Now that I’ve caught your attention, with this title, let’s be honest. You probably felt like you’ve tried everything out there, and nothing seems to work anymore, or worse still, watch your best friend lean up twice as fast, putting in just half the efforts you have.
With the multitude of diets, gadgets and information out there, how do we choose what’s the best method for us? But before we rush to find that magic solution, shouldn’t we stop to ask ourselves, “what first determines the outcome?” Here’s where you should start: LOOK INWARDS.
This does not mean simply putting the blame on your “bad genes” or “underactive thyroid”, but recognizing that it’s often your lifestyle choices over time, that has impacted the state of your current physiology, thus influencing your ability (or inability) to lose fat effectively.
For those of you that have yet to do the ASP FAT LOSS SPECILIZATION course, we spend days delving into overlooked factors that play a significant role in the fat loss equation, and introduce individualized solutions to tackle that.
To give you a better insight, here are 3 factors that are discussed:
It is commonly understood that you are what you eat. Naturally, after grasping this concept, you go on a quest to source and consume the best produce. Yet, do you actually know if you are effectively digesting the foods you swallow? Or once the food is digested, whether your intestines work to absorb the incoming nutrition?
What we assume to be functioning 100% is often compromised, and that is where the calorie equation fails because what goes IS NOT necessarily taken in nor used by the body. Rather than “you are what you eat”, realise that in fact, you are what you can digest, absorb, assimilate (how your cells utilize the nutrients taken in), and poo! Each step of your digestive process needs to be considered, and this is where we all differ.
The number of gut related ailments such as acid refluxes, GERD, intolerances, leaky gut, IBS, Dysbiosis, SIBO etc., has increased steeply over the last 20 years, affecting all ages of the population, even infants. What is now considered as “normal”, is in fact very common but ABNORMAL for proper physiological function. This is largely due to the effect of the choice of foods we consume and the consequent impact that has on the gut, digestive process and gene alteration (including cancer).
Where food is concerned, our ideology of what’s acceptable, is a calorie rich, nutrient poor diet – one that is a major contributing factor illness and the worldwide obesity crisis.
Do you wake several times at night to go to the toilet? Do you find it difficult to fall asleep or have vivid dreams that cause you to toss all night in bed?
Sleep is the time our body maximizes psychogenic and physical repair. An uninterrupted deep sleep means your growth hormone (GH) output is optimal, putting the body in a highly anabolic state to start the day. It also means you wake up refreshed, energetic, can think clearly, and support a healthy libido.
Recent research has likened the insulin health of someone who’s had a bad night of sleep to that of a diabetic. Simply speaking, if you had a bad night’s sleep, and decide to consume some carbohydrates the day after (which you most likely will, because of the intense crave sugars associated with poor sleep), your body will be significantly more ineffective in processing and storing the sugars, resulting in increased fat gain.
We thus need to look at ways to create better sleep patterns from a physiological as well as from a physical perspective. Some questions you can consider are:
• What are my habits before I go to bed?
• When was the last stimulant, e.g, coffee or pre-workout I took in the day?
• What were the contents of the last meal I ate before sleeping?
• What’s my sleeping environment like
• Some females can relate to this – does interrupted sleep happen only around the period?
• Have I been on a low -carb diet for an extended periods of time?
The liver is another overlooked and rarely considered factor. With all the toxins (petrochemicals, xenoestrogens and neurotoxins) we unconsciously dump into our body on a daily basis, how can we not expect our liver to get stressed?
Overloading the liver will most definitely hamper the efficiency of detoxification, inevitably leading to an increased accumulation of toxins.
A large percentage of these toxins are fat-soluble and incorporate themselves into fatty parts of the body where they may stay for years, if not for a lifetime. For example, the brain and the endocrine (hormonal) glands are fatty organs, and common sites for these toxins to accumulate. Over time, this may result in symptoms of brain dysfunction and hormonal imbalances, such as infertility, menstrual irregularities, estrogen-related breast cancers, adrenal fatigue and early menopause. Many of these chemicals (eg. pesticides, petrochemicals) are carcinogenic and have been implicated in the rising incidence of many cancers.
From a body composition standpoint, the more toxins a person stores, the more fat their body accumulates. This is why typically in shows like the “Biggest Loser”, medics are situated on site in the event of toxic shock – when fat loss occurs too rapidly over a short time, and releases a toxic load that’s excessive for the liver to process, resulting in liver as well as subsequent organ failure.
In order to lose fat effectively, we need to take the perspective of 1) what we can do to minimize toxic intake, and 2) how can we effectively support Phase 1 and Phase 2 of liver function so it can optimally perform it’s function of detoxification.
By now, you’ll probably get my drift about looking inwards. Let me conclude by pointing out another important factor – the state of your hormones.
The more stressed you are, the more fat you tend to accumulate around the lower belly region. Perhaps it may not seem like you’re stressed, living the high life with a great job, no relationship stress and enjoying your weekly brunch.
However, high cortisol (a catabolic hormone) levels can be affected also by food stressors. What we eat, enjoy and often believe is good for us can actually be the main thing that is stressing our gut out. Whey protein shakes for example, are a primary post-workout fuel, and a great way of re-glycogenating the muscle. Yet, how many of us consider that we may actually have an intolerance to whey, a constituent of milk? Research estimates that up to 70% of the population do not have the right microbiome nor the enzymes to effectively digest milk proteins.
These intolerances are often masked and we may not experience any immediately repercussions. However, symptoms like acne on the back, phlegm or mucus build-up (especially in the morning), bloated-ness, bad-smelling stool, constipation and diarrhea, are all underlying signs of milk intolerances.
When cortisol secretion is increased and prolonged through the day, it starts to deplete sex hormones like testosterone in males and estrogen in females. This makes it harder to build muscle, compromises our immune health and can affect the menstrual cycle as well. Bottom line, it will be an uphill battle to lose fat unless ways are taken to decrease cortisol output.
So, if you’re looking to lose fat effectively, perhaps it’s time to take a step back and see the whole picture. Want to learn more about effective fat loss? Join Ben Siong as he delivers the course LIVE in Singapore from 31 March to 2 April. Sign up here.
The course is SkillsFuture credit eligible and UTAP approved too!