Content Update June 20th
When is stubborn body fat a problem?
There were a few things that I forgot to cover when I first finished this article. First of all, at what level does stubborn body fat become an issue? Generally speaking, people dont have a good sense of what is just too fat and what is a legit body fat percentage for stubborn fat to even start becoming an issue. Ive had tons of clients approach me with their issues with stubborn body fat when they were 15% body fat or more.
Stubborn fat is the fat you need to lose for a good four-and-a-half-pack to turn into a six-pack. If I had to put a number on it, Id say 10% is the maximum body fat percentage you need to have reached before this is something you can start concerning yourself with.
Below are a few examples of the level of leanness required to even start thinking about stubborn body fat.
With females the whole lower body is stubborn. Above is a good example of the different fat pattern seen in men and women. Note the lean midsection and lower back. At the same time the lower body appears quite smooth. If she would have dropped a few more percentage points of body fat, she would have had very visible abs but her lower body would likely not have gotten much leaner. Even female body fitness competitors rarely come in to stage with ripped legs.
In Less Than Two Months I Dropped My Hba1c From 82% To 58% And Lost 24 Pounds By Making Targeted Habit Changes
The title sounds like a bold claim, right? Itd be hard to believe it if I hadnt done it myself. Heres the story of how I did it and how you can too.
On August 17, my doctor said one sentence that rocked my world: You are a Type 2 diabetic. Naturally, she prescribed diabetes-management drugs.
I was like, No, thanks. Diabetes is a lifestyle condition. Ill make lifestyle changes to reverse it.
With the experience of someone whos probably had this discussion more than a few times previously, she said, Thats not likely.
Hold my beer.
Less than a month later, on September 12, I had dropped 14 pounds and 1.5 inches of waistline. A second blood panel showed my triglycerides and LDL cholesterol had dropped to normal levels for the first time in my life and my HbA1c level had dropped but still indicated diabetes.
On October 15, I had dropped another 10 pounds and two more inches of belly fat. My third blood panel showed that my HbA1c level had moved to 5.8% within the normal range.
I had started at 194 pounds and was at 170 at that point. My target weight is 155, and so my journey continues. But heres how I achieved these remarkable results within just 60 days.
Visceral Fat Or Intra Abdominal Fat
Many sources seem to equate belly fat as visceral fat at times. However, its important to keep in mind that visceral fat, or brown fat, in itself isnt visible. That being said, a protruding belly and a large waist can be signs of visceral fat as it pushes out your subcutaneous fat. Scientific literature shows a strong correlation between visceral fat and metabolic disease but, at the same time, visceral fat offers the benefit of serving as a quick source of energy. Too much fat all over the body may be the true culprit for metabolic disease.
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Fast For 12 Hours A Day
The rules for this diet are simple. A person needs to decide on and adhere to a 12-hour fasting window every day.
According to some researchers, fasting for 1016 hours can cause the body to turn its fat stores into energy, which releases ketones into the bloodstream. This should encourage weight loss.
This type of intermittent fasting plan may be a good option for beginners. This is because the fasting window is relatively small, much of the fasting occurs during sleep, and the person can consume the same number of calories each day.
The easiest way to do the 12-hour fast is to include the period of sleep in the fasting window.
For example, a person could choose to fast between 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. They would need to finish their dinner before 7 p.m. and wait until 7 a.m. to eat breakfast but would be asleep for much of the time in between.
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It Helps Maximize Digestion Hormone Secretion
When you fast, you can sync your eating schedule with your bodys circadian rhythm: the natural, internal process that regulates the sleep-wake cycle. By doing this, you can optimize your bodys metabolism, helping it run more efficiently:
When you synchronize intermittent fasting with your bodys natural circadian rhythm, you eat during the day to take advantage of the way the body has evolved to maximize hormone secretion for digestion. By doing this, your body can more efficiently use food during the daytime to fuel activities, say The Nutrition Twins.
On top of weight loss, theres another health advantage to this method: it can help reduce your risk of diabetes. Part of the human circadian rhythm is to decrease insulin sensitivity throughout the day. Insulin is a hormone responsible for pulling glucose out of your bloodstream and into your cells. This means that when you eat a carb-rich meal at night, your body is exposed to more insulin, which can lead to an increased risk of type 2 diabetes over time. By fasting during this time, you can avoid this problem.
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What Is Insulin Resistance
Insulin resistance isnt a disease its more a state of being in which insulin and glucose no longer maintain that working relationship I described above.
How does this happen? Well, lets go back to the part where I was talking about the overconsumption of foods that break down into glucose. When you frequently eat too much sugar or too many carbs for your unique body to handle, your body in a sense becomes desensitized to it. Think Charlie Brown and the teacher he always used to drown out. Thats more or less whats happening here.
