You are smart and you already know most of the key points I’m going to teach you about shrinking fat but it never hurts to be reminded! The foremost is this: get moving! If you want to burn fat, you must move your body BUT you must also eat the right balance of foods, let me explain…
The only place your body burns fat is in your muscles, so you must move and strengthen your muscles. Otherwise it would be like having a car in the garage that burns fat instead of petrol. If you never take it out of the garage, or only do short journeys, it burns very little fat, despite its potential! Essentially, there are two types of exercise – aerobic ‘with oxygen’ and anaerobic which is the ONLY system that burns fat.
Fat cannot be burnt on its own, which is a shame because otherwise you could just get up in the morning, go for a 10-hour walk and come home at the end of the day a stone lighter! Our bodies can’t burn fat without oxygen and glucose.
Your aerobic capacity is entirely dependent on the ability of your cardiovascular system to pump oxygen around the body. If you have a weak heart and circulation system, your ability to exercise is restricted because you can’t get the oxygen you need delivered to your muscles to move them.
Glucose is used by every cell, all the time. It’s the primary source of energy for everyday functions. Your brain, in particular, has a dominant need for glucose, and if levels within your body drop too low, you have a special in-built survival mechanism that literally breaks down your muscle tissue and converts it into glucose (producing ketones) to meet the brain’s need for fuel. Critically, you do not need oxygen or anything else to burn glucose for energy.
Many diets (high-protein, low-carb based diets in particular) use this theory to achieve weight loss, i.e. restricting glucose supply so that, instead, you use fat to meet your energy needs, when in fact you cannot burn fat without glucose.
Another function of glucose is to enable us to store water within our cells, the combined fluid and muscle loss can be quite drastic on the scales, but in reality, you end up with a higher percentage of body fat even though you weigh less. You are lighter, but flabbier. When glucose levels drop too low you compensate by metabolizing your own muscle, or lean body mass (LBM). When you go back to ‘normal’ eating, you cannot physically burn as many calories as you did before because your LBM determines your metabolic rate – less LBM means a lower metabolic rate, so you not only regain any weight lost (usually as more fat), but gain extra fat as well.
The answer is not to have so much glucose that you don’t need to burn fat, but not too little that you need to cannibalize your muscle tissue to make up the deficit. It’s all about balance. A diet too high in protein and too low in carbs can also disrupt the body’s natural balance, including its pH levels, which can lead to osteoporosis, kidney damage, heart disease and many other serious health consequences. Protein is important, essential in fact, but in the right quantities.
With the right amount of glucose in your bloodstream, every time you move your muscles, you are burning some fat; you are also burning some fat at rest, and even at night and every time you exercise, the hormones and enzymes that release and burn fat become more efficient. The growth and repair of your muscle tissue – which occurs overnight during restful sleep – builds healthier, stronger muscles – increasing your lean body mass (LBM). This enables you to burn more fat every day, even when you are not exercising.
Getting the balance of nutrients right is what forms the basis of my colour-code system and you can be confident that all the calculations have been done for you. If you choose the right number of foods from the right colour groups, you will be nourishing your body, helping to balance your hormones, and enhancing your fat-burning capabilities.