Eating out with friends or workmates seems easier than cooking at home all by yourself. Not to mention that you can’t just say no to second helpings of free lunches at work. So you promise yourself that you’re going to simply burn those extra calories later at the gym. It turns out that you may be doing more harm than good.
A 2012 study among Japanese adults found that while exercise intervention alone for achieving weight loss may work, combining diet and exercise efforts is most effective in weight reduction. On top of this finding, a systematic review of similar studies proved that exercise is associated with concomitant increase in caloric intake. In other words, it makes you eat more. If those extra calories are “reward” calories like a sugary soda or piece of cake, you may be offsetting the fat you burned off during exercise.
YOUR GAME PLAN
Reexamine your food choices and experiment with cutting down on highly processed foods or certain food groups. If possible, try keeping a food journal for a couple of months to help you get a sense of your eating habits. For some folks, calorie counting works. Others have the greatest success when they went low-carb, high-fat, or did intermittent fasting alongside their exercise programs, but the biggest goal is to understand and balance your caloric goals when your diet and exercise routines change.
4. You have imbalanced blood sugar.
Here’s a recap of how insulin works. When blood sugar increases (usually after a meal), insulin delivers glucose (sugar) to the cells for energy. However, eating too often or overeating can make your body less sensitive to insulin’s effects. This elevated insulin level can also lead to an increase that pesky stress hormone, cortisol.
More importantly, when insulin resistance occurs, your cells cannot intake the sugar from your blood. As a result, the liver converts this sugar into triglycerides that are stored as existing body fat through de novo lipogenesis, just in case you’ll need them for energy in the future.
This could have been useful for our ancestors ages ago when there was shortage of food. Yet these days, food means opening your fridge or dropping by at the nearest convenience store. However, your body is unaware of this modern day fact, which in turn leads to unwanted weight gain.
For this reason, it may be beneficial to keep an eye on your blood sugar levels. Continued excess glucose loads can promote insulin sensitivity and lead to more complex metabolic abnormalities including Metabolic Syndrome. This can possibly be one of the reasons why fat mass remains stubborn despite working out or supposedly eating clean.
YOUR GAME PLAN
Excess carbohydrate consumption (pizza night or Pasta Thursday?) causing de novo lipogenesis can be mitigated by none other than exercise! Balancing your macronutrient intake or utilizing intermittent fasting (with guidance from your medical professional) can help you balance your insulin resistance without having to directly monitor blood sugar levels. Looking for more tips? Try blueberries or cinnamon!
5. Your exercise routine is not aligned with your body composition goals.