10 Jan 9 Biohacking Strategies for Weight Loss
Will biohacking support your weight loss efforts? Can you really biohack your metabolism? In this article we’ll explore nine science-backed biohacking strategies that have the potential to support your weight loss efforts, and bring you long-term success.
WHAT IS BIOHACKING?
Biohacking can be defined as ‘using science and technology to make your body function better and more efficiently.’ It has become increasingly popular in recent years, however in reality, nutritionists and other health practitioners were focused on many of these strategies for health optimisation long before ‘biohacking’ became a thing.
CAN YOU BIOHACK YOUR METABOLISM TO LOSE WEIGHT?
Yes, hyper-personalisation using data can potentially be very effective when it comes to weight loss results. Strategies include blood tests to identify underlying health issues affecting weight loss, continuous glucose monitoring to manage blood sugar levels, sleep optimisation, cold therapy to promote fat loss, DNA testing to understand genetic influences on weight, fasting, breathwork to reduce stress and support weight loss, and activity trackers for accountability. While these strategies can support weight loss, a comprehensive approach is usually necessary for long-term success. Let’s go through each of these elements in more detail.
HOW DO YOU BIOHACK YOUR METABOLISM?
Here are nine strategies for biohacking your metabolism. We utilise many of these approaches at our nutritionist-led weight loss clinic to ensure our client’s tailored weight loss plans achieve maximum results.
Ready to learn more? Our team of qualified, experienced nutritionists can help you identify a weight loss strategy tailored to you. Book a complimentary call to find out more.
1. BLOOD TESTS
We work with many people who have struggled to lose weight, or maintain a weight they’re happy at, prior to coming to see us. Sometimes the reasons for this is an underlying health issue. We often use blood tests to investigate our client’s state of health in-depth to identify whether an underlying health issue has been compromising their ability to lose weight.
An underactive thyroid, PCOS and hormonal fluctuations around the menopause are just three factors that can make losing weight more challenging.
A simple blood test can help establish whether an underlying health issue is preventing you from losing weight. It can also identify whether you are deficient in nutrients that could compromise your health and energy levels.
HOW TO BLOOD TEST
At home test kits are now widely available making blood testing very accessible. Our Weight Loss Profile tests a range of different markers that affect, and are affected by, our body fat percentage including a comprehensive thyroid screen. We offer DUTCH testing (which is actually a urine test, rather than blood) which is a comprehensive hormone test that can determine whether menopausal hormone changes may be affecting your weight. We work closely with a functional medicine doctor who we refer to for medical / hormone treatment, if required.
2. CONTINUOUS GLUCOSE MONITORING (CGM)
Managing your blood sugar level is arguably one of the most important considerations when looking to lose weight.
Western diets are typically dominated by starchy carbohydrate based foods and too much sugar. These foods break down rapidly and cause a spike in blood sugar, followed by a dip. Fluctuations in blood sugar levels causes energy dips, cravings and weight gain.
The glycemic index gives an idea of how certain foods will impact your blood sugar. However, the truth is that different people respond differently to different foods.
A continuous glucose monitor (CGM) enables you to gain a clear understanding of how different foods impact your blood sugar level. This enables you to base your diet around foods that least impact on your blood sugar levels. And save those that cause a rapid increase in your levels for an occasional treat.
HOW TO MONITOR YOUR BLOOD GLUCOSE
FreeStyle Libre is a widely available CGM. You apply the sensor to your upper arm as outlined in the instruction manual and this short video. Once applied, you can scan the sensor with your phone to get your blood glucose reading. It’s a good idea to keep a journal and note down the impact of different foods on your blood sugar. The sensor lasts for two weeks which gives you plenty of time to try lots of different foods to monitor their impact.
3. SLEEP OPTIMISATION
Sleep is fundamental to good health, but did you know that it can also have a significant impact on your weight and eating behaviour? When we don’t get enough our body produces more of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and less leptin, known as the satiety hormone. Not sleeping enough makes us feel hungrier and less satisfied from the food we do eat.
