How to lose fat

How to Lose Fat- The Smart Approach

Being overweight is not a crime. It doesn’t lower your value as a human being. Weight, however, can affect your health. It can affect your ability to perform or enjoy activities. It can even affect your self-esteem. Over weight can affect nearly all aspects of your life. If you are thinking how to lose fat, do it for only yourself. Don’t do it because you’re “supposed to be thinner” or have a certain body mass index (BMI). There is no rule that states “Thou shalt have a BMI between 18.5 and 25.” Body weight is a shallow, incomplete measure of a person’s health. Some exceptionally muscular and fit people are actually overweight or even obese according to their BMI.

How to lose fat

When you say you want to lose weight, what you really mean is that you want to play with your kids without getting winded, you want to look in the mirror and feel good about what you see, you want to impress someone, you want to live a long and healthy life, you want to improve your overall quality of life, or you want to look good in spandex. These are all fine reasons to lose fat and weight as long as they come from you.

Your Body Does Not Want to Change

According to a 2006 Duke University Journal Study, the subconscious part of the brain dictates about 45% of our behavior in the form of habits. Every new goal pursuit is a change from your current position.

Beyond subconscious resistance, there is yet another layer to overcome—biological resistance. Weight loss experts refer to this as the body’s “fat set point.” The set point is the amount of fat the body currently holds and will try to maintain.

Mainstream weight loss strategies make us fight the fat set point, but not intelligently. Calorie restriction and yo-yo dieting are a good example of worsening the fat set point by triggering the starvation response. The fat set point is so persistent that not even surgery can change it.

Surgical Fat Removal Doesn’t Work

Liposuction is the surgical removal of fat from the body, and it doesn’t work because of the fat set point. A study at the University of Colorado found that after one year, liposuction patients’ body fat was no different from the control group. Obesity researchers weren’t surprised by this, as it’s well known by now that our fat stores are controlled by the central nervous system.

how to lose fat

The most surprising thing is that liposuction remains popular. After breast augmentation and nose reshaping, liposuction was the third most popular cosmetic surgery procedure in the United States. Not only that, but it was the only procedure in the top five to have registered an increase over the previous year.

The Human Body Demands Balance

When you consume insufficient sugar or carbohydrates, your body converts fat into glucose to maintain proper energy and bodily functioning. This is called ketosis. When you consume sugar or carbohydrates, your body produces an appropriate amount of insulin to uptake some of the glucose energy into cells and normalize your blood sugar levels.

how to lose fat

Likewise, when you consume a lot of cholesterol, the liver makes less of it to compensate. When you consume less, the liver makes more. This is why high-cholesterol foods like eggs can still be very healthy (and not cause your cholesterol to rise).

When blood is drawn, your body will produce a greater amount of red and white blood cells and platelets until levels are back to normal. Similarly, when you exercise more (expend energy), you get hungrier (to intake energy). When you semi-starve yourself, your hormones will make you hungrier until you eat, and then you’ll be more likely to overeat. If you semi-starve yourself and lose fat quickly, your body burns fewer calories at rest (food efficiency).

Our bodies are machines of balance. Everything we know about the body shows a clear biological pattern of homeostasis, or the tendency to self-stabilize. This makes weight loss an interesting proposition, because the goal is to radically change something that doesn’t want to change radically.

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If you’ve gained fat, your body is fighting to keep it. Knowing this, is the smart approach to “shock” the body into a new way of living? Must we stop eating food completely for a while for the body to get the message and lose fat? Of course not!

Slow, Easy, Sneaky Changes

“Sure, I’ll try a cigarette,” said the chain smoker on the day that began a lifelong habit. “It’s only 50 cents more to add chips and a drink?” said the man who didn’t want to turn down a “good deal” and added 30 pounds of fat in the next two years as a result. If only we could use this technique to form good habits! We can.

Bad habits are always easy to form, because they are usually highly rewarding and easy to do. Whereas,  good habits are difficult to form because the reward is delayed and we make them hard to do. The logical approach is to make bad habits harder to do and good habits easier to do.

Easy Does it

Have you ever gotten into a thermostat battle with someone? You’re hot, so you move the temperature down three degrees. Someone else gets cold, and they move it back up three degrees and then a couple extra. Clever thermostat veterans win by changing it one degree at a time to avoid shocking cold-sensitive housemates into an overreaction.

Small changes don’t trigger your body’s “countermeasures.” This is why mini habits—the kings of behavior change—are also the kings of weight loss.

Sneaky Does it

Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your circumstances, your body is an active tissue programmed to survive. After blatant calorie restriction, the body reacts as it should for survival—you more readily store fat from the food you eat.

Losing weight is best approached as a covert operation. The change you want to reach is like a diamond in the center of a high security building. In this analogy, your body is the high security building, and to lose fat is the diamond you are after. Mainstream weight loss methods will tell you to run in the building with reckless abandon. And guess what? You’ll get the diamond quickly! But what’s this? You just set off 17 alarms, the building is in lock-down, the police have been notified, and a stressed-out security guard is pointing his gun at you. This is how your body responds to drastic weight loss measures.

You got the diamond (lost weight), but you’ll have to put (gain) it back before you leave the building.

This analogy is not extreme; it is exactly what happens when people try to change rapidly. The body has built-in homeostasis “alarms” to prevent change. It goes by the motto of “If it ain’t broke, don’t (you dare try to) fix it.” Your body says, “We’ve got a calorie deficit! Major calorie deficit! Send in the brownie lobbyists and set up a level four craving at noon!”

Why Weight Loss Fails

Your failure wasn’t in obtaining the diamond (losing weight/fat); it was in having no exit strategy (lasting removal). Do you see how this also describes the dieting industry? They emphasize the fastest possible results to lose fat, with little consideration given to what happens afterwards. Some people believe they can quickly lose weight and then go back to their former lifestyle without gaining it back. I wish it was true, but studies show that it’s not.

how to lose fat

Others believe that a fast weight loss start will inspire them to do more, but, just like in long-distance races, extreme starts result in exhausted finishes. Instead of running in recklessly to steal the diamond, a smarter thief would spend some time planning before entering the building. And what do you think the resulting strategy would be? The heist would be done at night. Slowly. Carefully. Surgically. Steadily. Sneakily. He’d move through the building while avoiding the sensors. Then, he’d claim the prize and escape. Nobody would know he was even there.

How to Lose fat? Bottom line

If you can lose weight without triggering your body to over-correct, the prize isn’t just a lower number on the scale. The prize is changing your behavior permanently to support a new weight level and healthier body and lose fat. That’s worth more than any diamond.

When you use this approach, you also gain the benefits of compounding that we covered in the introduction. When you put it together, you have a reliable way to decrease your fat set point that can also compound into greater progress, more confidence, happiness, hope, and courage to continue forward. It’s not just the best way, it is THE way to approach weight loss.

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