How to Reset Your Body to Burn Fat
Our bodies have developed the capability of storing extra calories as body fat for later use when resources are scarce.
Thousands of years ago, this was an incredibly important function. Primitive man would have been able to tap into stored energy reserves with ease (known as metabolic flexibility).
Fortunately, in the modern, western world those scarce times never appear.
However, ultra-processed foods and snacking culture have become the norm, and we have become dependant on the sugars in food to fuel us through the day, forgetting about our bodies natural ability to tap into our stored reserves.
Every time we have that mid-morning snack we create a blood sugar spike, which causes the hormone insulin to be released.
Excess insulin prevents us from being able to tap into our stored fat.
In the short term, this means peaks and troughs of energy, persistent hunger and “hanger” when we miss a meal.
Long term this can lead to type 2 diabetes, obesity, Alzheimer’s and heart disease.
Eating ‘little and often’ or ‘grazing’ has become the social norm with the myth that it keeps the metabolism firing.
Unfortunately, we are encouraged to snack in between meals by companies who create ‘food-like products’ which are cheap, nutrient sparse, and highly processed.
You can retrain your body to be able to tap into stored energy reserves and improve your metabolic flexibility.
What is Metabolic Flexibility?
Metabolic flexibility is the ability to respond or adapt to conditional changes in metabolic demand.
This broad concept has been propagated to explain insulin resistance and mechanisms governing fuel selection between glucose and fatty acids (body fat), highlighting the metabolic inflexibility of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
What does this mean?
Put simply, it’s your bodies ability to utilise every available fuel source , rather than being dependant on a constant influx of food.
Long term metabolic inflexibility can lead to metabolic disease.
Intermittent Fasting can be an effective way to improve your metabolic flexibility and increase the chances of tapping into stored energy reserves.
How to Reset Your Body to Burn Fat
Start with a 12 hour overnight fast
In my opinion, most people would benefit from extending their overnight fast by a few hours. Many people around the world will at best, go 8 hours without eating (whilst they are asleep).
This is not in line with our circadian rhythms (body clocks) and it can cause issues with appetite control, energy levels, digestion and it can even improve your sleep quality!
I advise all my one on one coaching clients to incorporate a 12 hour overnight fast, for example, finish eating at 8 pm and start eating at 8 am.
This is nothing extreme and I believe that most people can do this with little side effects.
Eat nutrient-dense meals, until you are full
This may be radical to some of you reading this, but trying to calorie restrict, eating little and often throughout the day is going to prevent you from tapping into stored energy reserves. In my experience as a coach of 10 years, it will lead to an overconsumption of calories and leave you wanting food all day long.
Snacking culture has got completely out of hand. In the past 20 years, we have gone from the social norm of eating three square meals per day with nothing in between, to eating up to 8 times a day. This is having a negative effect on calorie control, energy levels, focus, mood and overall health.
If you are eating nutrient-dense meals, eating until you are full, YOU DO NOT NEED TO SNACK!
Learn to eat when you are hungry
One of the most powerful benefits of Intermittent Fasting its ability to get you to recognise different hunger triggers, and make informed decisions about whether or not they warrant eating.
‘Perceived’ hunger can be brought on by many queues: emotion, boredom, routine, habit, environment.
None of these necessarily mean you should eat.
Real hunger is something that occurs every 16-24 hours, not every 3 hours.
Understanding that having an empty stomach is normal, and you can function optimally without the need to constantly digest food is empowering.
Try one of my 5 Day Fat Loss Challenges
I will teach you how to lose up to 15kg in 90 Days Or Less, whilst still eating the things you enjoy and without spending hours in the gym. You will learn the first phase in my system that allows you to lose weight, increase your energy and transform your health, WITHOUT restriction or deprivation!
Does fat burning mean fat loss?
Not necessarily. You must combine turning your body into a fat-burning machine with a sustainable calorie deficit of around 500 calories (depending on the individual).
The combination of your body behaving the way it should, with a small calorie deficit can mean effortless fat loss without the constant hunger.
If you fail to address your bodies metabolic inflexibility and the changes in hormone issues that goes alongside it, you can expect to find staying in a calorie deficit much harder.
This is my opinion having coached 1000s to achieve sustainable fitness and fat loss results over 10 years and may anger some of you reading this who are of the opinion that all that matters is the “calorie deficit”.
A Way of Life
It can take time for your body to get used to this way of eating, and it may be difficult for some of you. There is a transition period where your body goes from being a sugar burner to a fat burner. This period is different for everyone but can take anywhere between 2-7 days.
Once you are burning fat for energy you will quickly reap the benefits of stable energy levels, feeling “real hunger” (every 12-24 hours), dropping body fat, and not being a slave to hunger.
This is empowering because you become completely self-sufficient. Not only will you lose weight, but you will also be FULL of energy all day long, no longer reaching for caffeine or nicotine or sugar to get you through the day.
Most surprisingly you will feel less hungry. Fasting teaches you to tune into your body. You will start to understand what “Real” hunger feels like, something that occurs every 16-24 hours, not every four hours.
A Final Note on Fat Loss
It’s important to remember, for long term, sustainable fat loss results, you must take a deep look at your habits, behaviours, mindset and beliefs about yourself and the world around you.
Generic fat loss and fitness plans will not take these into consideration and it’s the reason you may have got results whilst following instructions, but returned to your existing behaviour once you finished.
If you would like to learn more about how to get sustainable fitness and fat loss results click here.