Supporting clients in ensuring they are getting enough good quality sleep is an integral part of how we work. It can make it a lot easier to stick to a healthy diet if you’re not constantly fighting against your hunger hormones.
Read more: Is Poor Sleep Sabotaging Your Weight Loss?
HOW TO HACK YOUR SLEEP
There are several steps you can take to ensure you sleep better. Start by getting into a regular bedtime routine, aiming to go to bed at the same time each night. Avoid drinking caffeine in the afternoon and know that any amount of alcohol will negatively affect your sleep quality. Ideally, avoid screens at least an hour before bed. If you can’t do that, wear blue light blocking glasses.
If you really want to work on improving your sleep, you can track it using a wearable like a WHOOP strap. Using the habits journal the app will build up a picture of the daily habits that are supporting your sleep and those that are compromising it. It will also advise you on what time to go to bed to ensure you get an optimal amount of sleep.
4. COLD THERAPY
Cold exposure therapy is the practice of intentionally exposing the body to the cold, often cold water. It has various health benefits, including promoting fat loss. Cold exposure is another biohacking technique that can increase our energy expenditure and promote weight loss.
Cold exposure can increase the metabolism and lead to increased calorie burn as the body works to maintain its core temperature. Very low temperatures can also cause the breakdown of fat cells, known as lipolysis. Exposure to the cold can help to reduce inflammation in the body which can contribute to weight gain. From a more general health perspective, cold therapy can improve circulation, which can help to transport nutrients and oxygen to the cells, allowing the body to function more efficiently.
Read more: Can Wim Hof Help Weight Loss?
HOW TO BENEFIT FROM COLD THERAPY
Cryotherapy: Cryotherapy chamber sessions are available in clinics across the country and allow for whole-body cryotherapy treatments.
Ice Baths: Soaking in a bath filled with ice water for around five minutes can provide a similar effect to whole-body cryotherapy.
Cold Showers: Taking a cold shower can also expose the body to cold temperatures and provide some of the benefits of cryotherapy.
5. DNA TESTING
A variety of genetic polymorphisms can impact you fat percentage and contribute towards your weight struggles. Whether it’s your appetite regulation, tendency to overeat or whether your body is more likely to burn or store dietary fats and carbohydrates. Understanding your unique genetic makeup can provide you with clarity on the best weight loss strategy for you.
There has been interesting research carried out into weight loss results in individuals following a DNA appropriate diet. In a study of 191 obese people by the University of Trieste, those using a DNA matched diet lost 33 per cent more weight than those counting calories. Patients on a DNA diet also gained 16% more muscle.
Even if you do have genetic traits that predispose you to weight gain, understanding them can help you best adapt your diet and lifestyle so that you’re not at the mercy of them. As the saying goes ‘genes load the gun, but environment pulls the trigger’. The DNA test we offer aims to empower you with knowledge so that you can take actions to work with what suits your body and your unique genetic makeup.
HOW TO TEST YOUR DNA
The DNA test is carried out at home via a simple mouth swab. The sample is sent to the laboratory where experts analyse your sample and develop a report on your personal genetic markers. Our Intelligent Weight Loss DNA Test includes a consultation with one of our nutritionists to go through your results and a genetically personalised weight loss plan.
You don’t have to have a nutrition degree to guess that going without food for extended periods will promote fat loss! Fasting is a favourite practice amongst the biohacking community for many reasons. Not only can it support weight loss, it has been associated with a wide range of health benefits.
There are a number of different approaches to fasting. It’s a good idea to find the approach that works best for you. The most popular include intermittent fasting and time restricted eating. Intermittent fasting involves considerably reducing your calorie intake for two non-consecutive days of the week. This is also referred to as the 5:2 diet. Time restricted eating involves limiting your eating window each day. For example, you might reduce your eating window to 10 hours and have a 14 hour fasting window daily.
