In Fitness

I’m talking about losing fat instead of weight because that’s what you want to lose. I recommend not to look only at what the scale says and to pay much more attention to your body fat percentage. It’s not uncommon that when you start a training program your weight won’t go down or even go up because you’re gaining muscle while losing fat, so if you just look at your weight you’ll get frustrated when you’re making significant progress.


The mirror and measurements of certain parts of your body are better indicators of your progress. If you feel like you’re doing your best and yet the fat is still ‘stuck’ to your body, it’s almost certain that one of these things is happening to you:


1. You eat too many carbohydrates


Carbohydrates, especially refined carbohydrates, and flours generate the same effect as sugar: high glucose levels, increased insulin, and inhibition of fat-burning processes. Reduce bread (and anything containing flour), pasta, and other cereals from your diet, and you’ll see your fat-burning improve significantly.


Prioritize good carbohydrates, mainly vegetables, tubers, and some fruits.


2. You eat too many processed foods


Ignore the ‘healthy’ message labels you see on packaged products. If it comes in a nice package and has more than 4 ingredients it is probably not good for your health. If the manufacturer has to spend millions on advertising to convince you how healthy it is, it probably isn’t. Most of these products are based on refined carbohydrates and sugar, accompanied by flavors and other additives.


Eat ‘real’ food, which your grandparents would recognize, and forget about ‘new’ packaged products.


3. Drink lots of milk


If you’ve cut out the sugar and refined carbohydrates, and the fat still holds out, the problem may be too many dairy products in your diet. Milk, despite having a relatively low glycemic index, generates insulin peaks in the blood beyond what would be explained by the lactose (sugar) or carbohydrate it contains.


This effect is generated with both whole and skimmed milk, and the explanation seems to lie in certain enzymes in the milk that enhance the insulin response. If you think about the evolutionary sense of milk, especially cow’s milk, this is none other than making an animal grow (from 25Kg to 250kg approximately in the case of a cow) in a few months, so it seems logical that it has components that raise insulin to ensure that the energy (fat) that your body accumulates is maximized. Also, considering that milk is a relatively recent addition to the human diet, there are many people who, despite not showing visible symptoms, have problems processing it, which generates inflammation in the body and a greater tendency to gain weight.


4. You eat too much sugar


Watch the sugar you consume, in drinks/soda, in sweets, in your coffee/tea… Refined sugar is one of the most harmful (and addictive) nutritional ‘inventions’ for our body.


5. You don’t sleep much


If you sleep less than 7 hours a day, it will be difficult to lose fat. The body needs rest to recover. Also, there are many studies that associate lack of sleep with low levels of leptin, which sends messages of satiety to your brain. If you don’t get enough sleep, it will take longer to feel full and you will eat more. This is just one example; sleeping poorly impacts multiple hormones and therefore your ability to maintain good health.


6. You are stressed


Being under continuous stress generates high levels of cortisol in the blood, which translates into a greater tendency to accumulate fat and greater difficulty in gaining muscle. I recently talked about how stress is generated and how to mitigate it.


7. You do too much cardio (aerobic exercise)


Continuing with the previous point, many people think that the best way to lose fat is with long cardio workouts. Running for hours or watching movies on an elliptical trainer  Long cardio sessions can raise your cortisol levels and sabotage your efforts to lose fat, apart from doing little to build up your muscle (your fat-burning ally). As an example, 10 minutes of jumping rope is much more efficient in terms of fat burning than twice as long of jogging.

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