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The Truth About Weight Loss. 5 Things You Need to Know

weightloss facts

By Angela Greely & Tania Flack

Angela: Losing weight can be hard, if you try and follow the conventional calories in – calories out rule. As Tania says “it can be soul destroying”. This great blog post by Tania Flack a leading Nutritionist and Naturopath tells you what you need to address to achieve LONG TERM weight loss and your ideal body composition. 

 1. What seems to be the single biggest barrier for your clients?

Tania: Perhaps the biggest barrier I see to weight loss is the ability to make fundamental changes to our food culture. Our food culture is ingrained in us from early childhood and takes a lifetime to develop. Most people who grew up in Australia were raised on a diet of toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and a pasta or rice dish for dinner. Obviously, loosing weight is dependant on being able to review this type of diet and make healthier choices.

Our food culture includes basics like our ‘fall back’ recipes; these are generally the 5-10 dishes that we cook during a busy week because we know how to make them and usually have the ingredients at hand. Our comfort foods and food rituals (like pizza on a Friday night for some people) are also part of our food culture. Changing our food culture takes significant effort, however, creating a new food culture based around healthy eating is one of the most beneficial things you can do for your health.

Angela: We have an awesome eBook that outlines the fundamentals that you need to know to achieve a healthy diet. Click here.

2. I have a lot of people telling me I’m eating healthily and exercising everyday and I can’t lose weight. What factors do you think they need to look at?

Tania: Once people have managed to develop a new food culture and have a healthy diet they generally achieve a healthy body weight; however, there are several hidden causes of weight retention that may cause significant problems, even when diet and exercise are perfect. Unfortunately, it is never as simple as calories in balanced with energy expended and I feel that this approach to weight management can be soul destroying for some people who have genuine reasons for weight retention. Here’s my short list of the most common blocks to weight loss.

  • Leaky gut, dysbiosis (an overgrowth of normal gut bacteria) or low-grade bacterial or parasitic gut infection (which is quite common) can cause a world of weight loss problems.
  • Genetic predisposition is also important. I use DNA testing in clinic to help develop individualized diets for people based on their genetic profile.
  • High cortisol levels also play a significant role in weight retention. When we are under stress we can produce high levels of cortisol
  • Thyroid problems
  • Toxicity levels
  • Another factor which may play a role in weight retention, specifically in women in the late 30s to early 50s age group, is changes in oestrogen

 3. How would you know if you had leaky gut or a bacterial infection?

Angela: Sign and symptoms of leaky gut or bacterial infection can be gas, bloating, IBS, food intolerances, hormonal imbalances, autoimmune disease, chronic fatigue, mood issues, skin issues, candida…the list is endless. At the end of the day we are as good as our digestion!

Tania: I do a simple urine test at every initial appointment that gives a clear indication of dysbiosis, leaky gut and the state of the digestive health. Depending on the results of that test I may look for markers of inflammation using bioimpedance analysis or live blood analysis. Often I will refer people for a Comprehensive Stool and Digestive Analysis. This is our gold standard for gut testing and can identify a range of important gut health markers, including bacterial and parasitic infections and the levels of healthy bacteria in the gut. Treatment depends on the findings of these tests. Usually people who prove to have bacterial imbalance in the gut will start my “Leaky Gut Program” which can result in significant weight loss.

4. What should we do when our weight loss stalls?

Tania: I advise people to consult their nutritionist or naturopath so they can get a clear indication of what might be blocking weight loss. Often some professional advice and perhaps some testing to clarify the situation is all that is needed to achieve a healthy body composition.

5. What are your top 3 tips to achieving your ideal weight?


  • Be kind to yourself, achieving and maintaining a healthy body composition should be a long-term process. Starving yourself is definitely not the answer. Give yourself a pat on the back for making healthy changes and remember the long-term dietary changes you make now might become the “Food Culture” of the next generation of your family.
  • Learn to cook! It is surprising how many health conscious people actually don’t know how to cook. This can lead to a lack of creativity in the kitchen, boredom with your ‘fall back’ dishes and temptation to go back to old food choices. Take an interest in where your food is grown and how it is produced and most importantly, take some cooking lessons – healthy food should be delicious!
  • Get some advice, if you feel like you are getting nowhere please see your health practitioner. You might be 80% of the way there already and only a few subtle tweaks to complete your weight loss journey, or you might need help getting started. There is so much confusing information out there, find out what is right for you and get some support. It can make the world of difference.


