Posts Tagged ‘fat’

I’ve seen a bunch of articles popping up today citing a study from Birzeit University that suggests fizzy/sparkly/carbonated water can lead to fat gain…

The reasoning is that they feel it leads to a release in ghrelin – the hunger hormone.

Now there are a few details that I think are important to note here…

According to the information provided They tested both diet sodas and carbonated water on rats and found they ate more than the taking non-carbonated drinks.

What this information seems to leave out is the minor detail of artificial sweeteners… sucralose and aspertame do a lot of nasty business to your body and are obviously in abundance in the diet sodas, but how about the fizzy “water”? Just look on the labels at a grocery store and you’ll notice that the vast majority have some form of artificial sweeteners.

I know this is purely anecdotal, but when I drink a carbonated drink I don’t feel hungry but rather I feel full. I also tend to get sparkling water sweetened only from natural sources.

So from what I can tell – and I stand to be corrected – this study was greatly flawed from the outset. That being said I would certainly avoid artificial sweeteners and sugary sodas.


Last week I had to make a weigh-in within 48 hours and had to drop about 7 pounds… here’s how I did it:


If you’ve done a google search on “belly fat” or “abdominal fat”, you are probably experiencing a problem with it and more than likely you are coming across the same old suggestions which you’ve no doubt tried without success. If this sounds familiar to you… I have been in the same boat, and I had to do a lot of digging around to find some actual useful suggestions so hopefully this will help you too.

Aside from being unsightly, belly fat can be a precursor to type 2 diabetes which is a fairly frightening though in and of itself.

It is often said to be due to one of two things: insulin resistance or elevated cortisol.

So the natural solution is to lower your carbohydrates right? Well if you’re like me and have lowered them to near non-existence yet made¬†no progress you’ll know there is something missing here. A lot actually.

The first problem is with cortisol… cortisol is a stress hormone, meaning that it is present when it detects a “stress” – well guess what happens when you depleted of carbohydrates? Your body goes into a state of “stress”. In addition, the hormone Leptin tells your body to stop burning fat as does your thyroid.

New studies seem to confirm this, as they have shown that if people deplete carbohydrates too much and their body has to synthesize the energy they provide, the body will stop burning fat.

So clearly carb depletion is not the answer – yet we need to lower them to resolve the insulin problem…

The solution? Carb cycling.

This is not a new concept by any stretch of the imagination, but here’s a way I have found to implement it practically…

5 days of the week limiting carbohydrate intake to 1-2 meals after training. This will provide carbs when your body really needs them and help prevent cortisol getting out of hand. Then 2-non consecutive days have carbs with EVERY meal (excluding pre-workout if you choose).

But that is not the end of the story.

Something else might be at play here. We have been conditioned recently to believe that dietary fat is not a bad thing and assists with the absorption of vitamins as well as healthy hormonal functions. Unfortunately being lenient on fats might be part of the problem. Dietary fat – specifically saturated fat has been shown to cause insulin resistance (source).

I don’t know about you, but when I am on low carb days I tend to fill out my diet with fat-dense foods. But now we know that doing so might aggravate the issue.

Now I know that a lot of people out there are standing up for saturated fats these days, especially when it means jumping on the coconut oil bandwaggon – but speaking from personal experience, I will be making a conscious effort from this point on to avoid saturated fats.

There are so many things that can lead to frustrated and failed attempts and complicating that is that fact that everyone is so different, this list has helped me navigate through my own fat loss challenges and hopefully will for you as well.

As someone who tends to be over-analytical but everything possible and yet notoriously “scatter-brained” I first made this list out of frustration when my bodyfat, specifically belly fat was not coming off.

It’s broken into two phases, and there is definitely some cross-over, but this is written in the order I think best to address. There’s no sense trying to boost testosterone if you’re eating too much.

Beside each point is ideas to accomplish/overcome these.

Before listing the reasons, a good first step if you are in the boat of feeling frustrated over lack of results is to ensure you are measuring accurately. I’ve had it happen where my weight went up while fat percent went down so the scale itself can be misleading.


