16 Reasons You’re Not Burning Fat (& How To Lose Weight The Right Way)

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Several months ago, I filled you in on “The 2 Best Ways To Burn Fat Fast (Without Destroying Your Hormones Or Metabolism)“.

But what you learned in that article only scratched the surface of the multiple mechanisms underlying why the human body can be resistant to fat loss, and how to achieve truly sustainable, long-lasting weight loss in a safe and efficient manner.

So during today's solosode, you'll discover…

-How fat actually gets burnt…6:20

  • Law of conservation of mass: Mass, in an isolated system, is neither created nor destroyed by chemical reactions or physical transformations
  • Fat is primarily disposed of via the breath
  • Calories, as well as excess carbs and proteins, are converted into triglycerides and stored in lipid droplets of adipocytes
  • Excess dietary fat undergoes lipolysis, and then reesterification
  • Triglycerides are composed of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen
  • Oxidation: requires inhalation of oxygen
  • Study: When someone loses weight, where does the fat go?
    • For 22 pounds of fat to be oxidized, 64 pounds of oxygen must be inhaled
    • Results in 61 pounds of carbon dioxide excreted via the lungs and 24 pounds of water excreted via urine, sweat, feces, and breath
  • Average of 17,000 breaths per day will excrete .32 lbs of carbon
  • Sources of carbon (other than eating coal) are: dietary carbs, proteins, and fats
  • If you didn't get all that, get this: Losing fat means consuming less carbon than you've exhaled. Even small quantities of food can foil your efforts at weight loss. The simple solution is to move more and eat less.

The 16 reasons you're not burning fat the way you'd like

– Chronic Inflammation…12:35

– Glycemic variability (GV)…21:05

  • Refers to the blood glucose variations during the day
  • If GV gets out of control, the body does one of two things: transfers sugar into muscles, or stores as body fat
  • It will become fat tissue if you're not active enough throughout the day
  • Be “ruthlessly” cognizant of blood sugar fluctuations
  • 6 Strategies to control GV

– Cortisol and stress…30:45

– Sleep deprivation…34:20

  • A single night of partial sleep can be deleterious
  • Neuro endocrine effect: reduces levels of leptin; increases levels of ghrelin

– Snacking and post-workout calories…35:25

  • “Grazing” or 6-8 small meals per day is a myth
  • Snacking increases your GV and eliminates benefits of fasting
  • Your body releases more growth hormone during intermittent fasting
  • Grazing throws metabolism into sugar burning mode
  • It takes 3 days, or 4 weeks of extreme calorie restriction for the body to down regulate metabolism
  • The need for protein and carbs right after a workout is a myth
  • The exception: two a day workouts

– You're not moving enough…39:47

  • Fool your body into thinking it's in the “hunter gatherer” mode

– Too much exercise…41:30

  • Excessive exercise, along with other stressors can lead to increased levels of cortisol and inflammation
  • Beyond Training by Ben Greenfield
  • Too much of the same exercise
  • Not enough recovery days
  • Sweet spot:
    • 2-3 days per week, lift heavy stuff
    • 2-3 days high-intensity interval training

– Chronic cardio…43:35

  • Your body will catabolize muscle and store fat
  • High-intensity cardio 2-3 days per week
  • Reduced subcutaneous adiposity of body fat among people who follow these guidelines

– The SAID Principle…46:00

  • Specific Adaptation to Imposed Demands
  • Sometimes the best workout plan is the one you're not currently doing
  • Keep the body guessing
  • 5 modifications:
    • Combine exercises
    • Active rest periods
    • Train outside
    • Change the center of gravity
    • Workout at a different time of day

– Lack of cold therapy…50:00

  • Cold is a strong metabolic stimulus
  • Cold thermogenesis occurs when protons are forced across the inner membrane and turned into heat
  • Beige adipose tissue
  • Every day, 2-5 minutes cold exposure (cold shower, cold river or lake)
  • 3×3 cold
  • coolfatburner.com (Use code: BEN10CFB to save 10%)

– Hormonal imbalance…52:25

– Toxin and chemical exposure…54:40

– Food allergies and intolerances…56:30

– Micro-nutrient deficiencies…

– Thyroid…59:00

– Disordered eating…1:01:01

  • Your body expects food at a certain time of day
  • Results in irregular metabolism
  • Easier to track calorie consumption when you eat the same thing, at the same time of day

– Final comments…1:03:25

  • Everybody and every body is different
  • It could be possible your body has reached its desired weight

– And much more!

Click here for the full written transcript of this podcast episode.

Resources mentioned:

– Article: When someone loses weight, where does the fat go?


Tree of Life, Bob Miller's site

– Book: Toxic by Neil Nathan

Dr. Robert Naviaux, UCSD

– Book: Change Your Schedule, Change Your Life 

Ceylon cinnamon

Gymnema Sylvestre


Apple cider vinegar

Kion Lean

Oura Ring

Podcast with building biologist Brian Hoyer

Podcast Ep. 397

Beyond Training by Ben Greenfield

coolfatburner.com (Use code: BEN10CFB to save 10%)

Dutch Test

Podcast w/ Jay Campbell

Estrogeneration by Anthony Jay

Episode sponsors:

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Halo Sport: Halo Sport revolutionized physical training by being the first-ever product that can increase your neuroplasticity by putting your brain into a state that neuroscientists called hyperlearning. The fully upgraded Halo Sport 2 was just announced and it’s pre-selling for just $279 (less than half the price of the first model) when you use code: GREENFIELD

Got a question for me about today's podcast? Just leave a comment below and I'll reply!

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30 thoughts on “16 Reasons You’re Not Burning Fat (& How To Lose Weight The Right Way)

  1. marfi jonson says:

    I would like to share my weight loss story with all of you guys, it might inspire some people to lose weight.

