Surprising facts about fatSurprising facts about fatFat is the ultimate three-letter word, especially the kind that you spend so much time watching your diet and hitting the gym to keep at bay (or at least to keep off your butt). But beyond making you look less-than-svelte, fat can have significant physical and emotional implications.

 We talked to Shawn Talbott, Ph.D., a nutritional biochemist and author of The Secret of Vigor: How to Overcome Burnout, Restore Biochemical Balance, and Reclaim Your Natural Energy, to find out a few essential facts that might surprise you.

1. It comes in different colors:
 More specifically, there are different types of fat that have different hues and functions, according toTalbott: white, brown, and beige. The white fat is what most people think of as fat-pale and useless. Useless in that it has a low metabolic rate so it doesn’t help you burn any calories the way muscle does, and it’s the predominant type of fat in the human body, encompassing more than 90 percent of it. In other words, it’s a storage unit for extra calories.

Brown fat is darker in color due to a rich blood supply and can actually burn calories rather than storing them-but only if you’re a rat (or other mammal); certain critters can activate brown fat to burn calories and generate heat to keep them warm in winter. Humans, sadly, have so little brown fat that it won’t help you burn calories or keep you warm.

The third type of fat, beige fat, is in between white and brown in terms of its calorie-burning ability, which is actually very exciting. Why? Because researchers are looking into ways to shift white fat cells into more metabolically active beige ones via diet and exercise or supplements. In fact, there is preliminary evidence that certain hormones which are activated by exercise may convert white fat cells into beige ones, as well as some evidence that certain foods such as brown seaweed, licorice root, and hot peppers may have the ability to do this as well.

2. The fat on your butt is healthier than the fat on your belly:
 It’s probably safe to say that no woman favors the fat on one body part over another, but it’s actually safer health-wise to be more of a pear than an apple, Talbott says. Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, is much more responsive to the stress hormone cortisol compared to the fat on your thighs or butt, so when stress hits hard (and you don’t find a healthy way to handle it), any extra calories consumed are more likely to end up around your middle.

Belly fat is also much more inflammatory than fat located elsewhere in the body and can create its own inflammatory chemicals (as a tumor would). These chemicals travel to the brain and make you hungry and tired, so you’re more likely to overeat or eat junk food and not exercise, thus creating a vicious cycle and perpetuating the storage of more belly fat. The good news is that anything that helps you reduce inflammation helps reduce those signals to the brain. Talbott recommends fish oil (for the Omega 3’s) and probiotics, which you can take in pill form or get by eating yogurt with active cultures.

3. First you burn calories, then you burn fat: The term “fat-burning” is thrown around willy-nilly in fitness circles, but as an expression of weight loss, it’s indirect. Before you “burn” fat, you burn calories, whether those calories come from stored carbohydrates (glycogen and blood sugar) or from stored body fat. The more calories you burn during each workout, the bigger deficit you will create and the more fat you will lose.

 You can also create a calorie deficit by eating less. The trick, though, is time, since it’s hard for most people to put in the time needed to burn enough calories to make a weight-loss dent. Talbott(and many other experts) advocates high-intensity interval training (HIIT) to burn as many calories as possible in as short amount of time as possible. This method, which alternates between hard/easy efforts, can burn double the calories in the same amount of time spent exercising in a steady state.

4. Fat affects your mood: Certainly there is no easier way to ruin your day than seeing you’ve gone up a few numbers on the scale, but having excess fat-especially around your belly-activates that inflammation/cortisol cycle, which studies show may be a factor in serious mood disorders like bipolar disorder. If you’re stuck in a stress/eat/gain/stress cycle, however, you’re likely to experience at least a perpetually low mood, even if you don’t have an actual clinical condition.

To help break the cycle, try eating a square of dark chocolate, suggests Talbott; there is just enough sugar to satisfy a stress-induced craving, but the healthy flavonoids help calm inflammation that leads to more stress. Low-fat dairy products like yogurt can have a similar effect-the combination of calcium and magnesium can help calm the stress response.
 5. Even skinny people can have cellulite: The dreaded c-word is caused by fat trapped under the skin (known as subcutaneous fat). The overlying skin “dimples” are created by connective tissues that tie the skin to the underlying muscle, with fat trapped in between like a sandwich. You don’t need a lot of fat to cause a dimpling effect, so you can be in great shape and have low body fat but still have a little pocket of dimpled fat, for example, on your butt or the backs of your thighs. 

