5-Week Metabolic Makeover – Week 2
Week 1’s post outlined exercises to help jumpstart your metabolic makeover. If you missed it, or just want a refresher, click here to read week 1’s post.
The following is an attempt to rationalize the subject of eating. The metabolic relevance of food is not primarily the number of calories it contains but the effect those foods have on our chemistry. Basically, foods can be broken down by the way they influence energy use. Some foods drive immediate energy use and resist storage while others drive energy (fat) storage. Therefore, all calories are not equal. A “calorie” is not always a “calorie” in the sense of fat loss or gain.
In more than a few major clinically controlled studies, subjects were fed the same number of calories consisting of high fat and protein foods. It was determined that those subjects lost more fat than those fed the same number of calories in the form of high carbohydrate foods.
Here’s why: Carbohydrates need substantial input from the hormone insulin to become broken down into usable form. Insulin’s job is to keep blood sugar (glucose) in a very tight range of flux and to drive energy into storage. Proteins are first used for constructing cells and sending signals before even being called upon for energy storage. Fats are also used primarily as immediate energy use or structuring elements of cell membranes and then lastly stored as body fat. Carbohydrates are practically pure energy.
Bottom line: Eat fat to lose fat!
As part of the metabolic makeover program you should be organizing your eating and shopping and finding low carb meals that “suit” you. Don’t worry about eating three meals or eating breakfast if you don’t feel the need. Your smart workout should be getting familiar and your resistance levels should be close to optimal.
Most folks see a measurable difference in muscle tone, waistline and energy levels. It’s always a good idea to review the basic ideas of low carb eating, counting carbs and keeping them to 40 grams or less initially. A good idea is to get some lab work done by your doctor measuring blood fats and inflammatory markers.
The “skinny” on fat is that it is actually good for you!
- Fat essentially allowed the human species to survive. We can store one day’s worth of energy as carbohydrate and months’ worth of fat.
- Fat provides the most fullness (satiety).
- Fat keeps blood sugar (glucose) on an even keel with few ups and downs in hunger drive and energy levels.
- Fat is essential for maintaining lean mass (muscle) and providing essential vitamins and minerals (including vitamin D, vitamin E, vitamin B12 and iron).
- The brain, nerves and endocrine (hormone) systems all thrive on fat.
- “Low fat” diets simply do not work. Since we have reduced fat and calorie intake, we have gotten significantly fatter and continue to do so.
- Read labels and if you see “trans fats” or ”hydrogenated” oils, don’t buy the product. Butter is fine. Margarine is not.
- If you take omega fatty acid capsules, try to get a product that has at least an equal amount of omega-3’s (anti-inflammatory) to omega-6’s (inflammatory). Both are healthy if kept in a reasonable proportion but we usually get much more omega-6’s in our diets. That’s why the suggested supplement ratio works.
Starting week two, you will be well on your way to turning your metabolism into fat burning mode. Get plenty of good sleep and don’t be shy about drinking lots of water. These both help the fat burning process. Good luck and keep up the smart work!