Removing Excess Body Fat



Many people struggle to lose their excess body fat but fail. They seem to think that the less calorie they take, the more weight they would lose. Soon, they will find out that they do lose weight for a while on a low calorie diet but, then, would stop losing or even start gaining weight on the same "low calorie diet."

The body weight changes by the balance between the amount of calorie you take (intake) and the amount of calorie you burn (output). Many other factors are involved in the body weight issues such as metabolic rate, body temperature, timing of calorie intake, and the balance amoung protein, fat, and carbohydrate.

The folowing articles will discuss these factors and present a few tips on how to reduce excess body fat more effectively.

A. Adiponectin and Growth Hormone for Fat Burning

When most people hear body fat, they immediately think of various unpleasant thoughts. They think they have too much of it, they want to get rid of it, they think it's evil etc. However, the truth is body fat isn't all bad. In fact, body fat plays a critical role in various vital functions and is a necessary component for healthy living

First of all, fat serves as a means to store energy. It's like the gasoline in your car. A car can't run without gasoline (i.e. energy) and if you only have a little bit, you run the risk of running out. Second, fat contains material for various hormones such as leptin, resitin and the cytokine TNFα , which are all vital for maintaining a healthy body. Third, fat serves as protective barrier for cold ambient temperature. So, while we don't want so much fat that it affects our well being and ability to function normally, neither do we want to get rid of all our fat.

It's also important to understand that there are different types of fat in the body. There is subcutaneous fat (under the skin), visceral fat (in organs like liver, muscles, etc.) and yellow bone marrow. Subcutaneous fat is for long-term storage and visceral fat (organ fat) is more for short-term storage of energy.

When a body has excessive free fat in the blood stream, it is first stored in the fat cells (adipose cells) in the organs. When the organ fat cells are oversaturated and can't store any more fat, the fat in the blood stream will be stored in the fat cells under the skin (subcutaneous). After a certain age, the number of the fat cells in the organs won't change much but the number of the fat cells under the skin can increase indefinitely.  

The organ fat cells play a very important role. Chiefly, they produce Adiponectin, a protein hormone that deals with glucose regulation and fatty acid catabolism (breakdown).  Adiponectin is only secreted from organ fat cells and not from the under-the-skin fat cells. Therefore, it's very important to keep the organ fat cells healthy and active. When the organ fat cells are healthy, they will produce Adiponectin which will in turn help regulate the sugar and fat in our body. If the organ fat cells are overloaded, they will not function well and Adiponectin production will be impaired.

Exercise and Organ Fat
As mentioned above, organ fat is for short term storage of energy. When our body needs energy, it uses the organ fat, first. The "Body Building/Maintenance Exercises" is taking advantage of this body's property.

Muscle Torturing Exercises cause growth hormone to be released from the Pituitary Glands. These hormones will then speed up the conversion of fat into free fatty acids. In other words, the combination of Muscle Torturing Exercises followed by cardio-vascular exercises, should provide an effective means to lose your excess body fat, including your under-the-skin fat!  

Adiponectin and Food
Adiponectin is a protein hormone. And just like any other protein, if you take it orally, it will be digested and broken down into amino-acids in the stomach and intestine and will never enter the blood stream.
Some studies have recently found, however, that soy bean products can enhance the production of Adiponectin. Since soy beans also contain many essential amino acids, you will find many health benefits to making soy products (like tofu and soy milk) a regular part of your diet.


B. Why some low calorie diets don't work

When the body's blood sugar goes down too low for an extended period of time, the brain interprets this state as a danger or emergency situation and activates a survival mechanism. It brings the body's metabolic rate to a very low level to conserve energy and also orders all the body tissues to covert available glucose and fatty acid into fat. Fat will quickly build up in the organ fat cells, first, and, then, in the subcutaneous fat cells. 

Therefore, if you cut your intake of carbohydrates too much, your body will go into an emergency conservation mode. As a result, you may gain weight even on a low calorie diet if the diet has too little carbohydrate.  

Many people on weight-loss diets find that they lose weight in the beginning but soon stop losing on the same diet. This is because their body has adapted to a low calorie by going into a conservation mode. Even if they cut their calorie intake further down, their body may still adapt to it!

This cycle goes on until the calorie intake becomes extremely low. But at that level of a calorie intake, you may not function normally on daily activities!  

In order to avoid this trap, which is built in our bodies, you should take a reasonably balanced diet with about 30 to 40% of carbohydrate.  


C. Enhancing Metabolic Rate

In addition to the brain's survival mechanism that lowers your metabolic rate, there are other ways that you can deliberately manipulate your metabolic rate. If you can maintain a high metabolic rate, you will burn more calories. 

