What Does It Mean to be Fat Adapted?
In my work with clients who want to release weight, I teach them how to do it WITHOUT some sort of prescribed ‘DIET’ that instantly makes most of us feel restricted.
Diets are temporary.
Some people find a sort of freedom in a diet, (or even a detox like the one I just finished up with my small group) because it just takes certain things ‘off the table’ ….literally.
There’s an ease with that because it takes the decision making away.
But… it’s temporary.
When you are on one of those plans you always know that you’ll just give up these certain foods temporarily to get to a certain goal – usually a number or the scale, or it might be the way your belly feels or the way a certain pair of jeans fits.
Maybe you put yourself on a special diet because you know it will help you get rid of the aches and pains that are getting out of hand!
When we’re on these sorts of diets give up, we restrict, we hide the goodies, we distract ourselves with chewing gum and special drinks so that we won’t think about the foods we really want to eat.
So… it’s not really freedom. It becomes sort of a yoke around you. And… most diets don’t lead to a physiological or psychological freedom from the DESIRE for certain foods.
We work with both physical and the mental/emotional aspects of weight loss in my Menopausal Weight Loss Solution program, but today I’m writing about some of the physiological part. (Meaning what’s happening in your BODY!)
Now, I’m not a scientist, nutritionist or any sort of medical professional. Really what I share is based on what I’ve learned from the professionals, and it’s anecdotal based on what I figured out for myself and my clients.
The Fat Adapted Body
There’s this term called ‘fat adapted’ and basically what it means is that your body has ADAPTED itself to using the nutrients that are stored in your fat cells for fuel. This is the way it works naturally for a well-functioning human body. It’s the way our bodies were designed to work.
We eat some food, we use some of those nutrients right away, we circulate some as glucose in the blood to use in the immediate future, and then we store the rest in our fat cells. Then, when that glucose in our blood runs out, the body releases the rest of the nutrients from the fat cells so you have stable energy, and you don’t feel like you’re empty.
Unfortunately, what has happened to a lot of us – especially once we get into our 40s and beyond is that there is a hormonal imbalance. It usually involves several different hormones, but you basically end up with too much insulin circulating in your blood.
That insulin is supposed to be doing the job of storing the nutrients in fat cells and then fetching it back out. But when there’s too much everything gets all confused because the fat cell receptors are resisting the insulin, it can’t get in to get those nutrients and use them up. And so instead, your fat cells just hold onto all those calories.
To make matters worse, the insulin keeps sending messages to your brain that you’re HUNGRY, you need more food, and preferably sugar. The fat cells sort of lock out the insulin.
This is the opposite of being fat adapted. You get blood sugar swings, you feel hungry fast. In my case I used to get these strong hunger pains and stomach aches…. Because my body was not fat adapted.
There’s more involved in getting your body fat adapted, but balancing the insulin, and reversing that insulin resistance is a #1 step to doing that.
And of course that does mean making adjustments to your diet…. Meaning what you eat on a regular basis… rather than some temporary regime.
Now… it does sort of work to do a temporary blitz where you eliminate specific foods that can cause insulin resistance.
The biggest culprits are flour and sugar. And I don’t just mean white…. All kinds of flour and sugar. Any food that is made from ingredients that have been ground into a flour will convert into sugar more quickly, which in turn spikes that insulin. All sugar will do it, even the more natural ones like maple syrup.
But the problem with his method – again – is that most people have a hard time sticking to it if they haven’t done the inner work around feelings of deprivation and rebellion. Or, even if they manage to stick to it for several weeks, they fall right back into eating the problem foods.
It’s also possible to regulate and get more fat adapted with a slower process too. The best choice depends on your personality and your current eating habits. Personally, I found it easier to simply cut the offenders out of my diet for a month—but I did it in certain way that didn’t leave me jonesing for a sugar hit as soon as the month was over.
I was well practiced in the mindset and energy healing tools that anchor in the changes.
Some people decide to jettison sugar and flour from their life forever. That means their body becomes completely fat adapted and they literally never have to worry about it again. They can go for hours and hours without eating and not even notice because their body is so damn efficient at just going out into the cold storage (fat cells) and retrieving the nutrients.
I envy those people!! For myself, now that I’ve become much more fat adapted, I have chosen to still consume SOME flour and sugar but very mindfully. I am very attentive to how my body responds, and if I start having even a HINT of the intense hunger, or the swings, then I cut way back or cut it out completely for a spell.
It’s become an easy choice. I feel SO much better when my body is mostly fat adapted. Everything is steadier. My energy is sustainable. I feel stronger. I actually enjoy my food more. And of course my weight has stayed steady. I have a brand new set point that I haven’t had since I was in high school.
My body just doesn’t crave as much sugar any more. Not at all.
Our human brains are ALWAYS going to urge us to go for the sugar and the easy food. Our brains love the short term pleasure and they love the ease of those foods. So, that often SEEMS like the easier choice at first.
But once you’ve experienced that deeper well being of of a fat adapted body, choosing what’s ‘harder’ at first look becomes a no-brainer.
We talk a lot more about all of this in The Menopausal Weight Release Solution… and of course we work with our inner rebel and use brain bending practices to get around the resistance to the change.
But… understanding and knowledge is the first step to any sort of change. Next time you’re feeling ‘hangry’ or craving a sugar buzz…. now you’ll understand that it has to do with how well your body is processing nutrients and sugar.