Filed In: how to lose fat

How to Lose Fat: Insulin is Everything

Honestly, you don’t need to understand any concept greater in fat loss than the role insulin plays. Insulin is the boss.

(I apologize in advance to anyone in the scientific and medical field, because I will likely bastardize the entire concept of insulin and fat loss for the sake of brevity.) The topic deserves an entire book, to which I recommend to you, Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes. Gary Taubes happens to also be the Co-founder of the Nutrition Science Initiative, an organization very near and dear to my heart, and, if you would like to really nerd out on insulin and cholesterol I direct you to Dr. Peter Attia’s blog: The Eating Academy. (Who happens to be the other co-founder and President of NuSI).

 

Insulin + Fat Regulation + Chronic Disease

Okay let us dive right in. If you follow me on Instagram, or the blog, or on the Facebook, you know I live a low carb lifestyle. Because it WORKS for me and my BODY, in particular, it helps control insulin sensitivity in my body. Without which, I am a hot mess (think Rheumatoid Arthritis, PCOS, infertility…read my story here). While the science is by no means new, research on the relevance of insulin resistance and its role in regards to gaining fat tissue, chronic disease, obesity, diabetes and possibly even cancer has existed for quite sometime but has been forgotten about or ignored since the 1970s when saturated fat officially became the devil, the application in modern day is a bit like going rogue. (For this entire history lesson, please read Why We Get Fat).

It is my belief that when my body is less sensitive to insulin (ie does not process the effects of insulin efficiently), chronic disease and infertility creep into existence for ME. I believe this due to the way I gain weight, how my joints become achy with too much sugar, and how I literally could not get pregnant before I corrected this issue. Sure, this is a correlation and not necessarily causation, and it is purely anecdotal, but that does not mean it is incorrect. And for me, the proof is in the way I feel living a low carb lifestyle, versus showering in the carbs I crave so much.

women and carbs

 

High Carb Diet = Fat Gain

So I recently posted the above quote on Insta, and got into a small argument with someone. Ha. While I agree that the type of carbohydrate is important, I believe the amount is almost assuredly equal. I believe each individual person has to assess their response to carbohydrates and how much they can personally use for energy. Some individuals are likely very insulin sensitive (which is GOOD), particularly in their muscles, which allows them to eat more carbohydrates without gaining a pound. (Kate, I’m looking at you sister.) But the fact is, as your muscles become more insulin resistant, the more fat you will store, and quickly. Your body does not want glucose floating around the blood stream, so insulin will shove that shit wherever it can, and if the muscles won’t take it or it cannot be used for immediate energy, it’s going straight to your fat cells. Where it will remain until insulin levels DROP. If insulin levels remain high, your fat cells will remain full.

Maybe the above quote is loaded, but I do believe for the vast majority, carbs cause weight gain, obesity and even chronic disease because they are consumed excessively.

What is Insulin?

Insulin is a super important hormone that helps us absorb nutrients from our food. Whenever we eat carbs (and a little bit when we eat protein), the amount of sugar in our blood increases, and the pancreas releases insulin to help take the sugar out of the bloodstream and into our organs (mostly the liver and muscle cells) where it can be used for energy, and our fat cells if it cannot be used. (source)

My Nerdy Insulin + Energy Beliefs:

  • Calories do not matter as much as we think they do. What matters in calories is if you burn those calories for energy, or if you store them. AND why you store them is insulin’s decision.
  • Insulin is secreted in response to cleaning up the bloodstream after CARBS are ingested, but it also works simultaneously to both store and use fat and protein.
  • Carbohydrates effect insulin secretion, and thus the hormonal regulation of homeostasis. Your body almost always wants to stay in homeostasis, and insulin does what it can to keep it there.
  • Insulin is the hormone that regulates both the storage and the mobilization of fat, so if our system is creating an excessive environment of glucose (broken down from carbohydrates) and then insulin, we are likely to gain weight, and aggressively at that.
    • The presence of insulin inhibits lipolysis, the release of stored triglycerides (body fat). Without lipolysis actually releasing stored body fat, it’s rather difficult to, well, burn that body fat for energy.
  • Insulin is the PRIMARY regulator of fat storage
    • Weight gain + hunger are promoted by anything that works to store fat in tissue and inhibit its mobilization for energy. And you guessed it, that would be anything that elevates insulin, because insulin both stores energy as fat and its presence means the fat cannot get out of the cell to be used for energy. Instead, of using fat for energy, insulin signals the cells to continue to use glucose for energy.
    • Excess insulin causes hunger because your cells are not being fed efficiently, think internal cellular starvation. Which means you are hungrier, even when you just ate a huge bowl of Panda Puffs and are just shoveling all those puffs into fat storage, not to your cells.
  • We gain weight because insulin is chronically elevated, not allowing for the balance of fat deposition and fat oxidation.
  • Blood Insulin Levels High = Fat Oxidation (breaking down fat cells for fuel) = Very low
  • Blood Insulin Levels Low = Fat Oxidation on Point!
  • High Carbs = High Blood Insulin Levels
  • Low Carbs = Low Blood Insulin Levels
  • Insulin is sensitive to both carbohydrate and protein consumed, but not fat. However, of all the food sources, it’s the higher carbohydrate meals that elevate Insulin levels the most after a meal. (source)
paleo donut

Low Carb Donuts. Nom Nom Nom.

