Losing weight is probably one of the toughest challenges on the planet. Millions of people struggle with it daily and it wears them down on a physical, emotional and mental level.
2023 is just around the corner, and you know what that means… the masses are going to be chanting, “New Year, New ME!” as they make plans to lose weight and get in shape.
The gyms will be packed in January with the unwashed masses working out to burn their stubborn fat. By March, these same gyms will be ghost towns and it’ll be the same old regulars who visit it year-round.
Most people would have quit on their weight loss goals and gone back to their ‘old me’ lifestyles.
Weight loss will be shelved until December when they have renewed motivation because “NEW YEAR, NEW ME!”
But levity aside, it’s NOT their fault.
- Exercise is overrated
Don’t roll your eyes yet. We’re just getting started.
If we used an exercise calorie calculator and did a quick calculation:
If a 200-pound man goes for a brisk walk for 60 minutes, the result would be 409 calories burned.
Now, if that same man has worked up an appetite from his workout and eats just 2 slices of pizza, he’d have consumed about 570 calories.
It takes an entire hour to burn 409 calories, but a 15-minute meal puts back 570 calories. He’s at a caloric surplus now.
Do you see it yet?
People struggle to lose weight because they’ve been misled and place too much importance on things that don’t accelerate their results.
This is why burning fat by relying on exercise is always a slow, uphill battle. You cannot out-exercise a poor diet.
But this does not mean that you should ignore exercise. There are too many benefits that are accrued from exercise which cannot be ignored.
In fact, you’ll need to exercise daily and aim to burn about 500-600 calories per day.
You do not need to torture yourself and go hard. This is where so many people get it wrong. When trying to lose weight, they push themselves to extremes in the gym. This makes working out an arduous chore.
The goal of exercise should only be to burn about 500 calories and strengthen your muscles while improving your stamina. Forget about using exercise to lose weight.
There’s a better way, which we’ll look at further down.
Now, let’s look at diets…
- Diets are important but not the main thing
Once again, you’re probably wondering, “What’s going on here? This article is contradicting everything I’ve been told!”
It is, but we’re getting to the main point.
Have you ever noticed that people on Atkins, paleo and keto diets are extremely successful with their weight loss goals?
Yet, once they come off their diet, the pounds start creeping in and it’s just a matter of time before they’re back at their old weight. Usually, they end up even fatter.
Most extreme diets only work in the short run. Unless you’re willing to be on these diets for life (not recommended), they aren’t a sustainable option.
Another common misconception is that eating healthy foods on a caloric deficit will help you lose weight. This is true… but it takes a long time.
You could eat rice, chicken breast and broccoli daily but you’ll still struggle to shed the pounds fast. Fitness influencers on social media will tell you that this is enough… but it’s not.
For starters, they’re younger and have a high metabolism. It’s easier for them to lose weight with a clean diet. It’ll be significantly harder for you to lose weight with a similar diet.
That said, just like exercising daily, you should also clean up your diet. Just know that these 2 factors are NOT the be-all and end-all of weight loss.
- So, what is the secret to losing weight fast?
The answer is something that’s right in front of you but so often missed. The key to achieving maximum weight loss during a given period is to monitor your blood sugar levels.
This is why the Atkins and keto diets are so powerful. Since carbohydrates are minimally consumed, your blood sugar levels never spike or fluctuate wildly.
When glucose levels in your body are low, it will start burning fat for fuel. This is known as ketosis.
More importantly, as long as you have glucose in your blood, your body will burn it for fuel rather than your fat stores. This is one reason fasted cardio is so effective for so many people. Their glycogen levels are low in the morning, and their bodies are primed for fat burning.
- The number #1 reason people struggle to lose weight
Insulin insensitivity. This is the root cause of the problem.
When your body is insulin insensitive, it’ll release more insulin than necessary every time you consume food, especially carbohydrates.
When you have a blood sugar spike, your body will shuttle the excess sugar into your fat cells. This is why overweight people wonder why they can eat a slice of cake and suddenly gain 3 pounds.
