain high amounts of carbohydrates from sugar, refined grains, and other sources. Considering the fact that the British Medical Journal published a cross-sectional study that found 59.7% of total energy (calories) consumed by Americans came from ultra-processed foods, it is no wonder obesity and it’s related diseases have become and remain increasingly prevalent. Consistently eating foods high in sugar, low in fiber or protein, and high in unhealthy oils results in our insulin and blood sugar levels being yanked around, allows chronic inflammation to run amuck, and our body having to work overtime to achieve homeostasis or balance behind the scenes.
Our Approach To Nutrition
Ikon Health takes a whole foods-based approach when designing eating plans for all the reasons we have already covered. Most of our clients follow a an intuitive eating lifestyle, which still allows them to eat foods they love, in moderation, while focusing primarily on what you are eating, rather than what you aren’t eating. Ikon Health does offer a more rapid weight loss protocol for individuals who are very heavy or obese. We offer this plan in order to quickly get our heavier clients back to health as quick as possible. Our rapid fat loss protocol is similar to the HCG diet, without having to buy hcg injections, yet, more effective. The rapid fat loss program implements a VLCD, or very low calorie diet, paired with medical services designed to help improve overall health and wellness.
There are few aspects of a healthy lifestyle that have as much clout as shifting away from heavily packaged and processed foods does. This is by no means a condemnation of processed foods entirely. In fact, modern processing and packaging has made foods available to more people, extended shelf life, and made them better tasting and cheaper. It is important to keep in mind however that obtaining energy (calories) isn’t the only reason that we eat, however.
Ignoring the concept and requirement of eating for actual nutrition is a recipe for experiencing uncontrolled hunger, cravings, and likely overeating. If you are looking to add health back into your life, and facilitate the process of gaining muscle or losing body fat, we recommend you incorporate whole foods as much as possible to ensure you are getting the protein, fiber, and micronutrients your body requires. Adding these crucial nutritional components back into your diet and avoiding the processed oils and refined carbohydrates found in processed foods as much as possible is likely your “secret” to improved health – only it isn’t a secret, it’s just a return to what was once considered common knowledge.
The reason that so many individuals have gone to local weight loss clinics or online suppliers to buy hcg injections, was because for some, it seemed like the only diet plan that worked. There are a number of reasons why HCG diet injections paired with a low calorie diet caused fast weight loss, but the reality is that now, 70 years after the HCG Diet was first introduced, there are much better options for rapid fat loss. The answer? Peptides!
Our medically supervised Peptide Protocol has a number of benefits over the hCG Diet protocol for weight loss. Not only did we improve on the hcg diet protocol with an improved cyclic diet plan, but peptide injections are far superior to hcg diet injections. While clients can still purchase hcg shots from Ikon Health, in most cases we will recommend our peptide protocol instead. Not only do peptides work better than HCG injections, they are also more beneficial for anti-aging purposes and overall health. Additionally, clients can take peptide injections after they are finished with the diet, and continue to see improvements in their appearance.
Why are peptides better than buying HCG injections?
Individuals all over the world schedule appointments with doctors to consult and buy hcg, or find some of the more recently available Telemedicine clinics to purchase HCG Shots online. It’s no mystery why the HCG Diet became such a popular diet for individuals who need to lose a significant amount of weight quickly. The mere idea of being able to lose weight with the help of a prescription medication sounds great to many who have tried all kinds of diets, only to fail in their efforts.
While the HCG Diet worked great for many individuals over the years, the diet has it’s problems. Many clients that buy hcg shots find they can lose weight quickly, but regain the weight almost as fast after they get back to regular life. Not only is the hcg diet not sustainable, but the once successful weight loss patient no longer has the aid of a prescription medication. Also, hCG injections provide no long term benefits for weight loss after a person discontinues use.