 

  • Excess insulin is bad. Chronic excess insulin may be even worse than excess sugar. All animals produce insulin, but within any species, those that produce less insulin live longer than those who produce a lot. Eat to keep insulin low.
  • Exercise can improve Insulin Sensitivity – Like weight lifting, sprints, or even just regular walking can improve your ability to tolerate and handle glucose by making you more insulin-sensitive
  • Glucose is Not Necessarily the body’s preferred source of energy
    • Carbohydrates (glucose once broken down in the body) are not necessarily the body’s preferred source of energy. A lot of nutritionists and those in the “health industry” like to argue that the body NEEDS carbs because it is the preferred fuel source. But that may not be the case, the body will simply BURN carbohydrates before it burns fat because glucose is much more available, particularly in today’s diet. In fact, you have to burn up the carbs before your body will burn any excess fat.
    • As far as the brain argument goes, I don’t buy it. (Lots of folk like to argue that the brain NEEDS a steady supply of glucose, therefore carbs everyday.) However, what the brain uses and what it requires are two very different things. Perhaps it uses more glucose because that is what is more available to it in our modern diet. Without carbohydrates in the diet, the brain and central nervous system will run on ketone bodies, converted from dietary fat and from fatty acids released by fat tissue, as well as glucose converted from the protein in our diet. So long as a low carb diet has sufficient calories fueled by fat and protein, the brain will have fuel. This mixture of fuels is likely the mixture our brains evolved to use and is potentially an optimal use of fuel for our brain. Carbohydrates have not always been abundant, could have been seasonal and who knows with the ice age. (Personally, I have put my body into ketosis many times, and honestly, my energy levels and brain clarity have never been clearer. For more read this.

 

So What Does it All Mean?

You never get to eat carbs again, ever. No. Not true. What I believe is that everyone has a carbohydrate tolerance level. Some are much more insulin sensitive than others (lucky bastards get to eat more carbs). So your goal is to assess how you process carbs, and how many you process.

Great, how the eff do I do that? Reduce your carbohydrate intake to high-quality carbs, think veggies,tubers and a little fruit, maybe some whole grains (preferably sprouted), and get rid of simple sugars, refined carbs like sweet cereals, etc. Basically, reduce your carbs to REAL food. If you are attempting to lose weight, once you reduce your carbohydrate intake, you should in effect lose weight. Because your insulin sensitivity will have hopefully improved. If the weight loss stops, you are potentially eating too many carbs. Instead of at this point cutting calories, which will send your body into false cellular starvation and you will gain that weight back in a voracious hurry, increase the fat, proteins and greens in your life and reduce the carbs. Deal?

Again, these are my beliefs as provided an exhaustive personal review of medical literature, countless books and leaning on the works of amazing people like Dr. Peter Attia, Gary Taubes and even Mark Sisson. Take it all for what it’s worth. I am not asking you to give up carbs for life, I am asking you to assess your insulin and your response to the carbohydrate load you currently have. Mmmmkay?  Feel free to ask any questions you may have below and I will do my best to answer it!

meal planning

Studies:

 

Nerdy Reads:

Why We Get Fat

Why Fat, Not Carbs is the Preferred Fuel for Human Metabolism

Fat Loss: Eating Nutrients

Fat Loss: Ketosis

Fat Loss: Sprinting

How to Lose Fat: Learning to Rest. Learning to Eat.

I recently had a wonderful hike and talk with a friend of mine and it got me thinking, some of us active females absolutely suck at being nice to our bodies. Particularly when it comes to working out too much, resting too little and also eating too little. We are tattooed with calories in, calories out and have been abusing ourselves likely since our teen years. We are forgetting about one very, very important element when it comes to our health and what we women really care about, our waistline: hormones.

yummy

Eat all of the things.

Hormones are positively and negatively affected by what we eat, how much we eat, sometimes when we eat, when we workout, how we workout, when we rest, when we don’t rest and the list goes on. In my book, I speak a bit about the Alternative Hypothesis, and direct you to one of my favorites Peter Attia for a syllabus in the topic of calories. But here’s a snippet:

Fat accumulation is determined not by the balance of calories consumed and expended but by the effect of specific nutrients on the hormonal regulation of fat metabolism.

This is life changing. It is my belief that if you are starving your body on a daily basis, overtraining, OR BOTH, you are actually really hurting your ability to do things like lose fat, get pregnant, be happy and perhaps most importantly manage the amount of physical and emotional stress placed on your body. Yes. If you eat more calories than you expend, you will gain weight. But you have to start thinking more about what calories do in and to your body.

listen to your body

listen to your body

You have to start thinking about what happens to your hormones and metabolism when you start missing meals. Not to mention, how miserable are you when all of this snowballs? How frustrating is it when you are working your ass off and starting to store fat and wrecking your metabolism? (P.S. I love Gina’s take on this topic.)

Here’s the kicker. I suffer from abandoning this belief in moments of emotional fragility. For example, before I knew I was pregnant I started to gain weight and started skipping a few meals here and there. Broke down on hub’s chest, kicked my own ass for being an idiot, took a pregnancy test and started to feed and nurture my body again. Human. Guilty. Woman. Guilty-er.

Fact. We really, really, REALLY need to be kind to our bodies and it starts with the practice of eating and resting. If you cannot do it for you, do it for the sake of the chub rub you hate so much.

rest days

learn to enjoy RESTING

 

Top Tips for Resting and Eating

  • Schedule rest days every single week, I would say at least two. Start to think of these days as part of your training because they are JUST AS IMPORTANT if you would like your muscles to grow, change and help you burn fat.  If you have to move, take a long walk and get rid of some lactic acid, go to yoga, foam roll. Just keep it light.

