How do you actually lose weight?
In this world, nothing can be said to be certain except for death and taxes.
When it comes to weight loss, there are universal truths that will always stay true no matter.
Having said that, there’s no one size fits all approach when it comes to losing weight. Bio individuality plays a huge factor when it comes to your results.
However, from working with thousands of people over the years, there are 4 universal truths that tend to move the needle of losing unwanted body fat for most people.
You actually have a built in fat burning mechanism in your body that we developed through 2.5 million years of evolution.
How do you actually lose weight? You just need to tap into it.
The problem is, a lot of what’s considered conventional wisdom that still gets repeated by your trainer, nutritionist, dietician and so called “experts”, blocks you from accessing this built in mechanism.
That’s why the fitness industry is an absolute shit show. But don’t worry, you’re in the right place.
So, how do you actually lose weight? Today, I’m gonna be sharing the 4 universal truths about weight loss. So you can tap into your fat burning mechanisms and finally get rid of all your unwanted body fat that’s been living rent free in your body all this time.
How Do You Actually Lose Weight?
If you ask the average person how to lose weight, they will tell you without a doubt that’s it’s all about the calories.
Just eat less, and move more.
Yes, that’s kind of the foundation of fat loss. But only if you do it properly. Only if you optimize your hormones. Because that is how you tap into your fat burning mechanism.
What you can’t do is to literally just eat less. By just cutting calories and eating highly processed “frankenfoods” because it’s low in calories, and just move more.
For example, setting the treadmill to the highest speed and holding on for deal life.
If that’s been your method of weight loss all this time and you’re not losing weight, well, I’m about to blow your mind here.
So let’s actually approach how to do ‘eat less and move more’ properly.
First up, let’s talk about the ‘move more’ part. Because a lot of people actually start with this when they’re just starting out their weight loss journey.
There’s only one problem. They have the right intention, but the wrong execution.
How Do You Actually Lose Weight? 4 Universal Truths
1. Do the right kind of workouts
Exercise is a type of stress in your body.
That’s not necessarily a bad thing. Every time you workout, cortisol gets released.
That’s your stress hormone. It’s more commonly known as your ‘fight or flight’ hormone along with a few counter regulatory hormones. But cortisol is the big player here.
Why? Because higher levels of cortisol also results in higher levels of insulin, which is your storing hormone.
Insulin is the master hormone. It’s the hormone that controls your body weight.
All you need to know is that if you have chronically high cortisol levels, you also have chronically high insulin levels. Cool?
The reason why this happens is one of cortisol’s main jobs is to flood your body with glucose. So you have some instant energy to get out of stressful and scary situations fast.
Why? Because glucose is like a quick hit of fuel. Again, this is that fight or flight response. Your body gives you the energy to fight a bear or flight.
But here’s the interesting thing. Your body perceives all stress the same way. So whether you need to outrun a bear, which you can’t by the way so you’re in big trouble if that’s your strategy.
Or let’s say you’re stressed out of your mind at work, you’re in a stressful relationship, or your workouts are a near death experience every time.
Your body is gonna see it the same way. It’s gonna release cortisol and raise your blood glucose levels. That’s a very important concept that you need to understand.
Now, if you are in a stressful situation like running for your life. Then you’re gonna use up all that extra blood glucose and it’ll automatically dip back down normal levels.
BUT, if you’re constantly stressed where you’re not using all that extra glucose circulating in your body. Like if you’re in a tight deadline at work all the time, for weeks and months on end. Or you’re just constantly stressed.
Let’s say financially or you’re in a crappy relationship. Or if you constantly get poor sleep, then your blood glucose levels will always stay high.
And it’s those high blood glucose levels that causes your body to release the storing hormone insulin which is a very important hormone I mentioned earlier.
Here’s the crazy part. Insulin will put all that extra blood glucose and store it specifically around your belly.
It’s actually a survival mechanism because your body is trying to protect your precious organs with some fat because it constantly thinks you’re about to fight a bear.
Now, stress is just a part of life. There are many different ways and techniques to decrease stress in your life. One of them is actually the compounding effect that our workouts have on our stress levels.
The types and quality of your workouts will vary greatly. There are many factors to consider here, like if you’re getting proper sleep. If you’re training for something specifically. Or, if you’re getting proper fuel.
But one big mistake I see when people are trying to lose weight is they go too hard too fast right away. And that can actually actively work against losing weight.
For example, i’ll see a lot of people start going for a run every day. Sometimes, twice a day. Without addressing the other stressors in their life. And now they’ve just added a new type of stress in their life.