1. Hot and Spicy Foods
It has been known that hot spices stimulate the body metabolism and cause the body to generate more heat. However, these hot spices can be too hot for some people to consume on a regular basis. In some cultures, they may add vinegar or dairy in addition to the hot spices. Suddenly, that unbearable hot, burning taste becomes much milder. Chinese restaurants serve hot and sour soup, and Indian restaurants serve yogurt sauce with their curry, for example. Apparently, many Asian cultures discovered this trick long ago.
You may use hot pepper, ginger roots or other hot spices in your daily food. If you want to make your food really hot, but can't stand the heat you can try adding vinegar or low-fat yogurt to the food. With hot and spicy foods, you can keep your metabolic rate high, burn more calories and reduce your body fat more. Be careful not to overload on these foods if you are not used to eating spicy foods. You may end up with indigestion or heart burn as an unwanted side effect! 

2. Balanced Diet with Protein
Compared to fat or carbohydrate, protein requires more energy for our body to digest and utilize. Under thermographic observation, the stomach of a subject who consumed a reasonable amount of protein foods became brighter, indicating increased heat production in that area. This is because the stomach was working extra hard to secrete digestive juice to deal with extra protein. Then, the liver area became brighter and brighter showing that the liver was working hard to convert protein into amino acids and further to glucose.
The heat generated by the stomach and the liver spread to the whole body, indicating the body temperature was going up. With a higher body temperature, the metabolic rate was also elevated and calorie consumption was accelerated.  

In order to take advantage of these protein digestive processes, your diet should have a good balance of about 40 to 45% of protein, 10 to 15% of fat, and 35 to 45% of carbohydrate. Too much protein with too little carbohydrate will backfire as it may trigger the brain's emergency survival mode as discussed earlier.

3. Consume Foods Earlier in the Day
It is important to have a good breakfast with a reasonable amount of protein and carbohydrate. I had an "Executive Breakfast" at a hotel, which included two eggs, about 8 ounces of beef, two slices of bread, and fruits. All the nutrition and calories can be used to get us through a busy day.
However, if you had the same amount of food in the evening, you may gain weight. Our metabolic rate constantly changes throughout the day. In the evening, especially after the sunset, our body naturally begins to ready for sleep. The metabolic rate goes down because our body does not need much energy when sleeping. During the night, our body is also preparing for the next day's activities. More energy must be stores as fat in the organ fat cells. Whatever we eat will be converted to fat during the night.  

There is a British saying, "Eat like kings at breakfast, eat like a lord at lunch, and eat like a pauper at supper." This is actually great advice for our daily food consumption. In other words, you should take the greatest amount of food in the morning, a moderate amount at lunch, and very little in the evening. Unfortunately, too many people eat the opposite way, and become fatter and fatter as a result. 
You are what you eat implies not only how you are but also how you look!

4. Take a Hot Bath
Our body temperature goes up when we have flu or cold or other illnesses. This is because our body elevates the body temperature to fight against the diseases. A higher body temperature increases the metabolic rate, enhanced immune resistance, and faster blood circulation, all of which are necessary to fight the diseases.
If a higher body temperature brings about all these benefits, why not making your body temperature higher without getting sick? One of the techniques is hot bath. The benefits of a hot bath are also discussed on the page, Tips for Body Maintenance.”  

As discussed there, you should soak in a bath tab with warm water at 105 to 106 degrees (Fahrenheit) for at least 15 to 20 minutes. It takes at least that long a time for the heat of the water to penetrate into the deeper layers of your body. That's why a shower does not work for our purposes.  On the other hand, the water temperature should not be too high (over 108 degrees) because excessive heat may have an adverse affect on your heart.

You should also pour some Epsom salt in the water. With Epsom salt in the water, your body temperature stays up igher much longer after you get out of the tab, increasing the benefits further. This works only if you soak in the water for long enough period.

The benefits of the hot bath with Epsom salt lasts about 30 to 90 minutes after you get out of the tub. In Japan, hot spring resorts are very popular for healing all sorts of illnesses. In the mountains, many animals were seen soaking in natural hot springs. These animals must know what they are doing (possibly better than most humans!).

5. Body Exercises
As discussed elsewhere on this site, you can burn excessive fat through body exercises. However, you must do them correctly in order to take advantage of the benefits more. Too many people tend to do cardio-vascular exercises first and then go into heavy exercises such as push-ups, weight lifting, etc. For greatest effect on metabolism, the order should be other way around!
As discussed on the Body Building/Maintenance Exercises page, it is absolutely necessary to include some sort of physical exercise program for if you want to get rid of excess fat. All the methods described above work but, without the physical exercises, they are not as effective. Don't worry -- there are exercises that are appropriate even for people who hate to exercise. Just start slowly. 

Like many good things in life, the best result comes from a balanced combination of multi-dimensional approaches. The proportion of the combination or the balance should be individually adjusted.


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