 

  • Listen to your body. If you are really, really sore, lay off that day. For instance, today I wanted to train my legs however I am SO sore from my workout two days ago I am splitting my training and focusing on just my arms today. Perhaps tomorrow I will be ready to do some legs. Remember that when you lift weights or do intense cardio you are literally applying trauma to your muscles, they need a chance to repair themselves.

 

  • Enroll a beezy. Who can help hold you accountable to your crazy? Maybe we need fitness and food sponsors to call in times of crisis. Hey dude, I am being effing crazy right now. Can we go for a walk? I need a break. Mine happens to be my hubs… He’s real good at telling me I am losing my goddam mind and let’s go eat pizza. He takes much pride in this role.

 

  • Try it for 3 weeks. If you think you are overtraining and under-eating, try mixing it up. Add at least one more rest day to your week, eat when you are hungry. After three weeks, make a decision. But the key is, you have to give it time.

 

  • Stop weighing yourself, constantly. Weigh yourself once every two weeks if you have to. This is MORE than enough and will help mitigate some natural fluctuations. Or go my way: If it fits, WE GOOD.

 

  • Think of food as part of your training, and more so, as part of nurturing your entire life. The only time I lose weight and more importantly FEEL good in my bones is when I am eating good foods when I am hungry, until I am full. Then it becomes second nature and you stop thinking, arrghhh I will just eat half the yogurt.

 

  • Incorporate a treat meal. This one gets mixed reviews but I personally live for this. Dirty Berto’s Mexican Night can be found weekly here at the Benjamins, every Sunday. I look forward to the treat and it keeps me sane the rest of the week. Oh, and if you ate a cookie on a Wednesday, how dare you? You are for sure going to gain 4 pounds. FUCK IT! One cookie. We are moving on.

 

  • Sleep. Go to bed earlier. Turn of the TV. Read and go to bed.
hubs tends to be my crazy accountability meter

hubs tends to be my crazy accountability meter

Alright my good friends, that is all I got for you today. If you relate to this ish, no, you are not crazy. You are likely female, you likely enjoy being fit and you likely just need time and patience to practice nourishing your entire body. I feel your pain my friend, and honestly, it’s a lifelong battle. Wah wah. If I can just impale one piece of parting wisdom, hear this: If you constantly are going, going, going and trying to burn every calorie you ever took a bite of, the stress you are placing on your body will eventually catch up. And it is my belief that stress is the one thing that will really, really be the demise of humans. Just saying. :)

All my love.

x to the ohhhh

Whitters

Further Reading

Do Calories Matter? – Dr. Peter Attia

5 Ways to Boost your Metabolism – My lovely friend Gina

My entire Series on Fat Loss

What Does Overtraining Mean? – ACE Fitness

PHYSIOLOGIC RESPONSES AND LONG-TERM ADAPTATIONS TO EXERCISE – CDC

The Importance of Rest Days – Runner’s World

 

How to lose fat: Eat treats.

Are you losing weight or are you losing fat? Are they the same thing? Does it matter? But really, how do I achieve fat loss, QUICKLY? Welcome to the truth about fat loss series. The entire series can be found here.

Hold up, wait a minute? Treats? Dessert? From the bitch who says not to eat carbs, or limit my carbs, or find out which carbs digest the best?

That’s right, buttercup, I want you to treat yourself. Because you’re beautiful, you’re worth it and everybody likes you. Meh, but really, treating yourself on a daily basis psychologically keeps your healthy eating on point.

For example, if I know at the end of the day that I get to enjoy a banana dipped in almond butter, I will forego the chocolates all around my mom’s house. So instead of mindlessly shoveling in chocolates because I deserve it, consuming a ton of calories on top of the healthy eats I already had planned, I enjoy one delightful treat that causes no harm to my day.

desserts and fat loss

Bitch, you said treats. You did not say bananas.

I hear you. But to me a banana IS a treat. I like healthier versions of naughty things. Like proyo, or paleo mint fudge, or just strawberries and old fashioned whipped cream.

What I love

  • Some sort of protein ball like a beezy ball + Kombucha + Tea
  • Proyo
  • Paleo mint fudge
  • “Ice cream
  • Banana + Almond butter
  • Jicama slices dipped in coconut oil + cocoa powder

Dip it in science.

As you (hopefully) know, hormones have a great deal to do with our ability to store or burn fat, and to just be happy loving hippie humans.

Gherlin is a hunger hormone, a hunger hormone that tells you to keep eating, AND increases the appeal of high-calorie foods. If it looks good, gherlin wants it. So, keeping this little monster happy actually will help you enjoy food, without binging. How?

You simply have to keep your appetite satiated. If you are not hungry, and not searching for whatever you are “missing out on” then ghrelin “hibernates.” (source)

desserts and fat loss

Small ritual treats = happy brain = happy waistline

Have a ritual treat everyday.This signals to your brain that food is coming on a regular basis that makes you happy. In turn allowing your mind to relax the entire day, and not allowing gherlin to go apeshit whenever it sees a cupcake. Sure it still may want that cupcake, but because you’ve trained your brain and hormones to know that a treat is coming at the end of the day, you will have much more actual will power over that cupcake.

The psychology behind having a ritual treat is similar to having a “cheat day” or “cheat meal”. If you know you GET to satisfy a craving later, you will stick to otherwise restrictive diets. In fact, it will get you through your day.

The unplanned cheat

Enjoy it. Move on.

The key is getting past the guilt of assigning “good” and “bad” tags to various foods. Rather than turning a minor slip-up into a major mudslide, cheaters should simply accept what they ate, and continue with their diet as planned. Cheat, enjoy, next meal is green-ish.

desserts and fat loss

The takeaway

Cheat a little. Live a little. Treat yourself.

