Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat

Ep 179: The Real Reasons Your Scale Weight Fluctuates (It's Not Always Fat Gain) with Louise Digby

June 07, 2024 Louise Digby Episode 179
Ep 179: The Real Reasons Your Scale Weight Fluctuates (It's Not Always Fat Gain) with Louise Digby
Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
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Wits & Weights | Smart Science to Build Muscle and Lose Fat
Ep 179: The Real Reasons Your Scale Weight Fluctuates (It's Not Always Fat Gain) with Louise Digby
Jun 07, 2024 Episode 179
Louise Digby

What’s the secret behind the fluctuating numbers on your scale? What’s the real deal between weight loss and fat loss? How can you escape the emotional rollercoaster of fat loss and body image?

Today, Philip (@witsandweights) welcomes Louise Digby, a registered nutritional therapist and women’s weight loss expert. She dives deep into the real reasons behind scale weight fluctuations, the dangers of scale obsession, and the importance of non-scale victories. Louise shares her insights on the role of hormones in weight management, the problem with restrictive dieting, and the emotional and psychological side of fat loss and body image. She also provides top tips for sustainable fat loss, improving body image, and addressing underlying health issues for long-lasting results.

Louise, the founder of The Nourish Method to Lasting Fat Loss, is renowned for her unique approach to health and well-being. She doesn’t advocate for restrictive dieting or superhuman willpower. Instead, she empowers her clients to sustainably lose fat, optimize their health, and rediscover their sparkle.

Today, you’ll learn all about:

2:18 Reasons for weight fluctuations beyond fat gain
9:36 When and what to measure
14:03 Weight loss vs fat loss
16:27 Dangers of scale obsession
19:15 Hormonal influences on weight
27:20 Recommended tests to start with
29:40 Problems with restrictive dieting
36:00 Emotional aspects and body image
40:11 Celebrating non-scale victories
43:45 Tips for sustainable progress and positive body image
50:41 Where to find Louise
51:02 Outro

Episode resources:

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🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

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Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

What’s the secret behind the fluctuating numbers on your scale? What’s the real deal between weight loss and fat loss? How can you escape the emotional rollercoaster of fat loss and body image?

Today, Philip (@witsandweights) welcomes Louise Digby, a registered nutritional therapist and women’s weight loss expert. She dives deep into the real reasons behind scale weight fluctuations, the dangers of scale obsession, and the importance of non-scale victories. Louise shares her insights on the role of hormones in weight management, the problem with restrictive dieting, and the emotional and psychological side of fat loss and body image. She also provides top tips for sustainable fat loss, improving body image, and addressing underlying health issues for long-lasting results.

Louise, the founder of The Nourish Method to Lasting Fat Loss, is renowned for her unique approach to health and well-being. She doesn’t advocate for restrictive dieting or superhuman willpower. Instead, she empowers her clients to sustainably lose fat, optimize their health, and rediscover their sparkle.

Today, you’ll learn all about:

2:18 Reasons for weight fluctuations beyond fat gain
9:36 When and what to measure
14:03 Weight loss vs fat loss
16:27 Dangers of scale obsession
19:15 Hormonal influences on weight
27:20 Recommended tests to start with
29:40 Problems with restrictive dieting
36:00 Emotional aspects and body image
40:11 Celebrating non-scale victories
43:45 Tips for sustainable progress and positive body image
50:41 Where to find Louise
51:02 Outro

Episode resources:

📲 Send me a text message!

Support the Show.


🎓 Join Wits & Weights Physique University

👩‍💻 Schedule a FREE nutrition/training audit with Philip

👥 Join our Facebook community for live Q&As & support

✉️ Join the FREE email list with insider strategies and bonus content!

📱 Try MacroFactor for free with code WITSANDWEIGHTS. The only food logging app that adjusts to your metabolism!

🩷 Enjoyed this episode? Share it on social and follow/tag @witsandweights

🤩 Love the podcast? Leave a 5-star review

📞 Send a Q&A voicemail

Louise Digby:

no hormones are often used as a bit of a scapegoat when it comes to trouble with losing weight. But really, they're still a symptom. They're not the root of it all. And all the things that we've been talking about like darts, inflammation, toxic load, these are all things that impact your hormones, though I find that if we can instead find out what's going on with those, then we can have a real positive impact on our hormones without actually needing to test the hormones.

Philip Pape:

Welcome to the wit's end weights podcast. I'm your host, Philip pape, and this twice a week podcast is dedicated to helping you achieve physical self mastery by getting stronger. Optimizing your nutrition and upgrading your body composition will uncover science backed strategies for movement, metabolism, muscle and mindset with a skeptical eye on the fitness industry so you can look and feel your absolute best. Let's dive right in Whitson weights community Welcome to another episode of The Whitson weights Podcast. Today I'm delighted to be joined by Louise Digby, a registered nutritional therapist, women's weight loss expert and founder of the nourish method to lasting fat loss. What I love about Louise's approach is she focuses on transforming her clients health and well being by identifying and addressing each individual's unique needs and imbalances. She's not about restrictive dieting, or the need for superhuman willpower. Instead, she helps her clients lose fat, optimize their health, and rediscover what she calls their sparkle in a sustainable way. Louise's clients typically come to her after struggling to lose weight, despite eating well and working hard to burn the fat. Sound familiar? I know I've been there, and I'm sure many of you have as well. And that's why I'm excited to dive into this conversation with Louise. Today, you'll learn about all the reasons the scale weight fluctuates, both in the short term and when it comes to true fat loss and gain. Louise will share her insights on the dangers of scale obsession, the importance of non scale victories, we'll discuss the role of hormones and weight management, the problem with restricted dieting, and the emotional and psychological side of fat loss and body image. And we'll have Louis share some of her top tips in some of these areas like sustainable fat loss, and underlying issues and imbalances when it comes to achieving long lasting results. Louise, welcome to the show.