The cycle that creates insulin resistances aka The Dopamine Trap goes something like this:
Eat too Much Sugar/Carbs leads to Chronically elevated levels of insulin leads to Elevated levels of serotonin leads to Elevated levels of dopamine leads to Sugar cravings + carb cravings + wild blood sugar highs and lows
You repeat this cycle over and over and over again.
But it doesnt end there. As you continually seek to fulfill those cravings and receive peaks of temporary pleasure, the amount of sugar and carbohydrate you need in order to fulfill those demands increases.
Your body will eventually reach its threshold for dealing with all of this rubbish, which is the point at which insulin resists working as its normally supposed to. I know its called insulin resistance, but I almost wish it was called insulin confusion because thats really what it is.
As Dr. Sara Gottfried puts it in her book, The Hormone Reset Diet,
How Can I Reduce Visceral Fat
The best way to reduce visceral fat is through losing weight and diet. Visceral fat responds better to diet and exercise than fat on the hips. Regular exercise can also stop visceral fat from coming back.
Another option is medication, but studies show this is not as effective in reducing visceral fat as exercise. Liposuction does not work to remove visceral fat.
Even though you cannot change your genetics, hormones or your age, you can reduce your risk of disease by:
- exercising for at least 30 minutes every day
- eating a healthy diet
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When Does The Body Start Burning Fat During Fasting
As a general rule, your body will begin to burn fat about 10-16 hours after your last meal.
However, there are many variables it depends on each individual body and type of fasting. For instance, a study with participants that were on an alternate day fasting cycle over 70 days documented a 6% loss in body weight, with a reduction of body fat mass of over 11%. A similar study that decreased food intake to 20% every other day saw a decrease in 8% of body weight in an 8 week period.
Bottom line fat cells begin to release their stored energy when there is no readily available sugar to be used as energy. And, the longer this period is, the more fat we burn.
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Insulin And Weight Loss
So what does insulin have to do with losing weight? The key to weight loss success is to control your insulin, specifically, keeping insulin as low as possible. Here are the key points:
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Reduce Insulin Resistance To Slow Down Aging & Dump Belly Fat
Increased insulin resistance is a harbinger of many aging-related diseases and ailments it does not only cause belly fat, but also increases the risk of heart disease, Alzheimers and cancer.
In fact, one of the hallmarks of aging is increased insulin resistance.
Increased insulin resistance means that our cells become resistant or numb to insulin, making them less able to take up glucose that is circulating in the blood, especially after a carbohydrate-rich meal.
Insulin is a hormone that opens the gates of our cells to take up the glucose from the blood. The less responsive our cells become to insulin, the less they are able to take up the circulating sugar.
The longer these sugars circulate in the blood, the more damage it can cause in our body.
Sugar for example can form sugar-crosslinks, called AGEs , which crosslink or glue proteins together, like elastin and collagen. This crosslinking makes tissues more stiff, contributing to high blood pressure or wrinkles for example.
Increase Your Overall Activity Level
Living an active lifestyle can help reduce insulin levels.
A 2005 study of more than 1,600 people found that the most sedentary people were nearly twice as likely to have metabolic syndrome as those who did at least 150 minutes of moderate activity per week .
Other studies have shown that getting up and walking around, rather than sitting for prolonged periods, can help keep insulin levels from spiking after a meal .
One study looked at the effect of physical activity on insulin levels in men with extra weight who were at risk for type 2 diabetes. Those who took the most steps per day had the greatest reduction in insulin levels and belly fat compared with those who took the fewest steps .
Avoiding sitting for prolonged periods and increasing the amount of time you spend walking or doing other moderate activities may help reduce insulin levels.
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Try Eating More Soluble Fiber
Fiber can be divided into two broad categories soluble and insoluble.
The soluble kind mixes with water to form a viscous gel-like substance. This helps slow down the delivery of digested food from the stomach to the intestines .
When soluble fiber reaches the colon, its fermented by gut bacteria into short-chain fatty acids. These fatty acids are a major source of nutrition for colon cells.
Interestingly, they may also help reduce visceral fat by suppressing your appetite.
For example, studies show that short-chain fatty acids help increase levels of fullness hormones, such as cholecystokinin, GLP-1 and PYY (
A study in 1,114 people found that simply increasing soluble fiber intake by 10 grams daily reduced the risk of visceral fat gain by up to 3.7% .
To increase your fiber intake, try eating more flaxseeds, sweet potatoes, legumes and grains. You can also try taking a soluble fiber supplement.
Eating more soluble fiber can help reduce visceral fat by suppressing your appetite and keeping gut bacteria healthy. Try eating more soluble fiber-rich foods or taking a soluble fiber supplement.
