The body contains hormones that burn fat but also hormones that store fat, this can make losing weight far more complicated than simply eating less calories or exercising. The first few months of losing weight is considered the “easy phase”, but there will come a time when you hit a plateau, a point where no matter what you do, your body just doesn’t want to shed any more weight.
Before hitting that plateau, everything seems so easy. You can cut back a little bit, exercise moderately, and the weight seems to quickly melt off. But after the plateau, people sometimes try some drastic measures to keep the weight-loss going, like calorie-fasting.
When you dramatically cut down on calories, your body’s fat burning engine purposely slows down and prevents you from losing weight – starvation mode. This is where the “calories in” vs. “calories out” technique unequivocally fails and the hormone environment needs to be appropriated in order to achieve further fat loss.
Stubborn fat in problem areas is part of a hormonal battle that you can only win by changing your hormone functionality.
In the hormone battle you have three enemies:
- Estrogen – the female sex hormone chiefly responsible for the lower body fat storage pattern.
- Insulin (Insulin resistance) – responsible for love handles and lower back fat.
- Cortisol – A hormone linked to stress and promoter of body.
Creating More Testosterone
To fight estrogen you need testosterone, the male sex hormone. This might sound strange but this also applies to women. We aren’t talking about taking testosterone supplements or steroids, but promoting the production of testosterone naturally in the body.
This can be achieved by increasing endurance exercise. That means increasing the intensity of your training session by doing more exercise within the same timeframe, or, increasing intensity over a shorter period of time.
For example, extra weight reps, short sprints rather than a slow jog, an hour of aerobics rather than a long walk and dance-fit instead of yoga will all help increase testosterone production. Burning stubborn fat simply won’t happen at low level exercise because testosterone is not being produced. Increasing your training density will help lower estrogen and target fat in stubborn areas such as the abdomen and hip area.
Preventing Insulin Resistance and Cutting Back on Sugar
Insulin resistance is common in those who eat too much sugar and can lead to diabetes. It goes without saying that eating a high volume sugar diet will make those last few pounds harder to lose..
Preventing the Production of Cortisol
When the body is stressed cortisol is released through the adrenal glands. Cortisol has the ability to increase blood glucose levels and is released in response to stress: physical, mental and emotional. Cortisol can be released as a result of low calorie diets which contrary to popular belief put excess strain on the body.
It is far better to eat a balanced diet and regularly exercise than starve the body over a long period of time. Intense training can also promote the production of cortisol, it is therefore important that the body is given ample time to recover after exercise. Lack of quality sleep and trauma are other contributors to cortisol production.
In essence, the real “fight” here is to balance your hormones. With the right balance in your body, you can increase your ability to burn food as fuel instead of storing it as fat in a healthy and active lifestyle.