1. caloric deficit – on the simplest level there has to be a caloric deficit to burn fat. If it is too drastic you will also burn muscle, so it should be a moderate daily deficit. Log everything you eat. The typical human typically misjudges their food intake by about 1,000 kcal when guessing.

2. training intensity – resistance training builds muscle – aka your biggest fat burning mechanism. It positively affects anabolic hormones, provides energy and burns fat.

Bonus 1: In addition, if you’re not doing this already add in 2-3 sessions of HIIT cardio, and increase the intensity of any other cardio you do.

3. protein intake – there are several reasons why this macronutrients is important, so with your daily food tracking ensure you get 1g of protein per – this is probably higher than needed but it’s better to have a little too much than too little.

4. water – being terrible at getting enough water myself I’ve begun logging my water intake as well. Water helps several body functions. One study suggested that drinking cold water burns more calories, while I’m not sure if it’s been validated it seems to make sense.

5. fiber – I think this may be one of the least appreciated foods, but it becomes highly important as it helps with digestion, insulin resistance and makes you feel full.

6. Healthy fat intake – this is also something I log. The ideal amount of fat is around 20-30% of your daily caloric intake.

Bonus 2: Consider Food allergies and intolerances.

7. sleep – quality sleep is where we recover and where our fat burning hormones really come into full flight.

Phase 2:

8. growth hormone – this intriguing little hormone is extremely potent when it comes to burning fat and preserving lean tissue. Good sleep will help with this as will exercise. To get the most out of it try to prime it prior to exercise by steering clear of carbohydrates for three hours prior to working out. Melatonin before sleep may help as well.

9. adrenal fatigue – one very common problem when struggling to lose fat is that our adrenal glands become fatigued. This often happens due to the use of stimulants. If burning fat is truly important to you try cycling off ALL stimulants. No coffee, nothing. It sucks. I’ve done it. The first day or two are tough but following that (if this is the issue) fat starts pouring off like never before. If feels great in the long-term. You can also help adrenal health by increasing vitamin C and magnesium.

10. Leptin – I’ve got leptin pretty high on the hormone list because it has an effect on virtually all of the hormones below including the thyroid. Low leptin levels cause the body to hold onto fat and catabolize muscle. It also causes hunger. Solving this one is multi-faceted… The main way is by incorporating refeed days. But sleep deprivation and poor diet can also negatively affect leptin. What makes this tricky is that the leaner you get the lower leptin levels are making your refeed days all the more important as you progress.

11. cortisol – this guy, the “stress” hormone is a tricky but important one to consider. While it does have benefits to our survival (like all hormones) when out of control can keep us from burning fat. To help with this ensure good sleep, make training sessions shorter but more intense, increase magnesium and vitamin C, and perhaps consider an adaptogen (such as rhodiola rosea) post workout to restore levels.

12. insulin resistance – insulin is a powerful hormone that helps build muscle and also “builds” fat. The ideal scenario is to have high insulin level while your body is in muscle-building mode but more normalized levels the rest of the time. The best way to do this is to eliminate sugary food from your diet, but if you’ve gotten this far in the list you’ve probably done that already. I’ve tried using such insulin mimicking supplements as R-Ala, taurine, cinnamon and garcinia combogia alone and in combination and I’m not convinced that the effect was measurable. What I have found to be useful is increasing omega 3 oils (I always use the capsules, preferably krill), and I also found that pushing off my first meal of the day seemed to help.

13. estrogen – the female sex hormone is another one that is correlated with fat gain. This bugger can get you a number of ways, so if you suspect it is an issue here’s what I’d do– first of all duck the urge to by a fancy (expensive) supplement. If you want to supplement for this look at DIM and calcium d-glucorate. Eat broccoli every day. Switch to using natural soap and shampoo, organic foods, and don’t use plastic dishware as well to reduce environmental estrogens.

