Feast, Famine, And Fat Burn

To understand how to shed fat, it helps to understand how and why we store it in the first place. The “why” part is actually pretty simple to answer. We store fat so we have energy to burn when there is no food. The problem, which really isn’t a problem when you consider the alternative, is that most of us have much more food than we really need. In fact, we now live in an environment rife with calorie pollution and with mega-conglomerates pouring millions of marketing dollars into convincing us we need to eat more. This isn’t going to be a dissertation on the politics of food supply and free market capitalism, but it sure helps to know what you are up against so that you can make informed choices along the way to losing weight for good.

There are now 3,900 calories (that’s about 2 days’ worth for many of us) available every day to every man, woman, and child in the country, according to surveys of the US per capita food supply. No one is putting a gun to your head and forcing you to eat them, of course. But let’s face it. They are everywhere and they are really tempting. From potato chips to cheesy subs to honey buns and soft pretzels, there is cheap, accessible, often delicious food available at every gas station, convenience store, concession stand, ball game, concert, and, of course, supermarket. Restaurant and packaged food portion sizes have grown to monumental proportions. We have come to associate food with entertainment; in fact, the food itself is often the main entertainment. It is very, very difficult not to eat more than planned on a daily basis. So it should come as no surprise that we are eating more – a lot more – these days. Though it is the subject of considerable debate, some experts estimate that today we eat at least 300 calories – basically an additional lunch – more each day than we did just 25 years ago. Even those who don’t agree that we’re consuming that much more are in complete agreement that we are burning far less, which brings us to the next point.

Each pound of body weight represents 3,500 calories of unused, stocked away, and ready-to-use energy in your body. It doesn’t take a degree in mathematics to see that the excess we are taking in adds up quickly. Unless you are not doing something to convert those calories into energy and burn them off, they get stored as fat molecules in your storage cells. Your body uses these fat storage cells like a savings account, in case you need energy when food is scarce. As you have likely notices, this is a pretty efficient system. For most of us, it is far easier to “pad” our biological savings account than it is to empty it out.