Are you stuck on the scales? Are you trying harder but nothing is happening? Do you need more motivation? What about those bingo wings and those love handles? What about that stubborn lower stomach fat? Does your weight fluctuate up and down? Do you regain your weight the minute you stop your diet?

My weight loss clients tell me that one of the best things I have ever done for them is to tell them about their ‘red’ and ‘green’ weight loss switches. It completely changed how they viewed weight loss. It answered questions that were never answered before. It changed their understanding of weight loss and so greatly improved their motivation. It changed their results almost overnight. Energy and wellness soared! They got to their best shape ever!

You see weight loss is very simple but at the same time you have to be clever. It is simple in that you must burn more calories than you consume but you must be clever in that you need to make sure to keep your ‘red’ switches off and your ‘green’ switches on. Here is a simplified but accurate picture of the process of weight loss that hopefully will inspire you to make improvements and get better results.

Your fat cells have receptors. Some receptors help store fat (I call them red switches – red for danger!) and some receptors help burn fat (I call them green switches – green for good!). Most people have a lot of the red switches turned on and the green switches turned off! This can be particularly true in some areas of your body with stubborn fat e.g. stomach, especially lower stomach or hips and thigh or back of arms (bingo wings!).

The environment we create inside our bodies because of lifestyle habits determines which switches are on and which are off and it can vary a lot even throughout one day! If you begin a diet and/or exercise and you have a lot of red switches on, your results will be very limited, despite your best efforts. This is why I always stress to people there are 3 ingredients to real weight loss – diet, exercise and metabolism. Metabolism is about turning off the red switches and turning on the green switches!

First let’s look at things that turn on the red (danger) switches. That way you will think more about them when you do them and better understand why you might not be making the weight loss progress you expect.


7 Red Switch Triggers to Avoid!!

  1. Skipping breakfast – you have heard it 1000 times before but now you can think about it in terms of switches! By the time breakfast comes most people will not have eaten since 7 or 8pm the night before and blood sugar levels are running low. Skipping breakfast turns on piles of your red weight loss switches and can leave them on for the whole day!
  2. Medicines especially anti-depressants – even short term use of medicines turns on red switches but long term use turns on piles of them. Most medicines are very much anti-weight loss and anti-depressants are the most devastating of all. You must make sure that your doctor regularly reviews your medicines and if at all possible reduce or eliminate some. Ask for alternative treatments.
  3. Over-exercising – this is a very interesting one. In our desperation to lose more weight many people think the more exercise the better. However your exercise needs to be carefully balanced with your diet so that there is enough nutrition to support it or on will go those red switches! There should rarely be a need to exercise more than 5 hours per week for great weight loss.
  4. High sugar or sweetener products e.g. lucozade, cakes, buns, biscuits and sweets etc – these are absolutely deadly for turning on your red switches. This is one of the reasons I do not recommend fruit juices or smoothies for weight loss – they are very high in sugar. If you want to lose weight, eat the whole fruit and nothing but the whole fruit and keep it limited to 4 or 5 fruit a day!
  5. Alcohol – a heavy nights drinking can turn on your red switches for 2 or 3 days! Yes alcohol is devastating for your metabolism. It puts severe strain on your liver. It upsets digestion. It unbalances hormones. It depletes vital vitamins and minerals. Red switches go on all over your body! For some reason people separate wine from other alcohols in their minds but the metabolic effects can be even more destructive especially for women.
  6. Constipation is one of the most destructive metabolism problems of all and intoxicates the whole body from head to toe, turning on all your red switches! You cannot lose weight successfully if you are constipated. One of the best cures is to add a teaspoon of linseeds to your diet daily and gradually build up to 3 teaspoons spread throughout the day until the problem improves.
  7. Stress turns on your red switches especially in your stomach area, giving the beer belly appearance. You can’t avoid stress but you need to start taking control of it!


Now the Positive…….7 Green Switch Triggers to work on!

  1. Eating small and often is superb for turning on your green switches and keeping the red switches off. This alone can transform your weight loss. Try to eat 4 to 5 times daily at 3 to 4 hour intervals and never exceed 400 calories (ladies) or 500 calories (men) at any given meal.
  2. Fibre is fantastic for the green switches, so look at how much fibre you are getting and aim for 25g per day. The average intake of fibre in only 10g daily. Fibre is found mainly in whole-grains, fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts and seeds.
  3. Toning exercise turns on the green switches and especially in stubborn fat areas if you select exercises for those areas. Try to do toning exercise for all the major muscle groups to get green switches on all over your body. Toning is more important for weight loss then aerobic work! The best gift you can ever get yourself is set of dumbbells.
  4. Water turns on the green switches, so don’t forget your 1L daily per 100lbs you weigh! Water should be taken between meals for best effect. Too much water at meals makes digestion harder for many people.
  5. Minerals especially calcium, magnesium and zinc are vital for having your green switches on. Many of us are low in these especially magnesium and zinc and they become even more important if you are exercising. One of the best supplements you can take is a multi-MINERAL supplement that has decent levels of all key minerals to get those green switches working.
  6. Your liver is the major detox organ of the body and balances your internal environment and has a big influence on your green and red switches. Keep you liver strong and healthy by using a milk thistle supplement on a regular basis to keep those green switches on.
  7. A 1 day water fast or 1 day vegetable juice fast weekly is one of the most amazing things for re-balancing your whole internal environment and turning on those green switches while at the same time turning off those red switches. However due to medical conditions and medicine use fasting is not suitable for everyone so make sure to research it well before considering it!

As always I hope you get something useful from this article and please share it with others. Someone making one simple change can lead to big improvements. If you have any questions on the above conditions or another condition please email me at and I will reply.

Thank you

David McDonagh (Nutritionist, fitness trainer & creator of System 10 Weight Loss)

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My system is about real weight loss done the right way! My plan takes into account all the above reasons and more and makes sure weight loss will work for you. Don’t miss my NEW online plan starting soon where you can lose 10+ lbs in 4 weeks or 20+ Ibs in 8 weeks and get an amazing change in shape because it is real weight loss. Click here for more details on these options. Alternatively arrange a one to one consultation in your nearest clinic by clicking here.

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