Episode Seventy One Summary

  • Aaron Day - Aaron is a clinical weight loss practitioner, nutritional therapist, and dietary supplement advisor. Aaron helps people get healthy with keto, then brings back the carbs without people gaining the weight back. The name “FatForWeightLoss” is a poke at what society thought was making us all fat. But in actual fact, using fat in your diet whether you’re following a ketogenic diet, or simply a low carb diet, is the biggest lever you can move towards making a lifestyle change, weight loss, and more importantly, fat loss.
  • Developing Aaron's methodology - Aaron has a cycling background, and upon hearing a podcast discussing a high fat dietary approach, he wondered if he could apply this philosophy to endurance exercise. Having run a keto marathon and performed lots of keto cycling, he found that although he had really good results, that after a while he needed to bring carbohydrates back in a healthy way. He now applies this methodology with his clients, whereby after going low carb, his clients bring some carbs back into their diet whilst keeping the weight loss that they've had.
  • Carbohydrates for athletes versus non-athletes - for elite endurance athletes, who are often working with sports nutritionists, eating carbohydrates makes sense. For the average person who is just looking to improve their health, rather than worrying about using carb loading to try and run more effectively, the more pertinent question should be, “How can we improve your body composition so that you don't have to carry 15 kilos around the entire 42 kilometres with you”? This will also most likely result in increased performance anyway as you have less weight to carry around.
  • Reintegrating carbs back into your diet - losing weight in a low carb state is easy and Aaron always recommends this for most people who are looking to lose significant amounts of weight, because it just works. If you are adding some carbohydrates back into your diet, then it would make sense to taper back some of your fats, to keep you at that range where your metabolism's still firing. You can bring back things like potatoes, sweet potatoes, beans, whole grains, and fruit, in a way that you don't go and gain all the weight back. 
  • Bringing back carbohydrates - people can have trouble regulating their consumption of specific carbohydrates. For example, one person may be able to eat a single slice of bread, whilst another may find if they have a slice of bread that they end up devouring the entire loaf. As such, if people are to reintroduce carbohydrates to their diet, it is important that they choose those that will not unravel them. Aaron also always brings carbohydrates back as part of a meal that contains protein and fat, thereby delaying the gastric absorption from those carbohydrates, so they're not hitting your blood sugar levels so hard.
  • Nighttime snacking - this can be a big problem for many people, a prominent example being mindless eating in front of the TV. This can come about due to people skipping breakfast or doing intermittent fasting, and simply not eating enough and finding themselves hungry, as well as people who struggle with emotional eating, cravings, and binge eating. Removing yourself from that environment, namely stepping away from the kitchen and turning the TV off is a really good first step to combat this. Identifying the emotions you are dealing with, as well as making peppermint tea are also effective strategies.

To find out more about losing weight and improving your health with a low carb approach, for recipes from main meals all the way through to keto desserts, as well as meal plan examples and much more, you can find Aaron via his:

Show notes:


Can you ever eat carbs again?


Dr Mary Barson: Hello, my lovely listeners. I'm Dr Mary Barson.


Dr Lucy Burns: And I'm Dr Lucy Burns. Welcome to this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. Good morning, my lovely friends. We have a special guest today. As you know, I often have a chat when Dr Mary is not available, and I have the most wonderful person to introduce to you. I think you'll find his messaging has so much goodness in it. And as well as that, he's the producer of multiple cookbooks. So today, I'd love to welcome to the podcast, nutritionist Aaron Day. Welcome, Aaron.


Aaron Day: Fantastic. Look, thank you so much for having me on, I really appreciate it. And yeah, I mean, hopefully for anyone who's listening they get some really good information out of this too.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely. Well, you know, I think one of the like, a lot of people, once you kind of see low carb and you get you know this amazing result, you see people and they become like a zealot and want to talk about it all the time. And so I just made it my job and I suspect you did, too.


Aaron Day: Absolutely. Yeah, it's hard to not see the results and when the results do come in, I need to tell everyone about this.


