If your January jolt of weight-loss motivation—beast mode at the gym, no carbs in the shopping cart, a self-imposed ban on booze—yields results that don’t match up with your all-out effort, you might not be getting close enough to the source of that stubborn spare tire.
“The underlying issue for someone who has trouble losing weight is an enzyme problem within fat cells,” says nutrition scientist and exercise physiologist David Plourdé, Ph.D., CEO and founder of the The Plourdé Institute in Lisle, Illinois. A compound called lipoprotein lipase determines whether fat cells create more fat cells (making you gain weight) or release fatty acids for the body to burn off as energy.
These chemical reactions are the cornerstone of Plourdé’s interdisciplinary approach to weight loss: His program teaches people how to use diet and exercise to correct problems with lipoprotein lipase and thus burn fat more effectively.
And it works. Men who enter the program have a 95% chance of losing 71 to 80% of their body’s fat weight (68 to 88 pounds)—that’s a hell of a lot of weight loss for a non-surgical approach.
Curious about what the Plourdé Method looks like in action? Here’s a quick overview of the four-pronged science-based approach.
Control your fat cells
Plourdé looks at the underlying chemistry of food and fluid choices as well as the exact nature of eating behavior and correlates it with metabolic measurement. He uses a contraption called a metabolic measurement cart to study how food affects the body’s ability to use fat as a source of energy. He says that a weight-loss problem is actually an enzyme problem within the fat cell that prevents fat from being released. The enzyme “hormone sensitive lipase” regulates the fat cell and if your diet is not optimal, this enzyme predisposes fat cells to accumulate more fat which causes weight gain. Making fat the primary source of fuel for muscle contraction is the goal of the program so that body fat weight can effectively be reduced.
Scientifically target your calorie intake
Plourdé uses an instrument called the Bod Pod that allows fat weight and lean tissue weight to be determined. From this information, resting metabolic rate can be estimated and calorie intake can be targeted to avoid a caloric surplus. According to Plourdé, because of the body’s ability for metabolic interconversion, any excess calories above resting metabolic rate not expended during exercise will likely to be stored as fat whether it comes from protein, fat or carbohydrate.
Metabolically control your exercise
Again, Plourdé uses an instrument called a metabolic measurement cart to correlate the utilization of fat and glucose with variations in exercise exertion to determine precisely the level of exercise exertion for maximum fatty acid utilization.
Understand the psychology of your eating behavior
If you’re eating when you’re not hungry—or drinking away days from hell—it’s important to pinpoint what makes you self-medicate with food or booze. Stress, exhaustion, anger, burnout, anxiety, fear, and suffering a loss are common triggers, says Plourdé. The next step is figuring out how to avoid or minimize them—for example, if your trigger is burnout, set limits on the number of hours you’re willing to work outside the office, or plan a vacation.