The key to successful & sustained weight loss is all about increasing your Metabolism
Increasing your metabolism means your body burns calories at a higher rate. So if your metabolism is high, it’s burning calories even when you aren’t working hard at the gym. A sluggish metabolism can cause you to gain weight, because you’re consuming more than your body is burning.
Metabolism: An Overview
So how does the body’s metabolism work and affect weight gain and loss?
First, the basics: Weight loss is a matter of calories taken in versus calories expended—or, as the cliché goes, “calories in, calories out.”
Your daily calorie expenditure is made up of three factors: the amount of exercise you do; your lifestyle (for instance, whether you work at a desk or as a bike messenger); and your resting metabolic rate (RMR). While most of us think of the first and second of these when we think of weight loss, the third—resting metabolic rate—plays a huge role as well.
The body is burning calories all the time. Your resting metabolic rate is the amount of calories your body needs to consume just to survive – to make your lungs breathe, your heart beat, your blood circulate, your immune system function, your brain work.
In the end, you want to raise your resting metabolic rate, and persuade your body to burn more calories – basically, fuel – when you’re not exercising.
So it’s crucial not only to provide your body with the right fuel, but to time your fuelling correctly to maximize your resting metabolic rate. We’ll look at this under diet.
So, how do we get the metabolism to work harder when we are at rest? (RMR)
Your RMR is influenced by the following:
Exercise – Diet – Hormones &
The kind of exercise you do determines whether you boost your RMR or not.
Imagine you were an identical twin. You visit the gym 4 times a week and do long hard cardio workouts for 1 ½ hours each time (treadmill, rower, bike etc.) finishing with a few weights & crunches.
Your twin visits 4 times with you, but she does a short interval training programme on the treadmill, 10 minutes max then does a 30 minutes weights programme pushing herself quite hard. (that’s 40 minutes max compared to your 1 ½ hours).
Who do you think loses the most weight after a few months? Not you that’s for sure!
Your twin will have burned calories while she worked out, just like you – but because she worked her muscles much more than you, her muscles need to be repaired afterwards. This means that throughout the rest of the day, her RMR stays raised while the body is busy re-fuelling her muscles. You may have burned a few more calories than her during your workout, but your twin will burn double the amount of calories at rest throughout the rest of the day – time to change places with your twin!
Some more food for thought:
Your RMR accounts for 65-75% of the calories you burn.
The majority of the calories stored as body fat are used up while we are at rest.
Increasing your RMR is the best way to increase you fat burning potential.
After an interval training or tough weight training session, your RMR will stay elevated for a minimum of 24 hours.
Body Composition – Why Weight Training Works
1lb of lean muscles needs 50 calories each day to survive.
So, if we increase our muscle tone, we increase the number of calories that we burn at rest (sitting, sleeping etc) just to keep these babies alive!
We lose 2-4% of our lean muscle mass every 10 years after the age of 25. As a result of this, our metabolism slows down by 5% every 10 years.
So, if you’re over 25, you NEED to be working on keeping your muscle mass up – just to keep your RMR up.
When we talk about muscle mass we’re not talking about bulging muscles – we’re simply talking about muscle tone.
Diet – Time & Type
Time: Skipping breakfast, skipping lunch, leaving too much time between meals – perfect ways to slow your metabolism right down!
Not only do you need to kick start your metabolism each morning with a good breakfast, you need to make sure that you keep your metabolism working at a good pace by eating small meals or snacks every 3-4 hours.
When you go for too long without food, your body goes into energy conservation mode. With your metabolism slowed, when you do eventually eat, you’ll put that (probably excessively large) meal on as fat.
And all of this could have been avoided if you’d eaten sooner. Will-power won’t get you through the costs of delaying meals. Set yourself up for success by really watching the clock, and packing small, balanced meals to keep you going and to keep the hormone, Ghrelin in check. More about this naughty little hormone later!