However, leading expert in the field of fasting and human health, Dr Valter Longo, argues that fasting for such short periods of time is not true fasting. If you want to benefit such as upregulated autophagy and increased stem cell production, you need to consider prolonged fasting strategies.
Read more: Your Ultimate Guide To Fasting
HOW TO FAST
It’s important to choose the fasting practice that best suits you. While some people do well carrying out extended fasts, for others this is far from ideal. Not everyone is suited to fasting. That said, most of us can benefit from an extended overnight fast of at least 12 hours. Many of our clients undertake regular ProLon fasts to help manage their weight. This can not only promote weight loss, it acts as a reset after events like Christmas or holidays where we can fall out of our usual health habits. A fast can help draw a line in the sand before returning to your usual healthy habits. We also build in a set eating window into out client’s weight loss plans in order to support their weight loss.
7. BREATH WORK
While the idea of using breathing to lose weight may sound unconventional, there is scientific evidence to support the idea that breathwork is indeed another biohacking strategy for weight loss.
Chronic stress is a major contributor to weight gain, both physiologically and psychologically. When we’re stressed, our bodies produce cortisol, a hormone that stimulates the appetite and increases fat storage. By reducing stress levels, breathing exercises can help to lower cortisol levels and prevent weight gain.
Certain breathing exercises have been shown to increase metabolism and help the body burn more calories. By increasing metabolism, breathwork can contribute to weight loss. Breathing exercises can also help improve digestion and reduce bloating, which can support healthy digestive function. Breathwork can promote mindfulness, which can help individuals make healthier food choices and avoid overeating.
HOW TO PRACTICE BREATHWORK
If you’re new to breathwork, you can start by booking a breathwork class or use Wim Hof’s guided YouTube breathing video. It’s important to start with simple breathing exercises and gradually build up to more advanced techniques. Deep breathing exercises, where you inhale deeply and exhale slowly, can help to reduce stress and promote weight loss. To get the most benefits from breathwork, it’s important to practice regularly. Breathing exercises should be focused on relaxation and stress reduction, not just weight loss.
8. ACTIVITY TRACKERS
From FitBits and Apple Watches to Whoop straps and Oura rings, there are a wide range of health trackers available that can support you in your weight loss efforts.
Accountability is one of the pillars of our Intelligent Weight Loss Method. Research shows that creating accountability can have a significant impact on your likelihood to stick to a new behaviour or habit you’re trying to adopt. Using a fitness tracker to create accountability can help you stay consistent with the habits that will support your weight loss.
HOW TO TRACK YOUR ACTIVITY
There are a number of different activity trackers and it’s about finding the one that best suits your needs.
9. GENE EDITING WITH CRISPR
CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats) is truly a futuristic biohacking consideration for weight loss. One we should approach with equal amounts wonder and caution. CRISPR is a revolutionary gene editing tool that has the potential to change the course of medicine and improve human health in numerous ways.
CRISPR has the potential to edit genes that regulate metabolism, hunger, and fat storage. The use of CRISPR for weight loss would be controversial and carry many ethical considerations. It’s important to remember that weight loss is a complex issue that is influenced by many factors and that any proposed gene editing solution would likely be limited in its ability to promote weight loss.
However, more research is needed before any such applications can be considered using CRISPR technology to help humans lose weight.
HOW TO CRISPR YOUR GENES
You’ll need to start by building a time machine and travelling into the future. Right now, CRISPR technology is not available from reputable practitioners.
A COMPREHENSIVE WEIGHT LOSS SOLUTION
These biohacking strategies can help support your weight loss. However, a more comprehensive solution is usually required in order to achieve long term weight loss success.
We are a team of qualified nutritionists who specialise in weight loss. We can support you in overcoming your weight challenges, achieving your goal weight and maintaining it long term. You can use this link to book in for a complimentary call today. This is an opportunity to talk through your challenges with a qualified nutritionist and decide together whether one of our Intelligent Weight Loss programmes is right for you. Or contact us to request a copy of our brochure and we will get back to you soon.
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