3 lessons we learned about getting fat adapted
Sugar burners get bad skin and belly fat, fat burners don’t. That’s the theory behind healthy magazine columnist and creator of ballet barre workout barrecore Niki Rein’s nutrition program barreNOURISH+ TONE.
It’s promise? To clean up your diet with an eating plan tailored to your hormonal profile and lifestyle that evolves your body into a lithe machine that runs not on the snacks you crave constantly, but its own fat stores. A promise this good needed investigating. After 90 illuminating minutes in the Mayfair studio with head trainer Maria Eleftheriou, here’s what we learned.
1. There are 10 main places we store fat
Someone can tell a lot about your hormonal profile from where you ‘hold’ it. My wobbliest areas are identified using an implement that looks a bit like barbeque tongs, and are revealed to be, in no particular order: the back of my arms, my lower back, and the back of my thighs. ‘Oestrogen bodies tend to hold below the waist and insulin bodies on the arms, chest and core,’ explains Maria. ‘So you’re a bit of both.’
Makes sense: the oestrogen-dominant typically crave salty or creamy foods, and the insulin-dominant, sweet. And me? I want them all. The fact that I scratch the insatiable itch with Deliciously Ella’s date and peanut butter craving-killing combo (or four) and not a Snickers twin bar won’t fly. ‘Your body still reads it as sugar. It sends insulin all over the body, which gets stored as fat,’ Maria explains.
Maria’s weapons for beating the urge for the sweet stuff? Blueberries (low-sugar and packed with anti-inflammatory antioxidants) and coconut oil by the spoon. I’ve developed a fondness for coconut chunks – because who really has the time to smash a coconut?
2. Your 4pm snack can ruin your morning
Yes, really. After begrudgingly parting ways with my mid-afternoon coffee, the fact that I regularly still wake up around 2am has been infuriating. Turns out my pink lady and nut butter could be to blame: giving me a sugar boost in the afternoon, that causes my insulin levels to spike in the early hours. This time, I learn, is when the brain repairs itself, so any interruption can leave you with serious brain fog the next morning.
I’ve swapped apple for sugar snaps and my PB for Meridian almond butter. Peanuts are not actually a nut, but a gut-bothering legume. They’re not allowed on this paleo-inspired plan, designed to give your digestive system aka your ‘second brain’ a break to help it function at its best.
3. Healthy foods can make you a sugar burner
As a porridge-and-banana-for-breakfast kinda girl, I’m a prototypical sugar burner. Eating carbs, which your body still reads as sugars, first thing sets your body off in a ‘peaks and troughs’ cycle that leads to cravings for the sweet stuff.
Eat healthy fats first thing (within 30 minutes of waking) and you get your engine in a fat-burning state from the start. ‘It closes the insulin receptors,’ explains Maria, ‘keeping the hormone from spreading all over the body.’ License to potter about first thing and make a meal out of my breakfast officially taken.
I’ve swapped my 9:30am office oats for eggs, spinach and seeds at 7:30 – and obviously took a picture. I’m not tempted to graze mid-morning: unnerving. In a good way.
barreNOURISH+TONE is a new nutrition and PT programme for those looking to strengthen, tone and nourish their bodies. Created by Niki Rein, nutritionist and founder of barrecore, the programme lasts for 6 weeks and uses a personal hormonal reading to create a clean eating program. It’s launching at London and Manchester studios this June. Click here to learn more
Photography: Lorna Jane Activewear