Find a treat that is a less sexy version of dessert. Like said banana and almond butter. Or a piece of dark chocolate, or apples dipped in some sort of delightful sauce. Enjoy that treat every night as you are unwinding

Should you be having a bowl of ice cream every night? Probably not, but if it is small and the rest of your day is jam packed with nutrients, good fats, and easily digested, it probably will not hurt you.

This trick allows you to hopefully learn to stop beating yourself up over food. Food should fuel us and it should be enjoyed. If you are at work and they are having cake. Enjoy it. Move on. The fat doesn’t start to pack on until we decide, eff it we are off the wagon, we is gonna party! And then proceed to shower in every delight we know is usually naughty.

tea and kombucha dessert

 

Alright, pudding pop? Time to crush some tea, booch and a homemade dark chocolate + coconut + almond butter cup. (RECIPE in the book soon).

x to the ohhh Whitters

How to lose fat: Get more nutrients and stop saying you’re “paleo”.

Are you losing weight or are you losing fat? Are they the same thing? Does it matter? But really, how do I achieve fat loss, QUICKLY? Welcome to the truth about fat loss series. The entire series can be found here.

Ohhh my gahh, when I sat down to write this post, I did not intend for it to take me hours. But it is a worthy cause, and I think it is pretty helpful. Pour yourself a buttery brew or a cup of tea and enjoy.

You’ve heard of nutrients. You’ve heard of calories in, calories out.

But have you heard the Alternative Hypothesis? That something greater is going on than simply calories. In fact nutrients, anti-nutrients, hormones, irritants, and the list goes on and on, are all at play here. And they all can affect your ability to burn or store calories.

Alternative Hypothesis – Obesity is a growth disorder, just like any other growth disorder, and fat accumulation is determined not by the balance of calories consumed and expended but by the effect of specific nutrients on the hormonal regulation of fat metabolism. (source)

To you this means you need to be concerned with consuming calories you can use for energy, and that will positively impact your hormones. To our country it means we are overweight AND malnourished. A conundrum me thinks.

Nutrient starvation. Fat storage.

You have to eat to lose weight. Well to lose fat. You have to eat a variety of nutrients so that all of the cells and different mechanisms of your body receive what they need. When they are missing nutrients, they store anything you feed them as fat because they think you are in a famine.

Fat cells = storage units for energy to be used at a later date. 

eat more nutrients

If you are storing fat, it is because your body thinks you need it. This is where your hormones become very important to fat loss and overall health. FYI, hormones are the chemical messengers that tell your body to either store more fat or signal fat cells to release the stored energy to be burned up. (Among other things.)

So if you want to burn fat instead of store fat, you have to balance your hormones, which is much easier said than done. AND this is why long term fat loss is difficult, but the way to go.

Short term weight loss diets will for sure get rid of some water weight and possibly muscle tissue, but you will always rebound and gain the weight back because you never dealt with correcting your hormones. In essence, you never told the chemicals in your body that you are finally eating good nutrients and famine is not coming anytime soon. (Again, among other things because you may have caused a lot of other issues to develop beyond your yo-yo diet and waistline.)

Given the long human generation time and the fact that agriculture represents less than 1% of our evolutionary history, it’s unlikely that we’ve evolved any complex adaptations to an agricultural or industrial way of life.

Anti-nutrients.

Here’s what the caveman paleo folk say: You should not eat grains, or legumes or nuts because they carry anti-nutrients, basically compounds that prevent you from breaking them down so that the plant can be pooped out and grow again. Yep.

I am totally not even a little bit interested in debating that issue. Personally, I do not eat grains, because I really do not think my body digests them well, and they tend to carry a heavy load of glucose in my blood stream, which is not great for me, my abs, my skin or my happiness. Now and then I will have a little oatmeal, and I seem to survive. SO that is cool. Just not everyday.

Point is, PLANTS contain anti-nutrients. Not just the plants the paleo community decided would. That is how a plant survives and propagates. But this does not however mean that you should ALWAYS avoid grains, legumes and nuts.

Too much of something is almost always toxic.

For example, spinach we can all go ahead and agree is a healthy food. Spinach does carry a small amount of oxalates, which is an anti-nutrient. If you eat a ton of spinach, eventually the oxalates will start to irritate your gut, at which time you should listen to your body and back off. But should I stop eating spinach ENTIRELY because of this? No. Spinach is a wonderful nutrient.

  • Kale contains typically more phytic acid than nuts, which the paleo primal world will tell you to run from. Dark leafy greens are good for you right? They just do not taste good enough to be bad for you!
  • This is also the case for a variety of nutrients. If spinach is the only lettuce you eat three times a day, seven days a week, your body might get sick of it and stop breaking it down.
  • Fiber at one point was considered an anti-nutrient and humans were urged to avoid it. But not we know, dietary fiber is actually very good for you and helps you DIGEST your food.

I guess my point is, you have to decide for yourself how your body digests certain foods. I would make the case for soaking, sprouting and heating grains, beans and nuts is a safe bet as it does reduce the contents of anti-nutrients. But I am not convinced the science to date can tell you that you should 100% avoid it entirely, for a lifetime!

anti-nutrients

Stop asking if you should go paleo/primal/vegan/meatless/dairy-less/etc.

Start asking, What do I tolerate and what do I not tolerate?

That is the question.

I really like Chris Kesser’s view on the subject. Basically, he believes we should stop approaching paleo as a diet and start approaching it as a template.

Yes meat, vegetables, fruit and tubers are likely the most digestible by most all of us, and that forms the cornerstones of the paleo diet.

