Interesting week I’m having; it’s been heavy on female clients who are exercising hard and not losing weight, or barely eating and not losing weight, or both, and not losing weight. This is always surprising to the people this happens too, because exercise and diet are supposed to create the calorie deficit that causes calories to be burned and weight loss to happen. Exercise is supposed to make us calorie burning machines, right? Barely eating should melt off our fat, right? This works when we’re young, so what happens after 30, or 40, that brings the old calories in – calories out efforts to a screeching halt?
That’s easy. Years of yo-yo diets, full of refined carbs and chemicals ( hello diet coke, lean cuisines, bagels, cereal, beer, and crackers), eventually cause metabolic damage, usually in the form of Insulin Resistance, and organs that become damaged/worn out ( the liver, the pancreas, etc); and our hormonal system shifts from one that’s full of Growth Hormone, sex hormones, and fat burning hormones like Glucagon, to a hormonal system full of Insulin and Cortisol.
Remember this famous line: our body isn’t a math equation, it’s a chemistry set. We need to manipulate our chemistry if we want to lose weight.
Quickly, because I have a big yoga workshop in a few hours, I’m going to cover the diet and exercise we need to do if we want the hormones that help us lose weight.
1) We need to lift, or resistance train; and we need to do cardio intervals that make us breathless. This isn’t “new” information, at all. Science has shown for years that to burn body fat during and after exercise, our muscle cells needed to be stressed out and broken down. Then, during our rest periods, those cells rebuild and become a little bit bigger. Bigger muscle cells use more calories – 24/7 – than small muscle cells.
Go for a “burn”, which means a build up of lactic acid; recent science shows that lactic acid induces release of both HGH (human growth hormone) and Testosterone ( ladies – we DO want testosterone! ). This primarily happens when we sleep. Add “sleep” to your weight loss routine.
Let me repeat: To induce a hormonal atmosphere that increases the calories you burn in a day, you need to tear down your muscles cells during your workout, then rest so they can 1. rebuild bigger, and 2. stimulate the necessary hormones that create muscle growth as opposed to FAT DEPOSITION.
Aerobic exercise is Great-Awesome-Wonderful. There’s a million benefits to it. It. Will. Not. Take. Off. Weight. Too much cardio actually eats your muscle cells, which LOWERS your 24-7 calorie burn. Cardio DOESN’T build muscle tissue, and cardio can make you STARVING. Be careful with it.
2) Your Diet: Once we get past a certain age, and have had years or decades of either crappy processed carbs, or “healthy whole grain” carbs, we’ve caused damage to our cells called Insulin Resistance. You know you have this if you barely eat and either can’t lose weight or you’ve gained weight. This means you’re not burning the body fat you see in your belly, thighs, or butt. That’s because the muscle cells, and the liver cells are saying “No” to the insulin, which is trying to reduce the glucose (sugar) in your blood stream. This causes the pancreas to keep pumping out more insulin. When insulin is in the blood stream, FAT IS NEVER USED FOR ENERGY, only glucose is used for energy. Insulin also causes major amounts of damage to our arteries.
Remember, there’s only a few things we do with all that extra glucose: (a) stuff it in some muscle cells – which doesn’t work if they’re insulin resistant (b) stuff in a storage site in our liver – which doesn’t work if those cells are insulin resistant, or (c) turn the excess glucose into TRIGLYCERIDES, which is fat, and stuff it in the fat cells, which are NEVER insulin resistant.
When you’re Insulin Resistant, YOU CAN NOT BURN THE FAT YOU HAVE STORED IN YOUR BODY. You only burn glucose/sugar. Think that if you barely eat, the body would HAVE to burn fat? Not if you’re Insulin Resistant! In that case, your body will happily, and easily, turn muscle tissue into glucose, and use that. Again, if insulin is in the blood stream, fat won’t be used for energy. This, and reduced thyroid function, is what happens from years of calorie reduction. Not a successful plan for weight loss.
What’s the answer to manipulating your diet to lose weight? Cut the carbs, WAY UP THE FATS, moderate protein, a TON of vegetables, a little bit of fruit, a little bit of nuts and seeds, and a little bit of whole fat dairy if you tolerate that.
If you’ve got a lot of Insulin Resistance, you’ll need to go Ketogenic, and probably add a liver cleanse. Don’t be scared! The ketogenic diet is incredibly healthly, and honestly not hard to live with.
Why a liver cleanse too? Our liver SHOULD be our biggest calorie burning organ; it should burn more calories than our muscles! It’s supposed to do hundreds of jobs a day. If it’s clogged with toxins or damaged by insulin resistance, that calorie burning avenue is hampered, badly. It’s also a road to really poor health when our liver can’t do the jobs it’s supposed to do.
So there you have it. If you want to lose weight, but can’t, you need to lift, you need to cut the carbs, you need to focus on Real Whole Foods, and you might need a liver cleanse. If you’re really Insulin Resistant, you’ll need to do a Ketogenic Diet. It’s mid-June. Think where you could be at Christmas time if you start now. Honestly. Think about that. Email me if you want help with the Ketogenic Diet, it’s a slam dunk for reversing Insulin Resistance, losing weight, and getting healthy.
Have a great weekend!