How to Teach Your Body to Burn Fat

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To lose weight, you have to teach your body to burn fat. When your body learns to access its own body fat, you can lose weight and keep it off for good!

To increase fat loss we’ve all been told to increase our metabolism by doing more workouts or by cutting down on carbs.

But more cardio or just lowering the number of calories we eat are not the answer.

First of all, I want to address that your body is complex and that there isn’t one answer that is the most effective way for every woman to lose weight.

However, while it may take more time these days or require more attention to what you eat, it is not impossible.

Why Woman Gain Weight

When you understand why you gained weight and what to do about it, you can let go of the drama around food and your body.

Most people are overweight because their bodies primarily burn sugar for fuel and a certain amount of insulin resistance. 

We use to believe that too much fat in your diet caused you to be fat. But the real problem is the amount of carbohydrates we eat, especially the highly processed ones.

Because of a ready supply of glucose (sugar) in their system, their bodies don’t have an incentive to ever access the fat stored on their body.

This is why, even if you don’t overeat, you may still be a sugar-burner, rather than a fat-burner.

This is why, even if you don’t overeat, you can still gain weight year after year.

Now, I want to be clear here. You can and should eat carbohydrates. The problem I see when working with women is that the amount of sugary foods, breads, pastas, and other processed foods is way to much for their body to use.

Each woman is different in the amount of carbohydrates they can eat and not gain weight. The idea is to find your best amount and stick to that as much as possible.

To lose weight, and keep it off, you have to retrain your body to use fat as fuel. Here’s how to teach your body to burn fat.

As a weight loss and life coach for women over 50, I’m at expert at helping you use your MIND to get the results you want in your body and in your life!

PICTURE of woman making okay sign with her fingers with the words: Teach your body to burn fat

Food as Fuel

At its most basic level, food is simply fuel for our body.

Yet, these days, we have schedules around eating that do not take into consideration whether we are hungry or not. We have celebrations where food is as important as the actual event.

The important thing to keep in mind though, is that your body only requires a certain amount of fuel each day. If you are overweight, then how you fuel your body is off.

In my experience, women have terrible relationships with food and their bodies. They worry constantly about eating and what to eat and often engage in endless cycles of over-eating and deprivation.

But please remember. You deserve to eat! And you deserve to eat enough to adequately fuel your body. 

You don’t have to starve yourself. In fact, too much deprivation can backfire. 

What Doesn’t Work

Most of us were raised to believe two things. One, that all calories are equal, that it doesn’t matter what you eat as long as you keep your calories in a certain range.

The other thing we were taught is that fat makes us fat and to lose weight we need to cut out fat.

Both of these ideas are not just wrong, they are dangerous to our bodies. Both of these diet premises have been thoroughly debunked, yet they still promoted by some doctors.

They are dangerous because we have been trying to follow these types of diets for years, and yet people are sicker and fatter than ever!

In fact, when you cut out fat, you naturally eat more foods that act like sugar in your body and you continue to be a sugar-burner.

Just a reminder. This is not intended as medical advice, it is meant to be informative and an example of what I do and what works for my clients as well. This may not be the right thing for you right now because of health reasons. I also use simplified descriptions of body functions at times to make this easier to understand.

What is Your Body Doing Instead of Burning Fat?

When you keep a ready supply of glucose in your bloodstream around the clock, you are a person who primarily burns glucose for fuel.

If you are at a normal weight and you aren’t eating too much then you might not gain weight.

For most of us though, we gain a pound here and there over a period of months and years.

Then one day we look at ourselves, really look at ourselves and we are carrying around a lot of extra fat.

This was attributed to aging at one time, but it’s more likely that for all these years, your intake of carbs and sugars has been too high.

When you overfeed your body, it has to do something with it. All that low-fat bread, pasta, and rice become excess glucose in your system.

Insulin is secreted to clear it out of the bloodstream.

Some of it is used immediately for energy. Some is stored for later use—as fat.

The problem is that later never comes and so this excess fuel continues to be stored as fat. The fat never gets accessed and so you continue to gain weight.

This is the part that will finally explain why even if you aren’t an over-eater, you can’t seem to lose any weight.

Why you can’t lose weight without teaching your body to burn fat

Insulin is the hormone that causes us to gain weight. When it is always elevated in your body, you gain weight.

Our insulin is too high because we eat too many foods that by their very nature cause it to be secreted in larger quantities. These types of food are sugar and foods that act like sugar in your body. These kinds of foods are:

  • Sugar
  • All flour based products such as bread, pasta, tortillas, crackers,
  • Many grains
  • Fruit juices and smoothies
  • Sweet foods such as cookies, candy, ice cream, and cake.
  • Fast food
  • Junk food

Most of that list is probably no surprise. We know that these types of food are fattening. When you understand the why better, you will be able to adjust your eating to maximize your body’s ability to burn fat.

Most of our diets are made up of the above foods. All these foods cause your body to secrete insulin.

