Having a clear understanding of how metabolism works helps you lose weight easier, faster and healthier.
Do you have any excess weight around your belly? If so, then you have a sluggish metabolism.
Are your bowel movements regular? If not, then you have a sluggish metabolism.
Sluggish metabolism = excess weight and unwanted fat.
Metabolism is simply the process by which your body processes and converts food and drink into energy. Think of it as the engine that drives you in every activity, and how well your metabolism works governs how well you maintain healthy weight. Basically, calories from what you eat are mixed with oxygen to release energy, and this powers your body. The faster this occurs, the faster your metabolic rate. Even when you are not engaged in physical exertion, your body is using energy for all sorts of activities (breathing, pumping blood, etc.) This is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which represents over 60% of your daily energy use, and is based on your diet, weight, musculature, age, and sex. Combined with exercise, and thermogenesis (eating, converting, and storing food), this comprises your total daily energy usage. If your metabolism is not operating at proper efficiently, the result is improper caloric conversion, unwanted weight gain, and excess fat storage.
While it may be a complex process that involves several factors like genetics, hormones, lifestyle, environment, and stress, understanding how metabolism works will guide you in your efforts to lose weight in the healthiest way.
So what factors affect my BMR?
Most importantly, how well your liver functions is key
Next is your musculature
Your thyroid gland plays a major role too. If you have a poor diet, or your immune system is impaired, your thyroid may be under active (hypothyroidism.) This is another cause of sluggish metabolism and weight gain, and what is called subclinical hypothyroidism is actually very common.
Water obviously plays a vital role
Finally, sleep plays a role as well. Lack of regular and restorative sleep can slow down your BMR, making you feel more hungry, less inclined to exercise, and can create insulin resistance, all leading to weight gain.
What do we need to do then to rev up metabolism and get it working at peak level?
By learning to make good choices, you can optimize the function of your metabolism to turn your body into a leaner, more efficient, fat-burning machine, naturally, virtually without effort, or definitely without crazy dieting. But seeing that the large majority of calories are burned in basal processes, we need to figure out how to maximize that aspect. Many doctors will say that basal metabolism rate cannot be changed, but we are convinced that is not true. As with all health, it starts with food. Knowing what to eat and when to eat it can have a profound effect on your BMR. It just takes a little discipline and a good strategy.
Let's start with food. For the purposes of this topic, I want to simplify this down. The foods that boost BMR are your weapons. Your body needs energy, so feed it the right type of food and it will power you up without slowing you down or increasing your weight.
First, you do need high glycemic foods, so while carbohydrates may have a bad rap, there are some that are not only necessary, but also quite effective at raising BMR. The key here is fiber. Foods like brown rice, wild rice, and quinoa are examples of good carbs. These give you quick energy (which also lowers stress) but are high in fiber and are absorbed slowly so as to minimize insulin spikes. It is also important to know when to eat these foods, which we will discuss later. Make sure to avoid white rice, pasta, flour, potatoes, and the so called bad carbs.
You also want to incorporate plenty of micronutrient rich foods and lean proteins. These foods feed the liver what it needs to operate properly. These are vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, kale, spinach, mushrooms, etc, and lean proteins like turkey, white meat chicken, fish, eggs, and nuts that feed the liver, heart and brain to create a healthy system that is not weighed down.
You also need healthy fats. These are important for restoring hormone balance, helping the thyroid function properly, and supplying enzymes that are critical to breaking down fat stores. Get these fats from lean protein, nuts, seeds, avocados, fatty fish, and olive oil.
Now that we know what food to focus on, let's consider when we should we eat them? A general strategy for cycling through the right foods at certain times can have a profoundly positive effect. Use these as guidelines, and find what works for you with experimentation.
Start by eating lean proteins for breakfast. Save your carbs for the middle of the day so your body doesn't get an insulin rush first thing after fasting overnight. The smartest thing to do is to consume the bulk of our calories during the part of the day when we are most active: i.e. between 9am and 6pm. Give the body a chance to burn off its resources completely by avoiding eating after 7pm, especially carbs. With that said, let's make an eating plan based on the three groups above.
I like to divide my week into thirds and focus on one of each three food groups in turn.
In the early days, Monday and Tuesday, focus on eating the high glycemic foods so as to get your metabolism fueled up and into generation mode. These foods provide the energy that keeps you feeling vital and powerful. During this third of the week, do at least one 30 minute aerobic workout so as to jump-start the burning of calories and to prevent excess levels of cortisol.
In the middle of the week, focus on the micronutrient-rich foods -- lean proteins, veges and garlic and ginger and spices. I have a stir fry I make every Wednesday that I look forward to all week. This food gets the liver into burn mode. Also add weight lifting workouts to this third in order to add muscle and help get the BMR elevated.
You might also want to add high quality supplement program like the EVEREST Protocol to insure micro-nutrient support. We cannot emphasize the need for good Omega 3s when trying to lose weight. This is why the EVEREST Protocol works because it gives you the complete balance of Omega 3s, vitamins, minerals, amino acids, antioxidants, enzymes, and adaptogens.
That's it in a nutshell. You can find your own balance in the plan, but as a general process, this works! There is science behind the results. Plus I can attest that it worked for me, that it's not hard to do, and that it will create a state in which your metabolism will operate at peak function, keeping you at ideal weight naturally. Try it yourself and let us know how you get on in the comments below.