Dr. Warren Willey is the author of Obtainable: Enjoy the Body and Energy You’ve Always Wanted -Beyond Diet and Exercise which addresses the importance of proper eating and exercising, supplements, and sleep. Dr. Willey, a former bodybuilder, is a Medical Director of a Functional Medicine and primary care office in southeast Idaho, has invested his decades-long career into questioning the health care status quo to promote holistic living solutions that allow his patients to live healthy, vibrant lives. A doctor of Osteopathic medicine, he is board-certified with The American Board of Family Medicine, The American Board of Antiaging/Regenerative Medicine and The American Board of Obesity Medicine. Salonpas sat down with Dr. Willey to learn how we can all have more energetic lives:
How did you go from being a competitive weightlifter to a medical doctor?
Weight lifting helped me cure my own illness at a young age. Learning to eat better, daily exercise was a cure for severe childhood asthma. I realized early on, that the secret to health and longevity was what crossed your lips, and how much you moved. It was a natural transition with a goal to help others.
The keto diet is sweeping the nation. Do you think it is an agreeable regime for most people to lose weight and gain mental focus?
Short term – yes. Long term – no. It is a rare individual that can truly stay with that eating plan long term.
Why is the issue of fitness (being at ideal weight) not about calories, but everything else. What is the everything else?
Calories are only part of the equation, not the equation itself. Eating less and exercising more only works short term until your body figures out its starving and stops the weight loss (or gains it all back to protect itself). There are hormones involved, toxins in our environment, and gut health that play major roles is weight gain and weight loss. It is a much bigger and personal picture than calories in to calories out.
What does eating too little stall weight loss goals?
Our bodies will do their very best to survive, no matter what we subject them to. Hormones change, gut health changes, stress on the body skyrockets all causing a stop of the weight loss. It is a really complex physiologic response to, what the body perceives as starvation.
What common environmental toxins may be affecting one’s weight loss goals and what can someone do to prevent them?
Processed foods, parabens, dioxins, BPA and BPB, Phthalates, and many others change hormones. As optimal hormonal balance is a must for fat loss, toxins in our environment can increase fat storage. Fat storage is also a protective mechanism against said toxins. As most toxins are stored in fat, the body will produce more fat to keep the toxins away from the brain and heart. The best thing is avoidance, but as that is impossible in today’s world, having adequate clearance systems is best – daily sweating, strong kidney and liver function, etc.
What is your top advice about ensuring your patients get a full, rested night of sleep?
It is just, if not possibly more important, to keep your sleeping hours constant as it is how long you sleep. Going to bed and getting up every night and day at the same time is powerful. Avoiding screen time at least three hours before bed is also very helpful.
What should a patient be eating in terms of foods and/or supplements to ensure a healthy gut?
Avoiding processed, man made foods is ideal. Natural pre and probiotics such as fermented foods (sauerkraut and kimchi), homemade yogurt and kombucha are great examples. A great regular supplement to use would be L-Glutamine, 5 grams (powder form) in water twice a day on an empty stomach.
Describe a typical day for you; from when you arise to when you go to sleep.
I go to bed at 10:00 every night and get up about 0330. Early am is my best thinking time, so I write, do podcasts, etc. for the first few hours. Then I exercise – based on the time of year, its bike riding or weight lifting. I am home by 0700 to make my kids lunches for the day and have a family meal before everyone heads out. Get to my office about 9:00 and intermix seeing patients and doing admin stuff for my clinics. Most afternoons, I pick up my kids and run them to their events/games/practices, and then get home around 7:00 or 8:00 and hang with the family until bedtime. Wake up and repeat.