We hate to tell you this, but there’s a good chance your furnace is broken. No, we’re not talking about the furnace in your basement, but your metabolic furnace. It’s not releasing heat and all your “fuel” is being stored as body fat.
Modern lifestyles, modern food choices, and old-school diets have caused your “furnace” to malfunction, but it can definitely be fixed. And we’re not talking a short-term fix, either. The repair we propose will keep your metabolic furnace generating heat for the rest of your life so you can have the body you were supposed to have before your furnace malfunctioned.
First we need to spend a little time talking about insulin!
In case you’re not familiar with it, insulin is a hormone that controls how our body handles carbohydrates, which are essentially sugars. Examples of carbohydrates are foods like bread or potatoes. Anyhow, insulin “disposes” of these carbohydrates by “feeding” them to your muscles or putting them in storage as body fat. Nice little system.Unfortunately, man has inadvertently thwarted the system. Back in the old days, the bread we ate was coarse. The crackers we ate were coarse. Very little was done to grain products before they reached your pantry. When you ate these coarse, relatively unprocessed products, they digested rather slowly, in turn causing a slow, gradual insulin release.
Enter modern times. Fast speed mills grind up flour so fine that some of it actually floats away in the air. The thousands of products (snack foods) made from these flours are practically atomized by your teeth. When they get to the stomach and digestive system, the body quickly absorbs them. This means the sugars get into the bloodstream very quickly, causing your body to release waves of insulin to dispose of the large influx of sugar.
These surges of insulin, repeated over and over again, lead to a condition called insulin resistance. The cells that normally respond to insulin get desensitized. The pancreas – which produces insulin – has to “shout” louder and louder for the cells that handle insulin to “hear.” The pancreas has to produce more and more insulin to metabolize all that rapidly assimilated carbohydrate. Furthermore, these large surges of insulin tend to overshoot the mark. In other words, more insulin is released than is needed. As such, it causes temporary low-blood sugar, which sends your brain a signal that it’s time to eat again.
If the body gets that signal enough times, hyperinsulinemia develops. In short, that means your body has higher-than-normal levels of insulin flowing through it. This condition is related to high cholesterol, fatigue, anxiety, heart disease, cirrhosis, kidney problems, depression, and immune suppression, along with increased body fat storage and reduced burning of body fat. In short, in addition to ruining your health, these repeated surges of insulin ruin your metabolism.Do you find yourself getting sleepy after a carbohydrate-based lunch or suffering a midafternoon crash? It’s quite likely that you suffer from a good degree of insulin resistance. Of course, an easier way to tell is by weighing yourself or looking at yourself in the mirror. Insulin resistant people usually carry too much fat.
Clearly, carbohydrate control is definitely in order, and that involves knowing which carbs to eat and at what times. It’s tough but doable. Simply ditching refined carbohydrates (most often those that are found in processed foods and are packaged in boxes) and starches like white bread and pasta will almost always cause you to lose fat.
Eating fat makes you fat, right? The truth is, “healthy” fats like fish oil, olive oil, flax, and those found in avocadoes and nuts elevate your metabolism. That’s right, eating healthy fats in moderation can help you burn fat. They make you less insulin resistant, not to mention improving things like cardiovascular health, mental and physical performance, and even immunity.
The Importance of Protein
While I’ve stressed that it’s best to eat carbohydrates and carbohydrate meals in the first part of the day and eat healthy fats in the latter part of the day, I’d like you to eat protein with every meal. This is extremely important. (Examples of protein foods include all meats and fish, in addition to things like cottage cheese and milk.)
Just eating protein elevates your metabolism. Your body has to work harder to metabolize protein than it does metabolizing fat or carbohydrate. Additionally, eating protein preserves or even builds muscle and simply having more muscle burns calories!
And while the carbohydrates you ingest with your protein meal can raise insulin levels, it’s okay in this instance. Why? Because most of the time this elevated insulin will take protein’s constituents and literally drive them into muscle, and that’s okay because muscle helps dispose of blood sugar, even without help from insulin.
10 Basic Metabolism Repair Plans:
1. Set a fitness/Nutrition goal for yourself… and WRITE IT DOWN and keep it in a place where you’ll be reminded of that goal.
2. Don’t let yourself get hungry. Never go to long without food– not more then 3-4 hours. Starvation is not the way to lose fat. We have a term for dieters who practice complete food deprivation: fat people. Eating after too long a fast (even a fast of 5-6hrs) can cause a huge surge of insulin leading to fat storage instead of fat loss.
3. Try not to eat things that come out of a box, with the exception of certain quality foods (oatmeal, high-fiber cereals, etc)
4. Combine the right foods. Don’t eat protein only meals, or carb only meals. Instead have a protein/carb meal or a protein/fat meal.
5. Instead of counting calories, practice portion control.
6. Vegetables are “free”. In other words, eat as many fibrous vegetables as you want with any meal. Exclusions to this include starchy vegetables like potatoes, squashes, carrots, or corn. As far as fruits are concerned, eat them only in the morning and combined with protein. Try to avoid juices at any time of the day.
7. Eat “healthy” fats. Examples include fats found in fish, avacados, and nuts along with specific oils like flaxseed oil and olive oil. They’ll help you burn fat, allow your body to handle insulin much better, and help you in other ways. Eat them only in the afternoon and only combined with proteins.
8. Keep a food log or food diary. It’s an excellent motivational tool. It also helps keep you “honest” along with allowing you to track potential problems or mistakes.
9. Stay active. Vigorous activity stimulates the metabolism, but if you overdo it by taking aerobics classes or running several miles a week, you could actually hinder your results. Why? Because excess aerobic activity burns up muscle at the expense of fat.
10. Weight training is an excellent way to fix your metabolic furnace. Muscle is metabolically active and burns calories even if you’re just sitting there.
“Your Goals are your own. It is your attitude, sacrifices, determination, motivation, and just plain old elbow grease that will make it all happen!”
Have a wonderful month and hope to see you around the studio!