How many times have you started a diet and exercise routine only to throw the towel in after just a few weeks because you weren’t seeing the results you wanted? Losing weight doesn’t have to be that difficult but unfortunately misinformation has caused a lot of people to take the wrong approach and suffer in frustration because of it. If losing weight was as simple as “eating less and exercising more” you wouldn’t be reading this article.
The reality is you have to set the right conditions in your body for fat loss to occur. It’s important to understand that fat loss is 100% controlled by the hormonal balances in your body. The objective is to create the right hormonal balances with your diet and exercise to open up the window for fat burning to take place.
Eat the wrong foods or take in too few calories and fat loss comes to halt. No amount of extra cardio will do the trick. In fact, many times doing excessive cardio in a calorie restricted state only makes things worse. When your body is not able to meet energy demands for resting metabolic function you get into what’s called a catabolic state where lean muscle is broken down. The end result will be your body holding onto fat and as your hormones adjust to slow down your metabolism.
It’s no secret that eating too few calories over a prolonged period of time causes a down regulation in metabolism that triggers a primal starvation response. That’s the primary reason why most diets fail. It’s not that a short term restriction in calories can’t trigger a fat release by the cells, it does. But the problem is your body quickly adapts to the decreased caloric intake and adjusts thyroid hormone production to reset metabolism.
Instead of trying to starve your body into releasing fat, which is a poor strategy, you need to give it a reason to let go of the stored fuel. You do this by changing the way your body meets energy demands. The most common mistake I see people making is failing to condition their body to fuel off of fatty acids and amino acids from proteins through gluconeogenesis.
You see in the absence of readily available blood sugar your body will turn to other substrates for fuel to meet energy demands. But here’s the kicker, if there’s always readily available sugar for energy, your body never has a need to tap into stored body fat. Make no mistake about it as sugar is the real enemy in any weight loss program. You absolutely must reduce sugar intake if you want to optimize hormonal balances for fat loss.
This is exactly where most people get hung up because of misinformation. They think if they just cut calories or start eating “healthier” the weight will naturally come off. When the scale doesn’t budge they beat themselves up and figure it must have been because of that one piece of pie. That’s never the reason. The problem is they don’t give a second thought to all the whole grains and starches in their diet, because these foods are supposed to be healthy and weight loss friendly, or at least that’s what they’d be told.
What they don’t realize is the majority of people who are overweight suffer from some degree of insulin and leptin resistance. This simply means their body doesn’t handle sugar and fat like it’s supposed to because of hormonal imbalances.
The primary cause of these imbalances is eating the wrong foods and having an unbalanced lifestyle with stress, lack of exercise, etc, over a prolonged period of time. When the body can’t handle blood glucose properly because of tissue degeneration and receptor problems, you’ve got to take very specific measures to fix it. Following a diet of “all things in moderation” will fail miserably for individuals with hormonal imbalances.
If you’re stuck in weight loss plateau because of hormonal imbalances like insulin resistance, the words “moderation” can’t apply to you until the root of the problem has been fixed.
I can’t tell you how many individuals I’ve seen do things like switch from white bread to whole grain bread and think they were eating “healthy” for weight loss only to be left frustrated after continual backsliding with sugar cravings and junk food binges.
When the body is addicted to sugar you can’t reverse the problem by simply switching out the source of the sugar. This will only keep you caught up in the vicious cycle of constantly craving bad foods and trying to use willpower to stay on your diet.
People who try to lose weight by winning the battle of willpower need to realize how impossible it is to fight the biology of your body. It’s not willpower but more importantly physiological changes that need to occur on a hormonal level.
Think of it as having to reprogram the cells of your body to fuel off of something different than sugar. Pulling out all the junk foods and replacing them with more “healthy” starches won’t do the trick. You need to pull out the refined sugars and starches altogether for a while. Fruits and vegetables contain natural sugars (fructose and glucose) but they’re used differently by your body and should still be consumed.
I’m talking about removing all grains, breads, pastas, dairy, cereals, along with anything processed and refined. What in the world do you eat then? The secret is following what’s called a Primal Blueprint or Paleo type diet where you consume lean proteins, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and healthy fats. These are foods that the human body was designed to fuel off of. It’s the key to correcting hormonal imbalances by regenerating tissue at the hormonal glands and reducing acidosis.
The thyroid, pancreatic, and adrenal glands are all very susceptible to damage from poor dietary habits. When you’re eating a diet high in starches along with processed and refined foods, it causes a host of imbalances due to acidosis, inflammation and tissue degeneration.