Your body is working against you all the time when you’re insulin insensitive. The key to accelerating your weight loss will be to restore your insulin sensitivity.
- How to restore your insulin insensitivity
Step #1: Cut out all white foods
This will mean that you gradually reduce and eliminate your intake of white bread, white potatoes, white flour products, white sugar, milk, cheese, dairy products and white rice. Any food that contains these ingredients should be avoided.
All these starchy carbs and white foods will be quickly converted into glucose when you consume them.
Many people struggle to minimize their carb intake because what they really have is a sugar addiction. Studies have shown that sugar is more addictive than cocaine.
Whether you quit it cold turkey or gradually is up to you – but the focus of your weight loss efforts will be to avoid eating these foods as much as you can so that your blood sugar levels are stable.
The goal here is to minimize your carb intake and to remove processed foods from your diet. There’s often a lot of talk about low GI foods and so on. Don’t overcomplicate the process with half measures.
White rice is a no-no. So is brown rice and basmati rice. You don’t want to go with a healthier option for a white food. The same applies to wheat bread, etc.
Eliminate ALL white foods (and their healthier options) until insulin sensitivity has been restored.
Step #2: Intermittent fasting (IF)
Ideally, you want to aim for a 5-hour eating window. If you’re hardcore, you can aim for a 2-hour eating window.
A lot of intermittent fasting articles/books will tell you that an 8-hour eating window is fine. But since most people are suffering from insulin insensitivity, the shorter the eating window, the better.
Your blood sugar levels will be stable during the fasting window and your body will burn fat for fuel.
Do note that even when you’re intermittent fasting and NOT eating white foods, you’ll still want to aim for a caloric deficit of about 500 calories a day.
So you’re burning 500 calories through exercise and you’re also consuming 500 calories less than usual.
Be mindful and check your calorie numbers.
There is a plethora of benefits that you’ll reap from intermittent fasting ranging from autophagy to reduced inflammation and a lower risk of heart disease. You can research the benefits of intermittent fasting on your own time. Just know that it should be a part of your weight loss protocol.
Step #3: Water fasting
Once you’re used to a short eating window, go ahead and try fasting for 36 hours. Don’t eat for an entire day and only break your fast during the next day’s eating window. You can and should drink water regularly.
This may seem extreme to many people, but once your body is used to intermittent fasting, a 36-hour fast will be a piece of cake. This is a mental challenge and not a physical one.
Fasting for 36-72 hours every 14 days or so will greatly help to improve your insulin sensitivity while you shed the pounds fast.
Step #4: Track your blood sugar levels
The easiest and most accurate way to do this will be to use a blood glucose monitor. You only need to test your blood once a day around 3-5 pm. Some people check their blood sugar levels a few times a day.
This is unnecessary. If you’re not consuming white foods, you’ll be fine. The goal is to make sure you’re in ketosis.
It’s important to note that this is NOT the keto diet.
You do NOT need to eat excessive amounts of fat. A balanced diet of protein and fats is fine. On some days, you’ll consume 0 grams of carbs. On other days, not more than 25 grams of carbs.
This will ensure that you stay in ketosis. Contrary to what the keto crowd will tell you, your body does not need you to consume mostly fat for you to go into ketosis.
If you’re doing intermittent fasting while consuming minimal carbs, your body will automatically start burning its fat stores for fuel. It is a highly intelligent organism and knows what it needs to do for energy. You don’t need to encourage it by consuming copious amounts of bacon and coconut oil.
There’s a common belief that your body will burn muscle if you’re in a fasted state. This is not true.
If you’re exercising and engaging in resistance training, your body will understand that it needs to preserve muscle. So, it’ll turn its gaze towards the fat stores and burn them with a vengeance.
That’s really all you need to do. Weight loss has been overcomplicated by the supplement and fitness industry so that they can milk you for every cent you have.
