The Fat Burning Secrets that Everyone Needs to Know

Burning fat and losing weight are not just about calories eaten and calories burned. Our fat burning system is more closely tied with the kinds of foods we eat and the timing of when we eat them. This is the fat burning secrets that everyone needs to know!

If the “eat less and exercise more” to lose weight method worked, everyone would be at their perfect weight, because we all know what we’re supposed to do. And most people really try to do this–unfortunately without too much success.

Then we beat ourselves up when we can’t do those two simple things and get long-term results. It’s so frustrating

And when we do manage to eat less and work our butts off in the gym, why doesn’t that extra fat go away?

It’s because, without knowing how the body really processes fat, you might actually be working against your body.

Burning fat is NOT about calories or even exercise. Helping your body properly metabolise fat is about the food you eat and when you eat it.

By not working with your body’s fat-metabolizing system; you are at a disadvantage in the fat-loss battle everyone seems to be fighting.

The simple formula of eating less and exercising more is just not cutting it as a way to achieve and maintain a healthy weight!

The body is complex and it has way more to do than worry if you like how you look in the mirror on any particular day. It is busy with survival and does not cater to your aesthetic whims on a daily basis.

That’s a good thing by the way–though sometimes frustrating

However, your body is concerned with fat. Your survival depends on the body moving and using fat. Fat is a good thing believe it or not.

Yet, our obsession with getting and eating fat has inadvertently caused entire generations to totally screw up their fat-metabolizing systems.

Fat Metabolism

One of the things always going on inside your body is the movement of fat into and out of your cells. This goes on all day, everyday.

Most of us are, of course, more concerned with the fat that seems to grow and stubbornly stay put.

Losing fat can seem hopeless. And if you follow popular dieting advice, it pretty much is hopeless, because the old calories in/calories burned formula doesn’t take into account how the body really works.

Yet, with some understanding and patience, your body WILL work with you. It likes to be well fed, appreciated, and understood.

In other words, you have to love your body and feed it and treat it like you do love it. Most importantly, you have to understand how it works.

How Your Hormones Affect Fat Storage

The secret you have to know, to make real, sustainable progress is to understand that there are hormones running the body weight and fat-processing functions.

When you work against these hormones, your body will not properly burn fat as energy and you will store too much of it instead.

I eat the way I do, to work with my hormones to help them function more effectively. Learning about fat metabolism will show you how important it is to eat in a way that maximizes the function of these hormones.

The Fat Burning Secret—Your Hormones: Insulin, Leptin, and Glucagon

INSULIN

I’m starting with insulin since we’ve all heard of it, especially in regard to diabetics. Because of it’s connection with diabetes it kind of seems like a scary hormone.

But it’s not. It’s an incredible hard-working hormone that has to put up with a lot of dietary crap these days. In fact, it is the hormone that is kind of in charge of most other hormones. You definitely want to understand this hormone!

In the most basic function, insulin regulates the movement of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins from the blood into cells to use immediately or to use later. However, it is very integral in tending to blood sugar levels.

When you eat carbohydrates, Insulin is released to deal with this. In a diet that isn’t too high in sugar consumption, insulin processes the glucose and all is well. In normal amounts this allows your body to use these carbohydrates for energy as well as drawing on the circulating fat.

Remember that sugar comes from many sources, not just things that are made from sugar. Breads and pastas also act as sugar. All these things cause your blood sugar to rise after eating.

Unfortunately, most diets are so high in sugar or foods that act like sugar, insulin struggles to keep up with the workload. That’s when the trouble begins.

Eating too many carbohydrates, too often, means your body will always be burning this fuel source rather than tapping into fat.

Think about it this way. If you are eating carb-heavy breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as multiple snacks (Read this to see what diet foods might be wrecking your diet.) you are keeping carbohydrates constantly in your blood stream. Your body has no choice but to try and use those as a fuel source and then send the rest into fat storage.

Even if your overall calories are low, you are still keeping your body in a fat-storage mode rather than a fat burning mode. This is not good and not just because it makes us fatter. It is extremely unhealthy and very damaging to the body.

LEPTIN

Leptin is your body’s fat regulator and delivers messages from your cells to your brain, advising the brain whether there is enough fuel on hand for normal activities. Leptin regulates your overall hunger and activity levels.

Why You Feel Hungry When You Shouldn’t

It would be reasonable to think that with all the fat most of us have stored, that Leptin would simply say, “Hey brain, there’s plenty of fat here for all activities…no need to activate hunger right now.”

However, modern food, is not really food. Modern processed foods are often designed to override your natural hunger signals.

Even though a person eating real food will be sensitive to the body’s signals, when you are addicted to processed foods that are usually high in sugar or foods that act like sugar, your natural system isn’t going to work like it should.

It’s Not About Willpower!

Unfortunately, this leads to your brain not getting the messages it needs to properly control your hunger. When the brain can’t understand that you have enough fat on hand, it begins to think you need more.

Without proper leptin signals, your brain thinks you need to eat more and unfortunately this can be way stronger than your willpower.

GLUCAGON

Glucagon works with your insulin to allow your body to access stored energy and keeps your blood sugar from dropping too low.

This is a good thing. However, if there is too much insulin in the blood stream (all those high carb meals and snacks) then glucagon cannot tell the cells to use stored body fat as fuel. Bummer!

Why You Aren’t Burning Fat

The sad fact is that most people eat so many processed and high carb foods that they constantly have elevated insulin levels and are storing energy in the form of fat rather than releasing it.

