Fat is our friend, a way of storing unwanted energy; it is our primitive body's insurance policy for lean times when food is scarce or we need extra energy. The problem is that too many of us are unable to access this stored energy in a healthy way.
In the western world the most usual way we tap into our fat stores is when we diet to lose weight based on the calories V calories out equation. In this situation our body believes we are a famine so as well as releasing some energy from our fat stores, it also lowers our metabolism, so we burn energy slower, and makes us feel slower and more sluggish.
Our body also makes us hyper vigilant to any sign of food around us so for example our sense of smell becomes heightened and we are less discriminating of our choices because survival is paramount. This 'famine' response is meant to be a short term crisis programme and as soon as food becomes available we are programmed to regain weight plus a bit extra just in case another famine happens again soon.
So how can be tap into our fat stores in a way that works with our body? Firstly we need to connect with the primitive body programme that says lean bodies can run faster and so survive for longer. This programme is run by the hormone leptin, this hormone feeds back information to the brain about how much fat we have in storage. When it reaches a certain level, leptin speeds up our metabolism, makes us want to be more active and makes us less hungry. Losing weight then become effortless.
So what food blocks leptin doing its job?
- Sugary food that constantly challenges our blood sugar and the hormone insulin. Insulin is our fat storage hormone.
- Processed food that confuse the hormone messengers.
But these foods help us tap into natural weight balancing mode...
- Food that keeps the blood sugar balanced, carbohydrates such as whole grains and vegetables.
- Protein and healthy fats that also help stabilise the blood sugar, such as meat, dairy, beans and legumes.
If we have got stuck in fat storage mode for a while it can take several weeks for our body to reset itself, we need need to nourish it back to health slowly and steadily but once we have done so our bodies will start regulating our weight naturally.