Angela: Hope that inspired you! I think a great place to start is your fall back recipes. If they aren’t healthy ones make them healthy ones. Make healthy eating/clean eating a life choice, it’s not a fad diet; it’s your key to achieving and maintaining your optimal body composition.

What’s everyone’s experience in making changes from our food culture of toast for breakfast, sandwiches for lunch and pasta/rice dishes for dinner?

Love to hear some weight loss achievements too?

start cutting out processed foods with 180 superfood here

How to fix leaky gut

180 Nutrition Podcast

Podcast episode #3

By Guy Lawrence

In this weeks episode of The Health Sessions I hang out with leading Naturopath and Nutritionist Tania Flack and discuss leaky gut, dysbiosis and how to fix it. If you want to jump straight to this and skip Stu & I’s ramblings go to [13:03] of the podcast.

Download or subscribe to us on iTunes here.

You can view all podcast episodes here.

In this weeks episode:-

  • Stu & I introduce the show and chat about…
  • Dairy, Neem tea, quality of tap water & hair mineral analysis
  • Tania Flack & I chat about… [13:03]
  • Why a healthy person can have an unhealthy gut
  • How to fix leaky gut
  • What exactly is dysbiosis
  • Why detoxing the liver before the gut is not the best approach
  • and much more…

If you would like a question or topic covered on our podcasts, then we would love to hear from you. We can be reached below on:

Email | Facebook | Twitter | Voicemail

Podcast transcription

Guy Lawrence: Tanya, thanks for dropping by.

Tanya: You’re welcome.

Guy Lawrence: So, first question I wanted to ask you was simply, well, myself and Stewie came in for a gut test last week.

Tanya: Yeah?

Guy Lawrence: And our results weren’t that fantastic. So, for anyone listening, could you talk us through what the test was and what you were looking for?

Tanya: Yeah. The test we do for dysbiosis basically measures the chemical that’s given off by an overgrowth of bacteria in the bowels. So, if you’d like to call it “bad bacteria.”

Guy Lawrence: So, is that what dysbiosis is?

Tanya: Yeah. It’s an overgrowth of bacteria and you’ve got a balance of good and bad bacteria, so if you’ve got an overgrowth of the bad bacteria they give off a certain chemical. And the chemical that they give off is then absorbed across the gut mucosa and it gets into the blood stream and into the urine, filtered by the kidneys and into the urine. So, we do a urine test and that tells us about the level of bad bacteria.

Guy Lawrence: So, dysbiosis is simply the main bad bacteria that you test for?

Tanya: Yeah. it’s an overgrowth of that bacteria. We’ve got a balance of good and bad bacteria in the bowel which is, on somebody with a really healthy gut, we’ve got the presence of both of those. But with dysbiosis we’ve got an overgrowth of bad bacteria. So, they give off an interactive protein and give off a chemical that we can then measure with the urine.

And, depending on the test results, we can tell if there’s; how much of that chemical is interacting with the reagents that we use in the test and that gives the bottom part of our test tube a different colour.

So, we grade it by that. Yeah, and that’s how we identify dysbiosis in clinic.

Guy Lawrence: So, you made myself and Stewie eat a heavy-protein meal the night before.

Tanya: Yeah. Yeah. And it, basically, the bacteria, their interaction with protein, and if you’ve got a lot of bad bacteria and have had lots of protein, it will give off this chemical that we measure in the urine.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, right. OK. What interested me was that my gut health wasn’t great. I had really poor results. Stewie’s wasn’t fantastic even thought it was a little bit better.

Now, I consider myself to be healthy and look after myself and I exercise and do all the right things. So, why would that be? Because, just to add on as well, you mentioned that you had another athlete in there a few weeks back that actually looked after themselves and ate exceptionally well, and yet his gut health was really poor too.

Tanya: Yeah. It’s not uncommon. It’s not uncommon, and even people who’ve got a beautiful diet can have dysbiosis. And that can be for a lot of different reasons. I mean, you might have been eating really well for the last five years, but we don’t know what your gut health was like, you know, the 10 years prior to that.