Dr Lucy Burns: I know, I know, and yeah, when your family gets sick of you, you then start a job and it's kind of like, “Now we get paid to tell my passion, so hurray”!


Aaron Day: Absolutely.


Dr Lucy Burns: Wonderful. So I would love it if you would share with our listeners your low carb journey and your story, and where you are, where you've been, and where you're going.


Aaron Day: Yeah, so I started off using a ketogenic diet in a little bit of a different way than most people. Most people look to lose weight, or maybe they're trying to improve health markers, or lots of reasons. But I came into it from the cycling background. So I was not a weekend warrior, but I was probably a weekend warrior, I guess, on the bike, and training for “Three Peaks”, which was not a race, but it's like a big event down in Melbourne. And training for that going through the carbohydrate loading and all those sorts of things, I finished that event, amazing, got amazing results, and then I thought, “What else is out there”? And I was listening to a couple of different podcasts at the time, very early adopters who were bringing in this like, high fat approach. And that was where I thought, “Well, maybe I can do this with endurance exercise”. And it turns out you can. So I ran a keto marathon, I've done lots of keto cycling, and it was really good. But I found that after a while, I needed to bring back carbohydrates in a healthy way. Because I'd figured out, “Okay, this is, this is a healthy way of eating low carb, right? What does it look like when I bring back in carbs? Do I just bring back in the pizza and the pasta and the beer and the bread again? Or does that look different”? And that was where I have also made a little bit of a transition from going low carb and then bringing carbs back in and being able to modulate that in a way that's both healthy for your body, but also for weight loss purposes, keeping that weight loss that you've worked so hard on for the rest of your life. Yeah, so that's, I work with clients on a daily basis, and it's just been fantastic to showcase not only a low carb diet to so many people, but also to remove some of the carb phobia that tends to build up a lot in the space as well.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, I've got so many things to blab out and I'm a blabber, but first thing I wanted to say was, “My husband is one of those cyclists, the MAMIL, the middle-aged man in lycra”. Also does ridiculous riding up crazy hills. It's interesting, he certainly has reduced his carbs, but he's still not a complete convert yet. And I think it's hard because I'm sure as you see in the athletic world, it's, there's gels all over the place. Like it's complete pushing of gels and to buck the trend feels pretty hard.


Aaron Day: Yeah.


Dr Lucy Burns: So do you coach athletes through that process? If you had someone who really wanted to improve their endurance training, is that something that you would offer?


Aaron Day: Yeah, absolutely, I've worked with athletes in the past. The majority of my clients are mostly weight loss based. I do find that more people need to lose weight than perform well at endurance cycling.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, yeah.


Aaron Day: But I do think there's, there's a time and a place for it. Definitely depends on the intensity of your activities. So if like, if you're racing for instance, I probably wouldn't recommend a ketogenic diet. But if you are cycling or running to improve your health, and you don't need to be the fastest person out there, then why not give low carb a go.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, absolutely. And I think from memory, it's Peter Brukner who talks often about training low and then increasing the carbs just before your race if winning or improving your own personal time is important to you.


Aaron Day: Absolutely. Train low, race high.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely. And you know, you're totally right. I mean we had a, one of our members on maybe like Episode 15 or 16, and she's a marathon runner, has always done running. And the message I think behind that story of her coming was that, and I know you've heard this, that you can't outrun a bad diet. So she was carb loading, eating lots of gels and all of those sorts of stuff, and probably still carrying 15 kilos despite running 50 kilometres frequently. And it just, so when people go, “Oh, you just need to do more exercise”, what are your thoughts on that?