But, some people can tolerate dairy. Some people can tolerate grains, particularly when prepared traditionally. Some people can tolerate legumes, here and there. The fact is, we are all so very different from our genes to the environment we grew up in, that what works for one will not work exactly for the other.

Conclusion

Okay, I am sorry this really was going to be about nutrients or lack there of and how they cause you to store fat, and I think that’s what it still is, but in my research and my own personal mission of giving you the tools to do what is best for YOUR body and not EVERYONE’s body, I feel like you needed a bigger story than just eat more nutrients, boom you are thin.

My advice is to start with more nutrients in your food. Nutrients from a variety of meats, vegetables, fruits and tubers. From there test to see if you have any adverse reactions to dairy, grains and legumes. Sure this will take time, but if you are miserable, truly want to shed some fat and feel better in your body, this is a worthy road to travel.

eat more real food

Nerdy Specs

  1. Read this if you want a good argument for and against a paleo snob.
  2. The case for nutrients and mental reward in food.
  3. eat more fat. eat less carbs. here.

How to lose fat: Sprinting

Are you losing weight or are you losing fat? Are they the same thing? Does it matter? But really, how do I achieve fat loss, QUICKLY? Welcome to the truth about fat loss series. The entire series can be found here.

 

This week I have to explore my favorite activities I love to hate.

Sprinting your ass off.

Literally. Figuratively. All of the above. In my personal life and state of well being, sprinting is a weekly, sometimes more, requirement. I like to lace myself and the old Jackalope up (dog) and get some sprints in.

My favorite facts.

I used to be a half marathon runner (bahhhh, gag.) and then I realized it was not doing my body much good. Sure I was “lean” in a sense, but training for a half marathon is not a year long cycle I can maintain whilst having a life, career and raising a small child. I do however enjoy me a short little run here and there, and I love a good sprint session. The combo of the two (1 smallish run + 1 sprint session) somewhere spaced out in my week, ALONGSIDE my bodyweight workouts seem to do the trick. This combo helped me burn some serious mom chub after Wubbas was born. So here’s some deets.

Sprinting and HIIT intervals are superior to traditional cardio.

Sprint exercises which lasted a total of two minutes (sprinting 15 seconds on 30 seconds off) elicits 24-hr oxygen consumption similar to that of 30 min of continuous endurance exercise(1). Meaning you get more done, quicker and more efficiently.

A single sprint session can increase post-exercise fat oxidation by 75%. (2).

Fat oxidation = FAT BURN. And this is important because it takes WAY less time than traditional cardio, and is MUCH more effective than it as well!

Sprinting is good for your muscles and elicits rather rapid change in your body as a result.

Sprinting is Anabolic meaning it BUILDS muscle instead of eating away at muscles, which chronic cardio can do. Muscle = big fat burn.

Sprinting improves glucose control and insulin sensitivity. (3)

You mayyyy recall from my last post, I am insulin resistant and have a host of issues that follow that shit up. So I sprint my ass off.

So what does that all mean?

Sprinting = Fat loss.

BUTT. Before you start sprinting your ass off. There are a few things you should know.

Advice.

You cannot sprint everyday.

For whatever reason we Americans find something that is good, or “works” and then we immediately abuse it. Sprinting does not work that way. You have to take your muscles to a very intense place in one workout, burning through glycogen (sugar + carbs) and then you HAVE to let your body recover. For however long it needs to recover.

This is where people get stuck. Rest.

Rest is as important as your sweat.

I find my sweet spot of sprinting once a week, sometimes twice if I am really feeling like I need the burn but usually one good sprint session and one mini-ish slow but steady run (like 10 minute miles for 3ish miles) are the only beats that hit my feets.

Can’t run?

Got some bad feets or hips or (insert injured limbs here)? You don’t have to do a traditional running sprint. You just need to complete some sort of movement that pushes you to maximum exertion. Whether you are doing sprints on a rowing machine, a swimming pool or running a hill, it is the pushing your body with maximum intensity while stripping energy (glycogen) out of your muscles that causes the positive changes such as fat loss.

Okay I am ready. Now…

  • Sprint your heart out.
  • At a distance/time and pace that exhausts you each sprint.
  • Maybe try it for like a 5 minute workout (see below for workout).

How often? 

Start with once a week. Beginner sprint workout below.

What I do in a week.

(THIS changes, but right now, this is what we is working with)

Monday – Usually bodyweight workout

Tuesday – Long walks.Sometimes I go for a smallish run.

Wednesday – HIIT THAT – Sprint session or intense form of interval cardio

Thursday – OFF

Friday/Saturday – Bodyweight strength workout (day changes depending on my body mood)

Sunday – I play or rest my ass off. Sometimes I go for a smallish run.

[hr color=”#ffeedd” style=”line” size=”1px”]

Sprint your fat off workout

sprint workout

Ready set, sprint!

5 ALL out sprints 

  • Warm-up 5 minutes light jog or jump rope
  • Sprint your ass off for 30 seconds
  • Rest for 30 – 90 seconds
  • Sprint your ass off for 30 seconds
  • Rest for 30 – 90 seconds
  • Sprint your ass off for 30 seconds
  • Rest for 30 – 90 seconds
  • Sprint your ass off for 30 seconds
  • Rest for 30 – 90 seconds
  • Cool down walk for 5 – 10 minutes

Feel free to modify this AS needed.

X to the ohhhhh Whitters

Fat Loss Series part I and part II.

Nerd on.