The importance of thinking two or three steps ahead in your weight loss journey cannot be overemphasized, because there is a secret that most people embarking upon this transformation don’t know: In America, we don’t have a weight loss problem, we have a weight management problem. Most people who seek to lose weight are able to do so, to some extent. It is the keeping the weight off that presents them with difficulty. The HCG Diet has proven time and time again with many patients, that the weight loss achieved through the HCG Diet is very difficult to sustain. Our Peptide Weight Loss Protocol is designed with exactly that issue in mind. It has been developed to create rapid weight loss while sparing lean body mass and minimizing any negative adaptations (like a reduced resting metabolic rate) that may often occur as a result of relatively aggressive calorie restriction. One of the main differences between the HCG Diet and our improved rapid fat los protocol, of course, is that you don’t purchase hcg injections. Instead, we will be using a peptides in place of hcg shots, which are more beneficial in a number of ways.
Before we start, it is absolutely vital that you understand the importance of taking care of the major factors that will influence your ability to lose weight. Without making sure you are getting enough quality sleep, managing stress, and staying active, your capacity for healthy and sustainable weight loss will be greatly diminished. There are so many factors that can influence weight loss which we have no control over, it is imperative we manage and take control of what we can.
There may just be a million possible reasons why you might not be losing weight. But, speaking as a trainer who has consistently and predictably helped clients permanently lose weight, people are usually focused on the wrong things – leading to wasted energy, time, and eventually burnout. The process of losing weight is often a long and difficult one, but it is by no means impossible or unattainable. So before deciding that lasting weight loss just isn’t in the cards for you, try to analyze your current situation and identify if there are any major factors that you have left unchecked. Boiling down all the possible reasons why someone might not be losing weight down to just seven is in some ways a daunting task, but patterns emerge once you have successfully helped many people through the process. There exists a clear hierarchy of variables to focus on, and those at the top of the list are extremely basic, usually free, and only take some lifestyle modifications and effort to implement. Just cutting calories and ramping up cardio will work in the short term, but that strategy dries up extremely quickly – leaving you temporarily lighter, but no closer to reaching a point of sustained weight loss. Ask yourself if any of the following mistakes may just be the reason you aren’t losing weight, and then begin to alter your behavior or approach and start creating progress once again.
Here’s a quick rundown of the 7 Reasons You Might Not Be Losing Weight
Poor Sleeping Habits
If there is any single factor that can completely ruin any attempt to lose weight, it is poor sleep habits.
Eating Too Many Calories
At the end of the day, weight loss or gain is a matter of energy balance. Finding ways to control calorie intake is essential.
How quickly and severely experience decreased metabolic rate caused by prolonged caloric restriction is highly individual, but everyone will likely develop some degree of metabolic adaptation during the dieting process.
Training too much
As a society we tend to think that more is always better. Ironically, if you are wanting to create lasting changes with your training and nutrition approach however, this could not be further from the truth.
Relying on Cardio to Burn Calories
Relying on incessant cardio sessions to create an energy deficit and hopefully fat loss will almost certainly end in frustration, a whole lot of wasted energy, and an eventual plateau.
Not Moving Enough
On the other side of the energy balance equation from the calories you eat is energy out. As a society, we are highly sedentary. Find fun ways to start moving more.
One of the more prevalent examples of weight loss self-sabotage happens over just a few days out of each week.
Now, for the in-depth look at the reasons we can’t lose weight. It is only fitting that we start with what is one of the most common reasons people are unable to reach and sustain a weight loss goal – poor sleep.
Reason #1: Poor Sleeping Habits
If there is any single factor that can completely ruin any attempt to safely, healthily, and permanently lose weight it is routinely getting poor sleep. If you aren’t already doing so, prioritizing getting enough quality sleep should be your primary focus when you are starting out on any fitness journey – especially weight loss. Paying close attention to and protecting your sleep like your life depends on it will help prevent you from having to experience a whole host of unwanted effects caused by acute and chronic sleep deprivation which seem perfectly designed to hinder the weight loss process. If you skip on sleep you can expect to experience:
An increased drive to demolish hyperpalatable, calorically dense foods. (Research has found that even partial sleep deprivation leads to around 400 or more extra calories eaten the next day when compared to well-slept subjects).
