And Start Losing Weight!
Back in 1998 when I'd just returned from living in London for a year, I needed to lose weight.
I was at my all time heaviest - apart from when I was pregnant - and I thought that going to gym was the answer.
But you can't out exercise a bad diet.
Thank goodness I met a group of people who showed me how by feeding my body good nutrition my body could start to look after itself.
And I went onto lose the weight that had been bugging me.
Of course exercise is important but if you continue to eat the way you always have then you cannot hope to start losing weight.
So what causes us to gain fat?
In a nutshell - the calories - the energy - from the food we eat that is not used to sustain us or fuel our exercise efforts are stored as FAT.
But here's the thing,
It turns out that we have actually reduced the number of calories that we eat on a daily basis.
So how come we dont feel so skinny in the skinny jeans?
It is about our food choices and how well our digestive systems are.
When it comes to food choices each time you choose to eat, say a, rusk with your coffee or a tub of low fat or fat free yoghurt or a blueberry muffin or a bowl of cereal then this is what happens....
Once the food you have eaten has left your stomach it enters the small intestines.
Your food is further digested in the small intestine and passes through the 1 cell thick intestine wall into your blood stream.
As the digested food enters your bloodstream your pancreas secretes insulin.
Insulin is a hormone and it helps to move the glucose from the food you have just eaten into your cells so that it can be used for energy - breathing, blinking, digesting, swimming, running etc
If your cells do not use up all the energy that has been made available from the food that you ate, then your body converts that energy to FAT.
The more often you eat foods that can be digested into glucose/sugar, the more often your pancreas releases insulin.
Eventually your cells stop responding to the insulin and so the cells stop taking in the glucose and that is when you go into pre-diabetes stage.
The more often you do this (eating foods that break down to sugar/glucose), the greater your chance of gaining Fat.
The other thing is that once you have insulin released into your blood stream, this in turn blocks another hormone - Leptin - from telling your brain that you are full.
The more food you eat that can be broken down into sugar, the higher your insulin levels will be and in turn the hungrier you're going to feel, you keep on eating and your body turns the glucose into Fat.
According to a study done here in South Africa, the average person consumes 17 teaspoons of sugar per day!!!
And most of that sugar is Hidden. The means that you aren't necessarily spooning in 17 teaspoons of sugar or alternative sweetner into your coffee - although it is possible....
It's in your yoghurt, yup even the plain, in your salad dressing, the pasta sauce, the biscuits in your bottom drawer, the protein bars and your wine!
Sugar is a 21st centure health epidemic. It is responsible for diabetes, obesity, Alzheimers & dementia, heart disease and certain cancers.
And yet we keep eating it in all its forms.
And sugar goes by many names...
All the names sugar is known by - click here
What happens to your brain when you eat sugar?
Your brain releases dopamine.
This is the feel good neurotransmitter. The more often you eat sugar the less sensitive your brain's reward center where dopamine is based becomes.
This means that you need to eat more the next time to get the same effect.
And your taste buds have their own addiction. Research suggests that the more you weigh and the more sugar you eat, the less sensitive your sweet taste buds are to sugar.
The result? More sugar needs to be eaten to feel satisfied.
What can you do to get out of this spiral?
By controlling your blood sugar, you can control your appetite and your weight.
Ditch fizzy drinks. This includes regular and diet cooldrinks Flavoured waters, Fruit juices.
These drinks spike your insulin levels and cause BIG cravings.
Over the next 2 weeks cut all these types of drinks from your daily habits.
Choose herbal teas, infused waters, vegetable broths to stay hydrated.
If you'd like to take this further then send me an email and I'll show you what else you can do to balance your sugar levels.
P. S. If I could show you how you could
Sleep Better, Eat Well and Have More Energy would you want to know more?
Click here for details on my FREE 30 Days to More Energy program
plus 3 myths about metabolism - Busted!
I thought we could continue to along the same vein of last's weeks post about metabolism. It is such a big deal since it is ultimately the very process that keeps us alive!!!
Metabolism - a series of chemical processes required to take place in our bodies so that we can live.
What are the processes?
There are 3 categories -
1) Bodily functions that you have no control over (breathing, heart beating, blinking, digestive functioning)
2) Bodily activities that you can control (exercising, moving, eating and drinking, driving your car)
3) Converting the food you eat to energy (calories)
The number of calories that you will use per day is directly linked to the way your body is made up.
