"I actually don't eat enough food to lose weight."
That seems like a paradoxical statement, however, I have heard many people say this. And, these people may be onto something. But, it is not that their metabolism has plunged. It is something more complex, and something that affects everyone in different ways.
Conventional wisdom says that our body fat is simply like the overflow of water when too much is poured into a bucket. Eat too much, and the excess calories simply overflow and end up as fat. In order to lose body fat, just eat less. You can use a handy little calculation and figure out how many calories you need to eat each day and you'll continue to lose a specific amount of fat each day. Then you precisely measure out your food and you are on your way to a leaner, slimmer you.
We have all heard this advice, and many of us have applied it. The only problem is it is rarely accurate! For example, look at the obese individual who eats 1200 calories per day and maintains her weight? Or the 16 year-old boy who eats 500 grams of sugar per day and maintains seven percent bodyfat? These examples don't make sense with the conventional fat loss wisdom.
Energy Partition Control
Bodyfat levels are under complex, precise, physiological control. It is not a simple, passive system like i described earlier with the bucket overflow analogy. Complex hormonal signaling dictate how energy is partioned. A great example is in type 1 diabetes. In this disease, no insulin is produced by the pancreas. Insulin is an important hormone that 'allows' cells to take up glucose (blood sugar). When it is not present, energy (sugar) is not directed to the into cells that need it.
Instead, blood sugar levels rise, and spill over into the urine. The energy essentially is partitioned out of the body. It does not make it into the muscles organs, or bodyfat. These tissues starve (especially the brain, which results in seizures and a coma), not because you didn't eat enough, but the signals inside your body partioned the energy right back out of your body.
In the next post, I will discuss how to 'signal' your body to partition energy into the muscles and not into fat. Check back in tomorrow!