You need to heal your body with natural, whole foods, and not focus on cutting calories. It’s much easier and appealing to do Lean Cuisines for lunch instead or lean proteins and vegetables but it’s never going to work the same. Forget all the talk about the glycemic index and low fat content of processed and refined “diet foods.” Don’t fall into this trap, there’s absolutely no chance of healing your body by eating processed and refined foods. It may work for a while but you’re likely to put the weight back on because you didn’t correct the root problem.
One quick thing about fruits as a lot of people have been told you can’t eat fruit on a weight loss program. This is completely false and misguided information. Your body can use fructose from fruit almost immediately for energy through a diffusion process which send it directly into the cells. The fructose from fruit is not the same as high fructose corn syrup and other unnatural sugars.
If you’re going to follow a Primal Blueprint of Paleo type diet, fruits can and should make up a portion of your daily diet. If you’re aggressively working on breaking a sugar addiction you’ll just want to have 1-2 servings a day, mostly from high fiber sources like berries, apples, oranges, etc. Avoid melons and other high sugar fruits until your body gets good at burning fat.
The reason fruit often gets a bad rap is because people try to include it on top of a diet that already has a lot of starches. Eating an apple after you already had 60-70 grams of carbohydrates from that 6″ Subway melt and bag of Baked Lays chips is never going to work. You’re just adding more sugar into your system than your body needs. Compare that to eating an orange with a chicken breast and large garden salad. Big difference because now the natural sugar from the fruit can be readily used for energy without sending excess glucose floating around in the bloodstream.
Bottom line is fruit in moderation can be part of a naturally low-carb diet along with adequate protein and fat to balance out your hormones and increase metabolism. I’ve seen some of the best results with correcting hormonal imbalances and regenerating tissue health by individuals following a raw food diet of exclusively fruits and vegetables for a while.
Green juices are one of my favorite strategies to use from a healing standpoint. If fruits were really a problem, these people would never lose weight. The reality is most everyone who follows a short term strategy like this loses a significant amount of weight.
So why don’t more people do it? Because it requires preparation, work, and sacrifice. It’s much easier to just eat that low calorie wrap and try and convince yourself that it will promote weight loss.
You’ll have to trust me on this one as your body simply doesn’t need extra starches. Your best bet is to follow a Primal Blueprint or Paleo type diet, or better yet start off with a detoxification and cleansing phase with green juices and raw fruits and vegetables only. Do it for a week then progress to a Primal way of eating by including back in the proteins and fats.
Just know when you do this your body will likely resist the sudden decrease in sugar and starches pretty hard. Anyone who has ever pulled out sugars can attest to the initial headaches, cravings, irritability, and mood swings that occur during the first 7-10 days.
But a funny thing happens when your body gets the message that it needs to fuel off something other than sugar. It changes fuel sources and starts to almost immediately function better. All of a sudden you have more energy, you sleep better, you’re not hungry all the time, and the sugar cravings subside. It’s like someone flipped a switch.
I tell you this because making the decision to change the way you eat can truly change your life. But you need to make the decision to go through short-term sacrifices and discomfort in order to fully experience the freedom on the other side. One doesn’t come without the other.
Give yourself 30 days and transform the way you fuel your body. You’ve got nothing to lose and could end up transforming your life. Just don’t go half way and tell yourself that you can still eat healthy starches or your favorite foods in moderation. Save the “moderation” part until you’ve fixed the problem or you’re likely to keep riding the weight loss yo-yo.
New research is showing that sugary, processed, and refined foods have addictive properties comparable to drugs like heroin! This is no joke. If you want your body to change you must reprogram what it uses for energy. Breaking the addiction to carbohydrates will only come once your body has been conditioned to fuel off of fat instead. This means until your body adjusts, even seemingly “healthy” starches can keep you stuck.
I know it may be hard to visualize right now but when you change how your body uses and processes food, things become almost effortless. You have to experience it as my words will do little to explain it. If you’re suspect on anything I’ve just shared with you or think sugars and starches aren’t the problem as long as your calories are low, I challenge you to follow a Primal Blueprint diet for just 30 days and then tell me what you think.
Shane DollCPT, CSCS is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. As a specialist in burst training for body transformation and weight loss he provides nutrition and fitness coaching along with e-books, videos, and other resources on his website: www.shapingconcepts.com. Visit the website where you can download his free e-book, “The Lean Code Method Quick Start Nutrition Guide.”
http://www.shapingconcepts.com/products/free/ Quick Start Guide