Most people want to know more about how to lose fat. We really aren’t “losing fat” as much as burning (using fat for fuel) instead of storing it (causing more fat deposits on your body.) Fat is continuously flowing out of our fat cells and circulating through the body. If it’s not used for fuel, then it returns to the fat cells.
It’s really quite simple. What keeps the fat from being burned as fuel is the presence of carbohydrates. Your cells will burn carbohydrates before they will burn fat. That is the mechanism for keeping blood sugar levels in check after a meal.
If you eat a high-carbohydrate meal, your cells have a lot of carbohydrates to process before they get to the fat. Carbohydrates appear in the body in the form of glucose (it’s the “sugar” in blood sugar.) Cells burn this glucose for fuel.
That’s where insulin comes in. It’s role is to keep blood sugar under control. The release of insulin is triggered just by THINKING about eating (it’s a Pavlovian response.) As you take the first bite, more insulin is secreted, and so on.
As blood sugar decreases in response to insulin, more and more of the stored fat is released from the tissues. As time passes after a meal, more fat will be used/burned by the body as fuel. It’s the reason you can sleep through the night without getting up to raid the refrigerator (unless you have night eating disorder.)
And it’s the same reason that if you want to learn how to lose fat, stop snacking between meals.
You get more fat during and after a meal, and you lose fat after the meal is digested. You actually lose even more fat while sleeping. Ideally, the calories you store as fat after meals, are balanced out by what you burn after meals and during sleep.
So far, we have 3 strategies to help you lose fat. Stop snacking between meals, eat fewer carbohydrates (which stimulate insulin production) and get a lot of sleep!
Let’s talk a little more about insulin’s role in helping you lose fat.
Insulin is the principle regulator of fat metabolism. It is secreted into the body in response to carbohydrates in order to keep blood sugar under control. Insulin works in many ways to increase the fat we store, and decrease the fat we burn. Both of these mechanisms work against us losing fat!
Because insulin levels are determined primarily by how much carbohydrate we consume, it’s the carbohydrates that determine how much fat we gain or lose. Other hormones liberate fat from the fat tissue, only when insulin levels are low.
When you are insulin-resistant, you secrete more insulin and store more fat. MANY people are frustrated with this condition. To complicate matters, some people get fatter when they feel stressed, anxious or depressed and eat more.
The more insulin that is secreted, the more likely it is that your cells become resistant to that insulin. That means, it takes MORE insulin to keep blood sugar levels under control, which prompts more insulin resistance.
As you get older, insulin resistance increases, and it becomes increasingly difficult to stay lean. More and more calories are diverted into fat. Low insulin levels are considered the primary factor in anti-aging.
The 1 thing you have to do if you want to get lean and lose fat, is to aim at getting fat out of tissues so it can be burned for fuel, is to lower insulin levels. When insulin levels are up, we store fat. When they go down, we mobilize fat and burn it for fuel.
When you are storing fat, you are also less inclined to want to exercise. When you are burning fat, you literally have energy to burn, be less inclined to overeat, and more inclined to WANT to move and be less sedentary.
The Good News
If you restrict carbohydrates by choice, then you will often eat less and lose fat naturally. The good news is that while you are giving up some traditional dishes, there’s still plenty to choose from. It may require doing some research.
A common experience is that when you stop eating so many carbohydrates, you aren’t as hungry as you used to be. You may find that snacks are no longer necessary, and intrusive food thoughts disappear. That’s because you are burning more fat as fuel.
Your energy also increases because you are no longer diverting fuel into your fat tissue where you can’t use it. Your body then finds it’s own balance between hunger and appetite, and physical activity. The goal is to remove the cause excessively storing fat, and you’ll lose fat naturally.
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