243: Metabolism 101 – Why You Aren’t Losing Weight

Oct 13, 2016

Let’s get back to the basics of metabolism to help you figure out why you aren’t losing weight and what you can do about it!

I recently shared with you guys that episode 240 was one of my favorites – we were talking about how your body allows or disallows fat burning and what you can do to control this cellular & hormonal signaling.

Understanding these concepts is really the key to figuring out why you aren’t losing weight or why you’re always hungry or why you can’t get your cravings under control. After that episode, some of you shared that it went a little over your head.

Since this is your show, that’s not okay with me! I want every episode to be FOR YOU so we’re breaking it down today to ensure that everyone understands these important basics of why you gain weight, why you aren’t losing weight and what you can do about it.

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Metabolism 101 – Why You Aren’t Losing Weight

If you want the detailed science & technical explanations, I’ve linked to a bunch of those episodes below in the Resources section. Or, you can check out my comprehensive course on Carbohydrate Strategies for Sustainable Fat Loss.

But for today’s episode, I want to simplify, perhaps even over-simplify, the process that takes place when we eat and how it addresses why you aren’t losing weight.

Just because you don’t get immediate feedback when you eat, that doesn’t mean the food you eat has no impact.

Just because your jeans aren’t tighter immediately after eating cookies or looser immediately after eating a salad doesn’t mean the choice had no impact on your rate of fat storage or fat burning.

In fact, I would argue that both choices impact fat burning & fat storage, you just don’t immediately see or feel the impact.

Every time you eat, a conversation begins inside your body.

The fuel you consume each time you eat triggers hormones & enzymes to spring into action and consider what should be done with the fuel, if it should be burned, if it should be stored and where it should be stored.

The answers depend on what you ate, how much you ate, if you needed to eat and what you’ve eaten in the recent past.

In order to respond to & process the fuel you’ve consumed, your body begins by breaking it down into it’s simplest parts. Without first breaking it down, it would be too large to travel through the body.

Only in it’s smallest parts can it get into and out of cells to be stored or used as fuel.

In the case of carbohydrates (whether they are from bread, pasta, oats, cookies, crackers, potatoes or fruit), the simplest parts are small, singular sugars.

The conversation in the body changes when the simple sugars hit the blood stream.

Your body must respond immediately because sugar hanging out in the blood stream for too long can be toxic.

Your body sends out signals “blood sugar has risen beyond a stable level! All available personnel come help clear it out”

Metabolizing sugar takes priority because it is toxic.

The primary responder to this blood sugar situation is the hormone insulin.

You see, sugar isn’t allowed to roam freely through the body. It requires a chaperone.

The chaperone charged with ushering sugar out of the blood to be burned or stored is insulin.

Insulin is a storage hormone. Insulin begins a conversation with the body which goes like this:

“Please stop all fuel breakdown activities, including fat burning. We have a fuel excess situation and while I’m dealing with the excess, do not break down any more fuel. We are now in storage mode.”

This signaling from insulin stops fat burning and initiates storage mode.

But that’s not the only signal from insulin.

As I explained in more technical terms in episode 240, when insulin is chronically elevated and running the show due to overeating or consuming too many sugars & starches, it siphons off too much fuel and shuttles it to the fat tissue.

  • Insulin is preferential to fat storage versus muscle storage
  • Insulin diverts fuel to the fat tissue and decreases delivery to the muscle tissue
  • Insulin slows fat burning
  • Insulin triggers the creation of new fat cells so there are ample storage sites available

In today’s episode I talk about simple changes we can make to help control insulin and spend more time in fat burning mode and less time in fat storing mode. Make sure to listen to the full episode!


Carb Strategies for Sustainable Fat Loss – Course

Why We Get Fat by Gary Taubes

Carb Timing for Fat Loss

Carb Spillover (And How To Stop It)

Carb Tolerance

Understanding Insulin

Golden Rules of Carbs & Fat Loss

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