Aaron Day: So it's an interesting concept, because I think a lot of the people who do the carb loading and the gels don't have the knowledge of nutrition to be able to take it one step further. So a lot of elite endurance athletes often have sports nutritionists working with them and I do think a lot of those, that carbohydrate makes sense for them. But if you are someone who is looking to improve their health, then like relying on pizza, and bread and rice, and all those sorts of things to carb load so that you can run more effectively, I think the bigger question is, “How can we improve your body composition so that you don't have to carry 15 kilos around the entire 42 kilometres with you”? And you might be able to get a faster time.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes, absolutely, and that was what our runner did. She became low carb, runs low carb, and yeah, 15 kilos just fell off over, you know, a little while. But yeah, it was amazing.


Aaron Day: Yeah.


Dr Lucy Burns: I love that. I love that you come at it from like a couple of different points, and you mentioned the “all or nothing”. So when people go, they become a bit scared of carbs. Can you tell us a bit more about your thoughts on that?


Aaron Day: Yeah, absolutely. So when we go low carb, most of the time we don't tend to think about nutrition too much. We just avoid all of the carbohydrate laden foods, and all the processed foods, and just try and stick to, you know, meat and eggs, and green leafy vegetables, and maybe some cruciferous vegetables in there, and avoiding the fruit and all those sorts of things. And naturally, your body just loses weight, right? So you initially drop the water weight that your internal glycogen storage would carry. So you've dropped that water weight and then making weight loss after that is easier, because you've essentially taken one of the macronutrient groups mostly out of your diet. And you're also not fighting the cravings and the hunger, and the rollercoaster ride of carbohydrates that, that can often make dieting really hard. But what tends to happen though, is that people will lose a significant amount of weight on a ketogenic diet or a low carb diet, which is so good. And it only reinforces the fact that if they eat carbohydrates, they're going to gain weight. And that loop might start if you, maybe if you eat out and you've accidentally eaten more carbs than you've, than you do at home, and you jump on the scale and you've gained a kilo, and you go, “Oh, that just reinforces the fact that I should never ever eat carbs ever again”. So the way that I kind of think about it is that you can either get your energy from fat or from carbohydrates and you definitely can get a mix of both. But you want to start moving away from having carbohydrates by themselves because that creates a big blood sugar response, and the corresponding insulin, and then you have the insulin resistance that builds up. So that's just a bad cycle to be in. Losing weight in a low carb state is easy and I always recommend it for most people who are looking to lose significant amounts of weight, because it just works. And you don't have to really do too much apart from making sure that you're focusing on really good quality whole foods, right? But when you migrate back into what I call “the real world”, where you know, other people are eating carbs, and so, “What does that look like in a healthy way”? That's where you can start saying, “Okay, well, I need to optimise my diet for protein”. So whatever protein threshold you've found that works well for you, or if you're trying to support lean muscle mass or any of those types of things, that's where protein's really important. Then you can kind of decide whether you want to get the majority of your energy from fat or carbs. And if you are adding some carbohydrates back into your diet, then it would make sense to taper back some of those fats, to keep you at that range where your metabolism's still firing, and maybe doing that in a way or doing that with some help even, can be really helpful. So bringing back things like potatoes and sweet potatoes, beans, you know, whole grains, fruit, those types of foods in a way that you don't go and gain all the weight back. You've built a healthy relationship back with those foods and obviously I think some of the processed carbohydrates, sugar, those types of foods probably need to stay out of our diet long term, just to keep seeing the health benefits that we got from low carb. But yeah, that's kind of my principles. That's kind of been what's been working for most of my clients too.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah. It's interesting, like a lot of people, so when I first started my own low carb journey, I was probably, I mean I was very strict. I was, because I was a good dieter. I had done years and years and years of dieting. I knew how to diet, I knew how to follow a plan very, very strict. And yeah, lost the weight, hurray! And then interestingly a couple of things happened. I have a thing that I kinda like it, which is a carb threshold. So everyone's level is different and for some people, particularly introducing, depending on, on their, so again there's the, sort of the sweetaholics and the savouryaholics. So I was a sweetaholic, sweet tooth, and completely identified with chocolate and all of that sort of stuff. So I kind of look and go, “Right, what, what is going to be helpful to me? Is it helpful to me to have a big plate of low carb brownies for example”? Even though they're low carb, even though they might be wholish foods, I have trouble regulating it because I keep going back to the fridge. “Ooh, that was nice. Ooh, I'll have another one of those”. And before I know it the whole plate's gone. And working out, so working out for each person what they have trouble regulating. So I know some people have trouble regulating wine, for example. You know, I know you can buy low carb wines, but if you drink a bottle of low carb wine every night, that's not gonna be helpful. If you could have a glass of low carb wine three times a week and you just leave the bottle in the fridge, then big deal. So sometimes it's about knowing what is easy for you to regulate. So if having one, a small scoop of mashed potato for example on your plate doesn't lead you to go and then eat the whole tub of mashed potato, big deal. But if having one scoop means you go and you basically, you know, bowl over your kids to get the potato yourself, then it's probably not that helpful.