Decreased hormonal function (thyroid, sex, and adrenal output will all be impacted).
Decreased executive function (objective decision making is reduced).
Depressed immune function (not necessarily related to weight loss but developing disease certainly puts a hold on healthy weight loss).
Few variables can have such a profound impact on your health and fitness in the way that sleep can, but the next mistake absolutely can and fundamentally does limit weight loss entirely.
Reason #2: Eating Too Many Calories
At the end of the day, weight loss or gain is a matter of energy balance (an excellent and meticulous explanation of all things energy balance can be found here: Energy Balance. Having a positive energy balance means you will be adding weight – whether that weight is muscle or fat, calories are needed to create it. Although you may not think or feel that you are eating too much food, it is the calories in the food that matter. Inconveniently, most food products nowadays are processed and designed to be chock full of calories and include ingredients that fuel the drive to eat more. This effect is compounded by the fact most food products are missing any semblance of actual nutrition, and our body’s know it. Our innate drive to eat food includes a variety of factors, but two that are fundamental to this urge include the need for calories (energy) and the drive for nutrition (nutrients including vitamins, minerals, amino acids, etc.). Fulfilling our need for energy, without also satisfying our body’s need for nutrition will usually result in a perpetual drive to eat more in search of the nutrients it needs.
Eating too many calories is absolutely going to prevent weight loss, and create weight gain if done consistently. Energy balance is a law of nature that is inescapable, despite what some diet gurus and zealots may say. Prioritizing whole, natural foods that are full of actual nutrients is a great way to set yourself up for energy balance success but it is far from a panacea – at the end of the day, calories in vs. calories out is the rule of weight loss or gain. The next common roadblock to weight loss however, is much less understood – not just by the average person but most fitness professionals as well.
Reason #3: Metabolic Adaptation
You will have very likely heard of the dreaded “starvation mode” – a feared (and largely imagined) state where you are unable to lose weight no matter how few calories you eat. Luckily this mode does not exist, but you can expect and plan for a decline in hormonal output, decrease in libido, reductions in lean body mass, and a few more undesirable effects if you cut calories too low for too long. How quickly and severely you specifically will experience these potential effects caused by prolonged caloric restriction is highly individual, but everyone will likely develop some degree of metabolic adaptation during the dieting process. Pushing yourself to the point of becoming metabolically adapted to an unsustainably low calorie intake can absolutely pump the brakes on your weight loss progress – so the trick is to avoid reaching this point at all by planning appropriately and strategically. The best strategy to avoid this common pitfall is pretty simple:
Consistently bring your calories up to maintenance or slightly above for at least 48 hours. How often you need to do this will depend on many factors, but around every 2-3 weeks is probably often enough for most people.
Eat enough protein. Getting enough protein helps to spare lean body mass and thus aids in mitigating part of how the body becomes more efficient with the calories you give it (remember, in this context efficient is bad!).
Lift weights. Similar to eating enough protein, lifting weights can prevent much of the lean body mass loss that is expected to occur when dieting for weight loss by convincing your body that keeping muscle is in it’s best interest.
These three strategies should each be part of any weight loss diet even if you haven’t experienced any significant degree of metabolic adaptation just yet – for a far more comprehensive illustration, check out The Metabolic Adaptation Manual built by Dr. Eric Trexler, one of the leading researchers in the physique modification realm. Extremes on the training spectrum can be just as detrimental to weight loss progress as extreme dietary restriction, and both are usually reached by working without an intelligent strategy.
Reason #4: Training too much
As a society we tend to think that more is always better. Ironically, if you are wanting to create lasting changes with your training and nutrition approach however, this could not be further from the truth. All forms of training can be pushed to the point of diminishing returns, but some are able to hit that point rather easily like most HIIT style training, crossfit, unreasonably high volume workouts, and quite a few others. Training for weight loss progress is a physiologically and psychologically difficult form of training, and it should be treated as such. Thinking that you can simply hold your training volume extremely high, burn a ton of calories, and endlessly shed excess pounds is an antiquated approach that is more reflective of the rise in the popularity of high intensity group training than what is actually effective for the average person.