Louise Digby:

Thank you so much for having me, I'm really pleased to be here.

Philip Pape:

So let's just let's start by examining the premise of the topic today, which is that scale weight is actually important or relevant in some way, before we dive into the details to to achieve some outcome. So is scale weight important?

Louise Digby:

I think it's not as important as it's made out to be. Obviously, it gives you a rough idea of whether you're moving in the right direction or not. But what we always overlook is that there's so many things that can contribute to our weight increasing or decreasing. And, you know, it's not just about that loss, because that's what we want, isn't it, we want to lose fat. But there might be other things going on that might not allow that to be reflected on the scales. So for example, if you're gaining muscle, then that's a really good thing. But obviously muscle is going to give you some weight. So if you're gaining muscle, you might see the scales go up. If you're gaining muscle and losing some fat, you might see the scales stay the same. So we have to think about, you know, what have we been doing, we've been doing strength training, because that is going to have an impact. That's a really good thing. And then there's also things like water retention. And you know, this is particularly for women, a really common thing. And you know, this might happen more at certain times of the month. And you might have water retention, if you're if you're feeling unwell, if you know if you've got an infection or a bug, if you're experiencing allergies or food reactions. Or if there's just genuinely inflammation in your body, then you're going to be more likely to retain water. If you've been eating more so or a little bit more junk food that may not actually be fat gain, it could be water retention as a result of the extra, so the extra carbs or other bits. So that's something that can make the scales jump up really quickly. So when you feel like the scales have jumped up a few pounds overnight, it's almost certainly not fat, that's going to be water retention. So we also need to think about well, how quickly are the scales moving because it's moving very quickly. It's not fat that's going on off. And then another thing that we need to think about is bowel movements. So if we are constipated, and we've been constipated for a few days, then that's going to build up in your system and that carries some weight. You know, you could carry an extra kilogram or two in like fecal matter. So, you know, if you're not having regular bowel movements, then that could be something that is causing the scales to stay the same or go up. And equally, if that corrects itself, then your weight will come down a little bit quicker. So I'd say those are probably some of the main things that can cause the scales to fluctuate. And then I also touched on it before, but it's really key menstrual cycles. For women, it is so so normal to gain a little bit of weight before your period, to lose it again after your period. So I always think for women who are having a regular cycle, if you do want to weigh yourself, it's best to compare, like for like, in terms of at the same time of your cycle each month? Because otherwise, it's not really very comparable from week to week. All

Philip Pape:

right, yeah, no, I'm glad you already got into to the list of the reasons the scale might go up. And I like how you said, let's use the rule of thumb of how quickly it is right, because if you freak out over a two pound jump, I mean, at least the way I like to put it is you'd have to over consumed by 7000 calories to gain two pounds of fat. So let's, let's be realistic about it. And really, it takes time for fat to change. So you mentioned muscle gain. Totally makes sense, right? Muscles denser, you might be undergoing some body re composition. I'm sure you see this as well, like when you're trying to go through fat loss phase with somebody who's new to training, you might find that that that reveals itself was what looks like a plateau, right? It looks like a plateau. And in reality, the waist size is going down, things like that. So I do want to talk about other non scale measurements in a second. But let's go through the list here. Before just make sure we covered everything you said water retention for from hormone changes, like your menstrual cycle, illness and allergies. I think that's that's really important to understand that something like an illness, something that's a change in your routine, could potentially cause your body to react in this way. More salt and junk food. You know, I always tell people, they have that pizza and Chinese food and it's later in the evening. Just watch out. You're gonna gain like three pounds the next day, and it's not fat. Yeah. Gut content, bowel movements. What about your gut health and inflammation? Those are two other things that come to mind. Can they How can those affect your skill way? Yeah, definitely,

Louise Digby:

if you're, if you've got imbalances in your gut, in the bacteria or the yeast, then that's something that can contribute to inflammation in your body can also contribute to water retention. And obviously, it can contribute to constipation as well. And those are all things that can contribute to kind of weight gain that isn't fat. So certainly your gut health is a big factor. And then another one that I've just thought of is the glycogen stores in your muscle. So if you've done some extended cardio, and you've really burned through the sugar stores in your muscle, then you're going to be a bit lighter, because not only have you lost some of the sugar, but you're losing a lot of water that is stored with that. So water weight will go down as well. Yeah, and

Philip Pape:

so that's, that reminds me the time you weigh in the consistency weigh is important too, right? Because you don't want to weigh yourself right after this super hard workout necessarily, when the next day you're weighing yourself and your rest glycogen glycogen stores. Oh, and I guess the I guess the opposite could be is true as well, right? When you let's say you have a really hard leg workout, you're going to are you going to draw in some extra muscle glycogen, or there's inflammatory response from the muscle adaptation overnight that helps you gain weight, right? Have you seen that where after a really hard leg workout the next day, you might be a little bit heavier than a tip than another day?

Louise Digby:

Yeah, that can definitely be the case. And I was talking to someone recently who is kind of like an expert in, in the glycogen sort of area. And he was talking about how he actually looks at the scales to help him to see, you know, with what his glycogen stores alike, and wherever his body is ready to do cardio or wherever he needs to replenish his glycogen stores. And you know, that's for someone who is, you know, knows that their their weight is quite steady. But yeah, it just goes to show that, you know, the scales mean a hell of a lot more than just how much fat you're gaining or losing.

