Getting Beyond Calories and Losing Body Fat

When it comes to weight loss the calories you burn vs. the calories you consume is the biggest factor in managing and losing body fat. If you are trying to lose weight a slight calorie deficit is ideal. Often people feel that if they drop calories drastically they will speed up the weight loss process which is not the case. Drastic drops will result in muscle loss and water loss. Losing muscle will slow your metabolism and result in rebound weight gain often causing the dieter to be heavier than when they started the initial diet.

Once you get a handle on total calories you need to make sure you are eating quality calories. In the simplest of terms this means eating whole foods rather than packaged or processed foods. You should be consuming lean proteins and complex carbohydrates with plenty of green vegetables.

Optimizing a sluggish metabolic rate- a slow metabolism can be caused by many factors including under eating for an extended period of time, low anabolic hormone levels, genetics and many others. As noted above reducing calories too low can actually slow weight loss by having a negative effect on metabolic rate.

Poor insulin sensitivity results in the over secretion of insulin (powerful fat storage hormone) forcing the body into a constant fat storing environment. You can mange this by making lean proteins a priority in your food choices and making sure that carbohydrates come from complex sources like sweet potatoes, oatmeal and brown rice. The more weight you have to lose the more you need to manage insulin levels by making appropriate food choices.

Increased levels of cortisol (stress hormone) activate fat storage receptors and ruin insulin sensitivity facilitating a fat storing environment. The by product of stress is emotional eating and or binging on sugar rich food choices further contributing to body fat accumulation.

Sleep is often not considered when thinking about weight loss but it is an important variable. Make sure you are getting adequate rest is it affects everything from hormone levels to appetite.

Dominick Walsh is a blogger for Performance Nutrition and and covers all men’s health topics and exercise issues including protein powders, diets, weight loss, weight lifting supplements, fat burners and supplement reviews. Dominick’s columns cover everything you need to know about your pre, during and post workout nutrition.