This sounds incredibly obvious but with so much ‘expert advice’ floating round the internet these days, it can become easy to forget the fundamentals. Fat is essentially energy, energy that has not been expended and must therefore be stored as it cannot stay in the stomach or circulating around the blood stream forever. The human body is very efficient at coping with this issue and stores the ‘energy’ in adipose sites, aka fat stores.
Fortunately the body is incredibly efficient at using energy for everyday bodily functions such as breathing and digesting food, there is however a quick way to accelerate this expenditure—exercise!
Carbs aren’t evil, as many would have you believe; you just need to understand how your body uses them. All carbohydrates are eventually broken down to their smallest molecular unit, which is glucose; the rate of this digestive process depends on the type of carbohydrate. Some carbohydrates—such as honey—digest very quickly, and are known as high GI carbs. Conversely, there are low GI carbohydrates—such as quinoa—that digest much slower.
This rate of digestion is very important when trying to lose weight. High GI carbohydrates cause a rapid rise in blood sugar (glucose) levels, and in order to stabilise these levels the body secretes a hormone called insulin, which shuttles this sugar into the body’s cells to be either used as energy or to store. This is great if you are mid-marathon or just finished a gruelling bout of exercise and desperately need to replace energy stores, however this often isn’t the case and many will consume high GI carbohydrates throughout the day, which can and does lead to dramatic weight gain.
If you are serious about reducing body fat before the summer months reach us, my personal recommendation would be to eliminate high GI carbohydrates such as soda, sweets and even natural sugars such as fruit and honey. Instead, eat slower digesting carbohydrates such as quinoa, sweet potato, yam and protein porridge.
Keep calm and lose weight
One of the most damaging emotions is stress. Among many other negative symptoms, it can impair the immune system, increase blood pressure and cause weight gain. The reason why it causes weight gain is because it increases the hormone cortisol, which makes you exceptionally hungry for high caloric foods! Always remember, your body does not know as much as you may think it does. As far as it’s aware, you are in the jungle in a dangerous situation and a primitive response to this is simply survival, which in turn triggers the demand for calories.
There are many things you can do to relieve stress and cortisol accumulation. This includes stress relief activities such as yoga/meditation, listening to music and supplementing with L-Glutamine.
Lack of sleep can be detrimental on key decisions that influence weight loss. When you’re tired you lack energy, so what will happen to that gym session you’ve pencilled in? It either won’t happen or it won’t be a productive training session.
Also, when you’re low on energy your body will secrete the hormone ghrelin, making you reach for high caloric food to get some energy on board.
When it comes to dieting, it should all be about longevity: don’t starve yourself on 500 calories per day, this simply isn’t sustainable and it will completely shut down your metabolism. Instead, make sure you are eating 4/5 smaller meals a day made up of low GI carbohydrates and lean protein, such as chicken and turkey. This will keep blood sugar stable, keep your metabolism high and allow your body to recover from exercise.