Is this not the holy grail of the fitness industry? So many people have asked me this question over the years and so many people have tried and failed at different methods to shift it. There are so many things at play here, so many different factors that it can be a very difficult and real problem. I will attempt to give you what I have learned over the years, separate the science from the myth, fiction from fact and give you a few ideas and tools to help you combat the dreaded and unwanted excess fat.

Brown is the new Black

Fat is stored in our bodies in little sacks not dissimilar to plastic. These are our fat cells and the good news is that the amount of fat cells we have in our bodies once we hit adulthood does not change. What does happen however is that, they just get fuller and expand! Collectively these are known as adipose tissues. Another interesting thing to note is that there are two types we have in our bodies -Brown Fat and White Fat! Brown fat is brown because it has much more of a blood supply. Brown fat can be utilized to create heat by the body. Babies have a lot more brown fat and this is a protective mechanism to keep them warm. White fat on the other hand has little or no blood supply – this is the reason why it is stubborn!! To utilize it as energy, it needs to be freed from the cell and have access to a blood supply. Is there anything we can do to change out fat supply from brown to white?

The good news is yes – A recent study in Yale found that eating too few calories prevented white fat from turning brown, while eating just enough to satisfy hunger—prompted the white fat to turn brown. Eating an apple, a day was also found to encourage the body to turn white fat to brown due to a compound called ursolic acid (found in apple peels, which gives apples their sheen). Another method which works well is exposure to cold – when we repeatedly get exposed to cold water – this can trigger our bodies to produce more brown and less white fat. Don’t worry, you don’t have to skinny dip, you can just take a nice cold shower instead.

Get Stubborn with stubborn Fat – mix it up

I want you to remember how long that fat took to accumulate on your body. It took months and years to accumulate and it will not magically melt off just because you want it to. So many people do a few days or weeks and get so disappointed when they have not lost 3 stone! This is a long game -you have to get stubborn with stubborn fat. You have to move outside what you are used to, you have to consult with your personal trainer from FLYEfit and get their help. Mix it up in terms of exercise. Utilize every single thing you can in the battle. Exercise activates the AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK) in muscle and other tissues, a pathway that increases fat oxidation and glucose transport.

Your will need as much patience as you have desire to lose the fat. Imagine the effort it might take and then decide to double it. Allow your frustration to be your fuel. Attack from the kitchen as well. There is no point in absolutely killing yourself in the gym and then un-doing all your hard with chips and pizza!! 

Simple Nutrition & Fats

Don’t overcomplicate it. Stop eating loads of unhealthy high sugar and high fat foods. Start eating loads more vegetables, leafy green and berries. It is really that simple. Please do not be consuming loads of “healthy fats”. The best fats you can eat should be coming from whole foods like nuts, oily fish, seeds and avocados. Every single refined oil is a highly processed calorie dense food. When we eat fat, our body needs to do very little in order to store it on our hips!! Avoid low processed “low-fat” foods as well. Nut butters and coconut oils are very rich in calories. They are not health foods and should be consumed in small amounts. It sounds like the most obvious thing but cutting out these calorie rich foods will have a massive impact on fat storage in the body.

Reduce Inflammation

I have mentioned this before in many posts. The role of inflammation in health and disease is an area where there has been a lot of research in recent years. The role of inflammation and its association with obesity is becoming more evident. A recent set of studies linked inflammation with obesity as well as describing inflammation as a very strong risk factor for developing disease and activating the bodies fat storing pathways. A reduction in refined foods, high fat diets, processed meats and keeping control of stress can help reduce inflammation. Once again, eating a diet high in plant based foods and omega 3’s can help reduce inflammation in bodily tissues and influence fat storage.

Take Home Message

In order to achieve different results, you must take different actions. These are a few areas where you can make a huge difference in the longer term but you must patience and passion in equal amounts. Eat the right food, train hard, rest well and start to turn the shower to colder and colder levels to encourage the body to produce more brown. For more recipes, tips, help and advice check out our Facebook page at My Nutrition Ireland.