Posted by: thefitacademic | January 28, 2011

What’s keeping you Fat?

First thing first – I want to say Thanks for all the well-wishes! I have been border-line OD’ing on vitamin C, and last night I conked out for a solid 9 hours & woke up feeling markedly better! Still not 100%, but my symptoms seem to have morphed from flu-like symptoms (body ache, oscillating hot/cold spells) to more of cold-like symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, congestion). So, I’m not really back to normal, but I’d much rather have a cold than the flu, any day!


So, it’s no secret that I’m a big fan of the Cut the Fat podcast! I just recently featured it as one of my favorite ipod downloads, but I’ve also referenced it before (check it out here and here). Today I want to talk about another one of my favorite episodes:

The 6 Principles of Fat Loss

It’s important to note that we’re talking about FAT loss, not WEIGHT loss! There’s a difference! Lots of people (women, especially) focus solely on weight – that number on the scale – without taking into consideration their percentage of body fat. The principles here are backed by SCIENTIFIC STUDIES. It’s not just heresy. It’s no fad diet. It’s for real, legitimate 100% research-backed findings about how to lower your body fat (while upping our muscle mass!)

1. Do the paper work OR be fat.

This sounds harsh, but what it refers to is that you need to know where you’re starting at. That often includes starting a food diary where you track everything you eat, track the calories, fat, and carbs that you take in. You don’t have to do it forever, but you need to know the baseline where you are starting. Most people grossly underestimate the amount of food the eat, and grossly overestimate the amount of physical activity they partake in. But if you’re serious about cutting the fat, you need to know FOR REAL what’s going on in your life. That way, you know where you can improve and where changes need to be made!

2. Understand what a serving size REALLY is.

Most people (Americans, specifically) eat disgustingly large servings of food – much more than you really need! And even pre-packaged food (which I don’t condone) may claim to have “only 100 calories” or “only 3g of fat”…..well, guess what, the containers often have multiple servings. In your typical can of soda, for example, there’s 2.5 servings at 100 calories per serving…that’s 250 calories in a drink! Crazy! You need to know what a serving really is. Check out the picture for good rules of thumb


3. Your stomach has 3 settings:  starving, satisfied (but could eat more), and stuffed

Starving (physiologically, in the body) is the same if you haven’t eaten for 5 hours or 25 hours. Once you’re starving, you can get no hungrier! At stuffed you literally cannot eat any more or else you will vomit. The trick is to stay at the “satisfied” level to avoid overeating! To do that, we should be aware of when we’re eating (don’t eat mindlessly). Also, eat slowly – it takes about 20 minutes to feel satiated! Give yourself that time. It will help keep you from eating until you’re stuffed.

4. Understand that food is more than just energy – it’s INFORMATION!

We used to think that food was just energy, but now science has shown that the food we eat actually serves as a catalyst, helping many complex chemical reactions to occur within our body. Food triggers biochemical hormone cascade that acts as a communication signal between cells, regulating energy storage and metabolism. This gets very technical, but the important thing is to understand that our body keeps track of the foods we take in, and communicates with cells to do certain things based on the food we’ve eaten (e.g., if you eat protein the message is “building blocks are coming – Prepare to Repair!”  If you eat carbohydrates the message is “energy is on the way! Grab and store energy!”) Our body’s default is to store energy. We want to tell our bodies that we have plenty of food availability, so there’s no need to store excess energy! This is why starvation diets do not work!

5. Insulin is our body’s primary storage signal.

Insulin’s primary function is to signal the body that energy is entering the blood & send the message to store as much energy as possible. It promotes storage of fat and carbohydrates. Obviously having high levels of insulin is a problem for fat-loss! Well what is insulin from? Glucose! Everyone equates glucose to sugar (and sugar definitely creates glucose), but glucose is actually in CARBOHYDRATES, TOO!!! That’s why low carb diets can work (no carbs = no/low glucose!). And why “Fat-Free” diets Don’t Work (because they’re often chock-full of carbs and/or sugar!)

