In today’s world, where we’re bombarded with diets and weight loss trends left and right, it’s no wonder many of us feel like we’re drowning in a sea of conflicting advice. We all want to shed those extra pounds, but how do we do it in a way that’s both effective and doable in the long run?
In today’s episode, Ted is going to have an enlightening conversation about this and much more with Bill Campbell, a distinguished researcher in the realm of performance and physique enhancement, who is passionate about helping individuals enjoy their fitness lifestyles with confidence.
Bill will share his extensive expertise in exercise science and fat loss research. He discusses his journey from studying obesity to specializing in optimizing physiques within a maintainable lifestyle. Bill also delves into the biggest misconceptions about fat loss, the downsides of extreme diets, and the importance of resistance training and dietary protein intake in successful weight loss.
Listen now to gain valuable insights that can transform your approach to fat loss and fitness!
Bill Campbell is a distinguished researcher in the realm of performance and physique enhancement, who is passionate about helping individuals enjoy their fitness lifestyles with confidence. With a Ph.D. in Exercise, Nutrition, and Preventive Health from Baylor University, he currently serves as a Professor of Exercise Science at the University of South Florida and directs the Performance and Physique Enhancement Laboratory.
He has authored over 200 scientific papers and several textbooks, focusing on areas like physique enhancement, sports nutrition, and resistance training. His groundbreaking research, including studies on protein intake, flexible dieting, and diet strategies, has been cited over 7,000 times, attesting to its significance.
Connect to Bill Campbell:
- The impact of extreme diets on long-term weight management and overall health
- How to differentiate between effective and harmful weight loss strategies
- Insights into the role of hunger and appetite in successful fat loss
- The importance of lean tissue preservation for maintaining a healthy body
- Bill Campbell’s personal case study on high-carb, high-insulin diets and its outcomes
- The benefits of exercise and calorie control in improving health
- The truth about the myth of “metabolically healthy obesity” and its implications
- The evolving landscape of anti-obesity drugs and their effects on appetite and health
- The impact of marketing and pharmaceutical companies on public perceptions of nutrition and fitness
- The value of personalized approaches to weight management and fitness routines
- And much more…
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Podcast Transcription: Mastering The Science Of Fat Loss: Strategies For Long-Term Success with Bill Campbell, PhD
Ted Ryce: Bill Campbell, thanks so much for coming on the Legendary Light Podcast. Really excited to speak with you today. How are you doing?
Bill Campbell: I'm doing great. Thank you for the invitation. Looking forward to our conversation.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, me too. As I was just telling you, I'm a big fan of your Instagram and the types of information that you share. And I'm really excited because you're a fat loss researcher. No one has done more fat loss research on lean fit people than you have.
We typically talk about obesity and overweight on this show, but it's really important to get the full spectrum because I do have clients who just want to get leaner. They just want to get in better shape. And they're already doing well. They're not in that overweight or obese BMI or body fat percentage.
So really excited to dive into everything before we do just for someone who is tuning in right now and may not have heard of you. How do you describe what you do to people?
Bill Campbell: Yeah, so I'm a professor of exercise science, and I direct the Performance and Physique Enhancement Laboratory. And this is at the University of South Florida, which is in Tampa, Florida, in the United States. My research really focuses on fat loss. And as you said, it's a little bit, maybe not a little bit. I'm pretty much on the vanity side of the spectrum of weight loss.
So, I started my career doing research in individuals with obesity, and that was as a graduate student, so a master's student and doctoral student. And since then, my career has covered sports nutrition, performance enhancement, but the last probably five or six years have really focused on fat loss. And the way that I describe the research that I do services people who want to optimize their physiques within a maintainable lifestyle.
So, while I learn from bodybuilders and I do a little bit of research on competitive bodybuilders, that's not my, the audience that I serve the best. So, it's for people that may want to look like a bodybuilder or a physique athlete, but they're never going to step on the stage. They're not going to do the, they're not going to take it to that level.
So again, I learn from bodybuilders; they're kind of the experts in body fat loss, and then my research is looking at the best strategies, and usually a combination of exercise and nutritional strategies, to help people be the best they can be but live a life that they can maintain and sustain.
Ted Ryce: Well, you're the right person, and this is the right show because our target audience is busy professionals who don't want to live that life where they're showing up to a restaurant with their food scale and ordering the triple portion of protein. These are people who want to figure out how to get lean, stay lean, but within the context of what you could say is a normal life.
Having social events with colleagues, meetups, having holidays with your family, and not being that person who has to bring the Tupperware of their own food to Thanksgiving.
So, Bill, I already love where this is going. Let's talk a little bit about what are some misconceptions that you feel the average person who's struggling to lose fat? What are the biggest misconceptions that you run into or the biggest miss?
Bill Campbell: I think one of the biggest misconceptions for, let's just, I'll call them normal people as they look at a weight loss program, they feel like they have to upend their entire lives and do things that are kind of extreme to lose body fat. And in fact, I can point to multiple research studies where that's not a, that actually is harmful in the longer term. So, avoiding these crash diets. So, I think a lot of people think they just, they have to be extreme in their approaches to fat loss. And that one, you don't need to, and two, that's probably causing more harm than good for long-term success.