Again, weight loss is a difficult process for your body, don’t make it more difficult by stomping down your body with long, arduous, and inappropriate workouts everyday. You absolutely should lift weights and stay active, but don’t ask too much of your body too soon! Staying active and doing cardio aren’t the same thing, as you will see with our next common mistake – relying on cardio to burn calories.
Reason #5: Relying on Cardio to Burn Calories
Relying on incessant cardio sessions to create an energy deficit and hopefully fat loss will almost certainly end in frustration, a whole lot of wasted energy, and an eventual plateau. This mistake is so commonly made because cardio will absolutely result in quicker weight loss progress than any other form of exercise – but this advantage doesn’t play out over the long-term. Manually burning calories through frequent cardio sessions is an extremely strong signal to become more efficient with the calories that you feed it (efficient isn’t helpful with weight loss). This adaptation would have been beneficial in the not-so distant past, but if we are seeking permanent fat loss, it is actually the exact opposite of what we want. Check out our article that covers exactly why resistance training is better than cardio for fat loss here: Restance Training
If you keep pushing for weight loss success from cardio without first taking care to manage your daily activity levels, you are missing out on some almost free progress. Most of the people you see killing themselves on a treadmill or living on an elliptical seem to not realize they could have simply walked around the block instead.
Reason #6: Not Moving Enough
On the other side of the energy balance equation from the calories you eat is energy out. This can be more technically referred to as total daily energy expenditure or TDEE, and the number is the sum total of all the calories your body used in a day – a number that can be highly variable and difficult to fully determine. Some of the factors that contribute to your TDEE you can actively manipulate in various ways, some you can’t. Staying active and moving a reasonable amount everyday is likely going to be your easiest and most sustainable method of increasing your energy use over the course of the day – not adding frivolous cardio.
Cardio can be a great tool for weight loss if used sparingly and in a manner that adds to your current level of activity. When it is used as a means to haphazardly establish a baseline level of activity however, the benefits begin to quickly dissipate. Moving enough throughout the day is also essential to the function of your lymphatic system and overall health – the less you move, the less healthy you are overall. Increasing your daily activity through steps is an easy way to start managing the energy balance equation, but the next common mistake has more to do with managing behavior.
Reason #7: Weekend Sabotage
One of the more prevalent examples of weight loss self-sabotage happens over just a few days out of each week. Awareness surrounding the daily habits and practices that are required for producing weight loss often fades during the weekend and choices are made that can reduce or eliminate any progress that was developed during the week. Our body’s respond and adapt to the demands you place on it, but those demands must be as consistent as possible. This means that if the energy balance equation is catapulted in the wrong direction thanks to a few meals out or some drinks over the weekend , you have effectively reduced your weight loss progress. This effect is further compounded if you are more inactive during the weekend than during work week – dragging down the energy-out side of the equation and boosting your likelihood of gaining body fat as a result.
Remain as consistent as you can during the weekend. Try to sleep at the same time, eat on the same general plan, keep training, and stay active and you will be dramatically reducing the likelihood of any diet self-sabotage over the weekend!
How to Avoid All Seven Reasons You Aren’t Losing Weight
Hopefully this list helped you identify some key areas where you weren’t exactly cutting it before. If you recognize more than one of these mistakes in yourself, start working on one major variable at a time. Weight loss is a difficult process, and so is changing the habits that cause weight gain in the first place – but neither task is anywhere close to impossible. Stick to the basics and be consistent.
Services to Boost your Weight Loss Efforts
It is essential to understand and implement the foundational principles of weight loss that were touched on in this article. At the core of health is our sleep, exercise habits, calorie consumption and nutrient intake, and most of all, consistency. Once you have a decent grasp on each of these, there are a number of services that can help you in your efforts. At Ikon Health we offer a number of services that can improve your weight loss efforts, and some of these services are listed below.
