I believe success of any weight loss effort consists of three components – input (diet,) output (exercise) and feedback (weight/clothes size.) At various times I have experienced weight loss over my lifetime and recalling those efforts now I can see that I would focus on one or two of these areas but never all three. When I lost weight in my twenties it was due to exercise and to some extent diet. Over the years, as I gained my weight back, I would try counting calories or watching my fat intake. I never experienced consistent results because I never realized that I was missing a key component to the process. And, more importantly, I never realized the flaws in the components themselves.
For the input/diet component I would follow what traditional methods were popular at the time. Eat less calories, cut out the fat, eat whole grains…all conventional methods of losing weight. What I didn’t realize then is that I had a sensitivity to grains and sugar and these were spiking my blood sugar. My body was using glucose as its primary fuel source and because of this it never got the message to use the extra fat my body was storing. Even if I ate at a calorie-deficit, my body was still a sugar-burner! And because I was elevating my blood sugar with the types of food I was eating my body had plenty of fuel in the form of glucose for energy. But that wasn’t helping in my weight-loss efforts. Not at all. Having the extra glucose in my system made my cells resistant to insulin. I needed to figure out how to become a fat-burner instead of a sugar-burner.
We all know that any diet consists of the three macro-nutrients of protein, fat and carbohydrates. Conventional wisdom has always told us to eat more carbohydrates and less fat. But looking at how our bodies store and mobilize fat for energy you realize that that is flawed thinking. Most people know that carbohydrates in any form convert to glucose (sugar) in our bodies and is used for energy. What I didn’t realize is that we can use fat for energy too. It can be excess fat that our bodies have stored or fat that we eat. What I also didn’t realize is that the excess carbohydrates that my body wasn’t using were being stored as fat in my body.
Carbohydrates come from fruit, vegetables, grains and sugar. When we eat carbohydrates the glucose in our body increases and our insulin levels rise. Insulin is the hormone that moves glucose to our muscle cells so it can be used for energy. If we are feeding ourselves too many carbohydrates our muscles cells will “fill up” until they cannot store anymore energy and they become resistant (less sensitive) to insulin. As we continue to eat carbs throughout the day, the excess glucose builds up. Our bodies continue to release insulin but because our muscles are filled up and cannot accept anymore glucose the insulin has nowhere to go and stays in our bloodstream. When insulin levels start rising because our muscle cells are at full capacity the body starts storing the energy in our fat cells.
If we want our bodies to start burning the fat we have stored in our fat cells we can only do that by first decreasing our insulin levels. By decreasing the number of carbs we eat daily we are decreasing our glucose level and insulin stops releasing and our insulin levels drop. Then our muscle cells become sensitive to insulin again and can accept more glucose as fuel for energy. Then, with our bodies now sensitive to insulin and with our muscles finally using the food we are eating for energy instead of storing it as fat, if we eat at a calorie deficit, the fat we have stored can finally be used as energy.
Once I learned how the body processes energy and that I was insulin resistant I finally made the connection that it wasn’t the number of calories I was eating that was causing my weight gain but the type of calories that I was eating. By decreasing the amount of carbohydrates I was eating I was preventing further fat storage. By replacing those calories with extra fat I was able to eat enough calories to meet my nutritional needs. Now when I eat at a calorie deficit my body can finally access the fat in my fat cells to make up the difference. I am no longer adding fat to my fat cells. Instead I am burning the extra fat as energy. My body is now a fat-burner instead of a sugar-burner.
Disclaimer: The information on InConnection.com is for informational purposes only and is not intended to diagnose, cure or replace medical advice. Any views or testimonials expressed on InConnection.com, by the owner, is either from personal experience or from information found via the World Wide Web. It is recommended that you seek advice from a trained medical professional before starting any new fitness/weight loss program.