It’s safe to say we all agree that overeating bad food is often the reason behind unwanted weight gain, specifically body fat. But when we sit down and try to figure out a solution to lose that weight, I bet our opinions are less unanimous - in fact how many of us would say the logical solution would be to just stop eating all together? Makes sense doesn’t it?
Well yes, it seems to make perfect sense, but in reality that couldn’t be further from the truth! Now get this - no matter how paradoxical it sounds - lets talk about why you have to eat calories to lose calories.
Lets be completely honest with ourselves for a second; whether you’re preparing to step on stage as a physique model or looking to squeeze into your favourite old pair of jeans, most of us look in the mirror and see a body area that we want to improve by losing body fat. But before we say our farewells to body fat, we need to appreciate what exactly body fat is. Well, it’s literally a form of energy storage for our bodies; if we eat a certain number of calories, and our body only needs part of that, the rest will go into storage, called fat - nothing complicated so far. Now the unfortunate (or fortunate in some lucky cases) thing is our unique genetics will largely dictate where that fat is stored - which will range
from the stomach, hips, or even the back of the arms.
So how do we get rid of that fat? Well there’s two things to remember. Firstly, localised body fat isn’t an option. It’s an all or nothing thing,
our body won’t prioritise body fat loss on a specific body part alone no matter how much we want it too - so pay no attention to the YouTube videos promising a ‘quick fix’ for visible abs. In order to achieve those kind of aesthetics, it’s important to maintain a lower over all body fat for a considerable time.
It's important that we give our body a reason to use stored fat as energy for an active metabolism. The mistake that most people make is not eating anything in order to lose this fat. When you starve yourself a few things happen.
First, your body, at some point, will go into starvation mode. When this happens your metabolism starts to slowly shut down. You make your body think that it may not get food for a while so it will fight to keep every calorie and ounce of fat. It is basically like a protection mechanism
which maintains our survival; think of Tom Hanks’ character in the film Castaway! Once stranded on a tropical island, it wouldn’t take long for
your body to adjust to an instinctive survival mode. Not even Wilson could help you on this one. Secondly, after a period of starvation (prolonged period of considerably less calories consumed) most of us will crack. Most of us are surrounded by food, and eventually we would all give in and need food - and when we crack under severe hunger we tend to gorge. It’s pretty much uncontrollable so you really don’t ever want to get to that point!
And here’s where the plot thickens more than the double-choc-chip-oreo-milkshake you’re gorging on; indulging in a huge meal after your body is in starvation mode will cause the calories to be processed very differently than normal. If your body is running on a slower metabolism and trying to cherish every calorie, the food that you throw at it all of a sudden will be stored as well. Guess what comes next? You guessed, more body fat!
To avoid entering this ring of fire the solution to this cycle is to eat! Here is where you have to be aware of what you are eating. The key is to
eat small meals and often - between 6 and 10 times per day. A meal, in this context, is more of a snack than anything. A meal can be an apple and a handful of nuts and berries, or even a piece of whole wheat toast with layer of LA Peanut butter would do the job well.
When you first wake up you should make sure to eat something to start up your metabolism and prepare it to run throughout the day. Even if you are on the go, there is no excuse! First of all, it makes you feel like you are constantly eating. Your body will feel less hungry because if you feed it every hour or two with a small snack your hunger mechanism won’t have time to torture you. By providing your body with a steady flow of nutrients, the majority of what you put into your body will be pushed towards energy use as opposed to fat storage.
By snacking every 2 hours or so, your metabolism will stay running high throughout the day making your body much less inclined to store any of the calories as fat. If you want to see a flat stomach, or get rid of fat from other problem areas you simply have to eat. Never underestimate
exercise - to an extent 'abs are built in the kitchen', but if you can construct a sensible eating routine combined with regular exercise, you're
well on your way. Don't wait for it to break before it's fixed - make it a lifestyle, not just something you do whenever it’s time for a wedding or a
holiday. And if you're a follower of mine on twitter you've probably heard me say many times that one workout won't make you, one bad meal won't break you, but the consistency in your routine decides what you become!
By Nick Cameron, LA PT