One of the hottest battles is waged between the ideas that 1- fatness is caused by eating too much and 2-fatness is caused by chemical issues within the body. The first will say that fat people simply lack the will-power to exercise and eat right while the latter will say that fat-people are mere victims of their metabolism.
Because many are familiar with the calories in vs. calories out concept, I’ll write about hormonal weight loss and summarize my stance at the end. When you exercise, you expect to lose weight. The equation seems simple until you realize that exercise doesn’t make you lose weight.
Thats right, i said it. Exercise doesn’t make you lose weight.
Exercise simply forces your body to increase or decrease the production or use of hormones, proteins and enzymes. These chemicals, once increased or active, cause a chain of reactions that make your body use (burn) fat tissue, sugar or muscle for fuel and repair. If calories can be equated to bricks, another way to understand this may be to say; regardless of the quantity of bricks, you will never shape the house you want without appropriately placed cement. This chemical process is the cement of your body.
Lifestyle and nutrition choices create and shape the cement that makes your body work. For example, magnesium and chromium play big roles in the body’s ability to burn up the sugar you eat…make sense? It makes sense to the supplement industry. These two minerals, along with caffeine, are found in almost all “fat-burning” weight-loss supplements and drinks and companies are making a fortune off of simple science. Fish oil, in the right amounts, increases Peroxisome proliferator-activated receptors (PPARs) to help use stored fat and absorb sugar. Getting appropriate amounts of sleep will help lower fat-storing stress hormone and boost the function of immunoglobulins in the blood to boost your immune system. Strength training boosts growth hormone, sex hormone and IGF-1 which increases fat and sugar use and builds muscle..the list goes on and on…
All of these examples further my statement…exercise, on its own, does not make you lose fat or gain muscle.
If you think I’m crazy for saying hormones are largely responsible for fat gain or loss, consider people you know who take anti-depressants, steroids, long-term antibiotics or insulin. Most of these people will begin to gain copious amounts of body fat, despite burning calories and eating very little. Now you can tell them why.
The takeaway: Chemical processes in the body which are stimulated by exercise, nutrition and lifestyle are responsible for body composition, NOT exercise. Some of the above tips may help with fitness.
On the other hand, hormone regulation is not the only answer. We can’t simply gorge ourselves on good food. Understand that eating causes a temporary boost in endorphins (feel-good chemicals) which is why many eat when they are bored or sad. Gorging yourself on chicken, fish, nuts, etc. etc, will make you gain weight.
My personal experienceI gain body fat really quickly. Though I maintain a body fat of 6- 11%, I can give none of the credit to an overachieving metabolism. Before I believed in anything other than calories in vs. calories out, I would have to eat a diet of beans, spinach, a couple triscuits and a protein shake a day. So I would consume roughly 1000 to 1200 calories a day and then work out 12 hours a week to stay that low. That activity didn’t include walking to college classes and playing volleyball/basketball 3-4 hours a day. Since adjusting my lifestyle, I consume 2000 to 2500 calories of meat, veggies, full-fat foods and work out about 4 to 5 hours a week. The difference is astounding and I feel fully satisfied. I try to reserve my “cheat days” to one day a week but I fail often with a few select friends!
My point is this: since changing my eating to revolve around hormonal balance, not just the calories in vs calories out, My cravings are fewer and my body fat stays lower. It’s so much easier…maybe this could be your answer, too.
The takeaway: Aligning your lifestyle will help you feel more satisfied and allow you to choose your food rather than fighting it because your body is starving on a chemical level.