Fat-burning Metabolic Fitness

In the past two columns, I have discussed classic female and male fat patterns and what causes them. They are described in detail in my forthcoming book, The Fat-Burning Bible (John Wiley & Sons, January 2005). Excess body fat in men and women may carry serious risks for hypertension (high blood pressure), type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other ailments.

In the new book, I introduce my "Fat-Burning Metabolic Fitness and Nutrition Plan." The book features a multi-tiered fat-loss system that includes self-evaluation, a metabolic and exercise plan and a stress management program for fat loss

In the first component, factors in addition to scale weight are measured to determine the participant's weight-gain situation. These include Body Mass Index (BMI), full body measurements (especially the waist), body fat percentage, waist-to-hip ratio and metabolic status. Once these numbers have been compiled, a metabolic nutritional plan can be formulated (the second component). This includes a low-glycemic food plan to increase metabolism, reduce excess body fat and boost energy levels.

The third component of my plan offers a high-powered, gender-specific metabolic exercise program (home- or gym-based) aimed at trimming off excess pounds and inches. This unique fat-loss concept integrates circuit and cardio training with core exercises and internal training designed to not only reduce fat and preserve lean, metabolically active muscle tissue, but also to significantly increase your calorie-burning potential.

In my comprehensive weight management program at Ochsner Clinic Foundation, which is based on the concepts in The Fat-Burning Bible, Medical Director Dr. Barry Goldman and I work closely together to benefit the clients' overall health profile. Prior to starting their programs, all participants must be seen and cleared by Goldman or their own primary care physicians. "We look at them medically, from head to toe, to determine their condition and diagnose any disorders that may exist," Goldman says. "Then, with this information, a program can be personally tailored for them."

Patients who go through the three-month program are medically evaluated on an ongoing basis to see if they are achieving the desired. At the end of the program they can opt for a final evaluation by Goldman or their own primary care physician. "If we are successful, we can often get many off of their medications," Goldman says. "There's no other program like this anywhere."

Dr. Richard Milani, vice chairman of the Department of Cardiology at Ochsner Clinic, also helps us determine the fitness of our clients by measuring what is known as the anaerobic threshold. A stress test, measured either on a treadmill or exercise bike, can determine the maximum amount of stress a client can be expected to endure. Readings are taken of levels of gases (oxygen and carbon dioxide) exchanged during the stress test. Based on these readings, Milani can set a zone within which optimum fat burning can occur.

For those who think they have to give up all or most of the great food for which New Orleans is noted, my book lists 75 metabolic nutrition recipes from my list of hundreds of "Mackie Meals" that are not only tasty, but also good for you. They include a wide variety of dishes from appetizers to desserts, carefully planned by Chef Marc Gilberti with weight and fat loss in mind. You can enjoy low-calorie versions of some of your favorite Crescent City dishes as well as many other delights from the regional and international menu.

My family, my staff and I wish all of you a very happy holiday season and offer you a great way to start the new year -- with a scientific approach to fat loss.

Mackie Shilstone is Ochsner Clinic Foundation's performance enhancement expert. He is the author of two books, Lose Your Love Handles (Perigee Books) and Maximum Energy for Life (John Wiley & Sons). His next book, The Fat-Burning Bible (John Wiley & Sons) is due out in January 2005. He can be reached at (504) 842-9503 or through his Web site


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