Building muscle while losing fat (and the fat loss part is key-you have to have it to lose) can help minimize the appearance of cellulite; cellulite-specific creams and lotions can also help minimize the look of dimpled skin (though they can’t do anything about the trapped fat beneath). 

by Elizabeth Goodman Artis for 

Do a quick inventory of your eating habits. What have you changed for the better? Which ones are you happy with–even proud of? On the other side of the spectrum, however, what are the bad habits that still linger, still unravel the other good you’re doing? Consider for a minute what feeds these negative routines. What circumstances, company, attitudes, and self-talk exacerbate them? The best way to tackle our bad habits, of course, is to get at the root of them. Head them off through strategic choices, better awareness and a few ingenious tricks….

Mess with your eating environment.

Oftentimes, it’s not so much the food itself as the mindless consumption of it. In that regard, it’s the eating environment that needs to be addressed first – the how, why, and where. Consider facing these elements as groundwork for addressing the tougher habits to come like changing what you eat. I’ve had several clients break some shockingly bad habits by altering the “how, why, and where” in unique ways. 
The Where: Location, location, location; practice the habit of eating only while seated at a table with no distractions other than real, live people. You can realize amazing things about your hunger and satisfaction signals when you eat in a more relaxed environment free of distractions such as the nightly news, web surfing or even driving! 
The How: How many times do you chew your food, set your utensil down between bites, or use your non-dominant hand to eat? If you have trouble recalling answers to these simple questions, you probably make it a habit to eat in a rush. Hurried eating is a surefire way to override the natural control mechanisms our bodies have to tell our brain we’ve had enough to eat. Set a timer to go off every minute or so, and only take one bite of food each minute. Practice eating with your non-dominant hand or use chop-sticks. Chew each bite of food at least 30 times (just an arbitrary number to get you to focus on slowing down to chew more thoroughly, not a scientific piece of advice). What do these strategies do to your sense of satisfaction by the end of twenty minutes? How would your eating change by practicing these habits?
The Why: A less obvious environmental factor that impacts our eating habits is why we eat. What would you think if someone asked you, “Why did you have lunch today?” instead of the usual, “What did you have for lunch today?” It sounds silly, I know, but recording the real reason why you eat can make it easier to adopt healthier relationships with food. Emotional awareness is probably just as vital to adopting healthier habits as ample knowledge about food quality. For example, it won’t matter if you fix what you eat but still eat compulsively or uncontrollably out of emotions. Tune into your why, and you’ll forever change your eating environment for the better.

Make the “right” habit too easy.

This piece of advice catches people off guard–a lot. We think we can take on elaborate changes, but taking on too much at once often sets us up for failure. The trick is to select the behavior change that will effectively serve as a foundation to build from. Hopefully this first “easy” step should also achieve what’s called a “minimum effective dose.” Take, for example, the habit of eating vegetables. Most adults know they should eat vegetablesto be healthier. Most have plenty of access to vegetables. However, most adults still don’t consume a “minimum effective dose” of vegetables on a daily basis. (The government has historically recommended at least three 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw servings per day as a good dose.) To make this baseline habit too easy, I’ve found it effective to get people to focus on eating at least one vegetable serving every day. While this may not achieve the minimum effective dose outright, it seems stupidly easy as a habit to practice and essentially sets the groundwork for more of the “right” behaviors to come. It’s something to build off of rather than something to merely aspire to. Easy means you’ll actually do it when you focus on it. Since it’s so easy, you’re more likely to be open to practicing more of that “easy” habit.

Practice saying “I don’t” instead of “I can’t.”

