Susan was a CEO of a fairly large company.   She was ambitious, driven, and successful. She was used to getting what she wanted and was understandably peeved that she could not reach her ideal weight.

My first contact with Susan was through her PA, not an ideal situation for a naturopath.   Margaret, the PA, was very clear what Susan wanted. She was less clear about the information that I needed.   We eventually negotiated that Susan would fill out my on-line questionnaire. I would analyse it and come back to her with a planned consultation.

My questionnaire kept getting pushed to the bottom of Susan’s “To Do” list, until a school reunion loomed and suddenly getting into shape assumed a high priority.

When I first met Susan, I would describe her as a woman from a medieval painting. She was large, but in good proportion. I remember her first words. This was the first hint I had that she wasn’t a Buddhist. “Look my time is precious. I need to lose 20 kilos for a school reunion. Can you make it happen?”

“I can make you lose 20 kilos in four weeks, but you would not like the way you look or feel. Forget weight loss, start thinking fat loss and a healthy body”.

Susan said “I have tried every diet and exercise program, yet I still can’t seem to shed the weight and if I do, I put it straight back on, with extra”.

I explained to Susan what happens during a diet. You lose fat as well as muscle, because with reduced protein intake the body cannot maintain muscle. It is not just about how much protein, but what sort of protein. Not all protein is created equal and if you do not have the right building blocks of protein, your body cannot use it to build muscle and it is wasted. Now here is the bottom line. Muscle cells burn 30 times more calories than fat cells. Yes, 30. So, at the end of the diet, when you have lost that muscle, you have reduced calorie burning capacity and whamo! You put back even more weight. Susan nodded (I took this to be a good sign).

We ran some tests on Susan. She had an underactive thyroid, fatigues adrenals, high levels of inflammation, high levels of toxicity, imbalanced hormones, poor digestion and absorption, chronic dehydration, nutrient deficiencies and a lot of other stuff going on.

I explained to Susan “Look your thyroid is underactive so you are not burning the calories you would if it was functioning normally, so you could eat the same diet as your twin sister and she would lose weight, while you would not.

You have high levels of inflammation. This is coming from the way your body is dealing with daily stress. Your body is too busy getting you ready for action to properly deal with the food. As a result it puts it straight into fat.

You have high levels of toxicity in your lower gut. The body stores toxins in fat, so when it comes to shedding the fat the body will resist losing its storage depots”.

Your hormones are out of balance so your body will not be working at optimum levels for fat loss.

You are chronically dehydrated, which will be detracting from fat loss.

You have gut dysbiosis, chronic nutrient deficiencies, poor cell membrane permeability……………..”.

Most disturbing of all was that while Susan was only 35 years old chronologically, she had a biological age of 44. This told me that her body was breaking down and aging prematurely.

Susan challenged some of the findings, which was great. At her insistence I sent her to the lab for blood tests and urine tests. Two thousand dollars later, she has the reassurance she needed. It was exactly the same conclusion. I smiled (inwardly).

Instead of putting Susan on a fat loss program, we addressed her nutrient deficiencies, supported her thyroid, reduced inflammation, supported the body’s stress response, and then did a detox program. We also did some cool stuff to make the body shed fat.

Susan reached her 20 kg weight loss goal, but what was more important is that it was 20 kg of fat that was lost, not muscle. Retaining muscle is the key to retaining fat loss.

Susan sent me some pictures of the school reunion. She wore a teal blue dress and looked spectacular. She achieved this, not by going on a diet, but by giving her body what it needed to do what it does best.