Ideally, when you are between meals your body should be using its fats stores but it can’t because if you’re continually eating the wrong things too often, glucagon cannot do its job.

How to Eat to Burn Fat

The secret to working with your hormones is eating real food in sufficient quantities to nourish your body, to keep hunger and cravings away, and allow the body the time it needs to process each meal properly.

I used to be one of those people that ate and snacked all day long. I don’t anymore. I rarely crave sweets or junk food. I eat three meals a day and rarely eat anything after my evening meal.

Eat Fewer Meals to Lose Weight

One of the most powerful things you can do to help your body function properly is to eat fewer meals.

Fasting, it turns out is good for us. Our bodies really benefit by having long periods of time when we aren’t eating.

Intermittent fasting can really help with insulin resistance. Some people are able to lose weight simply by restricting the period of time they eat during the day to a smaller window.

Eat Real Food

A lot of people claim confusion about what real food is. It isn’t that confusing. Protein such as meat and eggs is real food. Vegetables are also real food.

Healthy fats are real food. Snack bars, crackers, and even beloved products like pasta are not REAL food. They are fillers that provide little to no nutrition.

That sounds harsh I know!

But seriously, look around at people. People are fatter and sicker looking than ever. These foods are also damaging and cause inflammation in the body.

Avoiding foods that cause inflammation is important because it is now known that inflammation is the underlying cause to most disease.

Here’s a free printable of sugars and foods that act like sugar in your body.
Sugar and Foods That Act Like Sugar

Stay healthy my friends!

The 3 books below are 3 of my favorites. One that explains why this way of eating is so beneficial and 2 that are full of the easiest most delicious recipes for ANY way of eating.

This post contains affiliate links; read my full disclosure policy here.

It Starts With Food

It Starts with Food should be read by everyone! It’s the original Whole 30 book and really explains the hormone connection in simple yet thorough detail. It also explains why foods that you’ve been told are healthy really aren’t. I just can’t recommend this book enough!

Well Fed I and II

These are my two favorite Paleo cookbooks hands-down! They are deceptively small in size but that size is perfect for holding, cuddling, reading, and planning all the delicious meals you are going to make.

The great thing about these cookbooks is that the author doesn’t give you just stand-alone recipes. She recommends complementary dishes and modifications you can make.

Seriously, these are two of the most well thought out cookbooks I own. To tell you the truth, I only own a few cookbooks. Who needs things taking up space when pretty much every recipe you could ever need is online. But these books are wonderful, unique, and my most loved.

For more on Whole 30

Follow Sara @ My Think Big Life’s board Whole 30 on Pinterest.

To keep up with the best of My Think Big Life on Pinterest

Follow Sara @ My Think Big Life’s board on Pinterest.

Keep showing up my friends,

Sara

Sara

Hi, I'm Sara! As a counselor and college advisor/coach, I've helped thousands of people make positive changes in their lives. Join me on the adventure of thinking big and living well!

7 Comments

  1. […] affect our fat-storing and fat-burning hormones. This is really important to understand. Sugar and foods that act like sugar tell our bodies to do […]

  2. Lexi @That Fit Fam on November 11, 2016 at 1:48 pm

    I definitely agree! Hormones affect the way our body metabolizes our food! What’s funny though, is that even though it’s not as simple as calories in calories out, by making the changes necessary to help those hormones “do their job” some people may actually end up consuming less calories. Especially when you consider how high calories tend to be in processed/junk foods. They don’t necessarily always go hand in hand, but there does seem to be a correlation 😉 great article!

    • Sara on November 15, 2016 at 1:15 pm

      Thanks Lexi! I agree. When I’m eating clean, I don’t always need to eat as much as I did when I was snacking all the time on processed food products. Because I eat fairly high-fat, my calories are probably fairly high though. Thanks for reading and commenting.

  3. Fabiola Rodriguez on June 9, 2016 at 5:03 pm

    Very interesting, Sara! Where do low-carb diets fit into all of this? I was once on a low-carb diet, and I worked in the short term, but it was difficult to keep up with it so I let it go. Is there an explanation for this? Or could this be the subject of another post? 😉 lol

    -Fabi at Wonder Fabi

    • Sara on June 10, 2016 at 10:59 am

      Hi Fabi. I can’t do traditional low-carb diets either. But, I always include a little higher carb vegetable or a fruit with my meals. Not enough to spike my blood sugar too much but enough to make my meal taste good and provide balance to it.

  4. Clearissa Coward on June 9, 2016 at 10:56 am

    Excellent information. I have been thinking recently about harmone therapy but it is soooo expensive. It would be much easier to cut out processed food. Thanks for the info.

    • Sara on June 12, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Thanks Clearissa. Cutting out processed food is a GREAT place to start.

Leave a Comment





Stay on Track!

Stay positive and on track with the “The Positive Progress Tracker" | MyThinkBigLife.comSustain your motivation, stay on track, and illuminate all of the changes your making (even the subtle ones) by grabbing my free tool!

We value your privacy and protect it. Learn what we collect and how we handle information by viewing our Privacy Policy.

Topics

Meet Sara

Sara | MyThinkBigLife.com

Hi, I'm Sara and I'm so happy you're here! My Think Big Life began shortly after I turned 50. Big changes can happen with a small start, an adjustment of thought, or a simple process. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having.

Let's Connect