How to Teach Your Body to Burn Fat
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!
This is the secret to becoming confident in your body! When your body is working the way it was designed to, you can finally relax in it.
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. 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.
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.
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.
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 why. 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, you have been overfeeding your body fuel.
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:
- 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. Don’t eat foods made from flour or sugar—eat real food. 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.
The science is easy. 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
- 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 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!
If this feels too big to do alone, I offer a 6-week, Body Confidence coaching program that can help you understand what’s holding you back, how to remove the drama around food and your body, and teach you to have the body confidence you are craving.
Click HERE to schedule a free 30-minute coaching call.
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. As a coach, I can help you create a life you love. Click here to schedule a free 30-minute coaching session.