Top 10 Weight Loss Questions Answered
Yuri Elkaim Interviewed by Bruce Townsend
by: Yuri Elkaim, BPHE, CK, RHN
Bruce Townsend: Tonight I am interviewing renowned fitness expert Yuri Elkaim. Yuri, why don’t you start off by telling us how you got into what you do for a living?
Yuri Elkaim: Alright Bruce. Let’s get started. When I played professional soccer in France, my body was starting to break down from the training and the games. At the time, what I didn’t realize was that the way I felt was so heavily dependant on what I was eating. When I look back to what I was eating over there, it was a lot of bread and baked goods. There were a lot of baguettes and pasta.
I was brought up with text books for athletes that said it was important to get lots of carbohydrates and that pastas and cereals were the best way to do that. So, I was eating a lot of carbohydrates. I had a decent amount of fruits and vegetables in my diet at the time but I was eating a lot of refined carbohydrates and a lot of dairy. I had no idea what I was doing and I thought I did. It wasn’t until later when I started to transition into a whole foods diet when my allergies, eczema, and fatigue really started to go away and go away quickly. That was when I realized what an impact food has on the way we feel and I didn’t know that for most of my life and I wanted to know more.
Bruce Townsend: Thank you Yuri. Our first question tonight is: “How do you lose weight in a healthy way?” From this question, I suppose that this person is frustrated as many people are, and that they have tried many methods to lose weight and haven’t been able to do it successfully.
Yet, they do not want to go the surgery route and they do not want to take pills or things that can break down or threaten their health. I’m sure it is the same in Canada as it is in the United States. We have got more gyms than ever before yet we are more obese than ever before too. We have more diet plans and more ways to lose weight but as North Americans we continue to get heavier. What is going on here?
Yuri Elkaim: Well, there are a lot of factors. Just look at simple things like portion sizes and the absolute void of nutrients in most of the foods that are present in our grocery stores. There are a lot of things that contribute to making us gain weight. So how do you lose weight in a healthy manner?
I think if you pursue health as your end goal you will lose weight. If you look at nature, there are no obese or overweight animals. Only when we domesticate animals do they begin to put on weight. Everything in nature occurs as it should and obesity is not a natural state of being. So when you pursue health for health’s sake then your body naturally becomes as it should.
There are a lot of people that carry excess weight and they know it and they are trying to get rid of it. People want to go from one extreme to another. They want to be able to lose so much body fat that they can see their six pack abs. That requires diligence and attention to detail. In general, if you want to lose weight, it comes down to attaining the right mind set. Set goals and never give up! Eat well. It really bothers me when I go into a book store and there are thousands of diet books.
There is the grapefruit diet, the Abs diet, blah, blah, blah. At the end of the day, the simplest approach is the best approach. Eat natural foods. Eat as your great, great grandparents ate a hundred years ago. When you incorporate more whole foods in their natural state into your diet, your body knows what to do with them.
When you remove a lot of the garbage foods such as high fructose corn syrup, things that our body doesn’t even recognize as food but as a drug, it gets a bit easier. Combine that with daily exercise. Think back to the times of the cave men and the Neanderthals and the Hunter Gatherers; they were always moving around. Nowadays people work in an office and sit down from 9-5. Then they go home and sit in front of the TV. They may get 30 minutes to an hour of exercise. So where we are now compared to where we were thousands of years ago is totally opposite. Our bodies were meant to behave the way we did thousands of years ago. We weren’t made to sit in an office for 10 hours a day under stress. Our bodies have not evolved to cope with that and as a result we have gained weight. We have to eat well and exercise on a daily basis. Everyone must set goals and be persistent and do whatever it takes to achieve those goals.
Bruce Townsend: Excellent answer. I couldn’t agree more. My background is of a certified hypnotherapist and a certified herbalist and I have used both to help people lose weight and try to stay healthy at the same time. When people want to lose weight I tell them that they need to make healthier goals. When you get healthy your weight will find its balance. If you are underweight, your weight will become to come up and if you are overweight your weight will begin to adjust and go down.