The other thing would be just some other myths. And again, I'm an exercise physiologist, so I think exercise is great, but you don't need the exercise to lose body weight. It's calorie per calorie. It's probably not the best decision. But a lot of people think, oh, now I have to start running, even though they hate running. So that's not, don't, if you hate running, and you're, just find something else for your physical activity.
So again, I think people will put up these hurdles or these false dichotomies of what they think they need to do that they don't. And I think I just mentioned two main ones.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, let's dive into the first one that you mentioned because people do believe they have to do something very strict or extreme to lose body fat. And it's obviously when you look at that, you're like, no, I'm not motivated to do that. I don't have the right, it's not the right time for me to do that. But what you're saying is not only is that unnecessary, but it can be counterproductive. So that's a bit of a mindset switch.
And so, so I'm aware of that obviously because I'm in the business of body transformation or fat loss too. But what are the downsides of doing extreme diets? Is it psychological, physiological, both? What does someone need to know about how this is not only unnecessary, but it's counterproductive to your goals?
Bill Campbell: Yes, and just know that I'm not an exercise psychologist. So, I have opinions on psychology, but I don't speak with any type of expertise or authority in that realm. But again, I love to share my thoughts on it.
So, when I look at the research on, let's say, crash dieting or rapid fat loss approaches, and it's funny we're talking about this because I'm literally, I am knee-deep in that research. My lab's going to be submitting a study that we did a few years ago. So, I'm actually changing my mind a little bit, and I'm happy to get into that, to where my mind has changed. But the research on rapid fat loss, and this floored me because this describes me and a lot of the network that I'm in.
The most harm appears to be
For people who are going to go on a kind of a crash diet, the most harm is done in individuals who are not overweight to start with. So, if you're relatively lean, or just you're not overweight, you're not afflicted with obesity, and you decide to diet, and even worse, you decide to take an aggressive approach to your diet, several studies have reported that you are now at greater risk for future weight gain. And in some of the studies that's been fairly consistent, it causes something known as fat overshoot.
And fat overshoot is basically you have, let's just say a hundred units of fat. You go on an extreme diet for an extended period of time, so two months or longer, and you lost body fat. So now you've, instead of a hundred units, you have 80 units after two, three, six months of really just taking an aggressive, I'll say unwise approach.
And it's successful, right? You've lost 20 units of fat; you've lost body weight. Now the diet's over, and you live your life for another few months, and what happens consistently is fat overshoot. Now you have gained more weight, more body fat than what you had before you started your first diet: 110, 120 units of fat. And then again, that can be cyclical for some people. They'll just keep doing that and doing that.
And the likely mechanism, what researchers think is causing this, is actually a loss of lean tissue during a diet, which you're much more likely to do when you take more drastic approaches. So, one of the great researchers that's kind of pioneered this is Duluz, his last name.
And what they theorized, and I would say they have pretty good data to suggest this, is when you lose body weight, and then your diet is over, you tend to have an elevated level of hunger. So, your body, I think we can all appreciate, your body works against you. If you get real lean and it's not natural, you're more hungry.
And the opposite also happens. As you keep gaining weight, your body works against future weight gain. I mean, obviously we do have people with morbid obesity, but the body will speed up metabolism, actually put on lean mass. So, there are things to help prevent you from gaining too much weight.
But back to this fat overshoot mechanism, it appears as though that, and again, this has really only been shown in pretty extreme diets, but the term is called hyperphagia, and that is an extreme desire to eat. It's almost uncontrollable hunger. And that seems to persist after an aggressive diet up until the point where you have gained back the lean tissue that you lost during that diet.
So, I'll bring all this home. What my lab really focuses on in these lean people that we study is when you're dieting, let's do everything we can to protect your muscle mass, your lean tissue because that sets us on a path for sustaining our fat loss and long-term success. And again, if you don't do that, two consequences are likely to happen.
One documented is you have fat overshoot, you gain more body fat than what you had. And then the second one is a greater likelihood of future weight gain, it's more likely in lean people. So hopefully, all that makes sense, and I talked for a while.
Ted Ryce: No, no, that's a great, a great overview. What's going on, a great explanation. I've shared about the fat overshoot after learning about it from reading your Instagram, and it makes so much sense. One thing I try to do with my clients is I try to make sure we're on top of that and we don't go too low into a deficit, especially the leaner person is, but also really encourage the training aspect.
And yeah, it's super important. People don't realize, I think people don't think long-term enough. And one reason I'm happy to have you on the show is because you're going to help get people thinking longer term. So, we can start to reframe success, not instead of losing weight, but making sure we're doing it in the right way and that it's staying off. And I feel like that's a big thing, not just in the narrative of the whole, let's say weight loss industry, but even coaches like me.
I know coaches say 12-week transformation, but rarely do we see what happens after those 12 weeks is the issue. Are there some things that you could say or like, what are the best practices then if you know someone has a past of choosing more extreme approaches, what would you say you've learned are the best approaches for someone like that?