IV for Weight Loss: Nutrients that boost energy, support liver function, and boost metabolic rate
B12 Injections: Boosts energy, supports digestion and absorption nutrients, and aids in maintaining healthy nerve cells.
Lipo Injections: Great at improving energy, supports liver function and fat metabolism, and much more
Wellness Coaching: Our coaching program is the best way to help you to choose goals that will provide the most results with the least initial effort, and keep you accountable.
Anti-Aging Peptides: Peptides are likely the most powerful service that we offer at Ikon Health. Boost fat loss, muscle building, strength, energy, sleep, vitality, appearance, and much more.
Pioneers leading the evolution of health and wellness have declared peptides will have a major part in the “future of precision medicine”. They have certainly shown promise in both clinical research and practical application and yet, they remain largely misunderstood or unknown by medical professionals as well as the average person. To fully understand why they deserve to be considered as part of your anti-aging, performance, or general health protocol, you must understand how they work with our physiology, why they are superior to traditional options, and the potential they have to positively affect systems across the body. An in-depth explanation of the many peptides currently in use, their proven or potential benefits, dosing, application, and their history is well beyond the scope of this article. We seek to simply shed light on some misconceptions of what peptides are, foster a fundamental understanding of how they work, and why you might want to consider them as an adjunct or alternative therapy. Discussing peptides can be a little overwhelming at first – rest assured however, by absorbing some of the information that follows you will have a deeper understanding of why they have such a promising future in medicine.
What Are Peptides?
Peptides are nothing more than fragments of full proteins. Another way to look at them is as smaller sequences of amino acids (the building blocks of proteins), constantly created within our bodies to perform certain functions. They are found in every cell and every tissue and work away delivering messaging, triggering events, and everything in between. Biochemically they are actually very basic molecules that, once attached to a specific receptor, illicit a response at the cellular and potentially systemic level. Think of them as a key – each and every function within our body requires a key (or keys) to take place. Peptides are often this key, although there are different kinds of keys that our body uses to get the job done. Peptides are essentially signalling molecules with a highly specific task and purpose. Harnessing this ability allows peptides to be strategically used to increase performance, speed healing of injuries, increase muscle growth, expedite fat loss, support immune function, prevent chronic disease, and potentially countless more uses that have yet to be discovered. Peptide’s specificity is how they are able to work with our physiology, not against it like most modern interventions. By identifying the key (peptide) that sets into motion a series of biochemical responses, with a desired result, scientists are able to recreate the key and apply it on a wide-scale.
Why Peptides May Be the Future
Although many drugs truly are beneficial or lifesaving, most come with a list of potential unwanted effects. This is because they often act throughout the entire body, influencing every cell in your body in various ways – some good, some bad. The active compounds within most medications make their way around your entire body, binding to receptor sites here and there while having to be filtered all along the way. It seems almost inevitable that there will be some side effects – these treatments simply aren’t always precise enough.
Perhaps this is why so many have embraced peptide therapies. In order to synthesize or create peptides, you need highly specialized equipment that is able to link molecules together without error. Some peptides such as growth hormone are nearly 200 amino acids in length – get them out of order and you have a completely different molecule. An error such as this can result in an entirely different response, or no response at all. This level of precision during assembly is then mirrored by the precise effects the peptide will have once it has been administered. Although it will pass through your circulatory system just like any other compound, peptides bind only to the receptors which they have been designed to target. BPC-157 (body protection compound) is a peptide commonly used to facilitate repair and recovery of tissues. Once in your system it will seek out specific signaling molecules that are released by the injured tissue(s). When it has found the biochemical bat-signal from injured tissue it goes to work, resulting in a quicker recovery process. BPC-157 has been shown to increase repair of muscle, tendon, intestines, bone, teeth, brain tissue, the cornea, and has profound effects on modulating the immune system.
