10 rules for permanent fat loss

Do you want lasting results? If so, stop focusing on losing weight and instead focus on getting healthy.

by Paula Owens — 

First and foremost, what many people may neglect to understand are the differences between weight loss and fat loss.

When you are obsessed with weighing yourself on the scale, you are solely focused on weight loss. Your weight can fluctuate during the day, especially when you factor in fluid retention, sodium intake and muscle weight. The scale is not an accurate method of tracking fat loss. My preference is to track body composition.

In contrast, fat loss is about losing body fat, preserving lean tissue (muscle) and striving for a body that looks healthy and fit. Fat loss is not about counting calories, starvation diets, stepping on the scale every day, willpower or excessive exercise. Balance is the key to long-term, permanent fat loss. The following 10 rules can help you achieve it.

Rule #1: Manage your stressors and deal with unresolved emotions. Stress comes in many forms — physical, psychological, emotional, environmental, electromagnetic and spiritual. Anxiety and stress of any kind can make you fat because hormones signal your body to store fat and break down metabolically active muscle tissue.

Rule #2: Get restful sleep. If your goal is to look good, feel better and lose fat, you must sleep well. Poor sleep can make and keep you fat because it interferes with or suppresses fat-burning hormones. Do not underestimate the importance of restful sleep and daily relaxation for fat loss.

Rule #3: Eliminate intolerant foods. Stop eating foods you are allergic, intolerant or sensitive to. They are usually foods you crave or eat every day, which is why it is so important to include a variety of foods in your diet. Intolerant foods create inflammation, are toxic to your system and cause stress hormones to be released, which will sabotage your fat-loss efforts.

 Rule #4: Address digestive dysfunction. Keep your gut healthy and love your liver. To lose body fat, you must assimilate nutrients required to build muscle. Hydrochloric acid deficiency, candida, parasites, H. pylori and leaky gut are just a few conditions that can inhibit fat loss. A healthy liver must also be able to detoxify fat-storage hormone metabolites.

Rule #5: Balance your hormones. An imbalance of hormones, such as increased estrogen and elevated insulin, and decreased hormones, such as growth hormone, thyroid, DHEA, progesterone and testosterone, may contribute to weight gain.

Assess and address adrenal dysfunction, which can lead to an imbalance of brain chemistry, increased belly fat, vital nutrient deficiencies, inflammation and more. These factors are often overlooked when it comes to fat loss.

Make balancing blood sugar and stabilizing insulin a priority. A person who is sensitive to insulin will lose body fat more rapidly than an individual who is insulin-resistant, because excess insulin is a fat-storage hormone. If your pancreas constantly secretes insulin to bring the blood sugar down, you will become insulin-resistant and eventually may become diabetic.

Rule #6: Eat real food. Driving up to a window for your meals, downing soda, consuming snack bars full of chemicals, soy and hydrogenated fats or eating cereal from a box are not healthy practices. The cardboard box is probably more nutritious. Chew your food, manage portions, and be mindful and present when eating to avoid overindulging.

Rule #7: Move your body. Are you performing long, boring cardio sessions that burn muscle and disrupt your hormones? Or, maybe you are doing the same old exercise program, expecting a different result. There is an effective way to exercise and an inefficient way to exercise for fat loss. Resistance training and true interval exercise programs are the solutions if you want to change your body, feel better, look phenomenal, lower body fat and keep your hormones balanced.

And remember to include yin-style movements such as yin or restorative yoga, meditation, tai chi or qigong as part of your exercise regime to balance the yang. Personally, I love yin yoga in which the asana or position is held for 2 to 5 minutes with a focus on lengthening and releasing fascia and connective tissue.

Rule #8: Identify nutritional and metabolic deficiencies, and correct them with appropriate diet and nutritional support. Each one of us has different nutritional needs. Therefore, supplemental protocols will vary from person to person.

Rule #9: Eliminate toxins and reduce toxic load. The average woman exposes her body to 150 chemicals every day. We absorb toxins from various sources, including food additives and preservatives, cleaning products, lotions and colognes, digestive distress, non-organic foods, prescription drugs, our environment, poor quality supplements, excessive alcohol consumption, pesticides, chemicals, xenoestrogens, toxic people and so much more. Even our thoughts can be toxic.

Toxins are stored in fat cells and compromise your lymphatic system and liver. The fatter you are, the higher your toxic load. All toxins brought into your body have to be processed by the liver.

Are you aware of the negative consequences of estrogen overload? Toxic overload from a congested liver, xenoestrogens (endogenous and exogenous) and obesogens (foreign chemical substances in your body that disrupt hormones and your metabolism) that primarily target the liver, brain and adipose tissue make it difficult, if not impossible, to lose body fat.

Rule #10: Eat fat to lose fat. Our society is fat-phobic and has been brainwashed to believe that consuming a low-fat or non-fat diet is conducive to optimal health and fat loss. Many still hold this belief and assume that synthetic fats such as margarine (full of plastics and chemicals) or vegetable oils are healthier options. Nothing could be further from the truth. All fats are not created equal. Healthy fats are essential for hormone production, a healthy immune system, optimal brain function, beautiful skin and hair and, of course, fat loss.

Do you want lasting results? If so, stop focusing on losing weight and instead focus on getting healthy. When you focus on health first, fat loss will occur.


Paula Owens, M.S., is a nutritionist, fitness expert, weight-loss coach and holistic health practitioner with more than 20 years of experience. She is the author of The Power of 4. www.PaulaOwens.com.

Reprinted from AzNetNews, Volume 31, Number 1, feb/march 2012.

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