Your genetics only account for about 5% of how fast your metabolism converts food to energy. This means you can influence the other 95% and tell your body, over time, to ramp up your resting metabolic rate. This is your go-to plan to make that happen (and why it will work) in a nutshell:
1. Eat smaller meals, and eat more often. When you go too long between meals or snacks, your body thinks you may be in a famine situation, and it was created to brilliantly “gear down” and conserve energy. Then, because you are dreadfully hungry from waiting so long to eat, you eat a huge meal at the same time your body thinks it is starving and is in a conserve-all-energy state. So, it stores your meal as fat for future famines! When you eat smaller meals/snacks every 2-3 hours, you “rev” your metabolism engines by telling your body there is a wealth of food available and easily accessed. Also, eating any food increases your metabolism, especially the first hour after eating, so eating smaller meals more often means more hours of the day when your metabolism is boosted just by eating!
2. Eat more protein. If you follow my health plan, you are already doing this but may not understand why it is helping. Protein requires 25% more energy to digest than other foods. It also directly “feeds” and repairs your muscles. You’ll see why this is important as you…
3. Build muscle through strength training. You have probably heard that muscle burns more calories than fat, but did you realize just how many more? One pound of fat burns only 2 calories per day, while one pound of muscle burns 35 calories per day! Building more muscle and maintaining it is beneficial to your body in many ways, but where your weight loss efforts are concerned, it is vital! It is more effective longterm than aerobics because it doesn’t just burn calories while you are exercising- it increases your ability to burn calories all the time, even while you are sleeping. (It also makes things easier to pick up, daily tasks feel effortless, and makes you look fabulous instead of flabby… but that isn’t the point of this post.)
4. Increase your calories (feast) one day a week. This tells your body not to gear down and create a set point of metabolism based on your lower caloric intake the rest of the week. In my health plan, this is the “splurge” day from Saturday night through Sunday lunch.
5. Avoid sugar and refined carbohydrates (like white bread, pasta, white potatoes, white rice, etc.) most of the time. When you have a blood sugar spike due to your body breaking down these quick carbs, your pancreas releases insulin which transports the excess glucose (sugar) in your blood to your liver and fat cells as storage for future energy requirements. As it does this, your glucose levels fall in your blood and you feel the “blood sugar low” so many talk about… aka HUNGER! You want to eat everything in sight, especially craving those simple sugars to give you relief from the low you are feeling. Do you see the vicious cycle that is created by just one meal that is too high in quick sugars? It is a double whammy, both increasing fat storage and making you crave more of the bad stuff all at the same time.
6. Eat real food. Not the processed-out-of-a-box junk. Not the chemical laden food-look-alikes. Your body knows they are not food, and has to work very hard to figure out what exactly to do with them. Ultimately, it processes them as toxins and stores them often in fat cells to protect your body from them temporarily! Yuck. It is hard on every organ system in your body. Just don’t eat them. Unfortunately, this includes pretty much every food that you don’t make from scratch. There are simple ways to cook real food, though, and it doesn’t have to be hard. Give your body food it recognizes and automatically knows what to do with.
7. Keep things moving at a normal pace. Umm… so I’m a nurse, and talking about things like this doesn’t bother me. Even if it bothers you to read it, the information is important enough for you to read it anyway. Your small intestines are where your body absorbs nutrients from the food you eat. Your large intestines then absorb water as needed, and what is left is what comes out in your toilet. Different people visit the toilet at different intervals, but there is a “normal-and-healthy-for-you.” You may go three times a day, or twice a week, but if your stool is hard and pellet like, things are not moving along as quickly as they should. Likewise, if your stool is liquid-like and unformed, things are probably moving along too quickly! Talk to your doctor, of course, if you have either on a regular basis. Simply changing your diet and sticking to it will go a long way in helping in this area, but when you initially make the change it often shocks your system and things may… well… back up. (Miralax will be your best friend in such a circumstance. FYI.) This doesn’t really speed up your metabolism, but it does assist your metabolism! If your digestion is moving too quickly, your body can’t absorb the many micronutrients available and needed in the real food you are eating. If moving too slowly, your body may store more of the food than it needs just to “deal with it.”
Here is a rude awakening, based on the above facts. If you and your best friend each weigh 150 pounds, but you were 200 pounds and dieted by cutting calories to lose weight and she has never weighed more than 150 pounds, you will have a slower metabolism than she does and will require less calories per day. This is why she can eat pizza and chocolate and you are eating salads and soup, but you weigh the same amount! It seems unfair, I know, but when you understand why your body geared down and the miracle it is that your body was created to be able to do so, you can be thankful for it. You also can, to a great extent, reverse the process and gear up your body by increasing your metabolism in the above ways.
153. 154. 155. Three Gifts Hard to Give Thanks For… We haven’t built our house yet even though we are so close to starting; I can’t sing praise anymore in the choir at church due to irreparable damage to my vocal cords during thyroid removal; Our country is quickly becoming more and more in debt while infringing on more and more of our freedoms. Your timing is best, Lord, and none of these things surprise you. You promised to use all things for the good of those who love You, and You are faithful to keep all Your promises. I trust You.