GHRH’s and GHRP’s
Another excellent example of the ability peptides have to work synergistically with our own physiology comes from a few of the most commonly used categories of peptides on the available for anti-aging: GHRh’s (growth hormone-releasing hormones) and GHRP’s (growth hormone-releasing peptides). As you no doubt are aware, aging is essentially breaking down at the cellular level, causing us to be in an oxidative and catabolic state.. We battle decreased muscle mass (sarcopenia), dysfunctional mitochondria, lack of appetite, decreased immune function, a decline in libido. All of this along with depression, and many more unwanted effects that seem to inevitably come as part of the aging process. Much of this dysfunction can be largely reversed by the appropriate administration of GHRh (compounds such as Sermorelin, CJC-1295, Tesamorelin, and more). These compounds work to stimulate your anterior pituitary to release its own natural growth hormone, allowing you to avoid the potential side effects of the questionable use of exogenous growth hormone! Pair GHRh therapy with it’s sidekick GHRP (GHRP-2/6 and Ipamorelin, and more), which work primarily by inhibiting somatostatin (aka growth hormone inhibiting hormone). To fully cover the systemic effects of these two classes of compounds would likely take forever. For now, suffice it to say that they facilitate your own body’s release of growth hormone, mitigating or preventing the unwanted issues that are a result of or caused by aging.
When you understand that peptides are just stimulating the body to have a response it was already meant to have, you can see how they have the potential to positively impact the whole of our physiology. Overall, peptides and the therapies that they enable are an amazing avenue of research and eventually actual application. North America is certainly leading the charge in terms of researching and isolating specific peptides but we are nowhere near the front of the pack in terms of clinical application. Australia in particular has been performing clinical trials on peptides for over a decade now and the results speak for themselves.
Where should you get your peptides from?
Almost without exception, peptides that are purchased from the internet come from overseas and are potentially ineffective or worse, dangerous. Peptides sourced from overseas have been tested by researchers and shown to either be dosed ineffectively low, contain none of the actual compound it claimed, and/or have completely different compounds than it should. In order to ensure you are getting the product, dosage, and therefore the results you want, it is advisable to visit a licensed facility and have your peptide therapy administered by a certified professional. There are wellness clinics in most cities now that are able to walk you through the process as well as provide you with lifestyle, training, and nutritional guidance that will help enhance the positive results you can see and feel from peptide therapies. Another excellent option is to find a reputable telemedicine clinic that can walk you through the process of receiving a prescription over the phone and your actual products delivered directly to your doorstep – from a licensed pharmacy. Whether you are looking for anti-aging, performance, fat loss, muscle gain, or generally just want to feel better overall, there are protocols to get you headed in the right direction today!
For the entirety of human history we have struggled. With few exceptions, daily survival was a challenge. Manual labor was done out of necessity. Stress was acute and real. Adversity was part of the fabric of life and not something we had to manufacture by visiting a local gym, trying our resolve in an obstacle course race, or signing up for some other form of volunteer masochism. Unfortunately, even spending an hour a day training like the average gym-goer is not enough to replace the level of activity that we have phased out over countless generations.
Human beings have always strove to reduce the amount of stress we encounter. Now we have begun to realize we need acute stressors in order to shape our physiology and psychology, and live the healthiest and happiest lives that we can. I am going to start this blog series by covering why hitting the gym once a day isn’t enough, as well as how to incorporate low level activity throughout the day to facilitate sustainable progress that will provide you will health as well as fitness.
Adjusting our Modern Lifestyle
Modern lifestyle is clearly a blessing and a curse. No longer are we fighting for our lives; except against our own bad habits. Although still prevalent in some areas, most Americans do not go hungry, but we haven’t learned how to say no to food. We have eliminated diseases that had been the scourge of civilization, but we have ushered in a whole host of new ones that we are seemingly ignoring even as it spreads to our children. I tend to give us the benefit of the doubt and hope we soon see the err of our ways. After all, all of the generations that have come before us have fought tooth and nail to get us to the point where we are able to coast along on cruise control if we so choose. However, now we must course correct. Now we must analyze and separate actions that we can do from those that we should do. This is where correcting small habits comes in.
