There is one simple and constant truth when it comes to losing weight. That is, to lose weight a person must burn more calories than they take in. Accomplishing this however, can be just a bit more complicated.
First and foremost it is important to naturally speed up the metabolism. This will cause the body to burn more calories and have more energy throughout the day.
There are 5 elements one must understand and utilize to naturally speed up the metabolism, lose weight and have an overall healthier life.
Let’s start with nutrition and calories. There are 3 main sources of calories:
- Proteins – 4 calories per gram
- Carbohydrates – 4 calories per gram
- Fats – 9 calories per gram
*Alcohol has 7 calories per gram
Proteins are the building blocks of muscle and muscle is the part of the body where fat is burned. The more muscle mass a person has, then the more fat he or she will burn at any given time. Protein sources are meat, fish, poultry, eggs, dairy products, soy products, and nuts. Depending on a person’s size and muscle mass, a person can assimilate 10 to 30 grams of protein per sitting. The lower end being for a slim 110 lbs woman and the higher end being for a lean 250 lbs male body builder. Anything beyond what a person’s body uses at one sitting is stored as fat. Whether protein, carb, or fat, what the body does not use is stored as fat.
Carbohydrates (aka “carbs”) are what the body uses as its primary energy source. Depletion of carbs can slow down the metabolism and starve the brain of its main fuel for proper functioning. These are just two reasons of many that it is not good to go on a zero carb diet for any extended period of time. All carbohydrates break down into sugar or glucose in the blood. There are three main types of carbohydrates:
Complex carbs break down slowly acting almost like a time release sugar pill. Complex carbs are the ideal carbs to consume when trying to speed up the metabolism and burn fat. Some sources of complex carbs are rice, potatoes, oats, whole grain breads, pitas, and wraps.
Simple carbs break down into sugar or glucose very quickly in the body and raise a person’s blood sugar level. This is undesirable when trying to lose weight because when the blood sugar rises above normal levels the pancreas produces insulin to lower the blood sugar level. When the pancreas produces insulin it stops producing glucagon. Glucagon is essential in enabling the body to burn fat. In other words, simple carbs put the body in a non-fat-burning state. They do give a person a rush of energy but it is short lived because when the pancreas produces insulin it usually brings the body’s blood sugar level below normal until it levels out. This can cause a yoyo effect when a person is constantly eating sweets (simple carbs). Some sources of simple carbs are sweets, cakes, candy, cookies, etc. Breads, pastas, pitas, and wraps that are made with bleached or enriched flour are also sources of simple carbs. Even fruits are made of mostly simple carbs, however they are still very healthy. Therefore it is best to eat fruits with a meal including proteins. This way the absorption of fructose into the bloodstream is slowed down.
Fibrous carbs come from vegetables. They are not easily broken down into glucose, therefore they do not raise the blood sugar level above normal and they are not a primary energy source either. They are however a great source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. They are essential for proper functioning of the digestive system and for speeding up the metabolism. Beans and legumes are considered a good fibrous carb that also contain protein.
There are three types of fat:
- Saturated fats – unhealthy
- Trans fats – unhealthy
- Unsaturated fats – healthy fat
When the metabolism is operating optimally, it will burn fat for energy. However, saturated fat is stored as fat in the body because the body has a difficult time breaking down. Foods high in saturated fats include red meats, dairy products, egg yolks, and fried foods.
Trans fats are fats that the body cannot use. Therefore, they are stored as fat in the body. They are most typically found in processed foods like chips, cookies, cakes, and other pastries.
Unsaturated fats actually help the body burn fat when the metabolism is functioning optimally. Nuts, fish, poultry, and lean red meats are good sources of unsaturated fats.
Meals & Portion Control
The last two elements of nutrition to be concerned about are frequency and size of meals. To fully optimize the metabolism a person needs to eat small balanced meals every 3-4 hours. This increases a person’s energy level and promotes the burning of excess fat for energy. Meals need to consist of a portion of protein, complex carb, fibrous carb, and fruit. The fruit and complex carbs should only exist in the first 3 meals of the day. Portions should be no larger than the palm of your hand with the exception of vegetables which you can have as much as you like.
Foods to eat to optimize metabolism and weight loss are as follows:
- Proteins – grilled, broiled, baked, not fried
- Chicken – white meat, skinless
- Turkey – white meat, skinless
- Egg whites
- All natural peanut butter
- Skim milk or soy milk
- Soy products
- Complex carbs
- Brown rice
- Whole grain pasta
- Whole grain bread, pita or wraps
- Simple carbs
- Fruits but only with a meal
- Grapefruit is best
- Same as proteins
- Fibrous carbs
Exercise is essential to healthy weight loss and a healthy life. To lose weight and be in optimal health a person needs to do strength training, flexibility training, and aerobic exercise. The amounts of these greatly depend on the person so I will not throw any generic formulas out there.
When it comes to exercise, I strongly recommend seeking the experience and education of a personal trainer who has a credible certification and background. I have been a certified personal fitness trainer since 1999. Contact me to schedule a consultation and assessment session to evaluate your fitness needs.
I will keep this as simple as possible. At the very least a person needs to drink at least half of their body weight in ounces. In other words, if you weigh 200 pounds then you need to drink 100 ounces or more if you want to lose weight efficiently.
The kidneys process and filter toxins out of the body through your urine. If you are not urinating frequently and if your urine is not clear then you are withholding those toxins and in the body and eventually they accumulate in the fat cells making it harder to burn fat.
The livers purpose is to utilize and help in the breakdown of fat. If the kidneys are not sufficiently hydrated to do their job then the liver will stop doing its job so well and begin to help the kidneys therefore slowing down the fat burning process.
If you are drinking nowhere near the suggested amount slowly build up to it over the next week.
Typically a person needs 6 to 8 hours of sleep. If a person is getting to much or not enough it will inhibit their body’s ability to lose weight and slow down their metabolism. Your body has an internal clock and for it to function properly you need to adhere to a schedule as much as possible. This means going to bed at the same hour every night if you can.
Above all listen to your body. Some people do much better with 6 hours and some need up to 9. There may be times your body may need up to 12.
It can be beneficial to take a 15 minute nap mid day as well if you can. The key is to get in tune with your body and stay in tune.
Vitamins and supplements can be helpful and sometimes necessary. With today’s diets being lower in nutrient content than what they were 50 years ago I suggest that all my clients take a good multi vitamin. This is what I take on a daily basis:
- Chelated multi vitamin
- A glucosamine, chondroitin, msm, collagen supplement
- B complex
- Vitamin E
- Omega Prime
- Green Tea Extract
- Chromium Picolinate
- Mangosteen juice – Xango
I also take the following amino acids:
There is no single aspect of these 5 elements that is more important than the other. There is a balance between all of them and they are all equally important. May you find that balance and may it bring you joy, peace, and an overall healthier and more abundant life. If you should need help finding this balance, please use the contact form to schedule a consultation and assessment session with me.
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