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Just Ask Jase: Beating The Beer Gut

Hi Jase,

I am concerned with my husband’s weight. He is about 6ft 2in tall, and weighs 105kg.

We both work out doing the Maxworkout program by Shin Otake and there is a good mix of cardio, weights and HITT.
Our diet is free of grains, bread, butter, full cream milk, alcohol is maybe 2 beers a week. We’ve also eliminated junk food from our diet.

His typical daily meals are muesli, fruit, yoghurt, and skim milk for brekky, skim milk coffee for morning tea, either a salad, protein shake, or a tin of tuna with a piece of fruit for lunch, and dinner is meat, with either vegetables or a salad.

My husband does have a very high stress executive position, working quite long hours. When he’s not in the car driving up to 800klm per week, he’s sitting at a desk.

I have been told to put him on a body builder’s diet but he isn’t a body builder, while others at supplement shops have suggested using the Keto powders or substituting shakes for meals, or even using testosterone boosters.

Hubby has put on size across his chest, back, shoulders etc. due to our workouts, but the excess body fat from his chest down is my worry.
Can you suggest anything?

– Concerned Wife.

Hi Concerned Wife,

You are right to hold concern for where your husband is holding additional body fat, as we know from population studies that this very much places him at an increased risk of chronic disease development (such as type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure and so on).

Given you seem to have spent a great deal of time (and potentially money) investing in this journey with your husband, my first question is: Have you ever seen a dietitian before? If not, I would suggest seeking the advice of an accredited sports dietitian who could very much structure a nutrition plan that is balanced with the training regime you are both following (which seems like one of the better programs available online at present.

Given the information I have in front of me, and the response that your husband has had to the changes you have already made, it really does seem that he is not satisfying the main objective required for weight loss, and that is achieving a calorie intake that supports gradual and sustainable weight loss. Now I know that will be some people that say that calories do not matter, but let’s put a scientific spin on this.

The law of thermodynamics states that matter cannot be created nor destroyed. Applied to the realm of weight loss, using our “Food As Fuel” approach can help you to see where he is most likely going wrong:

  1. Our bodies share similar functions to a car. A car requires fuel to drive the engine and create motion. Our bodies require a certain amount of fuel each day to maintain their organ function and lean muscle mass (this is your base metabolic rate).
  2. Fuel for our bodies is measured by the calories in our food and drink.
  3. Excess body fat is essentially “extra fuel tanks”. To reduce unneeded body fat, you need to ensure that you are creating a deficit in how much fuel is being consumed compared to how much is being used to fuel your body. This will tap into these extra fuel tanks to deplete them until the point they are no longer there.

Seem far too simple?

Weight loss really is that simple, however the message has gotten extremely blurred from the swathe of products and programs that offer a “quick and easy fix”. In reality, sustainable weight loss isn’t a fast process. In fact if you lose weight too quickly, I guarantee you that most of it will be lean muscle mass, which will significantly damage your husband’s metabolic rate and increase the chances of rebound weight gain and yo-yo dieting cycles.

Should you be able to calculate your Husband’s requirements, you should employ the following calorie (fuel) deficits for sustainable weight loss.

  • 500 calories deficit daily maintained over a week will provide a base weight loss rate of 0.5kg/week.
  • 1000 calories deficit daily maintained over a week will provide a base weight loss rate of 1kg/week.

Of course, there will be faster weight loss initially which can be attributed to water weight and glycogen depletion (stored carbohydrate in the muscles and liver) however the weight loss rate will even up to these figures under normal circumstance. Faster base weight loss rates indicate a fast metabolism, and the contrary indicated a slower metabolism however this cannot be seen until at least one week into the plan.

If you pair the appropriate calorie deficit with elevated protein (barring of course if there are any pre-existing kidney concerns) and carbohydrates strategically placed around the times of day you are most active, you’ll have a recipe for weight loss success.

The last thing I would like to mention is about the efficacy of the supplements you have mentioned. In Just Ask Jase two weeks ago, I discussed ketone supplements in depth and is worth the read, however hormone altering agents such as testosterone boosters and oestrogen/cortisol blockers should be very much handled with great concern. Whilst there are studies underway on these products, what I can tell you from clinical experiences is that these products have been associated with causing hormonal imbalances that exacerbate weight loss problems, with some implicated with contributing to insulin resistance, a stage just prior to type 2 diabetes diagnosis.

I cannot stress enough the importance of consulting with an Accredited Sports Dietitian in this case. Quite simply, I guarantee you that you would do far better and achieve this goal faster and easier than you thought possible, compared to taking advice from a general bodybuilder, or supplement store owner.


— Jase


Got a nutrition or training question? Or just want to know how to become better than yesterday?

Jason is the owner, resident sports dietitian and strength and conditioning coach at Enliven Nutrition. He specialises in sports performance, nutrition, weight management and strength conditioning training, and established Enliven Nutrition with the vision of providing nutrition and training programs that achieve any health or performance goal.




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