I heard this advice on a great podcast interview of Michael Fishman, brilliant advisor to several top health and wellness brands as well as organizer of an annual Consumer Health Summit. He described how he decided to change some of his own behaviors for the sake of his health. He cut down on caffeine, alcohol, sugar, and processed foods containing gluten. Rather than adopting his new habits with the attitude of “I can’t have/eat/consume that (because I’m trying to be healthy,” Fishman approached his new set of behaviors with a self-respecting persona. He’ll politely decline offers for certain foods he knows will not contribute to his health and reinforce his action by stating that he doesn’t consume such products because they are not healthy for him. The words “can’t” and “don’t” sound drastically different. One evokes confidence and purpose, while the other implies oppression and struggle. Which self-talk is healthier for you?

Pick a winning team. 

Sometimes you can alter just about everything you can think of in your lifestyle(e.g. environment, intentions, persona, or even mental pep-talks), but it still all goes down the tubes because of the company you keep. Are you always responsible for your individual choices in spite of what others around you do: yes. That said, certain social surroundings and personal relationships can be downright detrimental to your health–especially if you lean on them to support your lifestyle change. 
Get out of your comfort zone socially, and find some “teammates” who will help you (whether directly or subtly) stick to your guns and live the life you really want. Many studies have suggested that our immediate social groups have profound impact on our behaviors, moods and more. Build yourself a team of all-stars who demonstrate and exemplify the lifestyle you want to lead. Join a community in which you’ll thrive instead of merely survive. Spouses or partners can be great help if they’re on board, but be sure to find other support whether or not they’re actively encouraging you. I’ve had clients get creative with group approaches. For example, one client teamed up with a co-worker to pack each others’ lunches each day. Simply packing food that would make someone else healthier helped both of them and encouraged them to be creative! Sometimes we’ll do amazing things for others but not for ourselves.

Blackmail yourself.

When all else fails, a drastic tactic like blackmail can help you kick some bad habits. My advice: make the consequences tangible and more than a little uncomfortable. In other words, put some skin in the game! Money can be a huge motivator, especially when you stand to lose it if you don’t follow through on those new practices. Consider having a friend hold onto a few hundred dollars with clear directions to keep it for him/herself if you fail to follow through on the commitment by a certain date. This may sound harsh, but it worked brilliantly for John Bear, author of The Blackmail Diet
Written by Paul Kriegler – Corporate Registered Dietitian
It’s finally here! 
We have totaled the numbers and our winners have been named! Good work to all of our participants, you all worked so hard last month to reach your goals! 
Winner’s Circle

After calculating the percentage of weight loss, total body fat percentage and overall inches lost, we have found our TOP THREE biggest losers!
Congratulations to our First Place Winner

Our Second Place prize is awarded to..
Kathy M!!
Third place goes to…
Reed H!!
Great work everyone!! You can claim your prizes at your next appointment! 
Stay Tuned
Stay on the outlook for our next Biggest Loser Challenge.
We’ll be holding another Biggest Loser Challenge as the holidays approach. This tough time of year is a great time for another challenge as a way to stay motivated during the holiday temptations! 
Looking for a healthy side dish to bring to your Labor Day BBQ this year?
Why not try these IP Approved Meatballs!
 Recipe by: The  Food Lovers Kitchen
What you’ll need:
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey, or choice of ground meat
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 egg, whisked
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon each of garlic powder, salt, and pepper
Meatball Process:
  1. Preheat oven to bake at 350.
  2. In a medium sized mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
  3. Form ground meat mixture into 1 inch balls, and place on two parchment lined baking sheets.
  4. Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.
  5. Serve.

Marinara Ingredients:
  • 2 cans salt free Muir Glen diced tomatoes
  • 3/4 cup chopped onion
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons fresh flat leaf parsley, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • Salt and pepper to taste
Marinara Process:
  1. In a sauce pan, saute onion and garlic in olive oil on medium heat.
  2. Once onion and garlic have reduced and infused the olive oil with flavor, add two cans of diced tomatoes.
  3. Add salt, pepper, oregano, and parsley to sauce and stir, blending all ingredients.
  4. Bring sauce to a boil, turn down to simmer, and let simmer for 20 minutes covered. If sauce starts to boil when covered, then remove lid.
  5. Toss spaghetti squash* with sauce, top with meat balls, and serve.
    * Cut spaghetti squash in half, remove seeds, microwave each half for 10 minutes, and scoop out squash with a fork into a bowl.