The key is balance both on the mental/emotional side and on the physical side. You have to put the right fuel into your body, master your emotions and manage your stress well. Stress is a big factor in weight control. Our next question here is: If I am an endomorph, do I have to eat strictly and exercise regularly at least 3 times a week not only lose weight but also to maintain a healthy size?
Yuri Elkaim: There are basically 3 body types and each one of us is a combination of each of them. There are the mesomorphs which tend to put on muscle easily and are a little bit leaner. The ectomorphs are very lean and thin; gaining weight and gaining muscle is not very easy for them.
Then you have the endomorphs that have a bit of a tendency to be a bit rounder and softer. It is easy for an endomorph to pack on the pounds and it is tough for them to lose weight. If you are an endomorph, the reality is that you have to be a little more diligent with what you are doing and that is a good thing. Being an ectomorph, I was able to get away with nonsense in terms of my diet for many, many years. I didn’t put on weight, but I developed an auto-immune disorder, eczema, allergies, asthma, and all of that was due to how I was abusing my body through food. I always tell people that if their goal is to lose weight that it is a blessing.
You are forced to eat as clean as possible and to exercise as regularly as possible. It is a blessing in disguise. But to get to the specifics, do you need to eat strictly and do you need to exercise regularly? Let’s talk about the diet for a second. If you are an endomorph, most likely you are going to respond poorly to carbohydrates. When I talk about carbohydrates I mean mostly the grains. I am talking about breads and grains. If you eat these foods you are going to put on weight easily and a lot of times there are food sensitivities there. You could be sensitive to wheat, gluten, or both. Your body may not respond to grains well.
You may want to pass on the pastas, breads, and grains. From an overall health perspective I recommend getting those foods out of your diet and eating them only on very rare occasions. Increase your consumption of healthy proteins. I am not talking about eating steak every night but you can have your meat 3-4 times a week if you wish. Eat plenty of greens and lots of raw foods.
If your goal is to lose weight and you are having a tough time losing weight, eat more raw fruits and vegetables. They will make a huge difference. Simply eating more raw foods may make you shed 5-10 pounds in mere days. As soon as you remove the foods that irritate your body, some excess weight will just disappear. After that initial weight loss, you can expect to lose 1-2 pounds a week consistently if you are eating well and exercising regularly.
You do have to be a little stricter with your diet. If you eat something like bread you are going to feel the effects instantly. When it comes to exercise, you have got to do it on a regular basis. If you want to get lean, 3 times a week is not enough. Three times a week of high intensity full body exercises is going to be a great start. I am talking about getting a lot of muscles involved with full body exercises. I am talking about strength training. I am not talking about reading a magazine while on the elliptical. That is not going to do anything. So, a minimum 3 times a week and a maximum of, I would say 5-6 times a week is ideal with a combination of 3-4 times a week of strength training and 2-3 times a week of good interval cardio training to burn maximum calories. You have to realize that it doesn’t happen overnight.
A lot of people will lose quite a bit of weight at first and then slow down to losing 1-2 lbs a week which is a healthy rate of weight loss. But then they compare it and they are only losing a pound a week. They think it isn’t working. But if they look ahead to their long-term goal, if they lose a pound a week that is the potential to lose 52 pounds in a year! Most people do not have 52 pounds to lose.
Most people are looking at a much shorter time of weight loss. Perhaps they need to lose weight over 3-6 months. That is 13-26 pounds. You can have the occasional treat over that time but you do not want to have treats on a daily basis. You’ve got to make exercise something that you are going to enjoy. Whether that is in a gym or an organized sport, you have to find something that is going to get your heart rate going. You need to have a good sweat and get those calories burned. That is going to be really good for the endomorphs; for anyone in general really.
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