If you have a high stress job, you’re not getting good sleep, you’re constantly surrounded by people who stress you out, if your meals aren’t conducive to reducing cortisol levels, which we’ll get into in a bit.
Then you need to make sure that your workouts aren’t adding to that cortisol load. Listen, exercise is all about movement and building lean muscle mass. Not about counting calories burned.
It’s also been proven that calories burned during exercise does not translate to fat burned in your body.
Again, this is why you see so many people on the cardio machines. They have the difficulty set to 10. They’re on that machine every day. It might as well have their names on it.
But they’re not losing weight. Then they ask, how do actually lose weight? Sound familiar?
A good rule of thumb is to include as much relaxing and leisurely cardio routine as much as you possibly can.
Preferably outdoors. And try to expose as much skin as you can if you live somewhere warm. So you can kill two birds with one stone and also get some vitamin D from the sun exposure. And no, it does not cause skin cancer.
The best way to do this is to just go for a walk.
You can also go for a bike ride. Don’t go tour de France style where you’re biking through mountains unless you’re actually training for it. You can also go for a swim.
Now, once you get in those things daily then you can start adding resistance training at least a couple of times per week.
Again, this is where you build lean muscle mass. Why? Because one of the best things you can do to your body is to be as physically strong as humanly possible.
Having a lot of lean muscle mass is also a strong indicator of health and lifespan.
Think about elderly people here. But I want you to specifically think about the ones that still exercise even when they’re old.
My all time favourite example of this is Mark Sisson. He’s my favourite fitness author. He’s 66 years old. I know people half his age that would kill for his body.
Then a couple of times a week, introduce HIIT training. Or high intensity interval training.
Again, you can kill two birds with one stone with this and combine your HIIT and your strength training. If you’re new, or you don’t have access to a gym, just use your own bodyweight as resistance.
You can get really fit and build a lot of lean muscle mass just using your own bodyweight. Think about gymnasts. They look pretty good, right?
What I don’t recommend doing is just doing what’s called chronic cardio workouts. Where you’re doing workouts that are a little bit too hard, a little bit too frequently, with insufficient rest.
What’s worse about doing chronic cardio workouts is it also induces sugar cravings which is caused by that cortisol and insulin interaction that I just mentioned.
Again, I just want to circle back to your good old over simplistic ‘calories in vs calories out’ weight loss model.
If you increase your calories out by doing chronic cardio workouts, it also increases a compensatory increase in your appetite.
So as you burn more calories, you also eat more calories. And again, we don’t really crave the good stuff. We crave carbs and sugar. Which leads me to universal truth #2
2. Replace processed carbs or added sugar with either protein or fat
Bacon and eggs instead of toast and breakfast cereal. Nuts and cheese instead of granola bars or protein bars. Hard boiled egg instead of your protein shake.
This is a big one. And this is kind of a two fold strategy. Another trigger for cortisol production is low blood sugar. Remember, one of cortisol’s main jobs is to give you instant energy and it accomplishes that by flooding your body with glucose.
So when we flip that script and your body notices that you have low blood glucose levels, it thinks that you’re about to go into a state of hypoglycaemia.
It’s gonna up regulate your production of cortisol in order to bring your blood glucose levels back up. So when blood sugar levels drop, cortisol increases. That’s why it’s called a counter regulatory hormone.
And again, losing weight is all about optimizing your hormones. You want to keep your cortisol and insulin levels moderated. So addressing and balancing your blood glucose levels is really important to making sure that those two key hormones are also balanced.
The problem is processed carbs and added sugar throws a wrench in that equation. We did not evolve to eat that stuff. And when you ingest it, it throws your body in a bit of a roller coaster ride.
Because out of all three macronutrients carbs, especially refined carbs and sugar spike the hormone insulin the most. Protein also triggers insulin but it also activates your satiety hormones so you’re kinda protected there.
While fat stimulates insulin the least. Fat also activates your satiety hormones. Another key thing when it comes to weight loss.
All you need to know is that if your insulin levels are high, you are in fat storage mode.
So you’ve got that big spike in blood glucose levels from eating processed carbs and sugar. That big spike triggers your body to release insulin. The bigger the spike, the more insulin gets produced which will then cause a subsequent crash.
Basically, an overcompensation effect to bring those levels back down to baseline fast.
So not only are you in fat storage mode, but it can also cause your body to decrease blood glucose levels down below baseline which then triggers cortisol to be secreted in order to bring it back up.
