Nutritional support consists of body composition measurements and the formulation of a balanced diet plan, especially adapted to the specific needs of each client or patient. Nutrition science, however, is not restricted to just that. Psychological support forms an integral part of the process.
Equally important is also for you to be, in a way, «educated» through your experiences, in order to adopt healthy eating habits and a healthy lifestyle, which, in turn, will help you maintain a healthy body weight.
Which is the method I follow and how is this scientifically supported? Let me walk you through the main steps of the whole process.
Food for thought:
A medium-height woman tells you that she weights 60kg. Try to imagine her. What does she look like? Is she skinny? Plump? Or maybe obese? Did you know that female athletes, having an average of 14% fat in their body, weigh more than 70kg? Do they seem obese to you?
Muscle mass is the component in our body that increases our weight, but, at the same time, boosts our metabolism and makes our skeletal/muscular system and our organism, in general, healthy. Fat weighs less, but the more we have in our body the more bulky we look.
The medical aspect is, also, not to be ignored. An increased fat mass significantly raises the risk of many diseases, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol levels, coronary heart disease, and many more.
In other words, a body with normal muscle mass and low fat levels is the ideal, both in medical terms and in terms of aesthetics!
1. Measurement of body composition
Body composition analysis is a measurement that calculates your body fat, your muscle mass and your body fluids. Weight should not be the sole indicator of our health. The number recorded on your scale can be significantly influenced by different hormonal disorders, other pathological conditions or medication treatments.
The percentage of fat and muscle mass in our body is an initial, more accurate, indicator of our general health.
This measurement is completely painless and non-invasive.
Food for thought:
Researchers suggest that fat cells, particularly the abdominal ones, are biologically active. What does that mean? These fat cells function just like an endocrine organ or gland. They produce hormones and other substances that obviously affect our health. Excess body fat, especially belly fat, disrupts the balance and the function of these hormones causing the occurrence of obesity-related diseases.
One reason that makes visceral fat so harmful is the fact that it lies very close to the portal vein, which carries blood (and, therefore, many nutrients) from the small intestine, the stomach, the spleen and the pancreas to the liver. The substances released by the visceral fat, such as free fatty acids, enter the portal vein and travel to the liver, where they can affect the production of lipids.
And this is the interesting part: visceral fat is directly linked with higher cholesterol and LDL (bad) cholesterol, lower HDL (good) cholesterol, and insulin resistance (aka diabetes).
Measurement of visceral fat
The fat stored in the stomach area can be either subcutaneous or visceral. Subcutaneous fat is visible and lies directly under the skin. It is considered to be less dangerous and easier to get rid of. On the contrary, visceral fat should concern us more; it is not always visible and it is stored within the abdominal cavity surrounding our vital organs.
Initially, visceral fat played the role of an energy back-up in periods of famine. Today, the lack of physical activity and our unhealthy eating habits cause an increase of our body fat leading to obesity and obesity-related diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, sleep apnea or even some types of cancer.
This measurement is painless and non-invasive.
And why is muscle mass important?
How does it affect my health?
Low muscle mass in third age is directly linked to low quality of life. Bad memory (higher dementia rates), inability to take care of oneself, frequent falls and therefore frequent bone fractures. And most importantly: seniors with low muscle mass tend to get hospitalised for longer periods of time and present higher rates of hospital-acquired complications.
In younger age groups, totally healthy adults with reduced muscle tissue need longer rehabilitation times after surgeries or road accidents when compared to equally healthy adults that, nevertheless, have increased muscle tissue.
For cancer patients, muscle mass also plays an important role. It helps in reducing hospitalisation time, it contributes to milder chemotherapy or radiation side effects, and it accelerates restoration time.
So, muscle mass is linked to an abundance of pathological conditions and constitutes a vital indicator of our overall health. You should always try to keep it at high levels; and this is something that will never happen if you lose weight fast.
Do not worry! You won’t feel any pain. In essence, nutritional assessment includes the above two measurements and one more performed with a skinfold calliper. As its name denotes, a skinfold calliper measures the thickness of the folds of your skin and it helps me accurately estimate your muscle mass. Why is this measurement useful and when is it performed?
First of all, this measurement is ideal for pregnant women and people who have a pacemaker, since bioimpedance is forbidden in such cases.
Let’s see why this measurement is necessary:
As noted before, weight alone is not a reliable health indicator. One should also consider muscle and fatty issue. Muscle tissue is, in essence, the foundation of our body. Bad nutrition, chemical diets, over exercising in combination with low-calorie diets, all can lead to a reduced muscle tissue that could fall below normal.
Your nutrition plan is always formulated and finalised in your presence and with your help.
After recording all necessary information about your health and eating habits, you and me, together, compose your diet plan. Your meals are planned according to your daily routine and adapted to the principles of the Mediterranean Diet.
Diet plans are fully personalised and, therefore, changes and special requests are more than welcome! All foods are permitted. Indeed, all! My role is to determine the “how much” and “how often” of eating them.
Nutrition is a way of life. It’s one of life values. It should be unique for each person and adapted to their personal needs and habits, beyond standardised diet plans.
My aim is to get to know you better, learn about your daily routine, understand your lifestyle and tune my work to your mentality. This is the only way to help you through this effort. The final destination of our journey will be for you to be fully trained as to how to eat according to your needs, your eating habits and your current sentimental state in any given time. This training will be a firm foundation of a healthy approach towards any weight problems that might occur in the future.
Free yourself from food guilt!
Build a nutritional consciousness, be nutritionally educated.
Let healthy nutrition become part of your life. Because it’s one of life values!
4. Psychological support
There’s strong scientific evidence that the process of weight loss is much more successful when combined with psychological support.
So, in this journey, I will be your companion. I will help you free yourself from any food guilt and re-introduce you to your body, its needs and limitations.
Feel free to share with me your frustration; share your needs and wishes, which I will do my best to turn into reality.
Our network of weight loss specialists has formed psychological support and weight management groups. Feel free to contact me if you wish to join them.
firstname.lastname@example.org or (+30)2313 043212.
5. Weight maintenance
Weight maintenance will effortlessly follow as a result of the previous steps, which will lead to a complete nutritional education. You will have learned how to eat healthy, according to the rules and principles of the Mediterranean Diet and based on the specific needs of your own body.
However, it is of great importance, upon completing your weight loss effort, to follow a weight maintenance program. Its main target is to gradually increase the calories you consume. And, to most people, this is actually a frightening stage. A common misconception is that metabolism is based on simple maths: the more calories you consume the heavier you become. This is not true! Your metabolism is actually adapted to the calories your body consumes.
And this is why people who follow a low-calorie diet do not lose any weight. So, when you reach your ideal weight, it is recommended to follow a maintenance program, which will help you find out how many calories you need, in order to maintain your ideal weight, how «tolerant» your body is to small indulgences, and what it means on a psychological level to stick to a new healthy lifestyle. I believe that this last part is the most challenging one. Generally, we constantly fear of eating more than we should. We’ve learned that eating more means getting fat. I’m here to tell you that this is not true provided that you eat carefully and consciously, taking into account your personal physical and psychological limitations. Let me be responsible for the process and I assure you that we will succeed in completing this small journey, which will prove to be easier than you think.