Index Of Central Obesity
Index of Central Obesity is the ratio of waist circumference and height first proposed by a Parikh et al. in 2007 as a better substitute to the widely used waist circumference in defining metabolic syndrome. The National Cholesterol Education Program Adult Treatment Panel III suggested cutoff of 102 cm and 88 cm for males and females as a marker of central obesity. The same was used in defining metabolic syndrome. Misra et al. suggested that these cutoffs are not applicable among Indians and the cutoffs be lowered to 90 cm and 80 cm for males and females. Various race specific cutoffs were suggested by different groups. The International Diabetes Federation defined central obesity based on these various race and gender specific cutoffs. The other limitation of waist circumference is that it the measurement procedure has not been standardized and in children there are no, or few, comparison standards or reference data.
Parikh et al. looked at the average heights of various races and suggested that by using ICO various race- and gender-specific cutoffs of waist circumference can be discarded. An ICO cutoff of 0.53 was suggested as a criterion to define central obesity. Parikh et al. further tested a modified definition of metabolic syndrome in which waist circumference was replaced with ICO in the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database and found the modified definition to be more specific and sensitive.
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Insulin Resistance = Accelerated Aging
Increased insulin resistance is the first step towards prediabetes and type 2 diabetes. In fact, type 2 diabetes is caused and defined by severe insulin resistance.
Increased insulin resistance is also associated with an increased risk of many aging-related diseases and symptoms, like heart attacks, hypertension, Alzheimers disease, belly fat, being overweight and having difficulty losing weight, osteoarthritis, macular degeneration, and so on.
When we get older, we automatically become more insulin resistant. Its a part of the aging process. However, you can considerably slow down the pace of insulin resistance. The opposite of insulin resistance is insulin sensitivity. The more sensitive and less resistant your body is to insulin, the healthier. So its very important to be insulin sensitive as long as possible.
Intermittent Fasting And Stubborn Body Fat
I have previously hinted that intermittent fasting sidesteps the issues associated with stubborn body fat. Indeed I rarely find any need for advanced strategies to rid my clients of stubborn body fat. I will soon tell you why, but first let me give you some background information to what Im talking about here.
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How Do I Break My Weight Loss Plateau On Intermittent Fasting
Hitting the weight loss plateau has got to be one of the most frustrating things that can happen to someone who has been trying to lose weight, especially when you are doing intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting tips that are guaranteed to break your weight loss plateau on intermittent fasting are:
- Dont have anything during your fast. You have a zero-tolerance policy during your fasting window.
- Stop putting butter or MCT oil in your coffee first thing in the morning.
- Dont drink pre-workout or BCAA before your workout, even though it is labeled as zero calories.
- Stop consuming diet soda, any zero calorie drink or anything that is artificially sweetened during your fasting window.
Putting butter or MCT oil in your coffee is not bad for you. It can help you even get fat-adapted faster. Consuming some fat during your fasting window is helpful for people who are new to this. Pure fat does not have a lot of effect on insulin levels, and you can still get most of the benefits of intermittent fasting.But if youve hit a weight-loss plateau, then keep in mind that butter and MCT oil still contain calories. A standard bulletproof coffee contains approximately 500 calories. So if you are consuming it, you are potentially stopping yourself from losing an extra pound of fat every week.
In Obese Mice A Liver Enzyme Inflames Fat Increasing Insulin Resistance
The fat that builds up deep in the abdomenmore than any other type of body fatraises the risk of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes. Researchers have known that abdominal fat becomes dangerous when it becomes inflamed but have had a hard time determining what causes the inflammation.
A new study at Columbia University Irving Medical Center has revealed that at least one of the culprits for this mysterious inflammation comes from the liver. The researchers found that, in obese mice, the liver increases its production of an enzyme called DPP4. This enzyme travels through the blood stream to abdominal fat. Once inside fat tissue, DPP4 helps to activate inflammatory cells.
The good news is that this inflammation can be soothed by turning off DPP4 production in the liver, as the researchers demonstrated in mice. And even though the animals remained obese, soothing inflamed abdominal fat improved their insulin resistance.
Additional, unpublished data suggests the pathway also exists in people.
If we can develop ways to target liver DPP4 in people, this may be a powerful new way to treat obesity-induced type 2 diabetes, said study leader Ira Tabas, MD, PhD, the Richard J. Stock Professor of Medicine at Columbia University Vagelos College of Physicians and Surgeons. Inhibiting DPP4 specifically in liver cells attacks insulin resistancethe core problem of type 2 diabetesat least in our preclinical models.
Delivering DPP4 inhibitors directly to the liver
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