Philip Pape:

So true. And that so that sounds like something a bodybuilder might do as well during prep, or they're using sodium and fluid to manipulate things. And that's the same thing that happens when somebody gets off of a diet, right? When they come back to maintenance, they're gonna gain a couple pounds just from all that water coming in the extra carbs and so on. So would you recommend this is always a controversy? And I'll tell you what I do after you answer. But do you recommend weighing daily for people so that they understand their individual patterns and gather that level of precision or is that too much for some people?

Louise Digby:

I think it's a very individual thing. I work with lots of women who benefit from really reducing how often they weigh themselves, I think, particularly at the beginning of your weight loss journey. I ticularly, when you're coming at it from a more holistic approach, where you're not just starving yourself to weight loss, sometimes the progress can be slower at first where you're working on optimizing your health so that you can lose weight in a healthy way. And I think because the progress can be a bit slower at first, that can be really demoralizing. And you can kind of overlook the real results that you're getting, and other changes that might be happening in your body. So you know, in that scenario, it's often a good idea to weigh less and weekly is often better, if not monthly, sometimes not at all, it might be better to do measurements or that kind of thing with your clothes. But then there are other people who find the scales really motivating whether they've gained or not, you know, some people say that they've lost weight, and that spares more than other people, or that same type of person might see that they've not lost weight, and then that might motivate them to refocus and change what they're doing. So if you're someone like that, then I think great, weigh yourself every day. Yeah,

Philip Pape:

awesome. I mean, it's a great answer, right, is you have to understand yourself. You know, I also even to extend that would say, don't necessarily assume that past patterns and emotional relationships with the scale would necessarily continue. Like I think you have to evaluate where you are, you know, today and maybe work with a coach like you who can help help you understand what you need for that phase for that goal for whatever you're going for. Because someone who says, Well, if I don't weigh myself, how do I know I'm making progress? That's where you could say, these other ways tell us that we're making progress. So why don't we get into a couple of those you already mentioned, you mentioned something, but just let's start listing and going through so people understand, hey, there's a lot, there's a holistic approach here, we can say that helps us understand that we were making progress toward that goal. Yeah, so

Louise Digby:

I mentioned measurements. So this might be getting a fabric tape measure. And measuring all different places on your body, particularly around your tummy is a great place to measure because for most people, that's the really bothersome weight that they want to get rid of, that's quite meaningful progress to measure. And also, you know, finding an item of clothing or a few items of clothing, perhaps that you want to get into, or that you know, kind of a little bit tight, that can be a really nice way to see your progress. Because it's it's quite easy to see all over your body, how things are changing. If you do that. Some people do really well with taking photos, and then comparing the photos, you know, might be each week or each month, then you can get a really visual way of seeing how your body is changing. And then I also think it's really important to look at other health indicators. So with my clients, I really like to monitor energy levels, and cravings, and sleep quality, and like PMS, and bloating and those types of things. Because those are the really common bothersome symptoms that tend to crop up when we're not best supporting our health. And we're not eating right for ourselves, but they all improve when we're meeting our body's needs when we're getting the exercise, right. So those are really good things to monitor. And if you see you've got a few weeks, we're actually you know that your scores for all of those have come down as in got worse, then, you know, that might be a time to reassess and look at what you're actually doing to see if you're on the right track. Yeah,

Philip Pape:

exactly. So I mean, scale weight is just this one tiny measurement in a sea of so much goodness here with like you said, biofeedback, energy sleep, you said bloating, I don't know if you mentioned hunger, but I mean, you know, things like that, and the photos and the clothes, and it all comes together. And any one of those things I've seen with clients can be individually bothersome, potentially if they've got some history. But when you start to put them together, I think that takes a little bit of the little bit of emotion out when you start to correlate what's going on. I want to talk about the difference between weight loss and fat loss. And I know you talk about weight loss and weight management in your in your bio, and it's a very common term. I'm on this crusade to like use the term fat loss almost exclusively. However, I do understand we, you know, if you've got to lose 20 pounds of fat, you're gonna probably lose some pounds of weight. Fine, we get that. But why is what's the difference in your mind? How do you think of the messaging and communication of this, this topic? And what we really should be focusing on here when it comes to our health and, and our aesthetics to? Yeah,

Louise Digby:

you're definitely right that we should be talking about fat loss and not weight loss because as we've said, you know, you can, you can lose a lot of fat but not see any real changes on the scales. So talking about it in those terms, I think is helpful. And you know, there are scales that you can get that will tell you you know your fat percentage, your muscle percentage and so I think you Keep an eye on those is a good idea that you know, they're not perfect, and they are affected by time of day and hydration status and that sort of thing. But they can be a good way of a good measure of the real progress that you're making. Because you know, if you're losing muscle, then that's really not a good thing. We don't want that to be happening. Because if you're losing muscle you're losing, you know, metabolic rate, your metabolic rate is going to be decreasing and burning fewer calories at rest, and it's gonna be more likely that you're going to regain fat, you know, when you when you go back to kind of eating a more normal diet? So yeah, I think we do need to be paying closer attention to that itself, as opposed to just the weight?

Philip Pape:

Or do you work exclusively on the the fat loss side? Or the weight loss side? And? Or do you also work on the gaining side? Because that's a whole separate issue of when people are gaining weight to gain muscle? How often are you working in that side of it?

