A calorie is a calorie is a calorie. You can’t fool the laws of thermodynamics when it comes to fat loss, right?
Well… actually, you can.
Your body fat plays by a different set of rules than what physics suggests. Once you learn how to work with these rules, you literally hold the key to trigger fat loss fat from your body.
For overweight people, the calorie myth is one of the most frustrating. It implies that if you are overweight that you are eating too much and moving too little.
Let’s just put it bluntly: this myth says that if you are overweight then you are a lazy glutton.
Just ask Jillian…
It’s insulting, especially after restricting yourself to something like 1200 to 1400 calories and exercising an hour a day (200 to 400 calories ‘burned’) to see little, if any movement on your scale.
For some, the scale weight goes up.
Now you’re tired, hungry, and really, really cranky– and ready to kick Jillian’s butt.
You followed the advice to eat less and move more. How is it that your body can defy thermodynamics and create fat out of nothing?
Well, first of all, Jillian’s advice is flawed. So much that even two groups whose reputation is based on exercise and a low-calorie diet have to admit that there is something wrong…
It is reasonable to assume that persons with relatively high daily energy expenditures would be less likely to gain weight over time than those who have low energy expenditures. So far, data to support this hypothesis is not reasonably compelling.
–from the ACSM and AHA joint statement for physical activity guidelines.
That’s kind of contradictory, isn’t it?
In case you were wondering, the ACSM is the American College of Sports Medicine. They would like you to move more. The AHA is the American Heart Association, and they would like you to lose weight to reduce your risk of heart disease.
And yet, they said that there is NO COMPELLING DATA to support their recommendations to move more and eat less.
Are you confused? You should be!
The Truth About Counting Calories
Where did this all go wrong?
Not so long ago, actually. Before WWII, there was a different theory out there about fat loss. But when we learned how to measure cholesterol in blood and made the hasty (and flawed) conclusion that cholesterol is the CAUSE of heart disease, the low-fat, low-calorie Ornish-style diet eclipsed all prior studies.
Everyone obsessed over calories. And we all got fatter anyways.
To learn how to unlock the fat from your body, you first need to understand how it got there. And you need to think about obesity differently.
Obesity is actually a sign of malnutrition. It’s hard to think of a 300-pound person as suffering from malnutrition, but it’s true. All that food is not moving you around, building muscle, or supporting fat-free mass. It’s getting put directly into fat cells.
As fat cells grow, the rest of the body starves.
Your metabolism slows, and you feel tired and hungry all the time (no matter how much food you eat). Curiously, this is exactly what happens when you put your body in STARVATION mode by restricting calories.
Here’s a different way to look at it…
Obesity is a disorder of fat accumulation. Overeating and inactivity are compensatory effects; they are not causes.
–Gary Taubes, author of Good Calories, Bad Calories
That is a backwards way to look at obesity, isn’t it? We have all been led to believe that overeating and sloth are the reasons for gaining weight. But this says that the reason why you gain weight, and feel tired and hungry is because there is a problem with the way you accumulate fat.
So the question is: what causes fat accumulation? What is making those fat cells grow out of control?
How You REALLY Get Fat
Let’s get down to a microscopic level for just a moment, and take a look at a fat cell.
Free fatty acids in your body are pretty small. So small in fact, that they can pass right through a fat cell’s membrane. In the cell, those tiny fatty acids are combined together to make large triglycerides. The triglycerides are so big that they can no longer pass back through the cell membrane.
The fat is now LOCKED inside the cell.
Fat cells grow in size because more fatty acids come into the cell than go out.
Stop Starving Yourself to Get Rid of Fat
The way to STOP fat from accumulating is insulin. High insulin levels drives ever more fat into your fat cells, not calories. Insulin levels regulate how much fat you gain or lose.
This was recognized before WWII, before we tried to cut calories (by cutting fat). Over the years, the idea that reducing insulin levels will unlock trapped fat from your body has never disappeared, we’ve just ignored it:
Release of fatty acids from fat cells requires only the negative stimulus of insulin deficiency.
–Rosalyn, Yallow, Solomon, Berson, 1965
Insulin is your key to weight loss– and overeating.
Overeating is triggered not because you need MORE calories; it’s triggered by consuming too many carbohydrates which stimulates insulin levels.
How Insulin Controls Your Appetite
You might have already experienced the effect of insulin on hunger levels. If you have ever fasted, you know that hunger disappears after a while.
Even though you are still theoretically burning calories as you go about your day, your hunger isn’t cued by the number of calories in or out. The same thing goes for a lower carb diet—hunger cues are blunted.
Hunger itself is related to the hormonal condition you create when you eat refined carbs. If you reduce insulin levels by fasting or eliminating sweets and starchy carbs, hunger virtually disappears.
TIP: You could say that (unless you are in a true starvation situation) you are NOT burning or releasing fat from your cells if you constantly feel hungry. Hunger is your cue to look for hidden carbohydrates in your foods.
This all makes sense if you think about it in terms of evolution. Before agriculture, we hunted and gathered everything we ate. So we lived predominantly on meat and plants. Carbohydrates were pretty minimal, save for some root vegetables and fruits.
And forget about cupcakes or anything sweet! Sugar and refined carbs simply didn’t exist. Furthermore, when we couldn’t find what we needed to eat we ended up fasting for days, even weeks at a time.
Your body was purpose-built for this kind of diet.
So the key to fat loss is to work with your body, not against it– to unlock fat at the cellular level.
Fat Loss: It’s Physiology, Not Thermodynamics
For fat loss to happen, you need to drop your insulin levels. Once you create an insulin deficiency, triglycerides are broken back down into those tiny free fatty acids. Those fats can then escape the cell membrane so they can be used for energy.
In turn, your fat deposits will start to shrink.
Jillian encourages you to use the laws of thermodynamics, to count calories and exercise for fat loss. And, if you fail (which you most likely will), it’s all your fault. The flaw in this advice is that it completely ignores the PHYSIOLOGY of fat accumulation.
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Jan is a 14-year veteran in the fitness industry and has personally coached and trained thousands of people to live fit and healthy lives around the world. 100 pounds ago, she knew exactly what it is like to be obese, sick and unhappy, feeling like there was nothing that could be done about the excess fat she had gained. That is why she couldn’t be happier to be a part of the Personal Trainer Food team today. She has successfully and permanently lost the fat using the principles of this program.