Let’s start with the first key. The model for burning fat has always looked like this.
If you take too many calories in from food and you don’t burn enough calories from exercise you gain fat and vice versa if you have fewer calories than you burn you’ll lose fat.
Everyone knows that we’ve been told that over and over again since we were little kids.
That means that the traditional model suggests that the reason you have excess fat or your carry extra weight is that you have too many calories.
And the unspoken reason behind this model for why you have too many calories is because of a lack of willpower.
You have excess body fat because it’s your fault for not having enough self-control and willpower to just consume fewer calories.
However, this doesn’t match up with your experience.
Based on your own personal experience you know that when you have fewer calories you lose a couple pounds and then you usually get stuck.
You continue eating fewer calories and feeling like your starving yourself eating bland boring foods you hate, but you never hit your target weight.
This goes on for a while…you get discouraged…and then you quit because no one can stay on a restrictive low-calorie diet for the long haul especially when it’s not producing results.
Well, guess what I’m here to tell you its not entirely your fault. And I don’t mean that in some cliche cheesy way,
I mean quite literally it’s not only because you don’t have enough willpower or self-control even though for some of you that may be a big contributing factor.
Make no mistake you will need will power to burn fat, but this isn’t the only cause.
In reality, if we only look at calories in and calories out your not addressing the core cause of the problem.
You see burning fat and losing weight is not just about using willpower to starve yourself by eating less and exercising more,
because your body is way too smart for that. Within just a week after decreasing calories coming in your body will automatically decrease calories coming out.
Many people refer to this process as your body entering into a so-called “starvation mode.”
This is where your metabolism will slow down causing your fat loss to slow to almost nothing.
Not only does your body slow your metabolism and this is proven over and over again in study after study,
but it also increases the production of a hormone known as ghrelin. Ghrelins’ role is to signal your brain to make you feel hungry.
So to sum up this whole torturous dieting process up until you now have fewer calories coming in,
fewer calories coming out due to your body responding with a slower metabolism, you’re hungrier because of ghrelin, yet you’re not burning much fat.
In fact, the situation begins to feel like you need to keep cutting calories just to maintain your current body fat rather than to lose more.
And that’s ultimately what discourages you and causes you to quit.
Starting the whole cycle over again months later when you’re probably in even worse shape than you were before.
So what are we missing?
Well, it turns out your willpower is actually not the core cause of this problem it’s actually also a hormonal problem rather than just a calorie problem.
Once you understand this fat loss becomes easy and keeping it off is even easier.
People think that when calories come in they keep going out until you eat too many calories and then your body starts storing those excess calories as fat.
Even though this is part of how fat loss works, unfortunately, it’s not so simple.
When calories come in your body chooses whether it will store a portion of those calories even if you didn’t cross over your total daily calorie allowance.
Also once your body stores fat it can choose to breakdown and use that fat later or it can choose not to.
Most people think that if you simply don’t eat enough calories then your body will have to burn fat,
but in reality your body could just decrease the number of calories you have going out by reducing your metabolism to match the calories you have coming in and then it has no need to tap in to fat stores for energy.
So what actually controls this. Well, it turns out its one hormone known as insulin.
Insulin acts as a bridge between the energy and nutrients you consume and your cells including your fat cells.
When insulin levels are too high your body cannot burn fat and that high amount of insulin will shuttle energy into your fat cells making you fatter.
So the first major key is to lower insulin levels through diet.
Anyone that does some research on insulin will find out that insulin is primarily stimulated by carbohydrate consumption.
So what do they do? they cut carbs. And this can definitely help, but it’s not telling the whole story.
Glucose was thought to be the main driver of higher insulin levels so we used to use the glycemic index to find out how much insulin would be released when eating certain foods.
However, now we have a direct insulin index where insulin levels were directly measured after eating certain foodsand it reveals that even high protein foods like fish could stimulate just as much of an insulin spike as an apple.
And it’s not only fish, for example, but yogurt also invokes a higher insulin response than white bread.
