How fat loss actually works

Uncategorized May 21, 2022

we get this question a lot, so let's get into the nitty gritty of how fat loss actually works, starting with the basics of energy balance:

  • caloric surplus = eating more calories than you're burning
  • caloric maintenance = eating the same amount of calories that you're burning
  • caloric deficit = eating less calories than you're burning

If you're eating in a surplus, your body will store excess of any macronutrient as either body fat or muscle tissue depending on your training stimulus, glycogen storage tanks, and ratios of macronutrients (carbs, proteins, fats). If you're serious about adding muscle to your frame and/or you identify with the ectomorph body type, this phase will be particularly effective. Some fat gain along with muscle gain is inevitable, but that can easily be managed as you exit the surplus stage in time.

If you're eating at maintenance, your weight usually stays more or less the same. However, it is possible to experience body recomposition over time in this state with the right type of training. This is where you want to be sitting at - eating the same amount of calories that you're burning - for most of your life for maximum energy, healthy hormones, vitality, and longevity!

If you're eating in a deficit, ideally, you're losing body fat only and not muscle mass. This is our specialty. We help you preserve muscle tissue while in an active fat loss phase which should be the smallest deficit possible. You want to spend the least amount of time in this phase over the course of your lifetime.

Now, how does fat actually metabolize? Take a look at this graphic we created for social media recently:

Fat cells filled with triglycerides are created in a caloric surplus (consuming more calories than burned over time).

In a consistent caloric deficit, the liver converts stored triglycerides from fat cells into energy, excreted from the body as CO2 + H2O.

Fat cells will continue to shrink as the body uses the triglycerides for extra energy if consistently burning more than consuming.

Once created, fat cells never die - they can only shrink. Fat cells easily re-fill with triglycerides again in a surplus.

We repeat: once fat cells are created, they can never be fully destroyed without medical intervention. They can only shrink over time based on long-term lifestyle changes. Unfortunately, that means if you've gained additional amounts of body fat at some point in your life, it will be easier for you to fill those fat cells back up anytime you're in a surplus. This makes long-term adherence to a balanced diet with sufficient daily movement crucial. 

Fat cells can be eliminated via liposuction or fat-freezing like CoolSculpt, although new fat cells can be created anytime one is in a consistent surplus which is common when nutrition and exercise is not addressed simultaneously. Also, there are new studies coming out as we mentioned in our newsletter last week that certain fat freezing procedures like CoolSculpt can actually have the opposite effect and end up creating more fat cells. For many, it might not be worth that kind of risk, especially when long-term healthy habits need to be implemented for best results anyway.

Notice also that fat metabolism takes place in the LIVER.

If your liver is busy detoxing your body from alcohol, pesticides, xeno-estrogens, environmental toxins, heavy metals, excess cortisol etc., fat-burning will be slow if not impossible.

The liver will burn fat best when the body feels SAFE to do so.

Burning fat without losing muscle mass is a game.

You must “trick” the body into feeling as safe as possible in a small caloric deficit with strategic re-feed meals as needed.

Once you reach your target, you’ll want to build back up your food intake and eat at maintenance for most of your life.

In summary, there is no quick fix to a healthy body. 

There is no getting around nourishing yourself with the right foods and sufficient movement, day in and day out.

It truly must become a lifestyle.

If you're ready say goodbye to diets and shooting in the dark forever, visit: 👉

We only have 5 one-on-one coaching spots left at this time… let’s go! 🤩

Shannon Morse & Lisa Kirby | Creators of Awaken Your Nutrition  |

P.S. Check out our nutrition master class if you're new and want to learn what we're about 💚.


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P.S. Looking for more nutrition, health, and training support? Here are 2 ways we can help you:    

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