1) Hazell, Tom J., et al. “Two minutes of sprint-interval exercise elicits 24-hr oxygen consumption similar to that of 30 min of continuous endurance exercise.” Int J Sport Nutr Exerc Metab 22.4 (2012): 276-83.

2) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/23438230

3) http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/22540332

4) 15 reasons to sprint. http://www.marksdailyapple.com/15-reasons-to-sprint-more-this-year/#axzz3EjsqAv6N

5) Sprinting sheds body fat. Not cardio. http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-06-28/sprinting-not-jogging-sheds-more-harmful-belly-fat-study-says.html

How to lose fat: Ketosis (Keto)

Are you losing weight or are you losing fat? Are they the same thing? Does it matter? But really, how do I achieve fat loss, QUICKLY? Welcome to the truth about fat loss series. Part I can be found here.

image

Nutritional Ketosis or keto scares the crap out of people for some reason. Well for one it is very often confused and mistaken for Ketoacidosis, which is dangerous for those who are diabetic.

TOTALLY DIFFERENT AND ACTUALLY DANGEROUS.

A word from one of my favorite men on the planet: 

“What is diabetic ketoacidosis? When a diabetic (usually a Type I diabetic, but sometimes this occurs in very late-stage, insulin-dependent, Type II diabetics) fails to receive enough insulin, they go into an effective state of starvation.  While they may have all the glucose in the world in their bloodstream, without insulin, they can’t get any into their cells.  Hence, they are effectively going into starvation.  The body does what it would do in anyone – it starts to make ketones out of fat and proteins.  Here’s the problem: the diabetic patient in this case can’t produce any insulin, so there is no feedback loop and they continue to produce more and more ketones without stopping.” – Dr. Peter Attia

Nutritional Ketosis, on the other hand, is when you put your body into ketosis on purpose by restricting carbs and switching your energy system from relying on sugar to relying on fat.

So why else could keto make people so itchy? Maybe because it is so far of a departure from what they have heard for the past 20 years?

  • Eat w(hole in your gut) grains
  • Avoid fat
  • Avoid red meat
  • Get your calories from carbs so you have the energy to lose weight!

And here we sit. Still chubby. Still hungry. Feeling pain both physically and emotionally. Extremely frustrated by the fact that we follow the Food Pyramid to a T and it has all been for not. 

While I am not interested in debating whether or not YOU can eat a ton of carbs, still be healthy and have the bod you’ve always dreamed of, I will tell you that, personally, I cannot. Maybe we can learn from each other, but that is all I am promising you here.

After years of experimenting with my diet, diagnoses, breakouts, pain, chubs a rubbing, I have realized one very important thing about my body: I am insulin resistant.

Proof in my diagnoses 

  • Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS)
  • Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA)

The importance of insulin

Insulin is a chemical (hormone) that you make in a gland behind your stomach (the pancreas). The main role of insulin is to control your blood sugar level. Insulin acts mainly on fat and muscle cells, causing them to take in sugar (glucose) when your blood sugar level rises. Another effect of insulin is to act on the ovaries to cause them to produce the male hormone testosterone.

(source)

Thus when insulin is out of whack, things like PCOS develop.

(I PROMISE YOU I AM GETTING TO KETO… SOON)

Proof in my day to day life

This is going to sound bat-shit-crazy but when my body has too much glucose circulating around, I feel it. I instantly have pain, bloating and inflammation, and get really beautiful flares of acne.

So what can be done about this?

Reduce the amount of glucose (sugar broken down from carbs, any carb, healthy fruit carbs, dirty processed carb is a carb is a carb) in your bloodstream so that insulin has a shot at doing its real job. Not causing a ruckus in your hormones, testosterone and blood sugar.

The quickest and most effective way I have ever been able to control insulin has been by putting my body through nutritional ketosis AKA keto.

When I fall off the clean eating, primal loving wagon for too long, sugar and then insulin kicks my ass. So my solution is basically a ketogenic cleanse.

I always feel better within a week.

I always lose weight.

My skin always clears up.

My joints always feel better. After a week or so, I have more energy than EVER.

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What is keto?

The Keto Diet is a high fat, moderate protein and very low carb diet (less than 20-50 grams of carbs a day). 

By dedicating your calories to about 70% fat and 20% protein, leaving about 10% carbs, you can force your body to go into ketosis: Effectively switching your body from burning glycogen (basically sugar) to your fat storage.

It is called keto because when the body is in a ketogenic state, ketone bodies can be found in your urine and this means that lipid (fat storage) energy metabolism is happening. I.E. the body will start breaking down your own body fat to fuel the body’s normal, every day functions.

Note: I found my personal carb sweet point is about 30 grams of carbs aka about one banana. One. Banana.

Benefits of keto

Keto has very similar benefits of adopting the Paleo diet or going gluten-free. It has been proven to help with weight loss, slapping cancer in the face, boosting energy, stopping epilepsy (keto actually became famous by helping epileptic patients), clearing foggy-thinking, relaxing anxiety, clearing up skin, regulating menstruation, eliminating irritable bowel syndrome, helping Alzheimer’s/dementia, amongst lots of other issues.

My favorite benefit of keto is that it USES YOUR OWN FAT STORES FOR FUEL.

Keto reduces levels of insulin in your body. WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER. << This is where my life changes for the better.

You won’t be hungry. Have you ever dieted and NOT felt hungry? 

Keto and cancer? 

Wait, wait, wait. Did she just say that keto can fight cancer? Yes, yes I did. All forms? All stages? NO IDEA. But what I do know is this:

CANCER NEEDS GLUCOSE (SUGAR).