Bill Campbell: There are two simple approaches that we incorporate into all of our research studies, and they are simple but maybe not simply applied, and that's basically just optimizing dietary protein intake and resistance training, engaging in resistance exercise. Now on that second note, if somebody hates resistance training, then I say, okay, I don't want it.
Again, what are you going to do for the rest of your life? If it's not going to be resistance training, will you do walking? Will you do cycling? Will you do inline skating, swimming, whatever? There's a lot of data that any type of physical activity in people with obesity or people that are overweight, if they even just walk, that has a massive effect, a statistically significant effect, on maintaining lean tissue during a diet phase.
So, if this person, this hypothetical person that we're talking about, they're going to go on a diet, and while I just said resistance training is the best and it is the best, but any type of physical activity where it's stimulating skeletal muscle, which even walking does, that will help maintain that tissue when dieting.
So much so that, and I don't want to get into a rabbit trail here, but a lot of people think that dieting is better than exercise for fat loss. And the reason that people believe that is because the research shows, oh yeah, when you diet, you lose 10 pounds, but exercise you lost four. Well, if you look at all of those, and I believe I've read every single study I could in the English language on this.
When people incorporate exercise with diet, the weight that they lose is almost all body fat. And when people just diet, they lose lean tissue, about 25%, and body fat tissue, leaving people that don't look at the body composition stuff, oh, yep, diet's better. Now, it's not better, but I would also suggest that dieting is easier for a lot of people.
So again, if I'm going to frame this as calorie for calorie. If we're going to have a 500 reduction from exercise or a 500 calorie reduction from diet, exercise wins. You'll lose all your weight from body fat, you'll maintain muscle mass, and you'll get all those health benefits. Now, which one do I think a majority of the people are going to more easily do?
Reduce your calories for 500, because for me, that might be eight chocolate chip cookies that I wouldn't normally eat, and if I hate exercising. And let me also say this, I'm an exercise scientist. I don't like exercising. I think when I was younger, I think I did, but now I've just embraced, I don't like this. I guess middle-aged. So, again, just being honest
Ted Ryce: Ha ha ha. How old are you, Bill?
Bill Campbell: 48, and probably for the last year or two, I've finally admitted, I mean, I lift weights, that's what I, I guess. Okay. I would say enjoy the most, but no, it's what I hate. Actually, it's not even that. I know I get the most value from resistance training. But I just say that for motivation. You don't have to love it, but maybe again, it's just that to me it's more of a mental win. I feel like, okay, I didn't want to do that, I did it again, and now I just have a sense of accomplishment. So again, I know I'm talking a lot.
I hope I'm answering that question. So back, just to bring this back full circle, protein, optimal protein intake, and resistance exercise ideally, but any type of exercise are the two simple things that anybody can do to optimize their fat loss when they're dieting.
Ted Ryce: Yeah. And please keep up the nuance because I've had a lot of these conversations. I do a lot of solo episodes on the basics, but when we have someone like you on the show, you've dedicated your life to this. You said you're a pretty boring person outside of work is what you've told me, because you're so focused and dedicated to this, but even you, you don't love exercising.
And I'm in a situation too, I lift weights because it's the biggest bang for my buck. And maybe we can even just talk about this a little bit more because it might help people shatter some beliefs about people who do show up to the gym consistently. But for me, I love jujitsu, you know, I'm in Brazil, I'm training jujitsu.
I love that, I love scuba diving but do I get super hyped up about going to the gym and lifting weights? I got to kind of push myself to do it sometimes. Sometimes I am, sometimes I'm not, and you're saying you're in the same boat, but the reason we do it, at least this is how I would say, for me, it's like I see the benefit and I like my body better, my confidence is better when I lift weights, and...
And it allows me to do the things that I really want to do. So just like I brush my teeth, not because I'm so excited about it, but being able to chew a nice piece of steak while I'm here in Brazil. I mean, that's, that's something I'm passionate about. I'm more passionate about food than exercise, but. You know, it, this is about what it allows you to do.
So, do you have things that you are interested in or is it just you are the type of dedicated discipline person where you just show up to the gym and you just get it done?
Bill Campbell: Yeah, I would say yes. Now I do cardio, so I walk anywhere from a mile to up to 30 minutes per day. I'll jog. And that's again, not that I love that, but I want some level of cardiovascular health and I'm willing to do those things as well.
Here's what I would love. I am so excited about golfing. I used to golf when I was younger, a teenager, even in my 20s. And I haven't golfed since we've had children. And I'm very excited about doing that again.
But at this point, I just can't take, I can't justify the time investment. So, but yeah, if I were, that's what I would. If I won the lottery, which I won because I don't play the lottery, but if I won the lottery, I would go golfing.
Ted Ryce: So, I hear you. So maybe part of it is just staying in shape so that when you do have that time, when the kids are grown up and you're able to get out there or they're able to come with you, you can go do that thing that you love.
