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As a culture, Americans have lost the ability to burn fat. Inundated with added sugars in almost every product on the shelves, our bodies have adapted to burn sugar as our energy supply, when fat is our bodies preferred energy source! Of course, both work in the body as fuel – but fat is way more efficient and long-lasting compared to sugar. Sugar is quickly depleted in the body, and can leave the body completely exhausted, craving, and carrying around extra weight.
So, which are you using as your fuel? Fat or sugar? You can literally find out which you are burning by getting your Leptin levels checked, but those tests can be quite expensive. You can somewhat evaluate by taking a step back and evaluating your lifestyle. If you are increasingly sedentary, you are most likely burning sugar. If you are eating multiple times throughout the day and not giving yourself a 12-13 hour break from food (nighttime), you are most likely burning sugar. If you have excess body fat that you can’t seem to get rid of, you are most likely burning sugar.
Become A Better Fat Burner
According to Ayurveda, weight control is just a side effect of being a good fat burner. Fat is a calm, steady and stable fuel supply that helps people sleep through the night, handle stress, ward off anxiety and depression, and even run marathons.
In my book, The 3-Season Diet, I describe an Ayurvedic fat-burning technique called “Weight Balancing.” In a pilot study on Weight Balancing, 18 subjects were asked to eat just three meals a day with not snacks. The results were impressive. After 2 weeks each of the subjects saw significant improvement in:
- Fatigue after work
- Ability to lose weight (the average was 1.2 pounds of weight loss per week)
The full study and a summary of the Weight Balancing program is available in my free Weight Balancing eBook.
Basically, we need to train our bodies to start burning fat instead of sugar. We can do so by changing our eating habits with the goal of avoiding spikes in blood sugar. Here is the program that I recommend:
Follow these rules until you can do it comfortably without strain:
- Eat three balanced meals a day.
- Make each meal big enough so that you can get to the next meal without hunger pangs.
- Relax and take time to enjoy the process of eating.
- No snacking between meals.
- Make lunch the biggest meal of the day.
- Drink 8 glasses of water per day, between meals.
Six meals a day was designed as a body builder diet. If you eat six times a day, the body will not burn fat stores, it will burn the six meals you just ate. If you want to burn fat, you must give the body a reason to do so. Eating three meals a day with no snacks forces the body to burn stored fat to deliver the energy needed to go from one meal to the next. You can stop at Step One if you want to eat healthier, but not lose weight.
When you have adjusted to Step One and it is not a strain, you are ready to move on to Step Two:
- Continue the rules of step one.
- Make supper a smaller meal, such as a soup and/or salad.
- Tip: Focus on a bigger more relaxing and slightly later lunch.
Supper comes from the words “soup” and “supplemental.” Eating a smaller supper forces the body to go into fat metabolism sooner each night. Humans are designed to burn fat exclusively at night, but because we have lost the ability to burn fat, studies show we rarely go into fat-burning at night as we should. This can cause sleeplessness, weight gain and anxiety.
When you have adjusted to Step Two and it is not a strain, you are ready to move on to Step Three:
- Continue the rules of Steps One and Two.
- Make supper smaller and earlier (before 6PM).
Traditionally, supper was taken before 6PM. This forces the body to burn stored fat from 6PM to 7AM, which is a 13 hour fast. This fast is, of course, broken with breakfast, but it allows the body to burn fat for a full 13 hours. This can help weight loss, stable mood and boost endurance.
Only advance to Step Four if Steps One and Two have become easy:
- Skip supper 4-6 nights a week.
- Continue this for 2-4 weeks and then revert back to Step One for maintenance.
- Tip: Eat a bigger and somewhat later lunch, so you are still full by 6PM.
This is the final test for the ability to burn fat. The only way you can eat a big relaxing lunch and then make it all the way from lunch to breakfast the next morning is with stable blood sugar, and with the ability to be a good fat burner. This weight balancing program resets the ability to burn fat, by replacing sugar with fat as the primary fuel source.
For a deeper dive into this weight loss plan, find exercise, food and herbal tips in my free Ayurvedic Weight Balancing eBook.