Did you know that Otto Heinrich Warburg won a Nobel Prize for discovering that tumors need glucose to live? I didn’t think so. 

Psst, I have also listed some studies below.

Should you go keto? 

I have no idea. 

I know, shitty answer.

I believe if you are like me and can be insulin resistant, or your gut needs some loving (though I believe the two go hand in hand so if you have one of those problems, you likely have both of those problems), then yes keto CAN help.

The problem with keto is that it takes practice and patience. This is not a cleanse where you wake up in a week and are 10 pounds lighter. You have to learn how much fat you need to eat (a lot) and how little carbs you need to eat (like none for me, none). 

You have to go through feeling shitty for a couple days while your body switches its energy systems from burning sugar (glycogen) to fat.

Right now, as I type, I want to lay down and I am on day three of getting back into keto after summer vacay.

Would this be healthy for you? Maybe. But you need to research it for yourself before jumping in. 

My personal keto tips

Eat more fat than you think is good for you. But make it HEALTHY fats like grass-fed butter, olive oil, avocados and ANYTHING coconut. The biggest mistake I made the first few times attempting keto was not eating enough fat. Being really hungry and thus throwing multiple temper tantrums.

Get your veggies in there. Go nuts on anything green. This is an amazing time to get extra greens, fiber, vitamins and minerals into your body through plants! 

PREP AHEAD. Have meat ready to just heat and eat. In the moments where your body is like plllleeeeaseee, pleaseeee gimmeee the sugar, have a meal on hand that you can just heat up for energy and sustenance.

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This is really to survive like the first week, but always a good idea. I like to have cooked ground beef (yes it’s organic and grass-fed), as well as shredded chicken and turkey slices in the fridge besides and endless batch of burned brussels.

Have packets of coconut butter on hand to curb your sweet tooth. The. best.

Be wary of fruit. Fruit kicks me out of keto. I can have a few strawberries a day, but that is about it. And by a few I mean like three.

Pee on some sticks. They actually have sticks that can tell you if there are ketones present in your urine. There is no greater satisfaction than a deep purple showing up after days of eating fat, ignoring fruit and trying clean up your sugar problem.

Be patient. It usually takes me five to seven days to get my body into ketosis. So this is not a protocol you do for a week like a juice cleanse. This is something you should consider sticking to for quite some time. Personally, I like to get my body into ketosis and stay there for a couple of weeks and then practice keto cyclically. Carbing up every twelve days or so.

Why I love Keto 

Keto helps me control my body’s response to insulin, which in turns helps me control my PCOS.

Very little carbs = very little glucose and insulin circulate in your body = testosterone in check = acne goes away (this is an over simplified view of what’s happening, FYI)

Many of the adverse symptoms of PCOS are driven by an excessive amount of testosterone that is floating around in one’s system. This can be seen in sexy symptoms like large amounts of body hair that is rarely ever seen in women, acne, lack of a regular period, oh and infertility.

It is evidenced that keto, which severely limits the amount of carbs one can have daily, starves the mechanism in PCOS that drives testosterone production skyward, this leading to a regression in the harmful side effects.

The most frustrating symptom of PCOS, in my humble opinion, is the struggle with weight. Keto is truly the only times I have been able to reduce my weight without starving myself, or doing some drastic and crazy diet.

What’s more is that I have been able to lose weight and MAINTAIN it through restricting carbohydrates, but not necessarily being in a state of ketosis all the time, year round.

Sure I had a little too much fun this summer and my skin is a dead giveaway for that, but three days into keto and I already feel better, lighter and LESS ACHY.

HAVE YOU EVER WANTED WITH YOUR WHOLE HEART JUST TO FEEL BETTER?

What’s more is that keto tastes delicious. You get to eat good meats from healthy animals. You get to eat bacon (make sure it’s not cured in sugar and that the animal was healthy).

You can eat cheese if you are not dairy sensitive. Though I find I have to be careful on the dairy train. 

Sure I miss showering in treats, but I actually have been able to get very creative in the kitchen and birthed my most favorite and delightful recipe to date through keto: Crockpot Buffalo Chicken. Or chocolate coconut keto ice cream.

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Keto Conclusion

Keto is extremely effective when it comes to fat loss, because it burns fat for fuel.

Keto can be very helpful with those with insulin resistance diseases and disorders, think PCOS, RA, metabolic syndrome, type II diabetes even cancer.

Keto is tough and worthy of more research on your OWN. 

Nerdy specs and research – Keto has been shown to help 

Further reading:

Read this please. Cancer needs carbs. http://eatingacademy.com/nutrition/way-exploit-metabolic-quirk-cancer

Studies:

Epilepsy http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B20

Memory http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B4

Aging http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B6

Fat loss http://ajcn.nutrition.org/content/87/1/44.short

Alzheimer Disease http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B56

Parkinson Disease http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B82

ALS http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B75

Cancer

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B57 

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B77

http://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/749855

Stroke http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B80

Depression http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B17

Autism http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B18

Migraines http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3321471/#B68

PCOS http://www.biomedcentral.com/content/pdf/1743-7075-2-35.pdf

If you are suffering at all with PCOS, my heart is with you. There is hope.

x to the ohhh Whitters

P.S. I realize my comment section was recently broken, and I am transferrering my whole site over to WordPress. So in the meantime I’d love to hear your thoughts on Facebook. XO

How to lose fat: Glutamine

the truth about fat loss. part one.

Are you losing weight or are you losing fat? Are they the same thing? Does it matter? But really, how do I achieve fat loss, QUICKLY? 

These are questions I says to myself researching different studies, workouts, diet plans, supplements, weird workout muses, you name it!