Bill Campbell: Yes. And one other aspect that I often think about with lifting weights, to me, I know it's not a drug, but it is the best anti-aging drug in existence. When I look at people that are older than me and they look young, like they look young, and I'm even going to say for the last 10, 15 years, because again, this is the space I'm in, they almost always are resistance trainers.
Again, running is very good for cardiovascular, but I look at people who only run, a lot of times they look older than what they would, than their biological age. So, I don't know what it is about resistance training, but there's something about it that seems to tap into that fountain of youth better than anything else that I'm aware of.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I'm with you on that. I definitely, I get in my cardio as well, but if I only have a couple of days per week, limited time, I'm lifting some weights, even though don't love it like I used to.
So, Bill, what I'd also love to hear from you, what are some things that maybe even people like me don't know about either fat loss or body transformation? What are some of what you would consider secrets or higher-level practices that you feel not even the people in the industry know about.
Bill Campbell: That's a very difficult question because I think you probably know everything you need to know about fat loss. I think the problem is that it's so unsexy that most people, again, like you said, I devote my life to studying fat loss. I read research articles. I read books.
I develop courses that this is what I do pretty much from the time I wake up until the time I go to bed and you know minus time with the family going to church on Sunday and some exercise time but I'm led back to the diet and exercise. Boring, not sexy. And then, you know, you tweak this stuff, but I'd like to say if I wouldn't like to say if I knew something special, I would be talking about it.
Now, the areas that are intriguing to me are the new anti-obesity drugs. I'm very, I'm trying to learn as much about them as I can, and that's outside my scope. I'm a, my PhD was in exercise, nutrition, and preventive health. So, I'm not a pharmaceutical person.
But yet I want to be knowledgeable about these new newer and highly effective albeit with side effects these new anti-obesity drugs.
And the other thing that's intriguing to me, especially as I get older is HRT and how much that can impact body composition on two fronts, one for males which I think it's much more simple and then females with that are about to enter or who are in menopause just trying to learn about that because there's it seems to me like a lot a large part of our industry just ignores the older female. And I can tell you that's what that that's their perception and I think I agree. It's just a lot of people aren't don't specialize in that, and that's intriguing to me.
So, I think if there are secrets to be learned, they're going to be in the drugs and hormone replacement therapy aspect that I'm currently not, I haven't spent much time learning about that, but until recently.
Ted Ryce: Got it. Yeah. And it's an interesting point to bring up because I think a lot of the people, at least I came from, I was like a low carb cult member, you know, card-carrying member of the low carb, low carb cult. And I was very against medicine and farming, you know, big pharma, big food, etc. All the things that people say, I have a much different perspective now.
But it's kind of interesting where there is a lot of controversy around pharmaceutical companies and a lot of people want to avoid taking drugs, like even like statins as an example, if they have high cholesterol. But at the same time, probably the biggest breakthroughs in longevity are going to be from pharmaceutical companies or some type of biomedical research company.
Exercise and diet will get us far, but yeah, the stem cells and the precision medicine, all those things that are HRT, like you're talking about, the appropriate way to do it.
Bill Campbell: Yeah. And just let me comment on that. I think I'm very similar to you. I don't like taking medicine. I don't like taking drugs. If I'm sick, I don't want to take Tylenol. I don't. I want to avoid it all. I don't want my kids to take medicine. That's not to say I don't give my children medicine if they need it. And that's not to say if I need a drug or a procedure.
So, I recently wrote if I had epilepsy, I would take anti-epilepsy medication. If I needed heart surgery, I would get heart surgery. But I don't like it being my first, where I'm running to medicine or I'm running to a procedure, I want to know what can I do within my control within my exercise program, my nutrition program, so that I don't need to rely on those things. So, my base stance is not pro-medicine.
But then I look at the obesity epidemic, which is worldwide. It's not just a developed nation issue now. It's massive. And I ask myself, well, do I want to live in a country that's not healthy? And the answer is no.
So, if these drugs, these newer anti-obesity drugs, if they can help the health of our country, make us, just make people more, or help people be more productive, help people be more engaging in a fit lifestyle, then I want to be careful that my gut response is not, I think my response needs to be more mature and nuanced, and it sounds like you're in the same boat. We're both pretty, at least younger us, very black and white, or more black and white, and then the older we get. And I'm also hopeful with this.
I'm going to be doing a few talks on the threats and opportunities of these newer anti-obesity drugs and I'm happy, I look at the opportunities. We might have a huge influx of individuals who were never open to the idea of a fitness program or hiring a fitness coach.
That now that they have gotten rid of their excess adiposity, this world has opened up, you know, previously they couldn't fit in a machine at the gym. And obviously I think we can appreciate just society generally doesn't, it's not kind to, and it's not embracing of large-body individuals.
So, all that may change. So, I think there's a lot of opportunities for people in our space. Now I'm a researcher, so I wouldn't call it my direct space, but people that I, that I serve in this space.