Louise Digby:

I just work on the weight loss of balance side of things, because, like you say, is a whole different thing. And, you know, if you're someone who's trying to gain weight, whether that's gain muscle or gain fat, it's kind of similar in a way in that, you know, we still want to optimize your health. It's kind of a very different mindset, I find, yeah,

Philip Pape:

yeah. No, it's totally different. I was just curious. So getting back to the scale a little bit, when we talk about, we talked about how the frequency of wanes and fixate fixations on numbers, can do we know from the evidence or from experience to scale obsession, lead to disordered eating or disordered exercise habits. I mean, I think there's, there's kind of an obvious answer there. But there's also a, like, what do we mean by that? In other words, let's tie it to the importance of using the scale weight to some level, because we need to versus obsessing about it, and then maybe breaking free from that mindset. What are your thoughts on that?

Louise Digby:

Well, why often see in my clients, the ones that weigh themselves very regularly, not all of them, but a lot of them is that the scale can cause a lot of stress. And, you know, that could be because the weights going up, but they've been trying really, really hard. Or it could be because the scale is not gone down. Or just that they can't make sense of, you know, the different fluctuations. And that, that can very easily become an obsessive thing. And in the stress that that causes you, I find for a lot of people, it, it makes it less likely that they're going to be consistent with their healthy habits, because they feel like things aren't working or because the stress of it all makes them want to comfy, or, you know, do these kinds of self sabotaging behaviors. So that's kind of a trend that I tend to see, which is why often recommend to wait a little bit less often, and focus more on those non scale victories to to keep yourself motivated. You know, because I think also, you know, week by week, when you when you're going through a weight loss journey, the changes are so gradual that sometimes we can actually really acknowledge that they're happening. But if we can kind of keep a log each week of whether that's weights or measurements, or, you know, kind of your health markers, then when we look back, and we see where we started from that can be really, really motivating. And it can help us to, to have a much better kind of appreciation of how far we've come. Yeah,

Philip Pape:

yeah, I struggle with this to Louise, where, like, if a client wants a very precise path, you know, we want I want as much data as possible, but I also don't want them to every day be reaching out to me and saying, oh, no, my weight went up. Oh, no weight, my weight went down. Oh, right. And at the same time, how do you? How do you get the best of both, right, like, so one thing I do is trendway. I try to focus more on a trend right? Like say, let's, let's ignore this scale away, but take it and look at the trend. But again, we can't change human nature, oftentimes when it comes to obsessing over these things. So okay, I think we have not that we beat that to death, but we talked a lot about the scale. Let's talk a little bit about the things that influence that a little more detailed, specifically hormones because I know a lot of people in general and women especially are not just one menstrual cycle changes but hormones in general and stress especially right cortisol and stress and the impact on visceral and belly fat and cravings, lack of sleep, like all of those things I'd like to get into what you think is the order of priority for most people knowing that everyone's different, but like when you work with clients, what's what are the top three issues that have have nothing to do with food? Nothing to do with training, but still affect their like weight and fat management?

Louise Digby:

Yeah, this is the message that I'm consistently trying to out there is that there's a lot more to it than just food and exercise. And these underlying factors have a really big impact. So in terms of the top three things really difficult to narrow it down. This is so different for everyone. But no hormones has got to be up there. You know. And when I say hormones, a lot of people will instantly think of sex hormones, but really, I'm talking about all hormones in your body, because that can incorporate your sex hormones, stress hormones, thyroid hormones, blood sugar, blood sugar, hormones, brain chemicals, all of those things, they all in their own ways will interact with the way that your body burns and stores fats. So for example, your thyroid hormones really control the speed of your metabolism. And particularly in women, we see it all the time where thyroids are under functioning, the typical tests that you have done at your doctors are so basic, they don't detect most imbalances. But when you run just a slightly more detailed test, you can see that actually, very often it's not functioning optimally, and that will have a really big impact on your progress. So thyroids really important. Blood sugar hormones are really key, your insulin levels are higher than optimal, then you're going to be spending too much time in fat storage mode. And it's going to be very difficult to get into fat burning mode, without taking steps to address that raised insulin level. And then cortisol, like you mentioned, is another key hormone as well. And, you know, it's one that when it is elevated, and is for so many people because of just the modern lives that we live, it really drives fat storage, particularly around your tummy. And it's a very disruptive hormone. So it will disrupt your sex hormones, it will slow down your thyroid forever, it will disrupt your gut function, cause inflammation, deplete your nutrients, etc, you know, it disrupts everything. So that is, you know, another key hormone. So yeah, the hormones really, really big. And then I take gut health is another big factor as well. And it's kind of for similar reasons, really, because your gut is very involved in how we process our hormones. So we eliminate particularly our estrogens by the liver and into the guts, and they can be reabsorbed, if our gut isn't functioning so well. And then that can cause hormonal imbalance. And the gut can also be a real source of inflammation and toxins, both of which can drive weight loss resistance, and hormonal disruption. In my clients, we very often test the guard. And we so often see that that guy is not functioning optimally in many, many people, whether there's obvious gut issues or not, no, sometimes they've got appears to be functioning well. But when we take a closer look, the balance isn't good with the bacteria and the yeast, they're not absorbing very well. And then, because your gut is connected to everything that's going on the body impacts everything.

