As I mentioned the other day, my road to the the ultimate LEAN life lead to a majorly disrupted Metabolism! I’m currently 2.5 years “post bikini-show” and I am still trying to help get my metabolism recovered! The importance of our metabolism is because we want to be able to EAT NORMAL amounts of food and stay pretty lean!
Our METABOLISM MATTERS big-time if we are trying to live a balanced life. We need to take care of our bodies and take things slow, showcasing the necessary patience and endurance to do this the (w)right way. (Click here for my favorite scriptures to help you with ENDURANCE!)
First, let me preface this next specific topic about your Metabolism by saying there is SO MUCH MORE to learn that I simply cannot fit into one blog. In fact, I wrote an entire MODULE PROGRAM in my Health Coaching programs that goes over all the important factors you need to know about your Metabolism (Module #2: WISE’her Metabolism).
To check out more information on my HEALTH COACHING programs, click HERE.
Nevertheless, in my QUEST TO FIX MY DAMAGED METABOLISM, I have learned the 5 BIGGEST VILLAINS TO SUSTAINABLE FAT LOSS EFFORTS.
Prepare to hate this list with me! But….knowledge is power and power provides excellence!
- ALCOHOL: Ok, this one can hurt most of our feelings. You might have read my journey to cut back on this in my WINE-NOT series a few months ago. But there is nothing more relaxing, in my opinion, then a nice glass of wine after a long day. Most of us do consider alcohol our ultimate stress reliever and while that part *does* have some benefits for your Metabolism (by reducing your cortisol levels for a short period of time) it is FAR counteracted by the negative affects alcohol has on metabolic processes.
Alcohol by itself is an high calories (at 7 calories per gram), empty-calories, no-nutrient entity that is a sugar, but a sugar that is especially reactive in our bodies. So much so that our bodies STOP PROCESSING all other metabolic processes (like other food or even our fat metabolism) in order to process the alcohol and get it OUT of the body by detoxing it through our liver and kidneys.
So, drinking just 2 alcoholic beverages will slow down your metabolism by 80% (!!) for the following 4-hours. That’s why you tend to gain a lot of fat when you drink too much—hello beer belly!
Recommendation: Overall, if you want to lose fat, you are more than likely going to severely cut back on all alcohol. It was recommended to me to limit it to just 2-3 glasses PER MONTH.
2. CAFFEINE: So, this one is not ALL bad news. But the deal with caffeine is that the chemical causes a huge rush of the “Fight or Flight” hormones to cascade into high gear for up to 14-hours! That is, Cortisol, Adrenalin and NorAdrenalin. These hormones by themselves ultimately SLOW DOWN your Fat Loss because these stress hormones go into “Sugar Burning” mode instead of “Fat Burning” mode. (Jade Teta, Metabolic Effect)
SO, if you OVER CONSUME caffeine, you might be sending your body into “Fight or Flight” mode quite unnecessarily, all day long! UNLESS of course, you consume caffeine and then actually go and USE YOUR BODY, for something like, WORKING OUT! Stress hormones in the presence of Human Growth Hormone and Testosterone (those hormones that are produced when you weight train) actually HELP in Fat Loss. So it does have a nice condition.
Recommendation: Overall, cut back on caffeine unless it’s just before your workout. Green Tea is a much more metabolically stimulating drink of choice!
Your Daily Dose of Caffeine should be 2.5mg/Kg of your Body Weight.
For women of child bearing age, it is recommended to limit yourself to about 300mg/day.
Here’s a little research I did to put this in perspective for you:
3. SLEEP: We have all heard this one a hundred times, but sleep is SO VERY VITAL for so many things, including your Fat Loss efforts. One interesting thing however is that you have to be careful not to get TOO LITTLE sleep (anything less than 7 hours) or TOO MUCH sleep (over 10 hours) both have adverse metabolic affects on your hormones.
Also, ever wonder why those all-nighters made you so hungry? Studies have shown that getting too little of sleep affects your HUNGER Hormones by increasing your hunger-producing hormones (ghrelin) and decreasing your satiety producing hormones (leptin).
The benefits of sleep is not only in our energy production for the next day, but during our sleep we also experience our HIGHEST Growth Hormone levels and Testosterone (mainly for men) that significantly boost the FAT BURNING machinery in our systems.
Recommendation: Get 7-9 hours of sleep per night. To help yourself fall asleep and stay asleep, avoid caffeine in the afternoon and avoid your TVs and devices 1 hour before bed time (the blue light in them activate our “awake” responses in our Circadian Rhythm clocks). Try to go to bed and wake-up at the same time every day, as this has been shown to help you get in the proper Circadian Rhythm cycle flow.
4. REFINED SUGAR: Refined Sugar, or any sugar that causes a huge Glycemic surge, is an Fat Loss nemesis. The more the food spikes our blood sugar, the more it will send in a rush of insulin, and essentially slow fat-loss. Then, as your blood sugar gets too low (which inevitably happens after the bad rush of Glucagon to break down the insulin), this triggers a the HUNGER hormones (ghrelin) to come in full force again! This is why, when you eat refined sugary foods, you are not full for very long. It is burned quickly and makes you hungry sooner, all while NOT Fat Burning.
Recommendation: Eat foods lower in Fructose and low on the Glycemic Index charts, meaning, more complex and fiber rich starchy carbs. A great resource for low-glycemic foods is HERE. I copied a graphic from Low GI Health website too that I found really helpful.
5. FOOD INTOLERANCES: This one was a surprise to me, but I learned very quickly after my bikini competition that I became very food sensitive and intolerant! I began experiencing very painful digestion issues that caused me so much issues that it’s taken over 2 years to truly figure out all of the “issues” I have (which are far and above just digestive issues by the way!).
But the reason why food intolerances can affect your fat loss efforts in a variety of ways. If our gut lining in unable to break down certain foods or the gut lining ins compromised in some way (leaky gut syndrome, for example) then it will limit the ABSORPTION of the vital vitamins and minerals (which is done predominantly in the intestines). Our vitamins and minerals are HUGE factors in making Fat Loss happen because they are the agents that “turn on” all of the “machinery” needed for Fat burning.
Not only that, but our guts also are huge factors in our stress responses (I carry my stress in my gut which has a huge factor on my digestion too!) and even our cognitive thinking!
RECOMMENDATION: At some point in your life, I recommend doing an Elimination Diet. I prescribe a specific one in my Health Coaching program (Module #3- Nutrient Based Eating) but there are many others. Whole 30, the Daniel Plan, Metabolic Effect, and Precision Nutrition all have varying programs. My friend Lisa Suazo, owner of also hosts a “CLEAN CLUB” that goes through this elimination process too she learned about from the book by Dr.Alejandro Junger, CLEAN.
Overall, these 5 factors can have SIGNIFICANT delays and negative delays on your Metabolism and Fat Loss efforts if not carefully considered.
With ALL things for your body, start with just ONE AREA and determine some new, healthy habits to focus on for a few weeks consistently. Then, as you get those down, add on another habit or two. Soon enough, you’ll be stocked full of all kinds of new habits that will start to really add up to some SUSTAINABLE, HIGH METABOLIC Fat Loss success!
As always, feel free to comment below or email me at email@example.com with any questions!