I think if we're prepared, we could have extended opportunities. And then there's opportunities, like I'm working with an obese female now who wants to avoid taking the drug. She's like, hey, I'm very close to having to take this. Can you help me? And I said, yes, let's do this. But again, that's between you and your physician, whether you take the drug or not. And I'm talking about Wegovy, semaglutide for this person.
So, I think there's a whole, there's a lot of opportunity for people who can't handle the side effects or who just want to, hey, I want to try one more time. So, I don't, there's this aspect where I'm also excited about what's happening in that space as well.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I'm with you on that, Bill. I mean, I've recommended two clients not to take the medication. I'm not a doctor, but I said, you got to talk to a bariatric doctor. But I had one guy who worked with me for years and I just had, I looked at his weight and it, it would go down and then go back up and go down and go back up and just constant, constant effort. Now his life was a bit of a mess.
And I don't want to get too off-topic here because we've had Stephan Guyenet on the show. If you're familiar with him, I've had him on the show a few times.
Bill Campbell: Yeah, yeah, read his book, love his book.
Ted Ryce: Right. Absolutely. And you know, there's a large inheritability, obesity is inheritable, and the genes that we inherit predispose us to having bigger bodies, more excess fat through our appetite and stress mechanism, the reward mechanisms in our brain.
But for some people, it's just they're in a situation for whatever reason, they just can't make it work. And even if someone was just identified as being a super lazy person, and if they were going to, you know, on their way to diabetes or a heart attack, it's like, take the medication, know, just try something and as you astutely pointed out they may be operating from a place of hopelessness, then they take this medication, they start to see a change in their body, and then that opens up a whole new world of what else can I do? And I'm right with you on that.
What else would you say that someone needs to know? Like this isn't my area of expertise at all. Probably everything that I know about these drugs has been from Spencer Nadolski's Instagram, you know, or his Twitter comments. What are things that you feel someone needs to know about these? What are you so excited about? And what should someone be careful of with these, in your opinion?
Bill Campbell: Yeah, so this is not my area of expertise either, other than I study fat loss. So, I've studied the mechanism of how semaglutide appears to work. So, I don't want to get into that rabbit trail unless you want, but they're called GLP-1 agonists, glucagon-like peptide-1 agonists.
And just in a couple of seconds, they basically suppress your appetite, better than anything we've ever seen before. So, they are very effective. Some concerns with people taking these anti-obesity drugs are appetite being suppressed so much that they have no desire to eat. And that has some social complications as well because so much of our lives are around eating and the enjoyment of eating.
So, if you cut that off, what happens to their enjoyment of life. So, I think some social scientists, I think I'm not aware yet, but I'm sure there'll be some research on that. The other thing is the side effects are pretty consistent, nausea, diarrhea, just GI distress in general, nausea being one of the main ones, vomiting. So and unfortunately, people aren't going to want to exercise when they feel bad either. So that's a problem.
And then the other thing that's been shown twice and to the best of my knowledge, the only two times it's been investigated, the subjects on these drugs are losing a greater proportion of lean tissue than just dieting alone. We don't know the mechanism yet, but that's a concern, but again, I look at, well, that's where they need fitness professionals. What can we do to help prevent that? Because now, yeah, you've lost body fat, and that's probably the best thing at this time, if you are one with obesity.
But now we've just set you up for a greater likelihood of sarcopenia at an older age, and that has a lot of problems. So again, it's a threat, it's a risk, and then there's some reward or some opportunity for people to help others in this space. I would say something else that I think people need to be aware of as fitness professionals is the marketing behind the drugs.
They're beating a drum that exercise and nutrition isn't helpful, it doesn't work, it fails people. And that's by design. That, again, I'm not anti-pharmaceutical company, but they don't want fitness professionals helping people with weight loss. That's a competitor. So just be aware when you see that. And by and large, it does not help a lot of people because people can't sustain an exercise or diet.
But my first career was in marketing, and that's my one pleasure. I like to read marketing materials, and I'm all over their messaging about just how ineffective exercise and diet is.
And my response to that is, if everybody could work with people like you, as opposed to, here's a sheet that says, exercise more and eat less, which has probably been a lot of the or the predators of our industry that have been doing quick fixes and crash diets, if they actually worked with people like you, how much better would our situation be?
Now again, I understand that everybody has the finances, not everybody has the opportunity to work with an individual weight loss coach. But if they did the outcomes would be a lot different than just this broad statement of exercise and nutrition doesn't work. That's because it's not tailored. So, all my... These are all my opinions.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I appreciate you going there and I appreciate you taking nuanced approach, looking at the benefits and talking about the side effects though, and also the marketing, right? Um, everybody's trying to sell their wares and certainly pharmaceutical companies are very wealthy. I had a, a client recently who is in the pharmaceutical industry. She was working with me though. She wasn't taking the medication.
And she was, but they were talking about; it's just a gold mine. Because if you look at the amount of people struggling with obesity at, at a BMI of 30 and above, and where our society seems to be heading in terms of obesity classifications of people, it's like, this is, this is a drug that's going to be a hit. And it works to your point earlier.
It works, because you can, much easier taking a pill than changing your lifestyle. Changing your lifestyle is really difficult. And thanks for the plug. I'll be, I'll send you the check in the mail for the affiliate check.
