When it comes to weight loss this is the biggest, most significant principle of them all! At the most basic level our body has two fuel sources, which are carbohydrates and fat. If carbohydrates are present in our system (which are broken down into glucose and float around in our system in the form of blood sugar) they are burned first! So, if you consume regular meals that contain carbohydrates you will always have an element of blood sugar and therefore never burn fat. In order to burn fat, we must create an environment where our body has the chance to burn off all glucose so our blood sugar is low. This is achieved by reducing the amount of carbohydrates in our diet, and potentially incorporating fasting.
When our body runs out of carbs to burn it switches to its other fuel source which is fat. If you want to lose weight this must happen, and often!
Oh, here’s the real kicker! Our body will burn alcohol before it burns carbs, and then poor old fat gets burned last, if at all.
Alcohol is a toxin. Our body recognises this and wants to burn it immediately. Alcohol is high in calories so it can take a while to burn off. A glass of wine has 200 calories and two glasses is equivalent to a 40-minute run or a spin class or an hour of hard exercise. One of the worst things we can do is have 2 drinks per night because our body has to burn the alcohol then get to the carbs and then hopefully get a chance to burn fat, which most likely won’t happen.
I worked with a woman called Penelope for 7 years. When I first met her, she was 74kg and wanted to get to 60kg. For a period of 2 years her exercise regime was flawless. She exercised frequently, never missed a session, and enjoyed it very much. In addition to this her nutrition was perfect. Carbohydrates, protein, fat and water intake were all spot on. The problem was that Penelope drank bottle of wine every night. Due to sheer persistence and the high quality of her exercise and nutrition Penelope still managed to lose 6kg and get down to 68kg. Then something interesting happened. Her relationship of 10 years ended. As it turned out her partner was the person she indulged in a bottle of wine with each night. Penelope met a new man who didn’t drink, and her bottle-per-night habit ceased. Within 3 months she had gone from 68kg to 60kg and has remained there for the past 10 years.
This point raises two other points:
Most people have a weakness somewhere, and it is probably the thing holding you back
The people you spend the most time with have a big impact on your behaviour and results