Fit-to-Live Health & Fitness Retreats use naturopathic medicine and the Neurological Integration System to help you optimise your health and fitness.

Whatever your aim: rehabilitate after injury or illness, weight loss, improve health and fight chronic illness, to get prepared for pregnancy, or simply to relax and re-charge.

Set in the beautiful Charente-Maritime countryside of western France, amongst forest, vineyards and sunflower fields, our aim is to enable everyone to have the knowledge and motivation to realise your full potential and perform to your best ability whether that be at work in an office environment, in your hobbies, as a parent or as an athlete.

In case of injury e.g. bruising, sprains, strains to any part of the body:

Remember PRICE

Protect from further injury - stop doing what you were doing!

Rest stay calm, lying down is usually best, wait for any spasm to subside

Ice apply anything cold for 10 minutes

Compression use a support bandage or cushions as needed.

Elevate an injured limb to reduce swelling.

Seek advice if necessary.

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Overweight people are producing lots of leptin, but their brain doesn’t recognise it.  They have become leptin resistant. Their brain thinks that they are starving and pushes them to eat high energy, easy access foods - especially sugar containing foods.  

There is a very rare condition in which people are obese because they don’t produce leptin. These people respond to leptin supplementation, however, for the vast majority of people, taking leptin supplements doesn’t work because they are already producing enough leptin, it is just that their brain is not seeing it.

This appears to happen for the same reason as insulin resistance, and in fact the two go hand in hand.  By eating too much sugar and starch containing foods (that includes sugar, bread, potatoes, pasta etc.) your body constantly has to produce insulin to keep your blood sugar levels down. It has to store the excess sugar as fat, but your fat cells are producing leptin to say that they are full. And your insulin is still shovelling the excess blood sugar into your fat cells. So your brain just starts to ignore the leptin: constant over-exposure leads to resistance.

If you are overweight, you are certainly leptin resistant.  But you can also be leptin resistance if you are underweight.  If you suffer from excess hunger, sugar cravings or poor energy levels, you are also probably leptin resistant.

You can use blood and saliva tests to determine your cortisol, insulin, triglyceride, CRP and thyroid T3 levels and confirm leptin and insulin resistance, however I don’t find them particularly useful unless you are concerned about another health problem or illness or want to make some sort of research study.   Personally, I only order tests if the result may change my treatment plan. The symptoms and signs above are really sufficient to suggest changing your lifestyle.

Why We Get Fat - Leptin Resistance

Leptin is a protein that tells your brain that you have enough energy stored as fat.  So you feel satiated and stop eating.  

When you lose fat, through energy use or through calorie restriction, your leptin levels go down,  therefore your brain knows that you need an energy source and sends hunger signals so that you eat again.

Once your fat cells are adequately full to allow you to perform your normal daily activities, then your leptin levels go back up and you stop feeling hungry.

Leptin also plays a role in the immune system, hormone balance, heart and bone health.  Poor leptin sensitivity increases inflammation, aggravates arteriosclerosis and coronary artery disease and reduces bone mineral density. 

Leptin Resistance

UCP Pathways

There are proteins called UCPs that work in your cells under the influence of thyroid hormone and leptin.  When you take in more calories than you require for energy and your fat cells are full, they make your mitochondria (your energy producing power stations in all your cells) just burn off the fuel as heat without any energy being kept for use (a bit like burning off excess fuel as a flare at a power station).  

When these pathways aren't working properly due to leptin resistance, all your body can do is store the extra energy away as fat.  This is one reason why people with an under-active thyroid tend to feel cold (as well as be overweight!).

So these pathways are the reason that some people can eat as many calories as they like without getting fat - the excess calories are simply burned off. 

N.B. These same people will however also start having problems eventually if they continue to eat a high sugar, high starch diet.

And these pathways are also the reason that some people will lose weight on a restricted calorie diet but then immediately put it back on as soon as they eat what would appear to be a normal diet and the reason those same people seem to only have to look at a chocolate muffin and put on half a stone! - they don’t have properly functioning leptin and insulin sensitivity to direct fuel stores to either provide energy, provide a sensible level of energy back-up in the form of fat stores or burn off the excess as heat.

