[Part 1] How to Break through a Weight Stall: The Compass
Ever Googled a keto recipe for dinner?
Let me guess.
40 minutes into the abyss, it’s 7:30 PM, and you’ve got nothing to show for? (Been there.)
And it’s not because you didn’t find a recipe. It’s because there’s a ton. It’s because the choices were so overwhelming, you didn’t choose… at all.
Now add to that all the other things we “should” be doing to be on a “real” ketogenic diet to make sure we lose fat.
Is it any wonder why it’s so hard to get started or stay on track?
As if resisting a crisp French baguette isn’t hard enough.
But I know what you’re thinking…
Why less is more
But aren’t all the tools, the data, and the latest and greatest information necessary to give you results?
Here’s what I’ve observed…
Analysis paralysis. The staggering amount of choice renders us paralyzed into inaction. No action, no results.
How do we choose from “The Best 101 Instant Pot Keto Recipes of All Time”? Can it work in a Crock Pot? Oh, and we’re missing 1 key ingredient.
Less happy, less satisfied. And when we do manage to overcome analysis paralysis, we’re less happy with the results – even when the results are good.
Because gosh darn it after all that rigorous tracking. Shouldn’t we have lost more weight? Faster?
Our expectations have become artificially inflated because we’ve had to go through all that extra effort.
So 1 pound of weight loss in a week becomes a disappointment, instead of what it truly is… effective results. Or better yet? A pleasant surprise.
Self blame. When we’re discouraged, we can’t help but think it’s our fault since we might have done better with all of the other things we “could’ve” or “should’ve” done.
Maybe we should’ve taken MCT oil, or exogenous ketones? Maybe we should be eating more fat, or less protein? Maybe we’re not eating enough, or should you fast more?
… it really upsets me (no, it angers me) that it’s gotten this complicated.
Because it hasn’t helped. It’s hurt.
And it doesn’t have to be this way.
The power of fundamentals
There isn’t anything “basic” about the core fundamental principles of fat loss. It’s bedrock. It’s the essentials.
- It doesn’t change so there’s no argument.
- It applies to everyone so there’s no confusion.
- It’s remarkably simple so there’s no overwhelm.
- It’s incredibly effective so there’s no needless frustration.
It sounds a lot more pleasant and doable, doesn’t it? Hope you feel better already…
Let’s dive in.
Keto is not a definition, it’s a result
It’s not a number of grams of carbs per day, it’s not a percentage of macros, it’s not a shade of color on a pee stick, it’s not a number on a meter.
Because those numbers don’t get to decide when your body starts to burn fat, your body does.
It’s a nutritional state.
It’s a state where your body chooses to burn fat for fuel instead of sugar.
- You’re using ketones instead of sugar for fuel when you’re burning fat.
- You’re in ketosis when you’re burning fat for fuel.
- You’re fat adapted when your body becomes a master at burning fat for fuel.
When your body runs out of sugar for energy, it uses fat. But it must run out of sugar first, before it can use your stored fat for energy.
Restrict sugar and starch so you run out. So your body can burn the fat you want to lose.
An unusual but helpful analogy
What does fat loss and breastfeeding have in common?
They’re chemical messengers that tell your body to do something.
In milk production:
- Prolactin is a hormone that tells the breasts of female mammals to produce milk.
- The act of breastfeeding stimulates the release of prolactin.
- Prolactin rises, and the female produces milk.
- When the female stops breastfeeding, prolactin drops, and she stops producing milk.
In fat loss:
- Insulin is a hormone that tells your body to store what you eat into fuel for later use. It tells your body to store sugar and fat.
- The act of eating stimulates the release of insulin.
- Insulin rises, and you store what you eat.
- When you stop eating, insulin drops. You come out of storage mode, and you start burning stored sugar and fat.
When you eat, your insulin is high, and you store fat. When you stop eating, your insulin is low, and you burn fat.
Fast. So your body can burn the stored sugar, and when that runs out, it can burn the fat you want to lose.
What raises sugar and insulin without eating
Did you know sugar can fill your blood even if you’re not eating?
Stress, fight or flight, and the hormone cortisol:
- Cortisol tells your body to release sugar so you have fuel to fight a threat.
- Stress stimulates the release of cortisol.
- Cortisol rises, and you release sugar from storage.
- When the stress is over, cortisol drops, and you stop releasing sugar.
This happens so you can use sugar as fuel to either attack or run away from a saber tooth tiger who’s chasing you for food.
In the Stone Age, we burned off that sugar. Because we either killed that predator, or we died fighting it as prey.
But in this day and age, we not only fail to burn that surge of sugar … we constantly release it.
- We sit in traffic and we’re late for an interview. How do we burn off the sugar surge from stress when we’re trapped inside our cars in the middle of rush hour traffic?
- We go through work issues, family drama, an overscheduled day. How do we stop releasing sugar throughout the day when nothing on our to do list is working out the way we planned?
When your body is constantly flooded with sugar from stress, it can’t burn fat. It has to burn the sugar first. Persistently high sugars raise insulin, and high insulin locks away fat into storage.
Take the easier said than done… chill pill. (Stress management is a huge topic in and of itself, but it’s paid the least attention to in fat loss – even if it plays a major role.)
Fast, so stored fuel in the form of sugar and fat is unlocked out of storage, and you burn it.
But you can’t fast forever.
So when you eat, restrict sugar and starch so you don’t store it in the first place, and your body can get right into burning fat when you stop eating.
*Please don’t change your diet or practice fasting without talking to your doctor, especially if you have a medical condition, or if you’re on any medication.
Coming up next
Today was about The Compass of fat loss. It’s important because it’s everyone’s “True North”. You can’t get lost with it.
In [Part 2] we’ll talk about real-world actions that lower insulin and cortisol to help you create your own Road Map.
Stay tuned and be on the lookout for [Part 2] The Road Map!