Philip Pape:

All right, yeah, that that makes a lot of sense. And, you know, before people get scared that, okay, everything is gonna just stop functioning, because they've got, you know, an imbalance here or there, would you first question is, would you say that a vast majority people can, through some simple lifestyle changes move the needle significantly? And we want to put that out there first. Yeah,

Louise Digby:

definitely. And, you know, I think one of the really motivating things is that the types of things that you need to do to, to kind of get the foundations in place to support the health of your hormones, your gut, your liver, and all these different systems are very similar, you know, so things like making sure you've got enough protein in your diet, making sure you're eating enough overall, hydration, and you know, we can get into the more but you know, there's some core foundations that impact all these systems in no really positive way. Hi,

Unknown:

my name is Nancy. I'd love to give a massive thank you to Philip of waits and waits for his work with my 16 year old daughter, when my 16 year old came to me, you know, she wanted some support with her nutrition. She wasn't happy with her body image and the trends that her weight was going. We were very concerned about what kind of help we could get for her. And all of those concerns were completely allayed by work with Philip, you know, he was so respectful of any of our concerns. He adopted any of his programs to really fit working with a team rather than the busy professionals that he normally works with. His coaching style really resonated with her and we're just literally so grateful that he has taught her so many of the skills and life habits that we hope now she'll take For your her entire life. So huge. Thank you, Philip.

Philip Pape:

Is there something beyond the big thing so and I've seen this as well, there's like the 8020 approach. But then there's like the 9010. In other words, a lot of people are just have very simple but big things that they can change, like the protein, like training hydration. And it may take them a while to get there, because it is far from where they are today. But then they take steps to get there. And now they're operating at this really good new baseline. But there's still some more that they can optimize, let's call it or there's a little bit more to go, let's say once they've gotten there, what would you put in that category, you know, like nutrient deficiencies, or food sensitivities? Or, you know, like, you've got the basics. Now, what is there this one extra step that you can take?

Louise Digby:

Yeah, so the basics are absolutely key. And that's where we start with with everyone that I work with. And then then it comes down to figure it out what your specific imbalances are. And so often, the best way to do that is with testing, if that's available to you. And then you can decide what your key focus needs to be, is it gut health? Is it hormones, is it reducing inflammation, and then once you know what those things are, then that really means taking just kind of more focused steps, in terms of it might mean up in your levels of Omega three, or it might mean avoiding certain foods that drive inflammation in your body, or eating foods to help develop a really diverse range of bacteria in the gut. And you can do lots of these things at the same time to help to create that balance. But sometimes, you might need a bit more of a targeted intervention. Particular when it comes to the gut, for example, if you had like an overgrowth of bacteria, then it might be that you need to do something for a short period, like a month or two, to help reduce down that overgrowth of bacteria. So you know, the types of things that we might recommend to get a good foundation in place are great, but sometimes we need to do things that are a little bit more intense for a short period to help restore balance.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, like an elimination diet, something like that. Yeah. Okay. Yeah, no, that's great when you talk about testing, so that's another area that can get muddy, because there are, there's the medical establishment, which can be iffy. And it depends on where you live, right? And depends on what country you're in and who you have access to an insurance. There's also functional medical practitioners, which again, is a huge spectrum. And then there's coaches as well, all of who have a different level of expertise and scope of practice. So is there kind of a simple here, here, you know, the top place to start? Maybe maybe for women, it's getting hormones tested with saliva and urine metabolites or something, you know, like, what are their common common tests that you often recommend to people,

Louise Digby:

to me, my go to is often load test, which is an organic acids test. And we like this test, because it looks at how your body is functioning. And that helps us to get a look at your unique needs, rather than just comparing you to the average normal person. So this test also helps you to kind of look at lots of different areas in the body at once with kind of one simple collection. So what I like to look at, particularly when it comes to weight loss is know what's going on in the gut, what's going on with your nutrient levels, your toxic load your thyroid, and looking at the thyroid in detail as well. In terms of other hormones, I think it can be helpful to look at those but I don't find it's actually essential. Because, you know, hormones are often used as a bit of a scapegoat when it comes to trouble with losing weight. But really, they're still a symptom, they're not the root of it all. And all the things that we've been talking about, like darts, inflammation, toxic load, these are all things that impact your hormones, though, I find that if we can instead find out what's going on with those, then we can have a real positive impact on our hormones without actually needing to test the hormones.

Philip Pape:

Perfect. I'm going to repeat that for the listener hormones are often a scapegoat. They're a symptom, not the root cause and lots of things impact them, and they can tell you what's going on. But at the end of the day, it's it's something upstream lifestyle choices or something else, like you said, with your gut or nutrient deficiencies or something which still ultimately probably come down to a lifestyle choice to resolve that, you know, 90% plus of the time. So that's that's a really important message. Okay. Now, I want to segue a little bit into another aspect of this when it comes to when it comes to fat loss and dieting. And where restrictive dieting and willpower and things like that come into play, the psychological effects the physiological effects of deprivation. Because you mentioned not just having enough protein, right, but eating enough. And yet, I know you're working primarily in the fat loss side of the equation. So I suspect the majority of your clients are either at maintenance or kind of in a deficit, because you're trying to get to that goal. Now you have, okay, let's not do it too extreme, let's not do it too quickly, and deal with all the other issues that can come up tied to the way they did it before, which might have been a diet or cutting carbs or something like that. So big topic, but go for it, Louise, you can handle it. We can talk about, like energy deficiency, and you talked about eating enough?