So now on one side, we have the vegan community blaming obesity and weight gain on meat and animal product consumption, and on the other side,
we have the keto and low carb community blaming the entire issue on carbohydrate consumption.
Also to go even further when you constantly have high insulin levels because of the foods you choose to eat,
as well as how much of them you eat you cause your insulin sensitivity to go down and your insulin resistance to rise.
So your body responds by producing more insulin. It’s kind of like people who have damaged their hearing through many years of loud music.
Due to the fact that they can’t hear as well, they turn up the volume of the music, even more, to make up for the lost hearing turning it into a vicious cycle.
To reverse this problem and to lower our insulin levels since we know not only carbohydrates are the cause of this problem the most effective way is through fasting.
When you don’t eat insulin levels are at their lowest allowing your body to reach into your fat storage for energy.
You can start with an intermittent fasting plan where you don’t eat food for 16 hours of the day and only eat foods that don’t spike your insulin levels too high for the other 8 hours of the day.
Keep in mind you can have the foods that cause higher insulin spikes again, but only after you restore your insulin sensitivity through fasting.
Better than intermittent fasting is the one meal a day diet where you only eat one meal per day.
You can transition to that one after you’ve had some experience with intermittent fasting,
but the most therapeutic effects of fasting occur when you increase your fasting intervals to longer like 36-hour fasts.
I’m sure most of you laughed at not eating for 36 hours,
but there are many studies that show that these longer fasts are known to drop insulin levels to their lowest and you can burn up to a pound of pure fat per day when you do this.
So key number one is to lower insulin levels by fasting. Don’t worry the next to keys are much less nuanced.
The next key is to reduce insulin resistance and to reduce insulin levels through exercise.
Specifically, weight training. Since carbohydrates and its simpler form glucose plays a major role in increasing insulin levels and fat storage we want to encourage our bodies to use that glucose coming in rather than storing it as fat.
Your body stores glucose in the liver and the muscles for later use and once those stores are full it spills over into your fat cells.
You can increase the amount of glucose that your body can store in your muscles just by building more muscle, and more importantly,
by consistently lifting weights you are always using the glucose from the carbohydrates that your eating.
It’s like driving a car and refilling it every day. If you don’t drive the car and randomly refill it when it’s full you will have spillover.
Weight training is an anaerobic activity that predominantly uses glucose for energy. With weight training,
you can increase your insulin sensitivity, and you can constantly deplete your body’s stored glucose preventing spillover.
Even when you’re not working out, muscle consumes the majority of glucose that is in the blood some estimates suggest that it could be as much as 70 to 90 percent.
Weight training radically increases this demand, so make sure you start weight training to improve your insulin sensitivity.
Last but not least key number three is to increase the amount of sleep that you get per night.
Studies show that even a single night of sleep deprivation can increase insulin resistance.
Imagine what not getting enough sleep on a daily basis does to your body.
What makes this problem even worse is that other studies show that ghrelin levels go up the following day after sleep deprivation.
Remember Ghrelin is your hunger hormone, many times the day after not getting enough sleep you feel like you need to eat more food to maintain even your low energy levels. Well,
that has to do with ghrelin sending signals to your brain making you feel hungry.
This causes you to eat more while your in a state in which insulin levels are higher causing you to store more fat.
So key number three is to get more sleep it’s more important in this process than you think.
That’s it, guys. One last thing that I do want to mention is I don’t want you guys dismissing the entire theory of the calorie restriction model.
Fasting is one of the best ways to manage insulin levels and when you take a closer look at fasting you can clearly see that it is definitely a form of calorie restriction.
Restricting calories and lowering insulin levels can go hand in hand. You can lower insulin levels simply by restricting calories while keeping in mind that carbohydrates have a big effect on insulin levels,
protein has a moderate effect on insulin levels, and fat has a minimal effect on insulin levels. Insulin is something that we should take seriously,
but please know that there are still many questions on this hormone, and much more research needs to be done.
But you can be sure that by incorporating periods of fasting, increasing the amount of resistance training you do,
and by getting more sleep you’ll be well on your way to burning more fat and losing more weight.
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