We tend to focus on large, noble goals rather than small daily habits that actually make up the overwhelming majority of our lives. It is no secret that what we do everyday typically gets outsourced to habit. Driving to work involves eating a cheap, sugar filled breakfast. Lunch involves sitting around consuming some kind of fast food. Dinner is more of the same. Work breaks are filled by kicking our feet up and playing on our phones. Each and every one of these situations involves a compromise being made.
Burning Calories All Day
As I mentioned before, going to the gym once a day is not enough. I don’t think I need to make the argument that walking on a treadmill or hitting an elliptical for an hour after consuming sugar filled coffee, cheeseburgers, or even “healthy” salads all day will do almost nothing for you. In fact, that desperate attempt to burn off the calories of the day will almost certainly result in metabolic adaptation and drive you further down the wrong road.
Even if you are absolutely killing an eating plan, with calories being kept in check, micronutrients being consumed, and potentially toxic food products being avoided, hitting the gym once a day is almost certainly not enough to keep you healthy. This is where the forgotten variable of non-exercise activity thermogenesis comes in. Non-exercise activity thermogenesis, or NEAT, is arguably the most underutilized tool that the average person has at their disposal. Even with the proliferation of fitness trackers across the population, most do not understand how to utilize and manipulate NEAT. Ask any fitness professional or health coach worth their salt and they will tell you that what happens in the gym in literally only the very tip of the iceberg.
No matter how hard you work in the gym, if you are sitting down for 8 hours a day and walking only a few thousand steps you will at best be treading water. Progress will be slow or nonexistent. You may build muscle. You will likely make some initial progress if you have never exercised before. Eventually though, your lifestyle will manifest itself in the shape of a hard plateau preventing progress. At this point you may ask for some help, hire a trainer, or worst of all go online and find a fitness celebrity for guidance. Each of these may give you the answer to break through your plateaus, but it is equally likely they will only build that obstacle higher.
What Can We Do to Increase N.E.A.T. ?
Interestingly, the answer won’t be found at the gym. Breaking down that plateau will happen at home and at work. Find new opportunities to increase activity throughout the day. Walking during breaks or at lunch. Park as far away from every building as possible. Doing squats, pushups, pullups, and lunges throughout the day is another great option. All of these are different strategies to achieve the same objective. We must realize how far we have strayed from the lifestyles of our ancestors, and try to incorporate aspects of their lives into ours.
Visiting a gym for activity is something that has arisen less than one hundred years ago. Up until then, for most people exercise typically came in the form of low-level consistent movement paired with short bursts of high intensity activity such as sprinting or arduous manual labor. Think of the gym as a replacement for this acute, higher-level stress. Push yourself intelligently and consistently but don’t forget, you still need to replace the low-level, consistent form of exercise we have fortunately, or unfortunately evolved away from for the most part.
Using a Fitness Trackers
This is where fitness trackers shine. There is only one reason I recommend the average person get some type of wearable tracker and that is to bring awareness to their level of activity throughout the day. Once you have become aware of a variable and how it is affecting you, then you are able to manipulate and control it. It is common for me to see clients that average four or five thousand steps a day at most (divide this number in half for the weekends). No wonder we have a weight problem. No wonder we have circulatory and respiratory issues. Of course we have chronic diseases.
Movement isn’t something that we had to pay attention to in the past. It is only because we have created a lifestyle for the large part devoid of physical struggle that we must seek out physical activity. We may adapt to this low level of activity over generations, but should we? As life only continues to get more convenient, it is imperative that we continue to get more creative. At Impakt Health, we take every aspect of health and fitness into consideration when training our clients and we thank you for helping us bring the two back together again!
Augmenting your Calorie Burn
The suggestions above for increasing NEAT are at the core of how each of us should focus our efforts, but there are options that can help improve the experience, and even improve overall calorie burn. At Ikon Health, we offer a number of wellness IV Therapy solutions that can improve energy output, as well as some injectables that will give you a boost. Some of the items include our Athletic Performance IV, B12 Injection, Lipotropic Injections, and more.