Aaron Day: Absolutely.


Dr Lucy Burns: Same with bread, you know. Again, I've got a client or a patient since that's what we tend to call them and he can have a piece of sourdough every now and then, and he has type 2 diabetes, it does nothing to his blood sugars. But I know other people who have, having one slice of sourdough, they would go back and get the next bit and they just keep chopping, you know, little bits, little bits until they're actually eaten the whole loaf. And then they get halfway through and go, “Oh, bugger it. I'll just finish it off and then it's done, I don't have to think about it”. So yeah, so I guess that's my thoughts on it. I think that it is wonderful if people can bring back some carbohydrates that then doesn't unravel them. But I think as I was saying to you before we were chatting, there are people that are, who you know very proudly wear the badge of honour of never having a carrot or a potato. But then they're eating the biscuit or the Mars bar and it's like, “You know what, you're probably better off with the carrot”.


Aaron Day: Yeah. I think as well, you know a lot of the times, like I've got a website that's got lots of keto desserts on there and keto desserts are one of those like Frankenfoods that you can overindulge in and potentially just gain weight because of that. And the reason why and I find that this is particularly helpful to think of, is that foods that contain carbohydrates and fats but don't have much protein, are probably foods you don't want to utilise a lot of. And you know, when I get my clients to bring back carbohydrates, it's always part of a meal. So it's not by itself and I think that's the big difference. Like if you're sitting there and you're saying well, you know, “Aaron said that I can eat some bread now, which is awesome”. And you put some butter on it and some honey, and you're like, “This is delicious. I can eat carbs now, I feel great”. That's a problem.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes.


Aaron Day: So I think what, if you're adding it to meals, then with protein and fat you're sort of delaying the gastric absorption from those carbohydrates, so they're not hitting your blood sugar levels so hard. And you also need to find as you were saying, those foods that you can regulate a little bit as well. Or if you're someone who was tracking macros for instance, you might be able to find some room in those macronutrients that you can fit those foods in, as long as they're part of a meal, and it's still gonna get you to your goals as well.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yep, wonderful. And I totally love that because we do a little the same, we sort of talk about having your meals and really minimising your snacking. Which is hard, because again, we've often been taught you know, morning tea, afternoon tea, bit of a snack on the couch, so the six meals a day thing. So we eat when we're not really hungry. Dinner comes and we've just had afternoon tea so we're actually not that hungry, but we eat because it's there. And so yeah it ends up, we end up eating just more of everything than we need to.


Aaron Day: Absolutely, and also the nighttime snacking. I find that for a lot of my clients the window between after dinner and before they go to bed, or after they've put the kids to bed or however that works, eating in front of the TV mindlessly is a big problem too. Regardless of whether it's low carb snacks, or a bag of chips, they're both the same, really. And that mindless just like eating, it can be truly problematic too.


Dr Lucy Burns: Absolutely. In fact, do you have any tips for people on that? Because I know we're the same, it's a big, it's a huge problem.


Aaron Day: Yeah.


Dr Lucy Burns: For some people, yeah.


