The thing that we have to hammer the most to our VIP weight loss clients is that everything starts with the diet.
You can exercise until you drop to the floor, but if you aren't eating right nothing is going to change. Actually, I take that back - things will change, they just wont be what you want to change.
We learned this the hard way. We had so many people over the years join our program, start coming to CrossFit or Bootcamp classes consistently (4-5 times per week), yet did NOT have the weight loss they wanted. Even worse is that some even gained weight! They built muscle (which isn't a bad thing), but they did not burn the fat that was their original motivation.
So why did that happen? Why didn't those individuals lose weight, even though they were working out so consistently? The answer is chemistry - don't worry if this wasn't your favorite subject, I'm going to keep it simple for you.
It all boils down to what the body does when we eat different kinds of foods. When we eat carbohydrates, those carbohydrates are broken down into sugar which enters our blood stream. You may be familiar with the concept of your blood sugar. When it is high it triggers a chemical response to release the hormone insulin. What is important to understand is that insulin tells our cells to absorb energy. So think about it like this: eating carbohydrates releases insulin, and insulin is like a button that opens our cells and tells them to absorb and grow.
Now, this isn't inherently a bad thing. Our cells need to eat and grow. BUT if we have too much sugar in our system, and not enough protein, then our cells are going to store body fat. For the majority of us, we don't want this. This is how we get overweight and excess fat builds in our body.
Now, when we eat protein, a different chemical reaction happens. Our bodies release the hormone glucagon, which is like the opposite of insulin. It tells the cells to release their stored energy. This helps us eliminate excess fat.
So what does this all mean and how does it help you improve your diet and your health? I'll break it down for you.
The majority of what we eat in modern Western Civilization is carbohydrate - breads, grains, starchy vegetables, basically any packaged foods. So we are always in a state of high blood sugar and high insulin. From our science lesson, we know that this means that our cells are always in fat storing mode. In order to STOP this, in order to get them in fat BURNING mode, we need to change what we eat.
The easiest way to do this is eliminate processed foods and any foods that will trigger an insulin response. This is literally the protocol that we put our health launch clients through. We need them to get their blood sugar levels into normal range so that they will stop producing so much insulin. Once that happens, we know that the weight loss will come.
This is why diets like Keto and Paleo, and even Vegetarianism and Veganism seem so effective - for a period of time - because right off the bad they make you stop eating processed foods. Your blood sugar normalizes, then your insulin does, and then you start to burn body fat. We know that these all tend to stop working after a period of time, but to start they are very effective.
Now let's take it full circle - remember those individuals who would come workout consistently, but they wouldn't lose the weight they wanted to? Or they even gained weight? That was because they never took the appropriate steps with their diet. They kept eating too many carbohydrates, so their body continued to produce a high amount of insulin. Since they were working out, they grew muscle mass, however they didn't burn the fat because they never lowered their blood sugar or their insulin.
That was the missing key.
So the most basic, simple way to start making progress with your weight and excess body fat is to stop eating processed foods. Start to improve the ratio of protein to carbohydrate, and the changes will happen, starting with your body's internal chemistry. From there, it's just a matter of consistency.