Many people struggle to lose weight despite doing all the right things. And by the “right things”, I don’t mean the advice commonly dished out by nutritionists and medical doctors (these obviously don’t work), but rather the scientifically-based advice geared towards getting your body in balance.
There is a simple test I ask people to do to find out whether their body is even capable of burning enough fat in the first place: the results will shock you.
I’m going to draw an analogy which will make it all easy to understand, so bear with me:
- Imagine that you’re planning to go on a very long drive, a drive around the entire planet: this long drive is your life.
- Because you’re setting off on such a long trip, you attach a tanker full of petrol to pull with your car so you can tap into it when needed: the tanker is your “body fat”, which you will use as “fuel” for your long trip.
- In the first few days of driving, you stop every day and use fuel from that tanker: babies are born with a naturally high ability to burn fat for fuel.
- Then you get on a road with a petrol station every 20km, and you stop to refill every now and then and no longer use fuel from your tanker: we start eating frequently, with easy access to food all day long. We don’t use fat for fuel anymore.
- This fuel you’re getting from the petrol station makes you go quicker but burns quickly, meaning you have to refill often, otherwise you run out: our diet switches from fat (breastmilk) to carbs (cereals, grains, bread, etc.)
- But you’re still pulling that tanker along, but not using it: your fat is still there but not being used.
- Because the fuel is cheap, you buy more and keep adding more to the tanker you’re pulling, even though you’re not using it: carbs are cheap and easy to burn, and easier to store as more and more fat.
- After many weeks of driving, filling at stations, and driving again, you completely forget how to attach the hose from your tanker to your car: over the years, your body forgets how to burn fat, because it hasn’t needed to do so in a long time.
If that has happened to you (your body has forgotten how to burn fat), then no amount of exercise and diet is going to help.
The solution lies in “re-teaching” your body how to burn fat, so that it starts doing so 24/7, whether during workouts or during sleep.
The simplest way to test whether you’re capable of burning fat is the following: a 24-hour calorie fast, and here’s how to do it:
1. Have your normal dinner
2. When you wake up in the morning, drink water and coffee/tea but without any calories (no cream, sugar, creamers, sweeteners, etc.)
3. Throughout the day, do not eat or drink anything that has carbs, protein or fat. You can drink water, sparkling water, black coffee & tea, herbal tea, etc. (no sugar, no sweeteners)
4. Have your normal dinner at the same time as the previous dinner
If you’re “well fat-adapted / able to burn fat”
- You will NOT experience major hunger
- You will NOT experience light-headedness or headaches
- You will NOT experience any drop in energy
- You will NOT experience any drop in cognitive (mental) function
- You will NOT experience any cravings
If you experience ANY of the above, then you can assume that your ability to burn fat has been compromised.
But don’t despair! This doesn’t mean that you will never lose weight: this means that if you do the right things (things I’ve talked about in the past on this blog):
- It will take you longer to lose weight
- It will take you longer to see results (because your body is “re-learning” how to burn fat before it actually starts doing it)
- But once you reach that threshold and become “fat-adapted”, losing weight and (more importantly) keeping it off will become MUCH easier
I practice intermittent fasting (24hr fast) on 1 or 2 days weekly and it never affects my energy levels or my ability to do deals at work, research, write, etc. 3 years ago I couldn’t go 4 hours without eating something…
So do the test this week and let me know how it went!
As usual, any questions / comments hit reply or comment below.