Over the last couple of months we have had hundreds of patients who have come to us for weight loss. So what I have done is I have summarized the top six reasons why people struggle to lose that belly fat and weight even when they start getting on to a good diet and they start exercising regularly. Most people tend to lose weight from most parts of their body except their belly. So there are six reasons which we’ve observed in people over the last few months and the changes that we’ve made, have started them on their journey to actually burn that belly fat.
Reason 1: We really need to understand clearly the whole protein myth. For the longest time we have been made to believe that we need more protein in the human body to lose weight and we immediately compare ourselves to people like athletes and bodybuilders who consume a lot of protein and have a lot of muscle. Well again the protein lobby continues to be one of a billion-dollar industry and how do you sell a good protein to the public? You sell a good protein to the public by making them believe that protein is one of the most important macronutrients in the human body, it will help you to lose weight and have a great physique and a great body. Well again we’re wrong. For the longest period the W-H-O that’s the World Health Organization has made a calculation that an average human being requires about five percent of their total calorie intake in terms of protein. So let’s take an example. If you need 3,000 calories to support your day and your body type; five percent is 150 which you divide by four because that’s the calculation for protein per gram. The average works out to about 37 to 38 grams of protein for an average male and for India it’s not usually a 3,000 calorie diet that we are on. Men are usually on a 2,300 to 2,500 calorie diet and women are on 2,200 which bring down your protein intake even further keeping the average anywhere between 29 to 35 grams of protein which you can get even if you are on a Jain vegetarian diet. This makes us look back a couple of years at the Jain community that eats only pure vegetarian food without eggs and they don’t look protein deficient or sick they don’t have any issues. Yes the current generation today with a lot of Jains, suffer from obesity because they consume a lot of sweets and wrong oils and live a sedentary lifestyle. But we don’t blame protein. It’s very rare that we come across people who have protein deficiencies. You usually find a protein deficiency in someone who’s sick or who has a cancer or someone who’s going through an organ transplant or a severe disease but in most human beings you will never find someone who has a protein deficiency. Now the problem is when we start consuming more protein, a lot of that protein never gets utilized by the human body and it converts into fat and slows down your metabolism and makes you more acidic because protein that’s not used by the human body becomes acidic ash. This is why a lot of people who consume protein also bloat up and they have flatulence and acidity. Now that’s a bad thing for you because excess protein also weakens your bones and causes osteoporosis and rheumatoid arthritis. Let me explain how? If you’re taking excessive protein that your body doesn’t need that excessive protein makes your body acidic and your body starts leaching calcium from your bones because calcium makes your blood alkaline. The human body has to balance its pH level naturally. So now if it’s leaching calcium from your bones all of a sudden you have a calcium deficiency leading to a vitamin d3 deficiency. The two most common deficiencies that we see in our country are calcium and vitamin d3. If you have low vitamin d3 levels it is practically impossible for you to lose weight, no matter how well you eat and how much you exercise and today when we see people with critically low vitamin d3 levels only by upping their d3 over time we start to see that they’re able to burn fat more effectively.
Forget about just your acidic body, calcium, bones, osteoporosis and acidity. Another very big problem in our country today is the gallbladder issues. It’s one of the most common surgeries. In most cases the gallbladder should be removed if it’s going to create a very serious problem but in many cases it’s just a money-making racket where people who have gall stones are asked to remove the entire gallbladder.
Let’s understand why do we have a problem of gallbladder stones in India? Again excessive protein is the problem. The body becomes acidic. Now sodium from the gallbladder that is used to keep your cholesterol in a liquid form in the gallbladder gets utilized to make the body alkaline. So you have less sodium in the gallbladder and that cholesterol converts into stones and then we have gallbladder stones which slow down your bile production and the way your body uses bile. The function of bile is to break down fat in the human body. If you don’t have a properly functioning gallbladder you don’t have the right amount of bile and you can’t break down the right amount of fat. So like I always say it’s not about burning fat in the gym. Your body has the ability to burn fat naturally if we support it the right way and if it works the right way.
