Lose weight and get more energy at the same time? Many people would pay something precious for this. In practice, however, losing weight often turns out to be accompanied by becoming weaker and a lack of energy, and many people (partly) because of this do not last long. How is that possible and what is needed?
Why is losing weight so difficult for so many people?
Life energy is my passion: a subject I just can’t get enough of. For the past two years, I have been looking for even more energy (in books, training courses, and on the internet) and I discovered, as it were by accident, why losing weight is so difficult for so many people: I discovered a well-kept secret.
What I love about my discovery is that gaining more energy can easily go hand in hand with losing weight. Once you understand how it works and if you are willing to let go of stubborn beliefs.
Counting calories to lose weight is unhealthy nonsense
I’m known for saying that counting calories are unhealthy nonsense. I’ve been shouting this for years and have been ‘attacked’ for it from various angles. I’m fine with that, I’ll explain it with love until everyone understands.
When I say that counting calories to lose weight is nonsense, I am not saying that you can eat unlimited amounts of everything. Let me put that first. It really matters what you eat and how much you eat. However, one calorie is hidden in a completely different food than another and it’s all about what food does in your body. A calorie of chocolate does something completely different to your body than a calorie of broccoli. If you want to read more about this, read: Counting calories: seven reasons why it’s unhealthy nonsense.
To fall off? Calories are units of energy!
When I ask during a lecture whether someone knows what a calorie is, the room remains anxiously silent. Nobody knows. I’ll tell you. A calorie is the amount of energy required to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius. This is a small unit. When it comes to nutrition and weight loss, we, therefore, work with kilocalories (kcal) or a thousand calories.
Calories were once invented to indicate how much energy food gives us! They are units of energy, not units of fatteners. We have wrongly come to see calories as units of fattening: “eat fewer calories and you will lose weight.” In practice, however, this does not work in 98% of the cases.
How much energy does food give?
The amount of energy in a food depends on the number of macronutrients it contains. The three macronutrients we know are fats, carbohydrates, and proteins. Well, note: 1 gram of fat provides 9 calories, 1 gram of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of protein both provide 4 calories.
Since we have come to see calories as units of fattening, many people who want to lose weight cut out eating fats. The consequence of this is that over time they become as limp as a dishcloth and give up their diet again: they have just removed the energizers from their menu.
A fat molecule gives twice as much energy
If you never heard that eating fats makes you fat, what would you eat if you were looking for more energy? Precisely; healthy fats, with an emphasis on healthy. Because there are healthy fats and unhealthy fats.
Energy is made in the mitochondria, the trillions of energy factories that reside in all our cells. This energy is also called ATP; adenosine triphosphate. Mitochondria can make ATP from fat molecules and glucose molecules. If a mitochondrion is given a fat molecule to burn, it can make more than twice as much ATP as a glucose molecule. So more energy!
Your fat cells are the best source of energy your body has
Think about why your body actually has fat cells? Even skinny people still have quite a few fat cells; they can certainly live on it for another 4 to 6 weeks if they were not given anything to eat. Our fat cells are our natural store of energy. Our body cannot survive for a second without energy; even in your sleep, your body, especially your brain, still uses large amounts of energy.
Your body also always has a small number of glucose molecules at its disposal, but we can usually only live on such a day. After that, our body switches to burning fat cells. At least if you didn’t eat anything. But not eating at all won’t keep you full for long. How did that happen?
Our body is used to glucose instead of fats
Why is it so difficult to tap into our natural supply of energy, our fat molecules? I explain it in detail in my book. Here’s a very short version. Over the past decades, we’ve been eating plenty of glucose and have trained our bodies to use glucose molecules as a source of energy. Sweets and carbohydrates are full of glucose. Processed foods are full of sugars and fast carbohydrates: glucose. Dairy products, pasta, potatoes, cereals, and bread; are all sources of glucose. At the same time, we are afraid of fats because they would make us fat and develop cardiovascular diseases. So I think differently about that.
Losing weight is hard when you’re a glucose burner
Most people let their bodies burn continuously on glucose molecules and not on fat molecules. I call these people glucose burners. As a result, our body has, as it were, forgotten to use its own fat molecules as a source of energy. Burning fat molecules from food is a similar process to burning fat molecules from your own fat cells. Because we constantly supply our bodies with glucose, our fat cells are no longer used. When I look at the fully loaded carts at a supermarket on Saturday morning, I estimate that about 98% of people are glucose burners.
Glucose Burners vs Fat Burners
Glucose burners are often hungry; they regularly need snacks between meals. They can sometimes crave sweets or carbohydrates: after all, their body runs on glucose and always needs it because their body does not easily use its own fat cells as a source of energy. You can compare this to keeping a stove burning on newspapers; you always have to supplement it. Glucose burners often struggle with their weight and often feel tired and not optimal.
The body of fat burners easily switches to its own fat cells if there is no food available for a few hours. They usually have a lot of energy, do not experience hunger easily, can easily skip a meal, and are often slim. Their bodies feel calm and they are also often even-tempered: their ‘stove burns on wood’. There are many benefits to becoming a fat burner.
How do you become a healthy fat burner?
In short, it comes down to continuously reducing glucose and adding healthy fats to your daily menu. How simple and tasty do you want it? If you train your body to use fat molecules from food as a source of energy and you don’t constantly give it glucose molecules, it will also use the fat molecules from your fat cells as a source of fuel