6. Carbohydrates + Fat = Recipe for Disaster!

Carbs cause insulin to be secreted, which causes fat to be stored in the body. Fat is the densest micronutrient – containing twice the calories as a same-portion-sized carbohydrate. But, fat isn’t all bad – it helps form the cellular membrane of cells (like the skin – it’s the outtermost layer) & it  is a primary molecule for communication in the body. It helps to regulate practically every aspect of the body (including metabolism!) The key is to provide the body with the right balance of “healthy” fats: like those found in fish, avocado, nuts, etc. These types of fat can even help burn the “bad” fats! To optimize fat loss, it’s best NOT to combine fat with carbohydrates (or else the body retains it all!) Examples of foods that are high in fat & high in carbs are a burger with the bun, steak & potatoes, pizza with the bread & cheese. We eat this way all the time… we need to think about what it’s actually doing to our bodies!


That’s all I’m going to share with you here, but I’ll give you a little tip:  there are actually 12 principles that are shared on this podcast (I’ve only given the first 6), so you can tune in for yourself to hear the rest!

I’m going over to a friend’s for dinner tonight, then back home to rest and relax while everyone else is heading downtown. I’m still not feeling well enough for those types of shenanigans Open-mouthed smile I also need to do some cleaning before the hubbs gets back home. Not that I’ve just been letting dishes pile up in the sink or leaving my scrapbooking stuff in piles all around the floor or anything like that. Who would live in such a pigsty? Certainly not me! Winking smile

Do you have any big weekend plans?

What principle for Fat Loss did you learn something new from?



  1. I think serving sizes are so important. I don’t advocate getting obsessive about them, but at least knowing how much you should be eating is a huge step!

  2. That podcast sounds interesting—I need to check that out!

    I have no real plans except checking out a new restaurant for restaurwant week tomorrow night, I’m excited! Hope you feel better 🙂

    • I LOVE trying new places! I swear, if it were up to me I’d probably never go to the same place twice, but the hubbs is totally a creature of habit!!

  3. My big Friday night plans include sitting at the laundromat while I’m not feeling well, woo hoo!! 😉 Saturday class all day, Saturday night TATTOO! (work on my sleeve), Sunday practice massages, homework, and cooking. Jam packed, just like usual! 🙂

    • Tattoo?? Sounds like Saturday is going to be fun!! I had a few hours to kill today and nearly got a tattoo

    • Wow! Sucks about being so busy when you’re feeling icky! So exciting about working on your sleeve, though!!!! I’m so jealous! I’ve been wanting another tattoo for YEARS (literally….like 3 years now), but I know what I want, I’ve had it priced, and I just never find the extra money lying around to have it done!

  4. What? You mean the entire bag of candy isnt a serving? Darn!!!
    I certainly struggle with portion control… I eat pretty healthy but even healthy food can be bad when you eat too much!

  5. I hope you feel better! Def agree cold is better than flu! Your post was really great, girl! My weekend consists of relaxing,..yay!

    • nothing better than a relaxing weekend!!!

  6. Okay, so I get to “stuffed” waaaaaay too often! I need to have someone take the peanut butter jar away from me at night time…

    So glad to hear you’re feeling better!

  7. Those are some good tips, it’s always amazing to me how common sense stuff like portion size is a novel diet tip for some 🙂 You mean I’m not supposed to eat a whole rack of ribs and 2 sides???

  8. serving size is a huge one. especially when going out to eat! i am horrible with knowing meat serving sizes, which is probably why i dont eat it much! that and ice cream. does anyone really measure out their ice cream? not this girl!!

  9. i’m going to download that podcast right now to listen to on my drive from st. louis to madison tomorrow. thanks so much for posting about it. it’s a really interesting topic!

    serving sizes is one of these principles that i preach about a lot to the subjects in my studies. americans’ views on portion sizes are so skewed and it’s so frustrating!

    • I know, it’s crazy! On my first trip to Europe it was the first time I was really confronted with the HUGE differences in our portion sizes! And not just with food – drinks, too! Americans really need to get it together!

  10. These are all great tips, especially tip number 6. It’s better to know the whole process of why something like fats+carbs is bad – I feel like I’ve just had an A-ha moment! Knowing the “why” behind a fact is way more effective than just being bombarded with “don’t eat this or don’t eat that” information .
    Pity I hadn’t read this at the weekend when I ate a whole pizza….:-)

  11. […] you ever heard of the Cut The Fat Podcast? I’ve talked about it here (explaining why I eat meat), here (giving the 6 principles of Fat Loss), and here (8 reasons why we fail at weight loss). Well […]

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