So it’s extremely important for you to start cutting down your protein intake and if you want to increase your protein increase it from sources which are wholesome and natural. You can get quality protein from green leafy vegetables, broccoli, spinach, green peas, fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, almonds, walnuts, pumpkin seeds and whole grains. All the proteins that you’re getting in most of your protein shakes are quantity protein. Like you will have a scoop promising you 50 grams of protein. How much of that is really going to get absorbed in your body? It is not about how much protein you consume it’s about how well your body breaks down protein into amino acids and your body utilizes those amino acids as human protein. The protein that you see on all of your jars is synthetic protein. Half of it doesn’t even get absorbed or broken down into the right amino acids and that’s why if most people who drink protein shakes consume as much of protein as they do today, they should have great, lean and muscular bodies but most of them have an incredible amount of body fat, abdominal fat and side midriff fat.
If the proteins are for you why do you still have fat? It’s because protein is not the answer. When you have the right amount of quality protein in your diet and your body is breaking it down and utilizing it the right way, those amino acids work for your muscle and that’s how you generate lean mass and that’s how protein repairs and rejuvenates your cells. So when people are sick they need protein but not from external sources. They need clean plant protein which breaks down in their body with minimum oxidative stress and contributes towards the healing of their cells. So if you are struggling with fat loss the first thing that you need to do is cut down your protein and make sure that you’re having sufficient protein at all meals that is breakfast, lunch, evening snack and dinner because the human body will use protein in small forms spread out throughout the day. All that protein that you put in your body at one time in your shake after your workout; the body is not utilizing all of it at the same time. Most of it is getting converted into fat.
Now when you look at athletes and bodybuilders they do three things. They eat, sleep and they train. They take a lot of protein because they have to build a lot of muscle but then they take a lot of other supplements and the supporting nutrition to help break down that protein and their workouts are so intensive causing so much of muscle tear that the body requires more protein to repair it and that’s the difference between athletes and that’s the difference between us laymen. We can’t behave like athletes if we don’t train like athletes.
Reason 2: Overtraining. If you think that the more you work out the more you burn fat. You are highly mistaken. You have to have shorter workouts so that your body doesn’t reach a stage where it produces cortisol which is a stress hormone which then starts storing fat in your abdominal region. Let’s take for example the group of people who run for one hour on the treadmill or they do one hour on the elliptical or they do one hour on the stationary cycle. They lose two to three kilos and they reach a plateau and they stop losing weight. They never work with exercises that increase their lean mass. To lose body fat there is one thing that you need to do and that is increase your muscle mass and lean mass. The more muscle mass you have the more HGH you produce which is human growth hormone. The more HGH you produce the more body fat you burn. So running on a treadmill for one hour and all of that stuff doesn’t work for your body. You should look at doing high interval training, squats, burpees, pull-ups, push-ups and movements that are natural to the human body. Do not look at sitting in a gym and pushing some bar which your machine controls and keeps you in some framework that is not open to your entire body. That never really works for you. If you over train you got to eat more and that’s what athletes do. The more they train, the more they eat but in India the paradigm is the opposite. We believe that the more we train the less we should eat so that we create a deficient as we think that if I burn a thousand calories and I eat 500 calories I have a deficient of 500 calories and I’ll lose weight. Unfortunately the body doesn’t work on the principle of math. The body works on the principle of chemistry physiology and biology and so you can’t go with those calculations as they never worked and it will never work. You need to do smart training for your body supported by the third point which is the right recovery.
