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8 Reasons Why We Get Fat

As the summer approaches, I realize that more and more are coming to do workouts at my gym. Many of us welcome the summer days with trepidation. Like you, I know that as we lose the layers of clothing, we reveal more of our bodies for the world to see.

I have always wondered how weight loss could be so effective for many, but it came with a lot of hard work for me. However, I realized that working out is just part of the work. Our diets contribute to most of our bodies staying lean and fit.

This cycle of diet and exercise with no redeeming results has plagued us all. Was there an elusive secret we have missed that prevents us from reaching our fitness goals? After reading Gary Taubes’s book “Why We Get Fat,” I realized there was! 

Why do some folks who eat the same number of calories don’t accumulate fat as fast as others? Why is doing more exercise often not the answer, and today’s recommended diet is not only bad for you but probably making you fatter? 

Here are 8 reasons we get fat and what to do about it. 

1. Insulin Spikes Make You Fat

Insulin is a hormone in our body that helps us break down glucose to use for energy. Furthermore, it also plays a vital role in regulating fat storage! The cause of fat accumulation can be attributed to our body’s insulin regulation. 

When we eat too much carbohydrates, our bodies release insulin to help break down all that sugar. However, if our diet consists of many carbohydrates (for example, sugar in your food and drinks every time), our bodies can become insulin resistant. Moreover, this could result in our body no longer responding to all that insulin in our blood. 

 Therefore, because insulin isn’t breaking down all that sugar in our blood, our body starts storing that sugary “goodness” into body fat! 

2. Calories-In vs. Calories-Out Is Flawed

If we count calories all the time, we must remember the significant components of fat storage, as described above. Calories are only part of the story, especially if we want to lose weight. 

Diets high in carbohydrates and refined sugar are the primary cause of obesity!

Taubes’ book states that consuming bad carbohydrates, mainly highly processed foods and added sugar, increases insulin levels, promoting fat storage. When we overeat carbohydrates, our body converts calories to fat, leading to weight gain. 

Therefore, it’s important to remember that diet is often the most effective way to lose weight or at least get your body fitness in control. In addition, the hormonal and metabolic effects of the different food types we consume play a vital role in our body’s weight regulation!

3. Losing Weight Means Losing Body Fat

When we say, “I want to lose weight,” we often mean we want to decrease the number we see when we step on the scale. However, what we should want to lose instead is body fat! The fat we store in our bodies is the problem!

It is important to note that genetics and a person’s metabolic differences are often not in our control. We may have genetic predispositions and metabolic responses to specific foods that others may not. Therefore we could be prone to weight gain due to these elements. 

However, when we say we want to lose weight, we must be specific. It’s good to gain some weight when the weight we’re gaining is muscles. Why? Because muscles help increase our metabolism. What we should focus on instead is to target losing body fat!

4. Go For A Diets Low In Carbohydrates 

Taubes’s book recommends a low-carbohydrate, high-fat (LCHF) diet as an effective alternative to our traditional “low-calorie” diet. 

Many diets focus too much on low-calorie diets as a start of weight loss. However, the quality of the food we eat counts more. Consequently, a low-calorie diet often recommends high-carbohydrate foods that are bad for your body. 

We must focus on reducing carbohydrates to lower our insulin levels and increase our fat-burning and weight loss. 

5. Don’t Get Scared of Eating High-Fat Foods

The other lesson I learned from the book that Taubes stresses for sustainable weight loss is to shift our dietary habits. We need not avoid high-fat foods that may be good for us. 

For example, some of us avoid meats high in fat, such as pork, beef, chicken, and fish. However, eating fats from these sources will not make you fat. Why? Because meat has low carbohydrates and, therefore, will not spike your insulin. 

A word of warning, I strive to eat less red meat, so I focus on chicken and fish as my primary source of protein. Additionally, eating more fats leads to satiety and helps us eat less food, especially snacking on junk foods high in carbohydrates! 

6. Eat High-Quality Food, Avoid Processed Foods

A healthy diet of unprocessed foods.

During our weight-loss journey, we must focus on eating high-quality food. Therefore, this primarily means we must avoid highly processed foods. These foods include those you can buy in fast food chains, those that come in cans, and any foods with too many ingredients, including preservatives, coloring, and other chemicals. 

Instead, we need to consume unprocessed foods. These could be raw, organic foods with no refined carbohydrates that could disrupt and create hormonal imbalances and weight gain. 

When we eat processed foods, they include ingredients that are not natural. These chemicals enter our bodies, and we react to them. We have yet to determine the effects of these chemicals fully. Further, most of these chemicals we only started manufacturing about 100 years ago or less! 

Furthermore, eating unprocessed food means the same food that our ancestors have always eaten. We avoid all the chemicals we add to food that are unhealthy for our bodies and could lead to hormonal imbalance, some effects of which are weight gain. 

7. Lack of Sleep Contributes to Weight Gain

There have been countless studies that lack of sleep is not only harmful to our minds but also to our bodies. A poor sleeping habit creates many long-term problems. Some of the side effects could include weight gain. 

Have you ever had a friend who pulls all-nighters? Suddenly they gain weight. Why is that? Well, a poor sleeping habit disrupts the hormonal balance. Therefore, in turn, our bodies could have a sudden appetite increase due to these hormonal imbalances. As a result, we end up consuming unhealthy foods. 

Worst yet, due to inadequate sleep, our metabolism will be negatively affected, which contributes to our body not burning off the calories and converting all those calories to fat. 

Therefore, a well-balanced diet is just a start. A habit of getting a restful night of sleep does wonders for weight loss. Additionally, getting ample sleep helps muscle growth if you work out. 

8. Stay Active Everyday

The average American lifestyle is a sedentary one. We need more physical activity every day. Therefore, taking long walks, getting up and doing some exercises, and partaking in physical activities that raise our hearts daily is healthy for us in the long haul. 

One activity that I love to do is walking. I love to walk around the neighborhood every day. There are countless studies on why walking is a great activity to help us stay healthy. The best thing about walking is that it feels like something other than a workout. 

One way to help motivate us to stay active every day is smartwatches. I used to have a Fitbit that helped me count the number of daily steps, which helped inspire me. Nowadays, I have upgraded to Apple Watch, which does the same thing but has even more Health tracking. 

Whether walking, running, doing sports, or any activity that helps us keep moving, staying active helps our weight loss goals because it helps our bodies work.

Founder of Enlight8.com