14. testosterone – this one is also fascinating because it ties in closely with cortisol and estrogen. To help support the mighty test you want to ensure your body as a whole is operating optimally, so you must eat well and could do with a good multivitamin. In addition, omega-3 and vitamin D3 support it (due to vit D being fat soluble I take them together). Also to help with test make your weight training sessions hard, intense but not too long.

15. thyroid – the thyroid is always the last one I look to because it seems that beyond what’s listed above there’s not a lot of practical solutions. It also tends to be ineffective on low carb diets making carb re-feed days all the more important on a diet. Another thing that may help is adding nuts as a snack once a day – Brazil nuts specifically may be beneficial here.

Bonus 3…

16. A Need! – the more reasons you have to lose weight the more successful you will beat what I previously called the Enemies of Fat Burning. Personally I’ve had to dig really deep to find meaningful reasons. This is done by asking nested “why”s; ask yourself “Why do I need to burn fat?” and when you have an answer again ask “why?”, continue as much as five times.

There you have it folks, hope you enjoyed!

The enemies of fat burning

Posted: December 18, 2015 in Fat Burning, fitness
Tags: , ,

Quick post today, just a couple things I find to be universal problems I have to overcome when getting lean

1. Impatience

Impatience is a dangerous mind set that seeks the quick and easy path, the “I want it al now, for nothing” philosophy. This leads to one of two things, either dangerous shortcuts (like drugs) or this…

2. Discouragement

When we don’t see instant results it is natural to become discouraged. To progress we must first be a way to overcome it.

Two ways to overcome these:

1. Adopt the attitude “I must” for everything important in your life.

Instead of saying you “should” or “want to” do something, when you program it into your mind as a “must” you are creating an attitude that will be effective and long-lasting.

2. Follow the model: create a plan, stick with the plan and adapt as needed.

This model requires spending enough time with a plan to measure it and then with that information you can tweak and hone it.

Fat vs Skinny controversy

Posted: September 20, 2015 in Fat Burning, fitness, fun
Tags: , ,

Most of you know this as a fitness blog so you might come into this article with a pre-conceived idea of where my feelings lie on this subject, but you might actually be surprised…

For some background, here is a link to a story about Nicole Arbour’s imfamous video called “Dear Fat People”.

The gyst of the article is that while she is correct in saying that people are usually fat due to improper diet or sedentary lifestyles, the video does absolutely nothing to inspire change, and worse still labels people due to one aspect of their physicality.

Obviously she’s come under a lot of heat, even by the not so enlightened women of “The View” (an appearance which certainly did Nicole herself no favours – making her seem stupid, naive, pretentious and generally poor at all aspects of comedy). Despite all the uproar, as someone who has gone through the rigors of strict dieting and training I understand that it is human nature to look at people who decide to play video games rather than work out as being “lazy”.

Unfortunately it is not quite that simple because there are psychological aspects to obesity as well, chief among them being low self-esteem and depression. These cause people to sink into a self-loathing “why bother” mentality and videos like Nicole’s only worsen such problems. 

While the women on The View seem to think that weight control is beyond people’s power or caused by outside sources, and not a health concern — the truth of the matter is that people will only ever make the long and difficult changes when they have the desire, the courage and the self-confidence required. Those are the things we should all be striving to share and encourage in others – not only with obese people, but with everyone in our lives who will listen.

(To their credit one of the View ladies made a great point which was that not being fat herself Nicole’s video comes across as being outright nasty, this is why I think formerly obese Ricky Gervais’ similar comments were deemed more acceptable – not because he’s a man as Nicole would have you believe)

Loving ones self sometimes comes at a cost. I have been called a narcissist but I’m okay with that because it means I take responsibility for everything in my life which means that when I’m ready to make change I have the ability.

So the moral of this post is mainly a call to not be so quick to judge, but try to be a little more understanding and supportive. Have a happy day everyone!

Konjac root — this little beauty is fairly new to me, but is pretty amazing. It is a supplement that is really inexpensive, really healthy and really helpful. 

It can help with lowering cholesterol, controlling insulin levels, gut/digestive health and also can help to reduce hunger when dieting.