We usually don't notice one or two pounds we gained with just our naked eye. But when our jeans start to feel a little too tight, we realize something about our body composition has changed. When training to gain muscle mass, it is our intention to get bigger and we are happy when that happens, celebrating every extra inch and tightness at the sleeves of our t-shirts. But finding out that our butt or belly got bigger, unnoticed, uninvited, is not a pleasant surprise. It seems like an overnight process, we usually notice it when it is already out of control. Wait, this jiggly part was not here last summer! Oh, seems like Santa gave me his belly this year for Christmas! How did that happen?
But fat gain, just as muscle gain or hair growth, happens slowly, gradually and you don't notice every gram or inch of it, especially on yourself. You see yourself every day and you probably don't spend hours in front of the mirror, trying to catch the moment the fat cells grow, like some people watch the flower blooms open with the sunrise. So it is only natural that one day you realize you are no longer able to button up those jeans. It is not that they shrank, or that some member of your family snuck a smaller size of pants into your wardrobe as a joke. Its time to face the truth we are doing this to ourselves. Not because we are ignorant or dumb we do our best with the information we are provided but because we believe what we are told by mass media.
Maintaining health and an optimal level of body fat might be a tricky thing to do, largely because we are flooded with lies, false advertisement, and bad recommendations. We are seeking nutritional help with general practitioners who have little to no education in nutrition. Most medical programs contain less than 8 hours of information devoted to nutrition! So we rely on the food guide, and fitness magazines that tell us to eat less, exercise more, or Biggest Loser type celebrities that tell us not to stop until we faint or puke. We pay for diet programs that usually guarantee us money loss, not fat loss. Fat burning pills, shakes, crazy cardio routines these all can provide some rapid weight loss, but they also bring huge amounts of stress on your body, chemicals into your body, and the results, if any, are not healthy or sustainable.
Fat loss and all the processes connected to it, are driven by hormones in our body. Hunger signals, satiety signals, even the information on how much body fat our body needs to thrive all these important pieces of information are sent to our brain via hormones. When our hormones are out of whack, things can get ugly. We are no longer able to tell if we are hungry or just craving something, we are not able to burn fat for fuel, we can get insulin resistant, our body's weight management stops working correctly and we start gaining fat, until we eventually end up standing on a scale showing a shocking number that makes us wonder what happened.
Some people start counting calories, and working out like crazy to balance for the calories they consume. A calorie is a unit of energy and doesn't tell you anything about the nutritional value of the meal. 600 grams of broccoli has the same amount of calories as 150g of cooked pasta. One Grande Chocolate Mocha from Starbucks has over 500 calories, which is way more than grilled beef steak with a big raw vegetable salad with vinaigrette dressing. Its not about the amount of calories, its about the quality of your food, and matching the fuel to your metabolism. Of course, once you have your diet perfectly dialed, once you eat just right for your metabolic type, you can count and tweak your calorie intake just out of curiosity, or in order to speed up fat loss or muscle gain, but first you have to focus on giving your body the right fuel to obtain safe, long lasting, healthy results. We've all heard or thought things like I will eat that cake now and then work harder in a gym later at least once in our lives, but in reality it doesn't work that way. You cant exercise your way out of a poor diet. You need to nourish your body into good health and it will take care of the rest.