Let's face it, losing fat has become more complicated and more capitalized than ever; even to the point that we now have people paying for DNA tests to help them solve the issue. While fat loss can feel complex and impossible, by getting a better understanding on the process of fat loss we can clear the clutter to get you moving in the right direction.
Fat loss is not just a cultural or aesthetic issue. The impact of excess body fat is visible in many aspects of life: emotional health, increased risk of health issues like heart disease, organ failure, circulatory issues, cancer, and strokes, sexual health, self esteem, and mobility.
Even as technological solutions, like surgery and medication, for fat loss have become more prevalent, people still are not seeing permanent weight reduction and approximately 95% of people overweight regularly diet.
To begin to solve this problem we first need a better understanding of what's going on in the body.
After eating, blood sugar in the body rises and the pancreas releases insulin to tell the cells to use the sugar (glucose) for energy. If your blood sugar levels remain high after this process, glucose is converted into fatty acids and stored. To release and use these fatty acid stores, insulin levels must be low and anti-insulin (glucagon, epinephrine, cortisol, and growth hormone) must rise.
The solution to fat loss then seems simple: eat less. Unfortunately our bodies are designed to handle that curve ball. When the body is presented with a large calorie deficit, it becomes very efficient at storing fat. Insulin levels in the body are low which causes thyroid hormone production to decrease, slowing resting metabolism. While this might seem like a slow process, your body can adjust to extreme deficits within 24 hours. This causes the body to store fat rapidly after any rebounds from a deficit (higher caloric intake).
So what is the solution?
You must learn to be your own scientist. A scientist makes observations without passing judgment. Creates hypotheses, tests, gathers results, and formulates conclusions. What does this mean for you? If you're going to make a change, make time to evaluate the effects of the change (clients in our programs do this every Thursday). Ask yourself: How is this working for me so far? Can I maintain this behavior permanently? What changes have I noticed? How do I feel physically, emotionally, mentally? Remember, this is not a time to pass judgement, just to make observations. As you continue to be your own scientist, you can look at these observations to see if there are any interesting patterns or tendencies: Are there links between emotional feelings and physical feelings? Where are your emotions located in your body? Are there links between feelings (physical or emotional) and thoughts or behaviors? Do you notice any triggers?
Once you have developed your scientific skills and have become more aware of your body and environments, you can implement different behaviors that promote fat loss:
Exercise at least 5 hours per week, while incorporating regular non-exercise physical activity Eat whole/unprocessed foods
Be aware of physical hunger/fullness cues Sleep 7-9 hours per night Don’t engage in extreme diets Stay consistent from day to day and week to week (looking at you weekends)
The most beneficial thing you can do on your fat loss journey is to learn to listen to your own body and be your own scientist. Don't get distracted by all the pretty lights of the newest diet or exercise program. Be consistent and add healthy behaviors into your routine while observing the changes.