How to Re-Program Your Body to Burn Fat

The Need to Burn Fat

Most people at one time or another have seen themselves as overweight and so go on some type of calorie-restricted diet. Most of these same people will lose some weight initially and then within a certain time frame will regain the weight, and usually some extra.

The initial weight lost will almost always consist of muscle mass and water. Little or no fat will be lost. However, when normal eating is resumed, the weight gained back is usually all fat, which means your body is worse off than before the diet! Why does our body resist attempts to burn fat?

We have built in to our brain, in the region called the hypothalamus, a fat control center which regulates the amount of body fat we have. There is a master hormone called leptin which directs the activities of this fat control center. This fat regulating mechanism functions much like a thermostat. It has a set point which is analogous to a thermostat's temperature setting. If a person restricts their calories, the fat thermostat will do what is necessary to maintain the set point. There are several ways it will maintain the fat setting such as slowing down the basal metabolism, making the person tired or lethargic so as not to burn fat, and to increase appetite to regain the lost fat. In the same way, if overeating occurs and excess calories are consumed, the fat regulator increases the metabolism to waste the excess calories and reduce the appetite to discourage the consumption of more calories.

Thus, over the short term, if you restrict calories or if you overeat, your body will maintain a fairly constant weight. This is your body's preservation system in action. Large weight fluctuations are undesirable. Your body is programmed to strive to maintain a stable weight and a certain amount of fat. So an individual will typically eat just enough to maintain their fat stores and their metabolic rate will be adjusted automatically to compensate for any caloric variations. So you see, if you want to burn fat permanently, your body will resist your efforts because it senses a threat to its emergency fat stores.

What can be done to overcome this fat set point, so that a person can permanently burn fat and maintain it at a healthy level?

First, increased physical activity will help naturally reduce the fat set point so that the body will adjust down its fat stores to operate more efficiently. How much and what kind of activity? The best fat burning exercises are a combination of low intensity aerobic (with oxygen) and high intensity, short burst anaerobic (without oxygen) exercises.

Low intensity exercises are activities such as walking, easy biking, swimming, and so on - any similar exercise which requires no more than ten breaths per minute. These exercises oxygenate the blood, improve circulation, and tone muscle.

High intensity, short burst, anaerobic exercise examples include interval resistance training and interval sprinting which increases muscle mass, strengthens the heart, increases lung capacity and burns fat. This type of exercise actually increases your metabolism for up to 24 hours afterward which means you burn fat even while resting. These two forms of exercise are combined in Dr. Sears' revolutionary PACE Program. By using the progressively accelerating cardiopulmonary exertion training method, you can effectively turn on your fat burning switch with only about ten minutes per day of exercise.

Secondly, what you eat is also important. Stick with a staple diet of simple foods - wholesome and unprocessed. Most people eat too much sugar and estrogenic foods (flax, soy, dark beans, sesame seeds, etc.) and too little protein foods with their natural fat (eggs, meat, milk, cheese, nuts, etc.). This not only causes an excess release of insulin (and a host of resulting illnesses such as obesity and coronary disease), but also estrogenic effects which causes inflamation, fibrosis and all the 'itis' and 'osis' diseases associated with them. Eating sufficient protein and fat will stabilize your blood sugar levels and prevent excess insulin release which can eventually lead to insulin resistance and type II diabetes. Low fat diets will surely cause hormonal deficiencies because cholesterol is vital for your body to produce hormones. For additional information see our guidelines for eating in The Diet Protocol

Thirdly, proper supplementation is essential for your body to be able to burn fat efficiently. We recommend taking the daily dose of Total Balance and Omega 3 Fish Oil as a good basic regimen to supply your body with a constant supply of necessary nutrients.

Remember, you must commit to these changes in lifestyle for the long term. Once your fat thermostat dial is turned down and you shed the excess pounds, you need to continue in order to maintain your ideal body weight. If you discontinue these healthy changes in activity and diet, your fat thermostat could rise again and with it, the unhealthy weight. So enjoy and embrace your new lifestyle and reap the benefits!

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