I read and devour a lot of stuff when it comes to working out and pigging out and the one subject that is always pretty heated with varying opinions and “research” is weight loss. I don’t care about weight loss. I care about fat loss and I want to know everything I can about it to help myself and you. So here comes a fun series on the topics of fat loss that I personally believe, have tried or have researched to help improve fat loss.

First up, l-glutamine.

image

Not perfect abs. But abs nonetheless.

What is Glutamine?

Glutamine is one of the most abundant amino acids, the building blocks of protein in our genetic code.

While you are able synthesize it, the majority of glutamine the body needs is manufactured in muscle cells and keeps the muscles working properly.

However, under stressful conditions such as intense workouts or physical injury, the amino acid is used up very quickly, and the demand for glutamine exceeds the body’s ability to make it.

Cliff Notes: Glutamine is very important for your body’s ability to increase muscle growth AND repair.

Why should you care about l-glutamine.

1. If you don’t have enough glutamine in the system, the body breaks down the muscle tissue to get the extra amino acid. In that case, you start to lose muscle mass. Less muscle mass = More fat = more bone loss = poorer health.

2. Not to mention all of the cells of the immune system, the small intestine and the kidney are the major consumers of glutamine, making it vitally important to your health.

3. Glutamine has been reported heal stomach ulcers and supports the maintenance of gut barrier, healing leaky guts and thus supporting your immune system and digestion.

4. Glutamine supplementation has been shown to play a role in preventing muscle loss and fat storage by effecting the stress hormone cortisol, which is usually elevated by intense exercise.

5. It is also believed the glutamine stimulates a greater and effective use of glycogen stores, which would help the body burn more fat over time so that excess glycogen is not then stored as fat.

6. Glutamine supplements have also been hypothesized to increase levels of growth hormone, which may be expected to help stimulate protein synthesis and encourage gains in muscle mass and strength, but reliable evidence for this effect of glutamine supplements has not been demonstrated by clinical studies.

Personal anecdote here, I definitely feel my muscles recovering more quickly when I am supplementing with glutamine. This in turn allows me to rest efficiently and then workout efficiently without pain, which in turn means MORE fat burn.

Cliff notes: Glutamine is important for digestion, immune health AND fat loss.

The verdict!

Will glutamine give you a six pack? No. Can it help YOU create a six pack? Yes. If and ONLY if: Your diet is also on par, you move your body AND allow your body to recover.

No supplement will do crunches for you. No supplement will erase your shitty diet. A supplement is a supplement is a supplement. It can help, but it’s not the answer.

Personally, I have found glutamine helpful in ADDITION to a diet full of nutrients, fat, low carbs and a pretty rocking workout schedule.

Where to find it.

Here’s the thing, I do take a few supplements on the reg, though I prefer to get my nutrients from food.

Foods with Glutamine 

  • Beets
  • Cabbage
  • Spinach
  • Parsley

My favorite glutamine supplements

The best glutamine products on the market are derived from the natural fermentation of vegetables. This can be expensive, but worth it. I personally like this brand.

If you’re not totally concerned with that I would try NOW Glutamine as well.

The nerdy research specs.

Glutamine helps nutrient absorption

Glutamine reduces bodyweight

Glutamine helps improve intestinal function

Glutamine may increase energy expenditure and fat loss

x to the ohhhh Whitters

How to Lose Fat: 20 Reasons to Eat Butter!

Yep, you butter believe it!

If you’ve read my blog for anytime at all, you already know. I love butter. I cook all of Wubba’s meals in Ghee (clarified butter) or grassfed butter every single day. It makes me think of days with my Grandma Betty. Butter makes me think of home cooked meals. And butter helped me get my abs back after the babe. Yep, you butter believe it.

Here are 20 reasons why you need more butter in your life.

But before you start lathering your french toast – please know that the source of your butter is very important. With anything you consume that is either animal or comes from an animal, the health of the animal is of utmost importance. (Did anyone else just picture utters reading the word utmost? No. Just me?)

Organic raw-butter contains the most nutrients and thus the best for you, pasture or grass-fed butter is next in line. But you should know, pasteurization can destroy nutrients. None the less, butter is good for you. Does this mean you should eat a stick a day? Probably not. But let’s dive in butter(cup).

Butter:

  1. Is a source of quick energy and is not stored in our bodies adipose tissue – ie stored in fat.
  2. Is your only source of an anti-stiffness factor, which protects against calcification of the joints. Anti-stiffness factor in butter also prevents hardening of the arteries, cataracts, and calcification of the pineal gland.
  3. May promote fertility in women. That and coconut oil… Used as an alternative to a jelly that starts with the letters KY and you don’t spread on your toast.
  4. Contains GOOD FOR YOU saturated fats that have strong anti-tumor and anti-cancer properties. (If this isn’t enough for you to start eating tablespoons of this delight I don’t know what is.)
  5. Contains Cholesterol that is ESSENTIAL to children’s brain and nervous system development.
  6. Has antioxidants that protect against weakening arteries and free radicals.
  7. Butter contains conjugated linoleic acid, which fights all stages of cancer, speeds your metabolism, helps you build and retain muscle builder and boosts your immune system
  8. Is a great source of fat soluble Vitamins A, D, E and K. Fat soluble meaning you need fat in your diet in order to absorb the nutritents of the vitamins. Essential for eye health, your immune system and optimal hormonal function.
  9. Contains lauric acid which kills pathogens and dangerous bacteria.
  10. Vitamin D found in butter is essential to absorption of calcium.

Alright butter babes? Time for butter.