#137 | The #1 Secret to Healthy Fat Loss | Vyvyane Loh MD

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As a followup to my chat with Dr Vyvyane Loh, Glen and I sat down with Dr Loh to get into the HOW of losing excess body fat without losing muscle. Dr Loh does not disappoint as she shares her tips on how she has helped so many people successfully navigate the changes needed to get to a healthy body fat level AND a healthy body muscle level…both are necessary for health and athletic performance.

Check out my own Dexa Scan at the bottom of the show notes that reveals the details we all need to know to assess bone and fat and muscle health status, and to set improvement goals. I used via a provider in my area. My scan showed that while my body fat % is only 16.3%, I still need to lower my visceral fat from 87.7 cm2 to 70.0 cm2. I’m working on it.

Episode #135 | What’s Your Healthy Fat %

Dr Loh is board certified in internal and obesity medicine, and she runs a medical practice helping people of all shapes and sizes to solve metabolic health challenges.

Bullet points

How to lose excess fat while retaining or gaining muscle?

  • Good Sleep #1 (to keep cortisol and sex hormones healthy; recovery)
  • 8-9 hours of good sleep for athletes (consistent sleep schedule every day & avoid use of sleep drugs that interfere with sleep architecture (melatonin okay)…eye mask, noise protected, test for sleep apnea
  • Circadian rhythm— set by light and eating. Be consistent everyday. 
  • Respecting the timing of meals: Eat breakfast (within an hour of waking) with protein to end catabolic state
  • Protein: eat 30-35 grams of complete protein per meal, up to 5 meals per day. Everyday. Animal sources of protein allows for lower calorie burden to get the protein. 
  • Exercise 
  • Resistance training is key (3X/week)
  • Work at end range (maximum range of motion under tension but be careful)
  • Essentric (lengthening) movement better than concentric (shortening)
  • Also isometrics (good during injury recovery)
  • Cardio is good also (do after resistance training if on same day)
  • HIIT 2x/week (20-45 minutes) targets visceral fat. Has to be really hard. Dread it. 
  • Diet
  • Higher percentage body fat — with a calorie deficit in diet doesn’t mean less availability of calories. Still need enough protein to hold onto muscle
  • Near goal body fat — eat 5 times day and getting enough protein. Working out. No calorie deficit. 
  • If fat is okay but low muscle? Get extra protein everyday. Maybe extra protein before bed to reduce muscle loss. 
  • Low carbs to manage calories but need enough carbs. No keto. Low carb is good for calorie control. 80-100g of carbs. Need more carbs if alot of high intensity. 
  • Insulin is a growth factor. Extra protein to get extra insulin to stimulate muscle growth. And extra protein can be turned into glycogen 
  • The key is to be clear about goals.
  • Changing lifestyle is hard. Start with identity and making it hard to cheat. 
  • Everyone is ready when they seek help. It’s after they’ve lost weight at people lose focus. “Just ….” means you are in trouble because you are rationalizing. 
  • Just a little…just this one time…etc. watch out. 
  • Moderation is a loser strategy. We’ve tried that experiment across the country. Now we are all obese. Rising metabolic disease. 
  • Either you are getting the results you want or you are not. Focus on results not on theory and what we want to be true. 
  • Other topics:
  • Rising fat in body leads to falling blood flow to brain. Leads to shrinkage of brain. Brain can’t get more blood flow but it can get more sugar per volume of blood. Crave sugary foods. High blood sugar. 
  • Don’t make it hard for yourself. Don’t put those foods in your home. 
  • Declare your identify as a person that doesn’t eat that sort of thing. 
  • Over eaters are fine in front of other people if they have declared publicly that they don’t eat crap and over eat. But when they get home, all bets are off of the foods are in the house
  • Drinking alcohol also interferes with healthy eating. Alcohol calories. Decrease in willpower
  • What about pleasure in eating? “As I got bigger my world got smaller”. Let’s be accurate…if you are over weight you might be enjoying the few minutes of eating but you are not happy most of the day. Getting healthy can you a boatload of happiness. Plus, stop hiding from the real problem. The food isn’t really solving the problem. 
  • GLP-1 good? Look for Dr Loh’s paper. (Didn’t sound positive)
  • Sign up for Dr Loh’s newsletter, and send email on website asking for link to fat-muscle-bone talk 

Related info and episodes:

More Dr Loh info:

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The ever curious athlete who demands answers.
About the Author
Curious athlete who demands answers. Husband to Susan ( Father of 3 daughters. Athletic pursuits over time, in reverse order: cycling, skiing, mountaineering, rock climbing, triathlon, golf, tennis, football.

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