Weight loss pills, exercise DVDs, books, etc. are sold daily to people who don’t have a clue that the answer to fat loss is the sugar in their blood.
Once you gain control over it and restore your body’s insulin sensitivity, you’ll shed the pounds much faster and more easily. After 3 months of maintaining stable blood sugar levels, you can slowly introduce more carbohydrates in your diet WITHOUT going overboard. You do not want to become insulin insensitive again.
Carbs in moderation is fine. So are processed foods. While not entirely healthy, it’s fine to indulge every now and then. Just make sure, your pounds don’t start piling on, and if they do, you now know what steps you need to take.
Besides the pointers above, the usual advice applies:
- Consume sufficient fiber (vegetables, fruit)
- Get sufficient sleep
- Manage your stress levels
- Drink 7-8 glasses of water daily
But always bear in mind that keeping your blood sugar level stable is the MOST IMPORTANT metric of the lot.
If you can get this right while exercising and maintaining your caloric deficit, everything else will fall into place and you’ll be amazed at how much faster you shed the excess pounds.
It may take you a while to get used to the low carb intake, but once your body adapts, it will become a fat burning furnace that torches your fat stores round the clock. Now your body is working with you and for you.
Consider these other factors if you’re not losing weight. Here are three more reasons you’re not losing weight:
The environment we live in, the air we breathe, the food we eat, and many other factors introduce toxins into our body. The body deals with these harmful toxins by binding them in the fat cells.
If you are overweight, your body is holding on to a lot of toxins. It will resist burning the fat because it’s trying to protect you. If the harmful toxins are released into your system all at once, you can get sick.
Most people don’t realize that slow fat loss is the body’s way of self-preservation. The first step to fixing this will be to go through a detox process. In fact, many weight loss programs have a 3-day or even 7-day detox program just to cleanse the body and start off on a clean slate.
It may be argued that the liver is more than capable of detoxification. That’s true. However, we’re just giving it a helping hand and helping to speed up the process. There are several ways you can detox, such as:
- Going on a 3-day juice fast (only freshly squeezed fruits/vegetables)
- Drinking freshly squeezed lemon juice every morning on an empty stomach
- Consume detox teas sold in health stores
When your body aches and hurts for no reason, you’re probably suffering from inflammation. The cells in your body are inflamed and you absolutely must address this issue before tackling weight loss.
The first step will be to eliminate sugar from your diet. Sugar is highly inflammatory and just 3 days without sugar will really help to mitigate the problem. You may also want to consume foods like pineapples, spinach and broccoli.
Another very useful tool to combat inflammation is turmeric. You can purchase turmeric supplements over-the-counter from most health stores. The active ingredient in the turmeric, which is curcumin, will help to reduce the inflammation.
Once your body has recovered, it will be more responsive to your weight loss efforts. Always remember that the foods you eat will have a direct impact on the inflammation in your body. So, do your best to avoid processed foods and clean up your diet.
There are several different hormones in your body and some of them have a direct or indirect impact on your body. Testosterone encourages muscle growth and aids in weight loss. Estrogen encourages weight gain.
Foods that are rich in estrogen will make your body gain weight. Foods like tofu and soy products are best avoided. It would be a good idea to avoid milk and dairy products too.
Another hormone to watch out for is cortisol. This is a stress hormone that indirectly causes you to gain weight. It causes the body to store the more harmful visceral fat that is found around the organs. Only exercise can burn off this fat. So, if you’re stressed out at work, or in other areas in your life, do take time out to de-stress.
Now that you know the 4 possible factors that could be impeding your progress, you should analyze and see if they affect you. Follow the tips in this article if they do. Lastly, do know that weight loss is a slow process but a sure one if you stay on the path and do not deviate or quit. Your ideal weight is well within your reach.
Your progress will be unstoppable, and you’ll reach your goal weight in time to come, whether it’s the New Year or not.
This process may sound foreign but give it a try and see how it works out for you. And remember, always consult your doctor before starting any diet, weight loss process, or fasting regimen.