Aaron Day: So it's, for some people it is a lack of energy throughout the day. And so they may have skipped breakfast, so they might be doing intermittent fasting, they're just doing lunch and dinner and they're just not eating enough, right? And so they get to after dinner, and they're like, “I'm still hungry”. And so they just go and raid the cupboard for pork rinds, or whatever it is. So that's one camp. There's also the other camp, where they might struggle with emotional eating, or cravings, or even binge eating to a certain respect and that's where the mindset of this whole thing can really be more important. And I like to use the analogy, “If you are standing in a house fire, to heal yourself you need to step out”. You need to step out of that house fire to stop the emotional eating, to stop that. Because a lot of the times people don't even realise they're doing it. And not until afterwards or not until the next day where they feel disappointed and really upset and almost depressed in a way where they go, “I can't believe I did that. Why am I so broken”?


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, yeah.


Aaron Day: So just stepping out of the house, stepping out of the kitchen, stepping away from that environment, turning the TV off, that's one of the first really good steps. And then there's a couple of other steps that I work with my clients on, you know, finding their emotions, like what are the emotions that they're currently dealing with? They always have options, and then building in a bit of a plan so that we don't get that cycle happening again.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yeah, absolutely. And I think, I totally love that as well. We only eat because we're either hungry or there's an emotion involved. The emotion's sometimes boredom, but it's also that Pavlovian conditioning. So if you've always eaten on the couch, when you sit down on the couch and you don't have your snack, your brain goes, “Hang on, what's going on here, where's my snack”? And it starts yelling at you, and it feels really uncomfortable. So yeah, I love that. Change your environment. It can even be as simple as changing your actual seat on the couch. If you, your side table's on the other side, you've got a slightly different view of the telly and your brain goes, “Ooh, I'm in a different place”.


Aaron Day: And also making peppermint tea is also a really good hack that I've found that works well for people too.


Dr Lucy Burns: Yes, yes, yes. We're obsessed with tea, and particularly tea in a fancy cup. It feels a bit special.


Aaron Day: I love it.


Dr Lucy Burns: Wonderful, wonderful. Well, if people are wanting to connect with you, so you're in Brisbane, which is great. If people are wanting to connect with you and perhaps check out your website or your details, or even come and get some one-to-one coaching, where can they find you?


Aaron Day: Yeah, cool. So I'm available everywhere in the internet. So if you type in “fat for weight loss” in Google, I should come up. I've got a website, so you can go there and find some delicious keto recipes. There's everything from main meals all the way through to your keto desserts, which is great if you're just starting out with low carb, and you need some of those like transitional foods. And then if you're looking to maybe lose weight, or if you're looking to improve your health using a low carb approach, or you really like the fact of me talking about bringing back carbs in, then you can get in contact with me either on the website or on Instagram, or even on my YouTube channel where there's lots of meal plan examples. There's lots of example days of eating. There's lots of you know, just showing you how it works in a simple way, because we love to talk about it and we love all these ideas, but what does that actually look like on a plate? That's what the YouTube channel is all about.


Dr Lucy Burns: Oh, wonderful, absolutely. I think the hearing about it and even reading about it, but then watching somebody actually do it, is fantastic. Brilliant, fantastic. All right, well thank you so much for joining me today. Lovely listeners, I will be back next week. Possibly with Dr Mary, it depends which order we put these in. But as always, I hope you're happy and healthy and have a wonderful day and we will see you soon. Bye for now. So my lovely listeners, that ends this episode of Real Health and Weight Loss. I'm Dr Lucy Burns. 


Dr Mary Barson: And I'm Dr Mary Barson. We're from Real Life Medicine. To contact us please visit https://www.rlmedicine.com


Dr Lucy Burns: And until next time, thanks for listening. The information shared on the real health and weight loss podcast, including show notes and links provides general information only. It is not a substitute, nor is it intended to provide individualised medical advice, diagnosis or treatment, nor can it be construed as such. Please consult your doctor for any medical concerns.

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