Louise Digby:

Yes, yeah, let's start that. Yeah. So we've so many of my clients, when they come to see me, they are not in anywhere near enough. And whilst we do want to be in a calorie deficit, you don't need to be in a massive calorie deficit. And when we are in a significant calorie deficit consistently, it really sends a message to our body that there is a lack of food around and you know, our bodies are really smart and adaptive, and they adapt to that low calorie intake. Or it might be if you're burning a lot of calories, your body will adapt to that high calorie expenditure. And the way that it adapts is it stops spending so much energy and calories on other functions in the body to conserve energy. So basically, we start burning fewer calories. So getting into a big calorie deficit, it kind of only works for so long, and it can set you up for rebound weight gain, because our metabolism decreases as part of that process. And also, because we tend to lose muscle when we're not eating enough. And that is going to reduce our metabolism, like I was saying before. So there's the kind of the physiological side of it. And then there's also the psychological side of that restriction. And for many people, when they do follow such a restrictive diet, it tends to lead to overeating or Binging at certain points. And particularly once the diet stops, it tends to be that there's a significant amount of overeating that goes on for a little while. And you know, that's kind of the a mindset thing, I think. So, for me, the approach that I prefer to take with my clients is to make sure that we're making they're eating enough food so that the thyroid can function properly, so they don't feel hungry, so that they can build muscle. And so that their their mitochondria, where we actually make energy and burn fat function properly. And when you do all of that, and you balance what's going on in the body with hormones in the gut, then your body becomes a lot more efficient at burning fat. And we don't need to be in this massive calorie deficit, which is so difficult to sustain in the long term.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, so you talked about adaptation and eating enough while losing weight, which I think people have trouble comprehending, but just if I'm to paraphrase what you said, and also, from my experience, there's a rate at which you can do this where it doesn't, it's not that hard or that difficult, I guess I would say compared to what it could be. In other words, you, you have to have a little bit of hunger, you're going to have that. But if you're making the right choices, because we can get into Okay, high satiety foods and all that fun stuff, but just simply the rate of loss and the amount of deficit, your body doesn't quite perceive it as this massive, you know, I hate to say starvation, because there's no such thing as like starvation mode, but you know, it doesn't perceive that you're just going to starve. It's more like, I'm a little bit short of resources right now. But I can kind of function in general. And you've, you've probably experienced this personally to lose when you go in a fat loss phase. Like I know, sometimes I want to go more aggressively, say, knowing that I have more calories to work with, and yet to my body that's still pretty darn aggressive. And it's like starts to fight back, say, oh, let's turn the dial down a little bit. You know, same thing with clients, they want to go all out and like, let's turn it back a little bit, because what you'll find is that you'll actually make progress week after week. You know, it might take an extra few weeks, but it actually doesn't take extra time. Because if you went too aggressive, you'd either overeat or binge or give up or lose muscle or something along the way. Yeah, I know you say something because I'm just rambling. Go ahead.

Louise Digby:

I was gonna say to add to all of that is that at the same time is quite stressful for your body to be in a significant calorie deficit. And, you know, when back when we were cavemen and there was a famine, our bodies had a self preservation mechanism, which was to raise cortisol levels and that helped us to get our muscle and break it down and turn it into sugar to give us fuel to keep going. So when we're not eating enough consistently, it drives up our cortisol levels and that contributes to stubborn fat around your tummy, but it will also contributes to muscle wasting, which, you know, neither of those things are aligned with your weight loss goals. So it's, you know, can take a little bit to get your head around it badly not eating enough can hold your weight loss progress. Yeah.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, it's like, it's like the short game, or the long game is the short game or whatever the phrase is where, like, if you do it, with some patience, it'll actually happen faster than if you try to rush it. Yeah. Yeah, no, I think that's great. We talked about metabolic adaptation all the time as well. And it's, it's important how you, you separate it a bit the hormonal impacts as well, from just the just the rate of loss and the hunger and everything else. Because they're, it's almost like each thing stacks on the other, right, like you said, cortisol goes up. So then your stress level goes up. So then you get hungrier, so then you don't sleep as much. So then, right, and it just stacks. And it's like, it's more than just this equation, you know, huh? Yeah, definitely. So I Okay, I, we kind of talked about the emotional side of it a bit. I don't know if there's also emotional eating and that kind of aspect you want to touch on because when we're in fat loss, even if let's say we've yet somebody is working with you, Louise as a coach, and you've kind of educated them on the types of foods that might serve them, you know, more nutrient dense foods and high satiety foods. And I'm sure your philosophy is like you still want to have things you enjoy and have some indulgences in there for your mental health. How do we still make sure not to fall into that old trap some people have of emotional eating and succumbing to that, knowing that we're also restricting, in a way, right, restricting their way, as we go through that fat loss phase? How do we balance all of that? Yeah,

Louise Digby:

I think doing the mindset work is absolutely key. You know, it's all well and good, knowing what you need to do. But being able to implement that consistently, is the most important thing. And in order to be able to be consistent, we need to address our mindset monkeys, as I like to call them. Because you know, stuff going on that is causing us to self sabotage or feeling guilty about what we're eating. If we're feeling negative around ourselves, then all of that are things that are going to be obstacles that will stop you from being consistent. So I always think it's important to do some work around our relationship with food, how we think about food, because from a lot of diet clubs, that most people that I work with have done at some point in their lives, they get taught that there's good and there's bad foods, and that if you eat good foods, then well done you you're you're good, you're doing really well. You eat bad foods, then shame on you, your willpower is weak, you're weak. And that's kind of the message that is given. And it's, it's just not true. And it's it's not helpful, either. And, you know, the fact is, is that there is no good or bad foods, and all food is good, even the foods that we might tend to think bad, they still give us sustenance, you know, they're still giving us something, and even, you know, the most nutritious food in the world. If that's all we had, then that's not going to be good for us either. So I tried to get my clients thinking of foods in a bit of a different way. And kind of thinking about what that food is giving them in terms of nourishment, and kind of more on a scale of nourishing to really nourishing. So moving away from from talking about and thinking about foods is good and bad. And also, you know, along with that, try not to beat yourself up if you are, you know, stepping off plan or eating something unplanned. Because again, it just doesn't help. What the research has shown is that people who feel guilty and beat themselves up after eating something, quote unquote bad, are more likely to go ahead and eat even more of it. Because they're self soothing that guilt that they're experiencing or that shame that they're experiencing. So if we can work on allowing ourselves to have some indulgences and give ourselves a little bit of leeway. And also just practice, just you know, when we do kind of fall off track, actually just practicing acknowledging that and accepting it and moving on, then that can make a world of difference with our progress.