As far as diet is concerned, leptin and insulin resistance are attacked in the same way:

1. Remove all simple sugars and starchy carbohydrates

That means all cereals, grains, bread, cakes, biscuits, pasta, rice, potatoes, sugar, artificial sweeteners, alcohol.

(Unfortunately you will find a lot of so called paleo recipes on the internet using various artificial sweeteners - do not use them they will not help you!)

Also, until your sensitivity has improved it means apples, carrots, parsnips, oranges.

2. Eat plenty of green and coloured leafy vegetables, both raw and cooked (if you have any gut sensitivity problems or IBS or if you are not used to eating these vegetables, then cooked are usually easier to digest).  You may eat one portion (half a cup) of berries per day.

This will keep you carbohydrate intake to below 50 to 100 grams per day but provide you with vitamins, minerals, bioflavonoids and fibre.

3. Eat as much protein containing foods and the fat within them and required to cook them as you require, especially in the morning for breakfast and preferably within an hour of waking.  (This helps to reset your circadian or diurnal routine and therefore your cortisol and other hormone rhythms and also helps to stimulate your thyroid function).

     1.     Avoid snacking - it disturbs your hormone balances.

So, eat three meals a day of this combination of:

1. A large portion of protein and fat containing foods, about 20 to 50g of protein (that’s about total weight 100 to 200g) preferably the largest portion and largest total meal in the morning for breakfast (make the meals smaller as you go through the day): fish, shell fish, meat, organ meats, eggs (if you are not sensitive), cheese (but limit to three portions per week), coconut milk, nuts and seeds (but no more than 50 grams nuts per day).

EG.1: A smoothie of 1/4 can full fat coconut milk, 1/2 cup berries, 2 cups lambs lettuce (2g protein, 20g fat, 20g carbohydrate) plus

2 eggs (16g protein), 100g smoked salmon (20g protein), 50g to 100g grilled simply marinaded pork loin/schnitzel/bacon/sausage (10 to 20g protein)

(the fat in the coconut milk balances the low fat in the pork loin)

EG.2: 2 salmon filets poached (50g protein) with 2 cups greens

EG.3: 200g steak (50g protein) grilled with 2 cups greens

EG.4: 2 eggs (16g protein), 100g bacon (18g protein), 2 sausages (quality, outdoor bred, 22g protein)

A note on meat.  A lot of diet and nutrition advice comes from the USA and they focus a lot on grass fed meat as opposed to grain fed meat.  In the UK and Europe, almost all our meat is mostly grass and silage fed and does not go into the intense grain fattening units as in the USA.  So in the UK you don’t need to worry (except for the USA imported meat that finds its way into processed foods…)

2. Two or three portions (cups) of vegetables (green leaves, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, salad leaves, spinach, artichoke, sweet potato, beetroot).

Exercise

Do not do any aerobic-type exercise.  Your body does not know how to utilise the correct energy production pathways and will trigger a stress response to store fat instead of burning it as fuel.

Steady, low intensity exercise will help improve your circulation and balance your hormones without triggering the stress response.

Once you have stopped craving carbohydrates, your hunger levels, energy and moods are under control, you feel warmer, your skin is better (better complexion and less dead skin on your feet) and you are losing fat, then you can start with short bursts of intense activity into anaerobic levels.

EG. short sprints or uphill climbs (30 seconds to 5 minutes), body weight lifting exercises (5 to 10 minutes). Start at the lowest level and gradually increase as your energy functioning improves over several weeks or months.

These help to trigger muscle activity and increase the leptin sensitivity of your muscles to start burning energy through the correct pathways. They also improve hormone balance and delay early ageing processes


Following these guidelines will result in steady fat loss, a steady improvement in your whole metabolic energy process and long-lasting better health.

More about Insulin Resistance: 

What is Leptin?

More about how Leptin works

How do you regain Leptin Sensitivity

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