So, sometimes it can be disappointing for athletes. You know, they’ve got this spectacular diet, they train and look after themselves, you know; the tick all the boxes in a healthy lifestyle but they can have this dysbiotic gut for a number of years before they ever get it tested. So. . .

Guy Lawrence: So, could our upbringing and our lifestyle 10, 15 years ago be affecting our gut health right now?

Tanya: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: That’s incredible.

Tanya: When we’re born, we get inoculated. We get our first load of bacteria via the birth canal as we’re being born. So, you know, realistically even children that are born by Cesareans can sometimes be behind the eight-ball because they don’t get that first inoculation in the gut that sets up their bacterial colonies.

I mean, we gather it as we go along, but ultimately sometimes people have just never had a really fantastic and strong levels of good bacteria in the gut. And it’s very disappointing because we know that if you’ve got a good diet and if you eat a lot of whole foods, good bacteria love; it’s their fuel source, really. They love the fibers from vegetables. You know, that’s what helps them establish and maintain their colonies.

And bad bacteria tend to thrive in conditions where people have got lots of processed foods, lots and lots of sugar, alcohol; that type of thing. So, even though in our minds we have this great diet, very people have a perfect diet. And if they’ve come from a place where they don’t have great gut bacteria to start off with, it doesn’t take much.

Guy Lawrence: Do environmental toxins and chemicals and things like that affect the gut as well?

Tanya: Absolutely. Absolutely. It’s such a big part of our detoxification mechanisms, because if your; basically, if you don’t have a great gut you’re gonna struggle to get rid of a lot of environmental toxins, and it’s kind of a vicious cycle, really. How it works is we’re exposed to toxins every single day and those toxins enter our bodies and eventually they’ll present at the liver to be processed. And the liver packages them up into a little envelope and it covalently bonds them to another molecule so they’re stable and then once they’re cleared by the liver they’ll get put into the gut. And if you’ve got a high level of bad bacteria, that bad bacteria will cleave apart that bond and then you’ve got a free molecule toxin. And that free molecule toxin can literally get past across the gut wall and back into the blood stream and then back to the liver.

Guy Lawrence: And it’s leaky gut.

Tanya: Hence leaky gut. Yeah. And for women it’s particular important. For men as well, but women can recycle their estrogens that way, so sometimes people won’t present with necessarily a lot of gut symptoms, but they might have a lot of hormonal symptoms. And, you know, basically they’re recycling their estrogens. They’re not producing too much estrogen, but they’re recycling it.

Guy Lawrence: So, will leaky gut affect your mood?

Tanya: Oh, it affects your mood. It affects your hormones. We know research has shown that it affects your insulin signaling, which new research has come out so we know people with metabolic syndrome more than likely have got leaky gut.

Guy Lawrence: Wow, that’s fascinating.

Tanya: We’re lucky we can go this testing clinic, because it’s quick, it’s easy, it’s non-invasive. Some people we do more extensive tests such as a stool sample. So, not very glamorous but it gives us lots of information about how they’re breaking their food down, what bacteria they’ve got in the gut, how open the gut wall is; how porous it is.

And it’s just so important. If you’ve got an imbalance in the gut, which could have been there from a long time ago, it affects everything. It affects energy production, it affects how well you absorb your nutrients, so you might be having this beautiful diet but if your gut’s not working properly then you’re putting in all this effort and you’re not getting everything you should get from your diet. It affects hormone metabolism, estrogen. It definitely affects mood. We say it all the time. So, it’s like a fundamental thing that we address in clinic.

Guy Lawrence: So, that should be one of the first things we should be looking at before we start attacking everything else?

Tanya: Yeah, absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: Now, if; so, once tested for leaky gut, how do we go about rectifying that?

Tanya: The treatment’s relatively easy, depending on the level of bacteria in your gut. It can be a two-week period in clearing that. However, you can’t just clear out a lot of bad bacteria; we use antimicrobial herbs. You can’t just do that. You have to address the mucous membranes of the gut. So, you’ve got really a lovely potent, nourished gut that’s functioning really well. And, realistically, you have to re-inoculate the bowel with probiotic bacteria.