Philip Pape:

Yeah, love it. I definitely the the acceptance of the emotions and acknowledging and seeing them as opposed to saying that we're going to be able to clamp them off or change them is a very positive approach as as his self compassion and giving yourself some some room grace, leeway, whatever. I do, like the nourishment scale that you mentioned, because I often struggle with the messaging of when we talk about food because again, there is no good or bad like you said, but we still throw in words like healthy and fuel and nourishment. It's like, where do we use the language properly right to still to take it away out of that moral decision that it used to be and put it more in a okay, that's just the lines with some level of fuel and nourishment for me based on my goal now and you know, it could be just less nurturing or more nourishing, there's no like, other side of the scale right here that bad, right? And then. So when it comes to emotional eating, I definitely get all of that it's a process, there's mindset work required, what about the client you've worked with? Who maybe you've done some of that work, and they, they go through a fat loss phase, let's say they've lost 1520 pounds, but they're still not where they want to be, from how they look their body image, right? You know, and they're kind of defeated, in a way, even though they've made all this progress? How do you deal with that kind of situation, or how to somebody listening do that for themselves?

Louise Digby:

Yeah, I've definitely worked with women who have hit their goals, but not been happy with what they see in the mirror. And that can happen for a number of reasons. You know, it could be loose skin, it could be because particularly for women, when you lose weight, you tend to have a little bit more of wrinkles on your skin. And, you know, some women I've worked with have actually decided to regain a little bit of weight intentionally, to kind of get to a better place. But ultimately, what we need to do is we need to practice and, and do the work so that we can love ourselves, no matter what shape or size that we are. And part of that, I think, when we are approaching our weight loss journey, we need to come at it from a loving position, as opposed to a loathing position, losing weight, the weight, because we know that that is good for us physically, because it's going to enable us to be more active, do more the family, whatever those motivation points are, rather than doing it because you hate yourself, because you think you'll love yourself when you're slimmer. And so you know, there's lots of things that you can do to help build up your body image and, you know, things like, again, the language that we use, when we think about ourselves, or when we talk about ourselves, just practicing, you know, not talking about ourselves in a negative way, and really thinking about and talking about ourselves in the way that you would a loved one or a friend or child, you know, be just giving ourselves some compassion and being nice to ourselves. And that can take some real practice because, you know, I catch myself doing it as well, where you, you know, can really berate yourself and put yourself down for not being able to do something that you thought you could do or be consistent with something. And again, it just doesn't help to be like to put yourself down like that. So if we can practice just being nicer to ourselves, then, you know, it takes a little bit of time, but it turns into a habit. And then that just helps us to feel better about ourselves in time. It's

Philip Pape:

funny, because in my community, one of the most common comments that I have to give people is not have to give people that give people's reframing kind of reply, like let's reframe what you just said, right? Because like you said, not only do we have this negative self talk, and we label and such, but we were doing it to ourselves, which should be the person we love the most in a way and yet, just asking yourself, would you say this to somebody else out loud? Probably big a big no, like you would even recoil from it. So if we can kind of turn that around on ourselves. And make it a habit. With that reframing. I definitely love that. And even myself, since I've become a coach, it's every time I think of like, I can't statement or I have to or an I am statement. It's like no, these these things aren't set in stone. How do we reframe that language? So really good advice. It's not easy, right, Louise? It's simply not easy. We got to work on it. But it's good to hear that. Let's we're getting close to wrapping up. Do you have like, top two or three tips for when we talk about sustainable fat loss and the overall process, something that everybody could benefit from, you know, like, what they might be principles that you have? Or actual, like practices, like, you know, you mentioned protein that could be in those, I don't care, what do you think is the top three things that would make a biggest impact to someone listening? I

Louise Digby:

think I'm gonna say it partly because we haven't really talked about it much. But also because it's really important. Sleep, make sure you're sleeping enough. Because you can do your diet perfectly right, you can be doing all the stress management, all the right workouts, but if you're not sleeping, then all of the benefits you get from that are going to be really limited. And also you're going to feel rubbish, your moods going to be lower, your cravings are going to be higher and everything's just going to be harder. So we can prioritize getting enough sleep and good quality sleep as well. It will make a world of difference to how you feel and your progress. You know, sometimes I have clients come to me who say, Please, I've I've not changed anything. I'm still you know, eating Wow, I've been trying really hard, but suddenly my weight loss is plateaued. Then we start digging into things we say why Hang on a minute, you were sleeping seven, eight hours night, and over the past few weeks, you've been getting six hours. So let's start there. And then when we address the sleep, suddenly, things start moving in the right direction again. So yes, sleep, massive