No, but I agree with you, right? It's what we need. It's what we're missing is a personalized approach. And mostly what I do, I think people have a misconception. Now you know this, because you're in the business.
You work with Lane Norton, and you're teaching people like me how to get better results with clients. But most of what I do is, I would call it neuroscience-based behavior change, stress management, and peak performance. Because the diet stuff is easy. It's like, okay, here's a calorie deficit. Here's a target. You can diet flexibly. Oh, you don't like working out at the gym. You want to work out at home. Well, here's this optimized workout program.
That's exactly what you want with exactly the exercises that you like, and it'll give you results. As long as you show up and do it., but it's the stress that people have, it's the curve balls that life throws at them. It's waking up and your kids are sick. So, you got to skip your morning workout. It's the social events where you're not. It's all that stuff and helping people navigate it and also helping people navigate change.
I had a client recently who was doing great. He lost around 10 pounds in a very short period of time, two weeks, because we do put people on a bit of a stricter, low-calorie, high-protein, high-food volume nutrition approach for the first week or two before transitioning them to flexible dieting.
Anyway, he lost about 10 pounds, went on a cruise, got five pounds of it back and felt like he failed. And I was just like, no, you went on a cruise with all you can eat food. And there is no failure; there is what did I learn from this that I can take moving forward. And so, a lot of its mindset shift, and I think the conversation about, I don't know if you want to go down that rabbit trail as you say, but a lot of this is how we're looking at things the wrong way.
And we're getting bad results as a result of our perspective, kind of like what you talked about in the beginning; rapid fat loss diets set you up for weight regain, especially if you're already in that normal body weight range. So, we have to shift things, and that can be hard to do on our own. Anything you got you want to say about that or any experiences you can share?
Bill Campbell: Well, I want to reflect on your approach to helping working with that client where you are fairly strict in the first week. And when we first started talking, I've said that I've developed a little more nuance to these rapid fat loss crash dieting area. And where I'm gravitating towards and just read another study within the last week that reinforces this is it seems like I already said lean people.
But even people with obesity, if these crash diets are extended for weeks and weeks at a time, that's where we tend to see the damage. I'm seeing research that I never had seen before, or maybe I just didn't pick up on the nuances. If an aggressive approach is quick, short, there doesn't appear to be any harm in losing lean mass or in this fat overshoot phenomenon.
So, I try to think of something again as a former marketer; I like to think of phrases that stick. So, get in, get out, leave no doubt. Get into an aggressive deficit, get out. So, you're in for a week, maybe. My research team did a study probably about two years ago, and we had lean people on a rapid fat loss diet for up to 14 days. And we maintained almost all of their, what I call their dry lean mass. So, the lean mass that you account for losses of body water.
And by the way, for any nerds, anytime you read a study on very aggressive diets or exercise programs that are like a week or 10 days long, you have to account for losses of body water because people lose body water. And if you don't account for that, it's going to appear as though they're losing a lot of lean tissue, because that's where most of our water is. Adipose tissue is about 15% water. Lean tissue, skeletal muscle is about 70%.
So, when you lose water, it looks like you're losing lean tissue. So, most labs now will account for losses in body water. My lab does as well. So that's a nuance to evaluate these rapid fat loss studies.
So extended periods of time, I only see harm, but if it's short, now I'm seeing, okay, and in fact, the latest study I just read for individuals with obesity, it may be helpful to get an immediate success with a tangible amount of body weight loss, being aggressive for a short period of time, and then relaxing.
And then just two other thoughts about this. One, I like the idea of being aggressive in the first week or two because this is where I'm not a psychologist, but when are people most motivated to diet? Well, right when they started. So don't you want, yeah. So, it sounds like this is already in your practice, and I'm just coming around to it, but why not take advantage of that?
Why not leverage this, I can, I'm ready to battle hunger for a period of time. Now let me just say, hunger always wins. You will never beat hunger in a war. You'll beat it today, you'll beat it for breakfast, you'll beat it for dinner. You will ultimately lose.
But if you can set up a diet where it's strategic, short-term, leverage the motivation, and then get out of it. And then one other thought, and I love this, and this may be the next future study that we do, let's say we put, let's say we're, you put somebody on a 20% caloric deficit. To me, that would be a moderate amount. That's enough to definitely cause fat loss. It's probably enough to increase hunger.
But if we started a diet, let's say the first week, with a 40 or 50% caloric deficit, and then in week two, we go to 20, you know what a 20% deficit feels like after a week of, yeah, it's a whole, it's like, I get all this food, but it's really not. So, is this what you already do for a lot of years, or some of your clients in your practice?
Ted Ryce: Yeah, I mean, we just, we've tried so many things over the year. I've been in the business 24 years, but doing the coaching thing for about seven. So, we've tried the slow way and, we've just found that giving so, like all the reasons you said, number one, they're super motivated. They're like, okay, sign me up, give me some results.