Type: Now, the types of food you eat will play a big part in keeping your metabolism working well. You can find out all about out healthy eating plan by logging into the members zone area of our website, where you will find our slim club pack, recipes, articles etc. and a food diary that you can print out and fill in to help you monitor what you’re eating.
But, as a quick guide, making these few changes will help:
Swap white bread, white pasta, white rice & potatoes for brown or whole-wheat bread, pasta & rice & sweet potatoes.
This small change will pack a punch when it comes to keeping your metabolism working effectively and you should also notice a drastic reduction in the desire to eat sugary snacks as well as feeling fuller for longer.
This is all down to something called the Glycemic Index (you may of heard of the low Gi Diet – it’s the same principle)
Gi stands for Glycemic Index and is a measure of the impact of food on your blood sugar. Foods with a high Gi tend to quickly raise your body’s blood sugar levels, by contrast foods with a low Gi will raise them more slowly and over a longer period.
Eating lots of high Gi foods (white pasta, bread, rice & potatoes for example) has three main disadvantages:
- The rush of energy given by high Gi foods does not last and is soon followed by an energy lull. So you get hungry and want to eat more.
- 2. After eating high Gi foods you will have a lot of readily available energy in your blood. Your body will use this energy first, rather than other stores of energy like body fat. This makes it harder to lose weight.
- 3. Insulin (which is released to try to pull the rising blood sugars back down to a normal level) is a storage hormone that stockpiles nutrients for later use by the body. A high-Gi diet causes a lot of insulin to be produced and when you have too much insulin in your body too much of the time, it makes it easier to store fat and harder to burn it.
How can the Gi Diet help weight loss?
By eating meals that have a low Gi you will feel less hungry. This means that rather than controlling your cravings for food by will-power alone, you are controlling them by satisfying your body. On the Gi diet your desire to snack or over eat should be greatly reduced, therefore by eating fewer calories you can control your weight.
Balance your plate to eat well & lose weight
Main meals should be healthy, nutritious and balanced. By balanced we mean, having a good portion of protein (lean meat, fish, eggs, pulses, nuts and seeds, soya products and vegetable protein foods) a portion of carbohydrates that have a low Gi (brown pasta- rice – bread or sweet potato) and a portion of either salad or green veg. Keep the fat content of the meal to a recommended amount and try to avoid processed foods and foods high in sugar.
Protein is essential in our diet as it helps to keep us feeling full and is essential to our body’s growth & repair.
By adding salad or green veg to every main meal, you will be giving your body vital vitamins & nutrients that it needs to function effectively. Think of the viatmins & minerals as petrol & oil in your car…don’t put them in and the car goes nowhere!
Many hormones shape our appetite and hunger. Going back to skipping meals and going to long without food – here’s the reason why that really doesn’t work for weight loss:
We have a hormone called Ghrelin. This is not a little furry creature that lives in a cave – ghrelin is a hormone produced in the stomach that makes you experience the sensation of hunger. Beginning 30 minutes after you eat (that is, once the stomach is empty), you produce ghrelin to tell you to eat again. By three to four hours after your last meal, you’ve produced a whole lot of ghrelin, and it’s starting to tell you you’re hungry.
The problem is that most people ignore the first Ghrelin warnings, and wait to eat. But by five to six hours after a meal, your Ghrelin levels have tripled. Now, you’re too hungry to think straight. All your sensible tips about eating a light snack or balancing fat, carbs, and protein—these fly out the window. Instead, you overeat. Worse still, any meal you eat in this state won’t be enough to knock the Ghrelin back down. You have to eat enough to get rid of all the Ghrelin—but if it’s built up over many hours, a sane meal won’t do it. You’ll overeat.
So, going too long without food slows down your metabolism and then over eating slows it down even more – this alone should be enough proof to encourage you to eat small & often and keep that RMR moving!
Any questions…we’re here to help! It’s a lot to take in we know, but remember: knowledge is power!
Zesty love x