So, you want to lose weight because you are ready to make a change for the better when it comes to your health and overall fitness. The first thing you probably thought of was going on a diet and the second thing that came to mind was getting back in the gym or joining a gym so you can start to exercise hoping you’ll achieve optimal weight loss results.
You’re excited about starting the exercise program and you are determined to stick to it this time around. However, that long lost thought in the back of your mind reminds you that the last time you went on a weight loss program and exercised daily for months, you initially lost a few pounds, but then everything came to a screeching halt. As a matter of fact, the weight you lost came from parts of your body that didn’t really matter. After all, your goal was to shrink your waist, but that barely happened even though you may have seen the scale move in the right direction.
Why is this? Why do most people who carry weight in their mid-section lose weight in all the wrong places, or should I say in places other than their waist? Let’s go over the basics to find out how the body works when it comes to weight loss, fat storage, and exercise.
First of all let me point out that the human body is a magnificent creation and it does absolutely nothing it’s not supposed to do or what it was created to do. Genetics do play a major role in how your body will store fat and this is what makes up the shape of your body. However, there are other reasons your body can store fat in certain areas and it’s related to your overall health and hormones.
For example, if you’re constantly stressed from going to bed late and/or not getting enough quality rest and sleep, you’re going to stress your adrenal glands. When your body is stressed, it will compensate by releasing a stress hormone called cortisol. Cortisol is good for you when all is well, but when cortisol levels remain at peak levels day in and day out, it eventually leads to adrenal fatigue. In this case you will see most of the body fat in your mid-section because when cortisol levels are spiked, your body tends to store fat in this area.
If you’re not stressed and it turns out that after doing a 24-hour urine or saliva test the results are normal, then most likely your large waistline is due to genetics and the way your body stores fat.
If this is the case you can exercise until you are blue in the face day after day and while you may see some fat loss all over your body, weight loss in the stomach area will be quite disappointing.
The reason is because your body is programmed to store fat in your mid-section and losing weight in this area can be very challenging unless you know exactly what to do, how to do it, and when to do it when it comes to exercise and proper diet.
People who carry most of their weight in their mid-section are considered apple shape and whether your weight is 400 pounds or 150 pounds, if you’re not doing things properly regarding exercise and diet, you can start out at 150 pounds and end up at 130 pounds and still be apple shape! So, while your legs, buttocks, arms, and upper back may shrink, your stomach didn’t change much, if at all.
When this happens you begin to blame it on other things like having a baby or you’re not as young as you were back in the day when your stomach was flat, and so on. Fact is, if done properly, most people can obtain a flat stomach regardless of their age considering their hormones are in check and they are in otherwise good health.
The first thing I do when I consult with a client is have them fill out a consultation form and then based on their family history and current health, I will recommend a series of blood tests and possibly urine and saliva tests. No other health and fitness expert does this that I know of, but I will say this. If your hormones are out of whack I don’t care what you do, weight loss will not happen until the issue is corrected. My job as an expert is to find out why you are gaining weight and the first thing I need to do is rule out a hormonal imbalance, a cortisol imbalance, or other health related issue that would prevent you from seeing optimal weight loss results.
There is one test that I recommend doing for all my clients and it’s called an insulin test. It’s about $50 and this blood test measures how sensitive you are to insulin. The lower the number, or the more sensitive you are to insulin, the easier it will be to lose weight and the more flexible we can be with your diet plan. The higher the number, or the more resistance you are to insulin, the harder it will be for you to lose weight in some cases and we would need to be more strict with your diet plan starting out until we moved the insulin number more on the sensitive side. I’m in the process of writing an article on insulin resistance and weight loss, so to know more sign up for my newsletter and when it’s released I will send you an email.
So, let’s assume you’re in perfect health and simply have the genetics to store fat in your mid-section. How do you lose it? Well, since the body is more prone to store fat in your mid-section, we must trick it so to speak and cause it to release fatty acids to be converted to glucose so that glucose can be used for energy during and after exercise.
Let me explain. Your body needs fuel when you exercise, and it gets that fuel from stored glycogen in the muscles and liver when the muscles and liver release the glycogen and the body converts it back to glucose, so it can be burned for fuel. In fact, your muscles and liver have enough stored fuel in the form of glycogen that you’d have to do a strenuous exercise session for several hours before your body would even think about reverting to stored fat for energy, especially if your diet consisted of mostly carbohydrates and if you exercised at the wrong times.
However, if we slowly changed your diet so it consisted primarily of good fats and high quality proteins and very little complex carbohydrates, your body would then revert to stored body fat in your mid-section to use as a fuel source if you do the proper exercise. Notice how I stated to slowly change your diet. The reason for this is we don’t want to make drastic changes as to stress the body. Why? If we stress the body it will cause a spike in cortisol and it’s impossible to lose a good amount of body fat when cortisol levels are spiked out of range. So, we must make small changes to allow time for your body to adapt and by doing this you will see optimal weight loss results.
The next thing is how do you exercise to achieve fast weight loss? Well, every person is different because we must first make sure you are in good enough physical condition to do the exercise routine that must be done to see good weight loss results. If you have never exercised a day in your life it might take a few weeks to get you in good enough physical condition to do the workout routine to prevent stressing your body to the point of causing an excessive spike in cortisol.
Remember, the key is to start out slow and allow your body time to adapt before you take things to the next level. Getting all anxious and excited about hitting the gym because you want to lose 40 pounds in 2 months will result in too much stress and while initially you may lose some weight, your body will eventually pump out excess amounts of cortisol and fat loss will come to a screeching halt!
Exercise is good because it causes stress to the body. However, too much exercise too fast will result in overly stressing the body and when this happens you can forget about losing body fat.
So, how do you know when you’re ready to move to the next level of exercise or how do you know if you are over-training? Well, there are several signs. First one is not being able to sleep at night. Second one is feeling anxious, overly tired, or having unusually sore aching muscles and joints. Third one is feeling nauseous, light headed, or just plain sick. When your body is overly stressed you may get an immune response and you could even start to feel sick. You would need to refrain from physical activity for a few days if this ever occurs.
As a matter of fact, never ever exercise if you have a fever as it puts undo stress on the heart. More on this in an upcoming article. So, if you’re sick, no exercise at all. Your body needs total rest to recover from the sickness and it needs all it’s resources for a fast recovery. The last thing you need to do is put more stress on your body by continuing to exercise.
Now to the next step. Let’s say you are in fairly decent physical condition after following a mild to moderate exercise program for at least a couple of weeks and you are ready to dive in a little deeper.