And a lot of people say, “Well, I take probiotics. I take probiotics every day.” And they’ll come in here and, you know, we test them and they still have their really high level of dysbiosis. And the reason for that is if you’ve got this existing overgrowth of bad bacteria, putting good bacteria in there is never really going to completely correct that balance, and you really have to get yourself a level playing field while killing off all those bad bacteria. Then you can re-inoculate the gut.

And when the gut wall is really well-nourished then those bacteria; those colony-forming units you read on the side of the probiotic that you’re taking; they will be able to adhere to that bowel wall and they’ll be able to successfully set up. And then you get that nice balance of the gut.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, that makes perfect sense. And once; so, like, for myself, now that I’ve gone through the process of rectifying my leaky gut. Would this be something I should be coming back, say once a year, to check and see where; that you continue on top of it, or is something you can do, it’s fixed, and just carry on?

Tanya: No, I think it’s definitely worthwhile having it checked once a year. It’s not a difficult thing to do. And we find that we are exposed to, like, for the course of this year, you’ve unfortunately had your run-in with your elbow infection. Those antibiotics that you took during that time really disrupted that balance in the gut. Lots of things disrupt the gut, you know. Lots of things.

And we are, unfortunately in Australia, we have this growing rate of bacteria like pathogenic bacteria we pick up from our food. And we’ve seen in this clinic a huge growth in blastocystis, difficilous, all of this bacteria that literally cause symptoms in the bowel. And once you’ve got one of those ones in there it can cause a big problem in keeping that balance. So, they have to be treated separately, which sometimes can be quite challenging, because a lot of them are drug-resistant these days.

And we’ve noticed in the clinic that since they’ve brought (this is probably going to be controversial), but since they’ve brought in farming methods where they’re recycling sewage and using that as a fertilizer in vegetable farming; bio-solid farming in Australia, we’ve seen the rate of some of those bugs go through the roof. And we don’t pick those up with the urine test, so people who come in and they’ve got symptoms and it’s sounding suspicious, we’ll send them off for a CDSA. They’ve have the stool sample and they’ll literally they do three samples and they put samples of that in a Petri dish and wait for it to grow and see what grows in them. Unfortunately, we’re seeing a lot of that, so the advent of that bio-solids; you know, people are traveling a lot more so they’re being exposed to all the bacteria.

Guy Lawrence: So then if you’ve got that bacteria that will. . .

Tanya: That will impair your healthy balance in your gut.

Guy Lawrence: And then require a specific prescription, again, to kill it?

Tanya: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: Wow, that’s fascinating.

Tanya: Yeah. I know. It’s really unfortunate that we just had seen that huge spike in that in clinic.

Guy Lawrence: The other thing that you mentioned before that fascinated me as well was around the conventional detoxing, because you can correct me on this, but the fact that if you go straight into a detox or have a detox kit and you haven’t fixed up your gut first, then you’ll be looking at a problem and you could be creating more of a problem?

Tanya: Yeah. You can create more of a problem because, you know, fundamentally I’ve seen a few of these detox kits in the health food shops, and, look, I’m sure some of them are quite good. However, basically you need your gut to be potent and you need to be able to pass toxins out through your body via the bowel. It’s a big eliminatory channel, so a lot of the detoxes, they just focus on the liver, which is a big mistake because basically our liver is always under a bit more stress these days because it’s the same liver, the same liver function you had from a caveman diet. The only thing that’s changed is our exposure to toxins. So, it’s always working much harder than it should.

And these toxins that get presented to the liver, they can get passed through to the bowel and then you can recycle them. So, if you stimulate the liver to speed up its detoxification processes, all you’re doing is putting more and more toxins into a bowel that’s not ready to accept them. And you have this recycling that just means that you’re stirring up the system without actually getting a lot out.

And the other thing about detoxification is that the process, the first process of the liver, uses oxygen to process the toxins and then it gets passed to the second process, which makes them the safe molecule to go into the bowel.

If you’re speeding up this first phase and your second phase can’t cope with it, then what’s happening is you’re causing oxidative stress in the body. So, this is why people feel awful on some detoxes because they’re literally just generating this huge oxidative stress and then all of those toxins get put into the bowel and then they cycle back out if the bowel’s not potent.

