One of the main reasons those in the medical and scientific field seem to be in relatively better shape than the rest of the world is that these individuals know how the human body works. They know how food—calories—acts as an energy source, and that the body runs off of the fuel it needs and stores the rest as fat.
In short, knowledge is power when it comes to dieting. Getting in great shape starts with a little crash course on how your body stores and uses energy.
The Gist of Energy in the Body
Pick a food, any food. Eat it. Now, your body is going to break this food down using powerful enzymes, and the nutrients from this source will either be stored in your body as energy, or used in another fashion. For the energy itself, it is stored in the human body in three ways: as protein (think of your muscles), as sugar (in the blood and muscles) and as fat (yeah, no explanation needed here).
The body stores energy immediately after you ingest calories and the first place this energy is found is in your blood. Secondly, it is located in the muscles as glycogen. And thirdly, it is being stored as fat.
For dieting purposes, you obviously want to burn the fat. But there are two big obstacles in your way: the energy in your blood and the energy in your muscles. Your body is going to burn those two energy sources before it decides to dip into its fat reserves.
Making Your Body Burn Stored Energy
Burning fat is the goal for every dieter out there, but simply giving up the foods you love isn’t enough. Now that you know how calories transform into the fuel your body needs, you can begin to understand how to make your body break down fat as a fuel source.
Unfortunately for overweight individuals, evolution has caused the body to become stubborn with its fat stores. The first place the body wants to burn energy from is your blood. This is where limiting your sugar comes in handy, but it still isn’t enough to prompt the burning of fat stores.
The second place your body looks for its energy is in the muscles, via protein. If you are not eating sufficient protein and your body cannot find enough energy to burn from the blood, it is going to begin eating old muscle instead of burning fat. Scary!
To case your body to burn the stored fat, you need to create the perfect atmosphere, and we can do that in five quick steps.
5 Steps to Burning Fat as Energy
Step 1: Cut out those sugars and bad carbohydrates: soda, candy, junk food, and anything that’s refined or processed. Go with whole grains, unprocessed wheat, and other complex carbs that will help regulate even energy distribution.
Step 2: Make sure you’re receiving ample protein. You do not have to go the bodybuilding route, but you do need enough protein to be metabolized by the muscles (making your body more inclined to burn fat for energy while using protein to build muscle).
Step 3: Eat on a diet in order to burn fat. Never starve yourself by drastically limiting calories. If you eat the right foods, your body will burn fat far more efficiently than if you do not eat at all.
Step 4: Exercises regularly in order to give your body plenty of oxygen. Oxygen intake literally causes fat to burn, and a steady low-impact workout will help melt fat away in conjunction with the other steps.
Step 5: Get your rest in order to allow your body to recovery. Introducing a new balance to your body requires patience, and you cannot interrupt this balance sporadically and expect prolonged results.
The most important factor in urging your body to burn fat is not giving it any more fat to store. You need to reverse this trend of storing fat and convince your body that you need the fat stores now instead of somewhere down the road.
If you stick with it, you can begin to use your body’s energy mechanisms as they were intended.