So you’ve got this massive roller coaster ride where you’ve got that high insulin response which puts your body in fat storage mode. And also a high cortisol response in order to bring your blood glucose back up from your sugar crash.
This is why you alway feel like crashing mid morning after a high carb and high sugary breakfast like toast, instant oatmeal, breakfast cereal, and orange juice.
If that’s your typical breakfast, then breakfast is the most important meal of the day for you to skip.
This is why eating a diet that moderates your insulin levels is key when it comes to figuring out how do you actually lose weight. Going back to eat less and move more, you can’t just eat less.
It’s about eating less, like way less of the bad stuff like processed carbs and sugar, and replacing it with more fats and protein.
Eat more bacon, eggs, and avocado. Less Doritos, pop tarts, and bread. Eat more vegetables, eat less pasta.
All those replacements are great for balancing your blood glucose levels and keeping cortisol and insulin moderated. This is how you activate your fat burning mechanism.
3. Get better sleep
Sleep is when all the good stuff happens in the human body.
It’s when the body recovers and repairs itself aka build muscle It’s when most of your growth hormone is released which some consider the real fountain of youth.
There’s a reason why we evolved to sleep for a third of our lives.
If we don’t get enough sleep. Specifically, If we don’t get that quality deep sleep. That’s when things start to go sideways, real fast.
Your body will start to freak out. Your body started to get stressed. And what happens when your body gets stressed? It releases cortisol. And I’ve literally spent most of this post talking about cortisol.
Here’s where it gets bad. When sleep deprivation becomes chronic, then you also have chronically high cortisol levels. Chronically high cortisol levels leads to chronically high insulin levels.
Both of those things leads to chronic inflammation which is the root cause of all types of disease including diabetes, obesity, cancer, arthritis, auto immune and cardiovascular disease, and everything in between.
There are studies that shows where even a few days of poor quality sleep can cause someone to have pre diabetic symptoms. Crazy, right?
Here’s where it comes full circle. The more stress your body is under, the more repair, aka sleep, you’ll need.
Think of your body like a cellphone. If you’re at 90%, let’s say you got one night of bad sleep, then it won’t take long to get back to 100%.
But if you keep using it though and not charging it properly, then it’s gonna take longer to get back up to 100%. If you let it go all the way down to zero, and let the battery die. Then that’s when you get sick. Your body shuts down.
Now, I’m not big on supplements but if you’re desperate because you just can’t get good sleep. Consider taking something like magnesium bisglycinate.
Not just any kind of magnesium, I want you to specifically look for magnesium bisglycinate because it has the highest absorption rate.
Magnesium is just something that we don’t get enough of in our diets and it has tons of benefits in the human body.
When you workout for example, it helps decrease muscle cramps, and it helps to naturally produce melatonin which is your sleep hormone.
Again, you don’t need it. Ideally, you want to create a setting where sleep comes natural, but magnesium bisglycinate helps.
Universal truth #4. I put this last specifically for a reason because with great power comes great responsibility.
I only want you to do this once you’ve done the first 3 steps. This is the last step when it comes to activating your fat burning mechanism.
4. Incorporate intermittent fasting
When it comes to specifically targeting unwanted body fat and burning it for energy, intermittent fasting’s efficacy is unparalleled.
I always get asked, “Carlo what’s the best exercise to lose fat fat, back fat, arm fat, thigh fat, etc?”
The best exercise is to lose all your unwanted body fat is to stop eating.
I want you to think of it as taking a break from eating. Because it’s not about eating less, but less frequently.
I recently made a video about what I eat in a day so make sure you check that out. But I eat all my calories in one sitting. I eat one meal a day.
Because you can bet that just eating all your calories in one meal is gonna have a net positive physiological effect in your body. For example, optimizing and moderating your hormones like cortisol and insulin.
But again, with great power comes great responsibility.
This is why intermittent fasting comes last because fasting is also a type of stress. That’s why I don’t want you to start with this unless you’ve done the first three. Until you’re metabolically flexible.
If you don’t do that, then that’s when you see people not see the results they’re looking for. This is where you hear people say they get headaches, they get hangry, etc.
Their bodies are literally freaking out. They’re literally going through carb withdrawals and with that comes the dreaded cortisol response. And we are back to square one.
There are levels to this. At the end of the day, achieving a successful weight loss transformation comes down to optimizing your hormones and activating your fat burning mechanism.
How do you actually lose weight? Follow the 4 universal truths about fat loss and you’re gonna be well on your way to doing that.
As always, if this was helpful, share it with a friend who could benefit from it as well!
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