Guy Lawrence: And to me that sounds quite a concern, because you walk into any chemist and the detox kits promoting the 10-day lemon detox or there’s different things and surely something like this cannot be fixed in the window of time?

Tanya: No. No. I mean, for some people, if they have got good bowel; if they’ve got a good bowel function, then maybe they’ll get great results from that and that’s fantastic. I’m all for it. However, I’ve got to say, everybody that comes into our clinic we test them at least once on their first appointment and often we test them every single time when they come in.

And we know that 80 percent of the people we see in here, they’re not all coming for bowel conditions. They have got some level of dysbiosis in the gut. So, I would concerned of people like that who went out and just took something that stimulated the liver. You know, fundamentally they’re just generating a lot of oxidative stress in the body and they’re not really getting rid of anything.

Guy Lawrence: Does dysbiosis affect weight loss?

Tanya: Well, this new research that’s come out has indicated that dysbiosis in the gut affects insulin signaling, so it affects the way our blood sugar is regulation.

Guy Lawrence: Yes, because if you produce insulin, you can’t burn body fat.

Tanya: Yeah. Exactly. And we do know that if anybody comes in to see us for weight loss we always address the gut anyway. And we’ll address the gut at the start of that, and, you know, it’s part of the success of the people who just want to lose body fat and get themselves back into a healthy body composition.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah, because what we’ve been promoting of recently is if you are looking; obviously we’re way into February now, but if somebody is looking to lose weight, actually start from the inside and work out.

Tanya: Yeah. Absolutely. And it’s just, you know, ultimately if you’ve got a lovely whole foods, healthy diet, and you’re active, you should get to your natural, healthy weight. But a lot of things can interfere with that.

Guy Lawrence: Yeah. That’s fair enough.

So, just to finish off, Tanya, if anybody is interested in having these tests, what’s the best way to go about it?

Tanya: Well, we’re really happy to help people with testing in the clinic. And so if they’re interested in having a dysbiosis test or a urine indicans test we can come out there. And if you mention this podcast, we really like to support the 180 crew, so anybody who listens to their podcast are more than welcome to come in and mention that they’ve listed to this and we can work out a special deal where they get a urine indicans test and they get a live blood analysis and the findings from the live blood analysis really tie into the urine indicans test, so that’s what we’ll do, and a zinc test as well, which gives us some information about how they’re absorbing their nutrients.

Guy Lawrence: So this will all fit together?

Tanya: Yes, they’ll fit nicely together and it gives you a great baseline, so from there if you need some help sorting out dysbiosis it can help you there, or it gives you a good baseline so you know where you’re currently at at the moment. And if you’re making that effort with your diet it’s worthwhile making sure that you’re processing things properly.

Guy Lawrence: I understand. And also you can be reached through TaniaFlack.com?

Tanya: Absolutely.

Guy Lawrence: Well, thanks for your time, Tanya. That’s awesome.

Tanya: Thanks, Guy.

Guy Lawrence: And I’ll see you soon. Cheers


Are gut bugs effecting your weight loss plan? Microflora studies linked to obesity

gut bacteria

By Tania Flack

Guy: This a great post by Tania as we focus on The Month Of The Gut. If you are wondering what the relationship is to the gut, weight loss and overall health then this is a must read. I’ll be having the gut test Tania talks about in this post… In the mean time, enjoy! Over to Tania…

month of the gutTania: If you have been struggling with your weight loss plan, most of your attention will be on the food you eat and increasing your exercise – which is great, but there are some people who despite their best efforts are still unable to lose weight. Does this sound familiar and why is this the case? A growing amount of research has identified the link between an imbalance of bacteria in the digestive system regarding weight gain, metabolic syndrome and obesity. More

The party’s over: For all those in favour of a detox, say ‘I’.

Partys overBy Guy Lawrence

It’s that time of year again when new years resolutions will soon been made, and soon be broken. The festive season has a great habit of magnifying unhealthy self-indulgence, with a limp commitment in the New Year to resolve it. And being the non-committal person that I am, I thought putting it out there on the blog would help me see any commitments through!