  2. Thom says:

    Does anyone know how to actually eat less carbon? I’d assume some foods much lower in carbon than others, but when I try to google this information, all I get are low carbon footprint climate change diets.

  3. Shahryar Rizvi says:

    Great podcast Ben. Going to try to start incorporating a daily pre-breakfast light workout as a 20 minute walk on days I’m not doing a full on morning workout. Should I do the EAAs before or after that light workout? Benefit of doing it pre-walk is that once I’m done, I can get right to the meal. Otherwise, I’d have do the walk, take EAAs, and then have to wait 20 minutes to eat (as per instructions on the kion aminos bottle). Also FYI, on the days I do the full on morning workout, I do take EAAs before hand to avoid muscle loss.

  4. MartyE says:

    Where does the sugar go? When you take a supplement such as Kion Lean what is the method of action that prevents the carbs from spiking your blood sugar? Does it slow down the release of sugars into to the blood stream? Does it block absorption of the sugars? Thanks for the podcast.

    1. It works by increasing insulin secretion, enhancing glucose uptake by adipose and muscle tissues, inhibiting glucose absorption from intestine and inhibiting glucose production from heptocytes.

  5. rob desimone, MD FAAFM says:

    Great Podcast!

    Rob D

  6. Lauren Smith says:

    Hey Ben,

    Thank you for all your hard work! I’m trying to build muscle and strength train at least 4x a week. I have had thryoid tested (came out low) and have had Lyme disease and other autoimmune issues. Recently, was confirmed as having uclerative colitis and looking have zero appetite and incredibly exhausted. What would your recommendation be as far as nutrition goes?

    1. Check out this episode with Dr Matt Cook: http://bit.ly/2wU3wTx You can also schedule a consult at BenGreenfieldFitness.com/coaching

  7. Trevor says:

    Hey Ben! I’m trying to purchase a supplement from Thorne. What’s your discount code for the website?



  8. con c-w says:

    Hey Ben, would you consider zone 2 HR training chronic cardio. For someone trains most of the time at zone 2 interspersed with days of hiit


    1. Zone 2 is where the bulk of training should be occurring to minimize overtraining and injury concerns.

  9. Megs says:

    Throughout your podcasts you have talked about cancer. Which podcasts would you suggest. I have huge ratios with 2 hydrox Esterone and 16 hydroxy. Added homozygous cyp1a2 so trouble with beta glucoronadase. Heavy metals still chealating…. high inflammation in n genetics and oxidative stress. Mth from homo plus others. Not overweight but can’t stand the build up of ceulite on thighs. Yuk! Fit 45 y/o but mum died of cancer. Estrogen dominant. Phase one liver off the chart phase two super slow. Seems my body likes keeping toxins. Doing indole 3 carbinol and calcium d glucarate. Supporting methylation d. Having flax.

    Any podcasts to further these. Oh and a thermography this week. 2 lumps found. 😩

    1. Check this link out… It includes almost all of my cancer resources: https://goo.gl/ffq9mE

  10. kevin weatherman says:

    Can you add more about the Cyrex Test you recommend we do with our MD?

    1. You can learn more about it here: http://bit.ly/2I8vBgt

  11. Ullisses Caruso says:

    I have done the Cyrex test and got a lot of out of range resutls, such as eggs, dairy, wheat etc. Does it mean that I have to avoid that forever, or it might be a temporary reflection of inflammation ? I am saying this because I don’t have any symptoms when I have those food.

    1. It's very often a reflection of the current state of your body/microbiome. Typically, most foods can be reintroduced in an intelligent way after eliminating them.

  12. You promote the Halo Sport on the same podcast you talk about the problem of EMF induced stress effects on weight loss. Wearing a bluetooth device on your head for 30 minutes does not seem like a good idea regardless of whether or not you are trying to lose weight..

    1. It only transmits a small amount of data, so it only activates when necessary. Its EMF emissions are less than those of a low-power Bluetooth headset.

  13. Jose says:

    Hi Mr. Greenfield,

    Great solosode! It would be awesome if you could make a video where you show us how much your insulin levels change with the use of your Dexcom monitor while taking supplements like Kion Lean, berberine, ceylon cinnamon, etc.

    Thank you.

  14. Kib says:

    Thanks, but we need a transcript

    1. There will be one. Usually takes a day or two post-release.

      1. mike says:

        Is it my browser, or has it been more than a day or two? Thx…

    2. Adam says:

      Hey Ben!

      @16:47 you mention polyunsaturated fats are highly prone to oxidation and that can promote chronic inflammation. Does this also include the polyunsaturated fats in almonds, walnuts, and sunflower seeds? I add 1 serving of each to my daily salad but I’m on a journey to rid inflammation as much as possible.

      Thanks 🤘🏼

      1. No, wasn't referring to the whole nut/seed.

  15. Jason Blevins says:

    Hey Ben, you’re saying that being consistent with the times you sleep and eat will improve fat loss, but that we need to vary our workout timing, right? Wouldn’t there be a hormonal/metabolic response to working out at the same time on a consistent basis just like with sleeping and eating that would contribute to greater fat loss? Just wondering why it’s better to be consistent with sleeping and eating times but not workouts.

    1. Yes, but you want sleep to be efficient and workouts to be INEFFICIENT!

      1. Jason Blevins says:

        I get that the workouts should always be challenging through changing different variables, but not the time at which you perform the workout. Isn’t there a greater hormonal response to working out at the same time of day?

        1. There are benefits to consistency of training time, but there are also benefits to making the body do things it isn't used to. It doesn't have to be constantly changing though.

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