Think of your body as 2 compartments.
One compartment contains body fat.
The other compartment contains everything else - bones, muscle, fluids, tissue.
The Fat Free Section.
The greater the Fat Free Section the better your metabolic rate.
For every 1kg of fat free mass you burn 31 calories (approximately).
So if you weight 60kgs and have 40kgs of fat free mass then you can burn 1240 calories
But if you have only 35kgs of fat free mass then you can only burn 1085 calories.
Add in exercise and the greater your FFS, you will burn further calories.
Because your muscles will be using more energy to do the work of exercise.
One of the best ways to boost your calorie burn is to increase your muscle mass.
This can be done 2 ways;
1) Do weight bearing exercises - like lunges, squats, push ups, plank, tricep dips
2) Increase the amount of protein you eat daily.
Let's tackle some myths -
1) Aging slows your metabolism
Well yes as you age you tend to lose muscle mass.
But you can prevent muscle loss and increase muscle mass. And why wouldn't you, muscle is a great to have since it burns calories?
Add resistance training to prevent muscle loss. By making good choices through food and exercise you can preserve your muscle mass and increase it.
2) You're stuck with the metabolism you were born with and you can't change it
Lifestyle plays a large role in determining your metabolic rate. The choice you make relating to food and movement will impact your rate of burning calories.
You don't have to go to the gym every day. By being NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenis) you can burn up calories.
That means parking a bit further from the door to the office, the shops, the gym,
taking the stairs, getting up and moving every hour (and gosh an hour can go quickly sometimes)
3) If I cut calories my metabolic rate will slow down.
Yes if you cut them drastically, then your body will go into starvation mode.
It's very clever!
The rate of burning will slow - well you don't want to die! - so instead of cutting calories -
Choose to eat foods that are high in nutrients and low in calories.
And start moving!
Either make time for formal classes or time at the gym or simply get out and move in your suburb.
I have a mini trampoline that I use when it is chilly outside. 10 minutes on that and my heart is pumping and I warmer too.
Simple ways to rev up your metabolism
Do resistance training 3x per week
Commit to 20 minutes of activity every day - I have started walking each morning while my husband is out dropping my big boy at school.
It's a great time to listen to a podcast, or just think about the upcoming day or just day dream about the awesome future.
Make sure you are eating enough. Less than 1200 calories for women may slow down your metabolism.
Choose protein snacks and be prepared - have them packed and in your handbag
If you'd like a list of snacks that I have, send me a message.
So what is Metabolism?
This word “metabolism” is used a lot these days.
You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?
In technical terms “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.
It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.
Your body has an amazing ability to grow, fix itself, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.
Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:
● Do activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
● Do activities you can't control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
● Allow for excess energy to be stored for later.
So when you put all of these processes together then you can imagine that these processes can either work too quickly, too slowly, or just right. (kind of like Goldilocks!)
Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.
This is how fast your metabolism works.
It is measured in calories.
The calories you eat can go to one of 3 places:
● Work (i.e. exercise and other activity, like breathing or blinking).
● Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
● Storage (i.e. leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).
As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or by creating heat the easier it is to lose weight & keep it off. This is because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store as fat.
There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR).
This is how much energy your body requires when you're not being physically active.
Think of it as the number of calories your body needs to use while you sleep.
The other way to measure metabolic rate is via the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE). This measures both the resting metabolic rate AND the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) during a 24-hour period.
What affects your metabolic rate?
A number of factors!
The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.
Remember, this gland is at the front of your throat. It releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.
Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn and vice versa.
But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.
How big you are counts too!
Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!
The more fat you have the lower your metabolic rate compared to someone who has more muscle.
Muscles that move and do work need more energy than fat does.
So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body burns and the higher your metabolic rate will be.
This is even when you're not making a point of working out.
This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.
The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down. This is because there is less of you. Now of course you don't want that to happen.
The way to solve this decline is to have MORE muscle mass.
Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.
The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate.
Your body uses calories to absorb, digest, and process your food. It is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).
Since your body processes foods differently you can use this TEF to your advantage.
Fats, only increase your TEF by 0-3%. Carbohydrates increase it by 5-10%. Protein increases it by 15-30%.
By decreasing your intake of fats or carbs and increasing the amoutn of lean protein you eat, you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.
An added bonus of eating protein is that your muscles need it for growth. By working them out and feeding them what they need, they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.
And don't forget the mind-body connection.
There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.
This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.