Sunday 25 September 2016

Struggling to lose weight? Why calorie counting alone will not work.

Hi All

As a fitness professional I'm always getting asked what's the best way to lose weight, or how do I get rid of fat, and over the years I've done quite a bit of research and qualifications on the subject. 

There is an ongoing debate between experts as to whether calories are the reason we store fat or if hormones are the reason.  The truth is both matter when it comes to trying to lose weight that it's a bit of both - you must have a calorie deficit (that's just pure physics - the first law of thermodynamics and energy balance); and you must also have your hormones in balance - otherwise you will always be fighting a loosing battle (something that the likes of big weight loss companies count on, as they are setting you up to fail, in my opinion).


Just like a doughnut and a chicken breast may have the same amount of calories in them - each of those will send different signals to the brain; the chicken will send signals that give you a better sense of well being and will enable your body to function better physiologically.  The doughnut will send a signal to your body that it is not getting any nutritional value and will activate hormones that send further signals that you need to continue to eat.  

See where the difference lies, not all calories are the same and it's because they make your body react in different ways. Hormones are chemicals (we're doing chemistry now!), if you can balance your hormones you will eat less without being consciously aware of it, and the calories will take care of themselves (I hate calorie counting!) - this is the key difference between fat loss and weight loss.

Not all calories are the same! Calorie counting will not work alone,

What are hormones?
The word 'Hormone' come from the Greek 'horman', which means to arouse or excite.  Your hormones play a critical role in many of the bodily processes that keep you alive and healthy, such as building new muscle and bone, digesting food, and maintaining hydration and blood sugar levels.  

Here are some of the key hormones that you need to thinking about when it comes to losing weight;

Insulin - this is the storing and locking hormone, high insulin levels will assure that any excess calories will be stored as fat, whilst inhibiting the body's ability to release fat.

Ghrelin - This is the hormone that makes your stomach rumble.  It affects your body hour by hour, as ghrelin rises hunger signals are sent to the brain, the levels fall immediately after a meal.  It's cyclic during the day, so it's what makes you want to eat at regular times.

Leptin - This is the hormone that controls your hunger on a day-to-day basis.  Some people become leptin resistant - they will eat and eat as if they are starving, this is why some people become morbidly obese; their bodies never receive the message to stop eating and start burning.  

Testoerone & HGH (Human Growth Hormone) - these are hormones that send signals to the brain to be lean and muscular - we all want a bit of these ones!!  

There are a lot more hormones that influence appetite, saiety and fat storage or fat burning.  

Finding out how to stimulate the hormones that you want to work is key to getting the body  to burn fat - remember to want to burn FAT from the body, not take energy from muscle.  When you go on a low-calorie diet your body will take the sugar out of the muscles, and your hormone balance will be all wrong, this is why almost everyone who does a low-calorie diet regains their weight once it is lost within 6 months - 1 year; 66% gain even more fat than they had to begin with. 

So, if you are struggling to lose fat and feel that you are in a constant battle with your weight, then your hormones are probably the key that you're not considering. 

It's all about balance! :)

Jill x

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