Reason 3: Most people today assume a workout of six days out of seven with one rest day. Now who designed that? Who told you that your workout should be for one hour? Who told you that you should work six out of seven days? Why not two out of seven days or why not four out of seven days or why not half an hour or why one-hour? How do you sell a gym membership? They work best in slots of one hour. So you have everyone promoting a one hour work out because it’s easy to cycle trainers and it’s easy to cycle memberships and all of that stuff. So all of a sudden today we believe that I need to train my body for one hour. The most powerful athletes and people with the best bodies don’t train for more than 30 minutes at one time because they understand cortisol. 30 minutes quick workout. Put your muscles to maximum intensity and then recover with the right foods and the right amount of recovery. So if you’re doing all those one-hour workouts make it 30 minutes and eventually make it 25 minutes. So you have to push yourself to finish a lot in lesser time and that’s how your muscle grows and you burn body fat.
Reason 4: Sleep and Recovery. This is where India has it all wrong. It is so rare to come across a person who’s sleeping seven to eight hours at night when they’re training so heavily. The more you train the more recovery you have. Have you ever wondered where the weight goes? Where is all your fat going? Where does it melt? Is there a residue of it? All the fat that you burn happens while you sleep at night. We breathe out the fat that we burn. I know it’s surprising but we breathe out the fat that we burn and that happens usually while we sleep. This is why most people who train well and don’t sleep well may develop arms and legs and a big chest but they still carry that potbelly or that midriff fat around them. The reason is less sleep because in that abdominal fat you have white tissue and you have brown tissue. It burns while you sleep. You breathe it out. So the more you sleep the more body fat you burn especially in the abdominal region and we have to understand that the recovery of muscle is so important. Today so many people work out and they’re sick. If you’re working out you should be healthy and have a strong immunity but because you’re overtraining and you have lack of recovery your immunity drops and working out with low immunity is detrimental to your health.
Reason 5: Fad Diets. For the longest time we have seen how fad diets help you lose the first two to three kilos and then after that you put it all back on or you just plateau. We need to understand that any fad diet that’s deficient in a macronutrient cripples your metabolism and metabolism is the most important thing when it comes to burning fat. That’s why when you carry lean mass and muscle your metabolic rate is always high. To maintain muscle tone it requires a lot of energy and that energy comes from your body burning fat constantly. So if you have muscle it’s working for you every minute of the day. This is why you need to make sure that your workout is creating lean mass for you. So you use your body to burn fat. You don’t punish your body by putting it through exhaustive workouts which then requires you to eat more food which we don’t do and requires more recovery which we don’t do and we live with that abdominal fat which is dangerous for us.
Reason 6: I always say losing weight is not about exercise and diet alone. It is all about your hormonal balance. If you have the right hormonal balance your body will allow you to lose weight. If you have the wrong communication between hormones it is impossible for you to lose weight easily. So what kind of hormonal imbalance am I talking about? Our country has the highest count of pcod, diabetes and thyroid issues. These are all hormonal imbalance diseases. If we have these conditions it means we have a hormonal imbalance and the first thing that we need to look at is correcting this hormonal imbalance through our exercise, food, sleep and through our stress levels. Let’s take the example of a woman who has a thyroid problem or a pcod problem. What is the best exercise for them? Punishing themselves with exhaustive workouts is only going to make their condition worse and never help them to lose weight. By starting off with gentle movements like walking and yoga and then easing into more advanced training is the right way to go. You already have a hormonal imbalance and here you are punishing your body with exercise which produces adrenal fatigue which then produces cortisol and now you have a larger hormonal imbalance. So men and women who have hormonal imbalances, exhaustive workouts and intense workouts is not your answer. You will lose more weight by just walking, by doing a little bit of yoga, maybe a little bit of Pilates and by slowly supporting your body to balance your hormones because it’s more rest and recovery that will help you balance your hormones.
I want these six points to digest into each of you. For some of you, you may take away one point and for some of you, you may take away all six points but it’s very important for you to understand that you have to break away from the mind pattern of heavy workouts and strict nutrition. It’s got to be balanced in all forms of life. To lose weight there are four verticals that you need to look at which are balanced nutrition, adequate exercise, quality sleep and your emotional health.