And I just noticed that losing a pound a week, which is a good rate of fat loss, right? Or weight loss, you know, in case we didn't have the, the DEXA scan or whatever, but it's like, they're kind of not really in it, right?
They're not, they're so motivated by it. But when they see there's a couple of things, I'll just share my thoughts. Number one, it's what you said, high motivation. They want to do something that gives results. So, it meets them where they're at and what they want. Because what I do is very client-centered. It's not, you know, the Ted, the Ted method is really just being client-centered and applying these rules.
So, the second thing is, right, even though they lose a bit of water, and as you mentioned, that water may look like from lean mass, but it's really just water, they're so psychologically connected to the number on the scale when I first meet them. So, it's a huge win for them. For me, I'm like, yeah, okay, great. I mean, let's...
I'm looking at the year-long process, right? Of what we're going to do, but for them, it's a big win. And the other thing is this, Bill, I read some studies and was taught by my mentor, like some of the responses to food. So, my hypothesis is people are doing things that are making them overweight, presumably eating foods that they really enjoy or derive pleasure from, activates a reward system.
So, if you get them to come away from that for a little bit, that they fall less prey to that dopamine craving of food. There was a recent study showing that the more we indulge in those hyper-palatable foods, the more dopamine in general we get released in our brains, but as we continue to indulge, the dopamine becomes less.
And it makes the chicken and broccoli, the lower-calorie, higher-protein, not-as-palatable foods, release less dopamine as well. So, there's just no desire to eat the other stuff when you have these foods that are really lighting up your brain. And so, we find that people develop more self-control.
There's also a bit of an elimination diet aspect. So, people notice, you know, people notice things that happen. It's not magic, right? It's just limiting foods, putting people in a calorie deficit. And, you know, it changes not just the number on the scale, but there's some energy and psychological benefits as well. But we'd love to see the research you're going to do. So maybe we can tweak things to be more evidence-based.
Bill Campbell: Yeah, yeah, and I just, I have a lot of appreciation for just, it sounds like how you approach things with your clients. So, you've tried everything, again, you've been all over. So anyway, I love that. You're a scientist without publishing the papers, essentially.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, we're trying to get better at collecting the data, but it's from, and I appreciate that we definitely take that approach, but it's because guys like you, Lane, Alan Aragon, my mentor, Eric Williamson, you guys helped pull me out of the low-carb craziness.
Bill Campbell: Yeah, well, and even that, for some people, that's probably the best diet that they could stick to. Now again, I think it's probably not for most people, but I'm actually doing a case study on myself because I was getting just way too, in my opinion, way too many questions about, you can't lose fat eating high carbs, you can't, you know, it's, this is, insulin's high.
So, I decided, alright, I'm going to kind of bite the bullet. So, in March, I started a diet and I haven't talked about this yet on my social media. I'll soon do this. I've been eating a very high carb, high insulin on jet. The worst diet you would ever tell somebody to do. Cookies, cinnamon toast crunch, very high carbs with the point of saying not to eat.
Ted Ryce: So high carbs, but also hyper-palatable foods as well.
Bill Campbell: Absolutely, yes. Yes. Most of the time. Sometimes I have fruit smoothies. Sometimes I have oatmeal with a banana. But a lot of hyper-pal... again, I'm going to call it a high ins... high carb, high glycemic load high insulinogenic diet for the purposes of saying, for anybody who ever goes to one of their coaches and says, well, I can't eat carbs and lose weight, I want to be able to give them a case study that's published in an academic journal. Actually, you can.
Not that this is a good way to diet. Again, I think it makes my hunger levels, I think, you know, wow, you can appreciate if you eat chocolate chip cookies or cinnamon toast crunch, it doesn't do much for your hunger.
So, it makes the dieting process a little more miserable. But I've got blood work, I get, you know, a four-compartment model for body composition, resting meta, so I'm doing this in a scientific manner for the sole purposes of just saying, stop with this high carb, that you cannot lose weight.
I will end up losing, things go as planned, 10% of my body weight over X amount of time. So yeah, now the flip side of this is I've had to decrease my protein to a very low, I mean, to as low as I've ever done in my adult life or maybe my life for that matter. So that'll be interesting. Did I lose a lot of lean?
Ted Ryce: How much protein are you on per pound, grams per pound?
Bill Campbell: So, before I was ranging probably about 0.8 to 1.0, that's just how I lived my life. Now it's less than 100 grams per day. It's probably around a gram per kg. Maybe 1.2, but I don't think it's that high. So typically it was about...
Ted Ryce: Got it.
Bill Campbell: 1.6 to 2.2 grams per kg and now Probably around a gram per kg and I'm getting muscle ultrasound to see if my muscle thickness this so maybe I'll lose lean tissue my wife seems to think that I've lost some muscle mass, but I lost a lot again.
I've been into this for a few months now. But yes, I'm I appreciate the ketogenic diet for who it can help but it it's very it's taken on a beast nature that I don't think is good for the industry at large because people think, oh, you can't lose weight. No, eat the foods you like, you will lose weight if you control your calories. Now there are things you can do to help your hunger, to help you live more sustainably. So, yeah, I'm living an example. We'll see what happens when I'm done.