Insulin is NOT the bad guy here. Insulin is an amazing hormone that is trying to keep up with the kind of food you are eating.

Diets full of these types of processed foods are hard on our bodies that evolved to eat a more natural diet.

So, problem number one is that we eat too many foods that are sugar or act like sugar in the body.

Problem number two is that we eat too often.

Every time you eat, your body releases insulin. If you are eating all day long, your insulin never gets the job done. Your body will always have ready fuel without having to dig into its own fat stores.

But the bigger problem is that all that excess sugar gets store as more fat.

For years, I’ve recommended no snacking. If you eat real food and healthy fats, you won’t get hungry.

Ideally, you will only eat two or three meals a day. By eating within a smaller window of time, your body truly has time to access fat for fuel.

How to Teach Your Body to Burn Fat

The process is relatively simple. Limit foods made from flour or sugar—eat real food. 

First you are going to begin using your appetite as a guide. This means waiting to eat until you feel hungry. This can be a game changer if you’ve been eating on a schedule instead of when you are hungry.

Then limit how often you eat to two or three times max. Be sure to eat healthy fats, tons of vegetables, and good quality protein.

While healthy eating seems mysterious, it really isn’t. When you eat mostly real food and stick to two or three meals a day, you will feel better.

There are variations between people. You might be able to tolerate some foods that I can’t and I might be able to eat some things that make you gain weight. There is some wiggle room.

In general, though, to get your body to use fat as fuel, you have to keep insulin low by not eating sugar or flour and by not eating all the time.

Yet, if it’s so simple, why don’t more people do this?

Why People Don’t Want to Lose Weight

You heard me, people don’t want to lose weight. Let me rephrase that. People want to lose weight by following a quick-fix plan.

Our brains trick us into thinking that we can do something for the short-term that will give us long-term results.

Here’s the thing my friends. Whatever you do to get thin, has to be something you can do for the rest of your life.

And that scares the crap out of people.

Because with a diet, it’s always going to end. And you know what happens then. The weight begins to creep back on until you are right back where you started.

It’s so much easier to fail in advance. Why try if it is always going to end in failure?

But it doesn’t have to. I know it might even sound crazy, that you could eventually prefer to eat like this. It’s true though. Getting off the roller coaster of dieting and eating processed foods feels amazing.

Walking around in a body that feels great, feels wonderful.

However, 99% of you aren’t going to make the choice to lose your excess body fat.

It’s easier to worry that:

  • You’ll feel deprived
  • You won’t be able to eat cake or cookies
  • You’ll have to tell people no to some foods
  • Your family might not want to eat this way.
  • You might get hungry. (You won’t once you start accessing your fat)

Life After Becoming a Fat-Burner

Here’s what is on the other side of teaching your body to burn fat:

  • Confidence in your body
  • Enjoyment of trying on clothes
  • Smiling at your reflection in the mirror
  • Feeling better
  • Radiant skin
  • Compliments
  • Being amazed at yourself!

Why Do I Have to Teach My Body to Burn Fat?

Now for a little bad news.

Your body isn’t going to jump for joy as soon as you try some new habits. If you have been eating a lot of sugar, processed carbs, and flour, you are going to feel bad for a few days to a few weeks.

Since your body has been using these quick fuels for so long, it’s going to want what it’s always had. It will crave sugar and processed foods. Physically, you might feel horrible. It’s withdrawal.

At this point, your body doesn’t want to work hard to get fuel. It’s harder to get it from your fat stores.

However, it is way better for your health, for your body to get fuel from your very own fat! This is way it was designed to work.

This is called being fat-adapted.

It is a major switch of direction to go from using mostly sugar for fuel, for your body to start using its own fat for fuel.

Your body is going to be like a toddler who is used to eating macaroni and cheese every dinner to having to eat their vegetables instead.

“But I don’t want too!”

We both know what is better for the toddler and we both know what is better for you.

Real food. So, when your mind is protesting that this is going to be just too hard, remember, that is your very own toddler brain throwing a fit.

Give her some love, tell her it’s okay, and that one of these days she is going to love eating this way.

Remind her that her future self will be so thankful that you are taking care of her. Tell her how much fun it’s going to be wearing cute clothes, having adventures, and feeling really confident in her body.

There’s a you out there that is confident in her body and in her life!

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I'm a certified life and weight loss coach who helps women feel better and get the most out of their lives! The process of life coaching teaches you to love yourself and gain self confidence in a safe effective way.

Start feeling better today!

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1 Comment

  1. Stefani Harris on July 19, 2020 at 9:18 pm

    Thank you for sharing all of this wonderful knowledge and your real-life experiences! You are an inspiration…I hope you know that! AND, thank you for putting this into words people can actually understand!! 🙂

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Hi, I'm Sara Garska and I'm so happy you're here! Big changes can happen with a shift in thinking. Over time, you transform your life into the one you always dreamed of having. As a certified life coach, I can help you create a life you love. Visit my life coaching page here.