When people talk about investing, they rarely talk about investing in their health. Yet it will deliver a life-changing return, says dietician Nicole Moore.

The founder of Menu Concepts who oversees 55 clinics around Australia first transformed her own health before transforming the lives of others.

Nicole initially pursued dietetics because she was struggling with her own health problems.

“I think a big thing for me was, my difficulty with my weight and achieving little bits of weight loss and constantly had an agitated gut, it was always bloated,” Nicole told Bushy Martin on the Get Invested podcast.

“I was constantly dieting, going on yo-yo diets, trying to pump more fibre (in). I had calorie restricted what I ate to try and achieve weight loss, and really never was able to.

“The interesting thing was is I was trained (as a dietician) in the same manner. ‘Cut fat out, restrict your calories, people will lose weight if you’ve got an energy deficit (diet). The more fibre, the better your bowels will be’. (I was) still struggling even as a dietitian student thinking ‘why am I the dietician that’s still walking around with weight issues and gut issues and other dieticians seem to be finding this really easy?’

“I was trained in a way that was based on politics, not science. I live in a world where we have been taught the wrong science of eating and calorie counting, and low fat. We’ve got a more unhealthy society than ever.

“That led me to ‘there’s got to be another way to manage my health’. I think that’s where I was driven from a very early stage in my career to look at alternative pathways to managing health.

“I got to a point where I felt so sick that I thought, well, I’m following fibre and I’m following low fat guidelines, it’s not working for me. Then for a whole week I ate fat and it was the best I ever felt. That was really my turning point to say, well, I think there’s definitely some science in having more fat and protein in the diet and that really led me on my journey to where I am now and how I manage my health and how my dieticians practice, which is not necessarily based on traditional guidelines that we’re taught.”

While low fat and high carbohydrate diets have been the mainstream approach in Western society for many years, Nicole believes it is the source of many health problems.

“A lot of the new science now shows that a lot of chronic disease whether it’s obesity or gut problems, blood pressure, lipid issues, arthritis, Hashimotos, lots of different medical issues stem from inflammatory problems. Insulin resistance is really the key hormone creating these inflammatory problems,” she said.

“What seems to have happened is that people have consumed a lot more low fat products with a lot more sugar, they’re driving their diet through a more grain driven diet with breads and cereals and potatoes more because they’re trying to avoid fat. What this has created, this insulin resistance, where people are producing a lot more of this hormone to try and regulate this intake of carbohydrate or sugar. When we consume carbohydrate and sugar, it basically all breaks down to glucose, predominantly in our body. That glucose or that sugar is requiring insulin. But because we’re pumping so much in, people’s insulin is getting tired and it’s not working as well.

“So, we get this insulin resistance type state, or as I say to my clients, you’re getting these little insulin tsunamis that are flowing through your body. Insulin is a lipogenic hormone. That means it stores fat, it sucks it in. You’ve got all these people trying to improve their health and their weight through low fat diet because they’re pumping in so much fuel from carbohydrates and they’ve got this insulin resistance going on, they can’t lose weight. Then blood pressure and inflammatory problems and arthritis and cholesterol are all stemming from this inflammatory problem.

“This is where, by lowering the level of carbohydrate you consume, and consuming more energy from good protein and healthy fat and vegetables which create less glucose in the blood, you’re able to actually lower the amount of insulin naturally from production in your body. Once you can do that by feeding on more proteins like meat and chicken and fish and eggs and healthy fats like avocado and olive oil and green leafy veggies, the insulin production of the body drops down, and the insulin sensitivity improves.

“Then there’s this snowball effect, the body’s able to let go of fat. Insulin impacts hunger, so the body feels less hungry. Suddenly, people feel less hungry, and they’re dropping weight because they’re not producing so much of this inflammatory hormone. People achieve improvements in their health and their blood sugars and their weight by simply changing the type of calories they’re eating. That message becomes not about calories total, as it does the type of calories.

Nicole is also a supporter of the growing trend towards intermittent fasting.

“We’ve really been genetically designed to intermittent fast and feed in small windows,” she said. There’s a lot of benefit, because with fasting you’re not feeding and producing an insulin surge. It creates a better form of weight loss.

“There’s a lot of science showing that it also helps improve our ghrelin and leptin … ghrelin is our hunger and leptin is our satiety hormone. When you fast and you’re not feeding, you reset that balance. So, your appetite and satiety gets better and you feel more sustained for longer.”

This all sounds good in theory, right? But when trying to transition to a healthy lifestyle, many people fall at the first hurdle.

Nicole recommends to get started by making small, incremental changes.

“If you can make a change that feels like it’s not a huge wall to climb, you’re going to make it. I think that’s something I really push with all of my dieticians and myself is that it’s not one size fits all, but you’ve also got to make sure that any changes you suggest are sustainable and enjoyable.

“Particularly with clients who come in, I just say don’t give up trying. You’ll only ever fail achieving your weight loss goals or reversing your diabetes if you give up. So just don’t, keep coming back. Let’s keep talking. Let’s keep implementing goals.”

Listen to the full podcast interview here.

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