Understanding Weight Gain and Weight Loss
With weight loss, people generally want to lose drastic weight in a short period of time. I wish I could supply everyone with a magic pill that would get you to a weight of your dreams. Sadly, I can’t offer that. But what I can offer is my knowledge, experience and skills with nutrition and understanding how the body stores and burns fat.
I understand that the quick fixes of the world seem a lot more appetizing then taking the marathon route to get there. If you know me, you know I am highly against fad diets. Primarily because they never last and in most cases cause people to end up exactly where they started – feeling frustrated, gaining lost weight back, fed up, tired, and confused. Food and nutrition shouldn’t feel like a job, it should feel like a lifestyle. By understanding how your body utilizes nutrients, you’ll be more inclined to stay away from those popular fad diets and learn balance and eating right for you.
Today I want to focus on how we store fat and how we burn fat.
First, how do we gain and store fat? We all share one common thing with food and nutrition, we need it for survival. But each one of us requires a different amount of calories, carbohydrates, protein, fat and water. When we bite into our foods we tend to bite into it for joy, pleasure, flavors, etc. As we should! However, when we ingest these foods our body is enjoying it a bit differently by receiving it as a way to produce energy.
This topic is broad and can get very confusing so bare with me…!
When we eat, our stomach digest the sugar and starches (carbohydrates) found in our food and breaks it down into glucose (sugar = primary source of fuel). The small intestine absorbs glucose and releases it into the bloodstream for energy. When the blood is filled with too much glucose this is where insulin (hormone produced in pancreas) comes into play! With an over production of glucose in the blood, insulin takes over and acts as a distributor. There are 2 places apart from the blood where glucose is distributed. One, in the muscle as a form of glycogen or two, fat cells in the form of triglycerides. Kicker here, your muscles only have so much storage available. However, your body has unlimited fat stores (not cool!). This is why it’s important to avoid high glycemic foods but instead low glycemic, complex carbohydrates, healthy fats and meal frequency to avoid the high and low sugar (glucose) balances in the blood. Our objective is to keep glucose levels in your bloodstream balanced so we avoid an over production of insulin and production of stored fat.
In addition, if you’re continuously over (or under) eating your requirements, your body will never allow its fat stores to be pulled to utilize for energy but instead could potentially continue to produce fat stores. This is one of the many reasons why I am against fad or ‘starvation’ diets. Again, it’s important for you to find your balance and eat right for YOU.
To give you a visual, let’s take a Sunday morning brunch. A typical plate is usually filled with pancakes, sausage, eggs, toast, muffins, fruit, orange juice, etc. After indulging in all of this, do you leave the restaurant feeling fueled and ready to tackle the day or do you find yourself wanting to go home, curl up and watch a movie? Most likely you’re feeling the movie route. This is because your body is processing exactly what you just ingested, converting it into glucose and insulin is trying to distribute it where it needs to go as fast as it can – which is what causes the high and low blood sugar balances and leaves you feeling tired, sluggish and blah.
Now that we understand how fat cells are created, how do we utilize them as a source of energy and shed those extra LBS.
First, calories in vs. calories out. You must consume fewer calories than needed to maintain your body weight. If you are eating more than you are burning, your body will never lose fat. In order to gain 1lb your body needs to ingest 3,500 calories. Same goes for losing 1lb. You need to deplete the 3,500 calories (-500 calories x 7 days/week = 3500 calories = 1lb).
We need carbohydrates in our daily diet for many bodily functions, but with trying to burn fat we want to keep our carbohydrate intake low-er. Reason, carbohydrates are a quick source of energy. Your body will quickly utilize the glucose found in the carbohydrate as energy which will deplete insulin in the bloodstream. The objective here is to create zero insulin in the blood so your body has no choice but to pull glycogen from your muscles until those stores are depleted. From there, your body will look for energy in your fat stores and convert fat cells into fatty acids and transport these fatty acids into the bloodstream to utilize as energy. (once your body has hit limited fat stores, the carbohydrate ratio changes, which is a separate topic we can discuss later.)
Have you ever worked out and at first you’re feeling good, then you kind of crash become sluggish and then BOOM you find a burst of energy? That is your body going through it’s energy supply chain – carbohydrates, glycogen and fat stores.
Of course physical activity, sleep, hormones, and hydration play a major roll in weight gain and weight loss. However, this gives you a generalized idea of how your body produces and reduces body fat.
So what does all this mean? Instead of looking for that quick fix to shed those extra LBS. My recommendation to you would be to stop torturing yourself with the high and lows of the fat diets. Replace the sprint route with the marathon route. Start to learn the balance of carbohydrates, protein and fat that your body needs and begin to eat the way your body NEEDS it to. This will only help build your metabolism and set you up for the long-term. No more seesaw of weight loss and weight gain. It's all about lifestyle, sustainability and longevity.
If you’re finding yourself stuck, frustrated and/or feeling as though you want to give up on your dietary and weight goals, DON'T give up! Contact me for a free 20 minute consultation, Katie@thedailydiehl.com OR if you're interested in gaining more knowledge in nutrition and learning how to eat right for you, join me in my 6-Week Body Reset nutrition challenge. To sign up, click here: http://www.diehlnutrition.com/6-week-challenge
Wishing you all a happy and healthy 2017!