Naturally, the one resolution that is more than popular at the beginning of a new year is the detox. So when is there a better time to say you are going to follow through with something right?So yes, I’m going to be embarking on a 6 week detox with the help of a naturopath and metagenics, as I track it through my blog. So if any one has the urge to join me, feel free.

I’ve decided to detox, so what now?

Things that spring to mind:

Pharmaceutical companies and chemists will be rubbing their hands together with the amount of different detox formulas on the shelves right now, all promising you to help shed a few kilos and clean you out quicker than the tax man. So assuming most of us are indeed in need of a detox (I believe that we are), there are a few questions that i’m thinking:

Is walking into your local chemist really going to help?

When you read the label they’d have you believe that in 10 days you’ll be leaping out of bed on 4hrs sleep and practically levitating, which really makes me think, is months or years of neglect really going to be fixed in a week or two?

And does one size fit all so to speak?

If I’m due for a detox, how do I measure it?

How toxic am I?

Should I be nervous?

Maybe I have got all sorts of foreign “nasties” or bad things swimming around inside of me!

Surely a point of reference is needed then?

I consider myself some one who lives a pretty healthy life style, so in my case, it’s not a question of giving up my Friday night Indian take away and beer for a few weeks,  as these things are not part of my life style.

After some due diligence on the topic, I thought it would be best to seek a professional’s opinion, so I caught up with friend and Naturopath Tania Flack, who kindly put me through a few simple tests to see how toxic I really am, which included a Urinary Indicans test, which is used to identify toxicity, including the overgrowth of gut bacteria.

My test results came up pretty shabby to say the least.

I also had a live blood analysis, where you can see a lot more of what’s going on and are able to screen for signs of inflammation and toxicity before a detox, this way we know what we’re dealing with and are able to repeat the process at the end of the detox to make sure you have got the results you need.

Here’s an example of the blood screen shots and results:

Blood analysis


So all in all and to cut a long story short, my “gut” needs a clean out, as I am not completely absorbing micro nutrients effectively at the moment, and my blood is coming up short with Iron and B12.
Now this has really got me interested, as I’m someone who’s fairly diligent with what I eat. But there are a few theories why I’m coming up short:

There is an increased demand for these nutrients as occurs in pregnancy, lactation, growth, the elderly, athletes and vegetarians. I think I can rule out the lactation or pregnancy side of things, but I’m someone who usually trains 6 times a week and sometimes twice a day.
My bacteria in the gut is bad. Which means that even if I am due diligent and eating well, I won’t be absorbing the nutrients efficiently and some will pass through my body and leave unused.
But I’m also someone who loves my coffee, which can reduce the absorption of iron and zinc by up to 50%(and traditional black tea).

I will also measure my body fat % and muscle mass, and note the changes over the 6 weeks.

So what now?

I’m about to embark on a detox through the use of a controlled diet and Metagenics. It’s not quit a journey into the unknown, but it’s going to be a 6-week journey never the less! No caffeine, no alcohol. Just Metagenics along with good clean food and living baby!

And it is going to look something like this. 3 stages broken into 2 weeks each with the prescribed Metagenics.

Stage 1/ Clear the bad bacteria from the gut

Stage 2/ Seal the lining of the gut and recolonise the gut (enhances absorption)

Stage3/ Detox the liver

I’ve been told to brace myself a little, especially in the first two weeks, as some pretty interesting and funky things maybe vacating the premises. I was also reassured that if you have a background of travel and experiencing different cultures etc. it’s pretty much a guarantee. But if this is the case, I’m happy for all unwelcome visitors to leave in a swift manner.

If your interested in doing the detox yourself in the new year, then we would love to here from you with comments on the blog or drop us an email with any questions, or if you want to learn more about a detox, check out Tania’s post here, or you can contact her directly here. Even if you were to cut out processed foods and stimulants (coffee, alcohol etc) for the duration, you would be doing your body a great service.

I think it will be interesting to see how the body is after 6 weeks of clean living. I am officially going to start January the 10th, 2011, and over the coming days and weeks, i’ll go into the do’s and don’ts in what i’m doing in greater depth.

So what will happen during the detox? We’ll have to wait and see. But I’ll be sure to keep you posted.

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