Philip Pape:

sleep. And before we continue there, so just read the recent issue of body by science, which is Dr. Bill Campbell's Research Review, he reviewed a study that just came out, that took two groups, and they put them in a sleep lab, or not one group and a sleep lab. And they had to do an experiment two different times for the same group. So they didn't have like, it was like a crossover study. And in one case, they got eight, eight and a half hours of sleep, and another they got five and a half. And they were on the exact same calorie intake, like totally controlled. And the group that had the eight and a half had much better improvement in body composition, right. So they actually built muscle and lost fat. And asleep group only, only didn't lose, they didn't gain lean mass actually lost lean mass and they gain fat was the opposite, right? Just at the exact same calorie intake. So again, just to reinforce your point of how important sleep is,

Louise Digby:

yeah, because you know, we've got to rest and have that recovery time in order to build the muscle and reap the benefits from the workouts that we're doing. And all the repair that should be happening from all the good nutrition that you're putting in. So yeah, sleep, absolute top priority. And stress management is another really important one for very similar reasons to sleep, you know, it kind of has a similar impact on your body as sleep deprivation does. And is just so the type of person that I worked with who is a woman who's in kind of their mid stage of life, tends to be very highly stressed, always on the go, never really stopping or having any real me time or downtime. And so they spent all their time in fight or flight mode, and never really get into the rest and digest mode, which we need to be in, in order to be able to burn fat and you know, repair and recover. So, you know, I think focusing on some stress management techniques, obviously reducing stress where you can, and helping to support your body to get into that rest and digest mode, you know, for like deep breathing, meditation, cold showers, and many, many other things that you can do to help to stimulate that parasympathetic nervous system.

Philip Pape:

what's your what's your favorite stress management technique for you?

Louise Digby:

I think just doing some deep belly breathing, because it takes a minute. And you can just do it anywhere, you know, you'd be sitting in traffic, or you can present at your desk or just before you eat. And you know, there's research on it just show that it does lower your cortisol levels quite quickly. And you know, change that nervous system pattern. And it has a significant impact if you can practice that regularly. Yeah,

Philip Pape:

I know that I know, there are probably apps for this. I wonder there's got to be podcasts out there where they just take you through breathing techniques, right. All right, what's the third one? Because we love lists, we're just going with three, right? Yeah,

Louise Digby:

I think I probably come back to protein. Because if we're not getting enough protein in then not going to be building muscle, we're not going to have the fuel we need to make our hormones and to repair our guts and support our immune system, and so many other things. So protein is absolutely key. And, you know, it's interesting, because I see real mixed messages out there on social media. And I keep seeing more conventional doctors who are saying, you know, kind of like, trying to debunk the the message of protein and say that, you know, protein isn't as important everyone's making it out to be. But it really is important. And you know, you've just, you just see the difference, you probably see it in your own clients when you up the protein. If it's from quality sources, then the world of difference it makes to everything keeps you full, keeps you energized, stops the cravings, helps you sleep. And you can just go on and on with all the benefits of having enough protein. For

Philip Pape:

sure, for sure, I can never end going on about protein because it is so important, like you said, and even especially during fat loss, when it tends to need to be higher to preserve that muscle, you also get the benefits of it being higher, like you said, with satiety, energy, stuff like that. And it also gets to tend to tend to, to get you to eat more whole foods in general, because you're seeking out animal and plant sources that have the protein. It's funny, I did an episode A while back called like the dangers of low protein for longevity, because that was that's the message they're pushing and somehow lowering your protein helps you live longer. And when you dissect it, it's like rat studies and there's so many things wrong with the methodology. And you don't get you're now killing all the benefits of having protein and building muscle. And that's going to kill you long before any of these other things get you to that like 90 year old Yeah. Cool. All right. So I like to ask this of all guests, Louise as we wrap up, is there a question you wish I had asked and if so, what's your answer?

Louise Digby:

Good question. Is there

Philip Pape:

no I know

Louise Digby:

I can't think of anything my mind's gone completely blank.

Philip Pape:

It happens to me too. And people throw that on me and I think I would have known better by like turning to have have one in my pocket. But no, we covered a lot of topics I took you kind of around the whole circle of things. You know, the idea of nourishing and adding in and supporting your body is so so important. And I think we don't get an get enough messaging on the like the sleep and the stress and things like that you talked about, probably because it's, they come across as like boring topics and oh, here we go. Again, I need to do this, but we need to continue putting that message out there and then also supporting people on easy ways to do that. Because, you know, so people don't have any excuses. Anyway. Good stuff, Louise. Where Where can listeners learn more about you and your work? So

Louise Digby:

my website is Louise Digby nutrition.com. Or you can connect with me on social media Instagram, Facebook Tik Tok, by searching at Louise Digby nutrition. And then I also have a podcast, which is the thriving metabolism. And you can find that on any podcast platform.

Philip Pape:

Awesome. Thriving metabolism. Absolutely. I'll put your IG I'll put your website in there. I think we have a masterclass that we want to send people to potentially there. So I'll put that in. And it's been a pleasure, Louise. It was a lot of fun time really flew by a lot of great tips in here for the listener and I thank you for coming on. Thank

Louise Digby:

you so much for having me. Yeah, I feel like we really covered some important stuff today, for sure.

Philip Pape:

Thank you for tuning in to another episode of wits end weights. If you found value in today's episode, and know someone else who's looking to level up their wits or weights. Please take a moment to share this episode with them. And make sure to hit the Follow button in your podcast platform right now to catch the next episode. Until then, stay strong.

Navigating Weight Loss and Hormones
Understanding Non-Scale Measurements in Health
Hormones, Gut Health, & Weight Management
Balanced Approach to Weight Loss
Navigating Emotional Eating and Mindset
Embracing Body Image and Self-Love
Importance of Sleep for Fat Loss
Stress, Sleep, and Protein - Importance

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