Ted Ryce: Well, we'd love to have you back on when that gets finished. Would love to hear the breakdown of it. And it's another, it's another example. I mean, when you, when you told me, I thought about the McDonald's diet guy who lost, I forget how much weight, but he was eating a 2000 calorie diet, exercising like five days a week for 45 minutes. Uh, but it was all off to McDonald's. Then there's a Mark Hobbs, I think that the nutrition professor.
Bill Campbell: Yeah, so, I'm doing something similar, but I think I'm the only one who's, who's done it at a scientific level. Um, and without all the marketing, like I'm not, I'm not doing a documentary or anything on it.
Ted Ryce: You should, Bill. That's what's missing, man. You know, you got to tap back into your marketing past.
Bill Campbell: Yeah, that's to me, it's just, it's too much of a time commitment. But I will again, hopefully, because I've, we've done all of the scientific methodology checks will publish this, which that alone should be. I mean, yes, I will. I'll miss the mark of the documentary aspect, but I'll provide the people that want the evidence. Hey, here's exactly. Oh, and I'm making them.
Every single gram of food that went into my mouth I'll make public because it's I want to make sure people know what I ate on this Again, I have to be careful. I'm not advocating that this is how people died. In fact, it goes against what I what I suggest in terms of protein I'm a protein anchored flexible dieting. That's that would be my philosophy with an appreciation that anything works for some people
But the other thing here is, if, and I don't work, other than one person right now that I'm helping, but I think a lot of times people with obesity, I might think you eat whatever you want to start, and let's just try to work on calorie control. So, I'm not going to, you can, we're not changing anything you eat, we're just going to change the amount of what you're eating initially.
And I think that calms down some anxiety in people because they think, oh, I'm going to have to eat asparagus and fish. That would be a good decision, but if you can't do it or you're hating it, you're not going to do that for more than a few times. So, there is some value in this approach as well, even though it's not something that I'm going to recommend.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, Bill. I mean, what you're doing is just showing, hey, listen, you don't have to have the perfect diet. You just have to have your calories in check. And, and I think the other thing people don't realize, they think that there's something magical about food choices. And there is a lot to say about food choices, the satiety, the protein, the micronutrients and the polyphenols and all the other things, but it's like the biggest, one of the biggest, probably I'm curious, but I would say if someone asked me based on the research I'm aware of, what's the number one thing that I should do to improve my health? I'm not doing anything. I'm overweight. What should I do to improve my health? It would be exercise. But the second one would be to lose excess body fat.
Because if you have, even if you don't have anything at the moment, it's just kind of where you reach that threshold where you start with whatever ailment you're genetically predisposed to.
And it's, it, but, but it's just losing body fat will fix a lot of problems. You're just getting into a calorie deficit will fix a lot of problems. And it goes beyond, even if you're making good food choices. Yeah, what are your thoughts on that?
Bill Campbell: No, I agree. It's about calories for most people. That's not to say if there is a metabolic condition that doesn't need to be taken care of. And yeah, I still struggle with excess adiposity. There's just nothing healthy about that.
I didn't read the study, but I was perused the abstract of this, basically what the article was saying is this myth of metabolically healthy obesity suggesting that yeah, I've always heard the number, 30% of people with obesity don't have any health outcomes and this article questions that and it's kind of like maybe not yet, maybe they just didn't surface yet, but still everything's trending up and it hasn't reached the threshold of high blood pressure, hasn't reached the threshold of type two diabetes, et cetera, et cetera.
So that's it, yes. Excess adiposity and then just exercise in general, again, lean tissue is, I don't know if you know Dr. Gabrielle Lyon, is one of her very much on a protein-centric health diet. So, I always think of her when I'm thinking about building muscle, preventing future sarcopenia as we get later in life. So yeah, I'm in agreement with you on both fronts. I just, I go back and forth. Excess adiposity or exercise. I can make an argument for both.
Ted Ryce: Yeah, yeah, yeah. Well said. And listen, I know we're coming up to the hour here and you have another call. And I want to be respectful of your time and also want you to come back on the show.
If you enjoyed this episode today with Dr. Bill Campbell, go to his website, www.BillCampbellphd.com, and you can also find them on Instagram @BillCampbellPhD and definitely someone that you should follow on Instagram.
I love your quizzes that you put up, the information that you share. It's just one of the most helpful Instagrams out in terms of if someone wants to learn about fat loss. And I also wanted to talk about your body by science research review that's solely dedicated to losing body fat and gaining muscle.
So, if you are on that next level, you feel like you're more advanced when it comes to learning about fat loss, learning about body composition, go to Bill's website at BillCampbellPhD.com and check out that body by science research review.
So, that is it for today. Bill, thanks so much. Sorry for keeping you a few minutes later than expected, but just really enjoyed our conversation today and hope to have you back again soon.
Bill Campbell: Yeah, thank you for the great conversation and for just your being interested in what I do. It's very humbling, so thank you.
Ted Ryce: Thank you.
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