The problem: Inactivity Locks Us Into a Vicious Cycle of Weight Gain
Inactivity causes high cortisol levels which cause belly fat. Belly fat makes us even fatter. It's a vicious cycle.
When we aren't exercising, the body cannot effectively eliminate the cortisol in our bloodstream. Cortisol is a hormone that increases belly fat (visceral fat). The belly fat produced due largely to cortisol tends to encourage more production of cortisol, which leads to even more belly fat. It's a vicious cycle.
Inactivity makes us feel hungrier. It's a vicious cycle.
When we aren't exercising, our bodies cannot effectively eliminate the extra glucose in our bloodstream. This often causes our bodies t-o react by reducing the ability of cells to absorb glucose (because there's just too much glucose in our bloodstream).
This sometimes ends up making our cells unable to get enough glucose, and then the body reacts by sending hunger signals to our brain. So we eat more. The extra glucose from eating more causes our blood glucose levels to increase again. It's a vicious cycle.
Weight gain makes it harder for us to move. It's a vicious cycle.
To add insult to injury, now that we've gained weight, it's harder to move around in the physical world, and every movement feels harder. Also, cortisol tends to send signals to the body to break down our muscles. Great...now we're weaker AND heavier. Exercise becomes more difficult, so we become more likely to skip exercising. It's a vicious cycle.
The Solution: Escape the Vicious Cycle by Exercising More.
Fat loss is all about managing our baseline metabolism and our body's hormones so that fat molecules are expended from our body gradually, naturally, and consistently.
Strength training builds muscles which burn fat and store glucose even while you aren't exercising. It's like investing in fat burning machines - a virtuous cycle.
Invest in more muscle mass on your body. We should all do strength training twice a week at the least, or once every two days at the most. As our muscles increase in size, we will continue to expend greater and greater amounts of calories just to maintain themselves - even while we are sedentary.
Make sure to learn to strength train properly from a personal trainer or someone who knows what they are doing.
Cardiovascular exercise reduces cortisol levels, and burns excess glucose and calories.
As explained earlier, cortisol causes our body to store fat, lose muscle mass, and save up energy. Whenever our body is sedentary or at rest, our cortisol levels can rise. When we have high levels of cortisol, it becomes very difficult to lose fat because we feel more stressed and depressed, we feel like eating more, and we tend to not want to exercise.
To counter cortisol production, we have to minimize sedentary time, and exercise everyday. To reduce cortisol when we are not strength training, we have to conduct moderate to high intensity cardiovascular training. These are great for producing neurochemicals that make you enjoy exercise. This helps immensely because the biggest and most common hurdle to fat loss is actually not being able to stick to a balanced exercise routine.
Eat healthy so that fewer calories of what we eat become fat, and our appetite is controlled. Eating healthy makes us feel fuller and produce less fat. It's a virtuous cycle.
Eating healthy means each meal consists of a quarter of the plate being whole grains, another quarter of our plate being healthy lean proteins, and a half of our plate being vegetables of a wide variety. Eating in this way causes our bodies to “metabolize” less of what we eat into fat molecules. Also, eating in this fashion causes us to feel less hungry, so we are more likely to avoid binge eating.
Special note: the Ketogenic fat diet is proven to cause impaired brain function because your brain is designed to run 99% of the time on glucose from carbohydrates. Please do not cut off your brain's supply of carbohydrates. Low-carbohydrate diets (including the ketogenic diet) increase your risk for heart disease, high cholesterol, insulin resistance, prediabetes, type 2 diabetes, atherosclerosis, heart attacks, and stroke.
So in summary, in the real world, we lose fat mass by:
permanently increasing our basal metabolism through strength training;
preventing an uptick in cortisol by exercising everyday (use cardio as fillers between strength training sessions);
expending additional calories through cardiovascular training; and
eating healthy so as not to encourage fat storage and reduce appetite.
All of the above cannot happen unless we are sufficiently motivated and educated to do so.
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