Do You Skip Meals?

May 13, 2008

Skipping meals is probably one of the WORST things you could do to your body in terms of metabolism and weight loss. At least half of the people I have talked to recently when interviewing a company on their fitness and health confessed to skipping breakfast or lunch if they were too busy. Most of these people find it hard to lose weight. AND ITS BECAUSE THEY ARE SKIPPING MEALS AND KILLING THEIR METABOLISM. Read on….

What is your Metabolism?

1. Nervous System:

The nervous system needs energy depending on the brain power and frequency at which it is used. Type A people who talk fast, walk fast and do things fast would need more energy than the stereotypical surfer dude who talks slow, moves slow and is relaxed a lot. This is why fat burning pills work. But I am NOT supporting them- I recommend that you do NOT use them! The reason they work is they put your nervous system into overdrive and therefore you burn more calories. A lot of shake and supplement companies add extra caffeine and caffeine type herbs to their products to help you burn those extra calories and give you extra energy. The problem is that there is a price to be paid. Depending on your current health conditions, fat burners and extra caffeine can have negative affects on your heart, brain, hormones, and moods. Rather than manipulating your nervous system, I would recommend focusing on the muscular system.

2. Muscular System:

Muscles are active tissue- they need energy. Fat is not active and needs nothing! The more active tissue you have, the energy (calories) you need. It’s quite simple. As we age or become less active, we often lose muscle which decreases our resting metabolic rate. Women especially are often stumped when they gain weight over a period of time and are shocked because nothing has really changed about their diet or exercise—they have lost muscle over time. The good news is you can get it back and more!

How do you decrease your metabolism?

1. Starvation:

One other thing I need to point out about metabolism and how people decrease theirs without even realizing it is starvation diets or repeated long durations of time with no food. When you past the 5 hour mark of being without food or you skip breakfast and eat your first meal 5-6 hours after you wake up, you are slowly decreasing you metabolism everyday. Your body needs fuel- you don’t give it any so it has to take from within. The body will break down your own muscle and convert it into energy thus taking it away from you and decreasing your total amount of active tissue!

2. Toxicity:

If you eat or drink a lot of fake sugars, eat a lot of fish and canned tuna or live and breathe any chemicals in your home or environment, you may be toxic. You may be toxic if you have a lot of mercury in your mouth-fillings. Toxins get stored in fat tissue and the liver and can cause weight loss resistance. Doing a detox 2-3 times a year is beneficial to all for cleaning out the system.

3. Acid-Stress:

Not getting enough sleep causes elevated cortisol levels. Eating processed foods, too much meat, drinking coffee and alcohol all make your bodies’ ph more acidic. These factors can dehydrate you and imbalance your hormones making it very difficult for the body to use fat as energy and to excrete it from your system.

4.Aging- Decreased Activity

Aging as we already talked about decreases your hormones- which also decreases your muscle and therefore metabolism. Not doing resistance training or building muscle will result in a lower metabolism every year because of aging.

How do you increase your metabolism?

1. Eat more Protein at every meal esp breakfast!

For most women and men this would contain about 10-20 grams of protein in the meal. For example, 2 egg veggie omelette..or a smoothie made with one scoop of egg white or protein powder…or ½-1 cup of Cottage cheese or plain yogurt, ½ C. frozen berries with 1-2 Tbsp flax seed meal or walnuts would do the trick.

2. Supplement your fats!

Essential fats are also known as omega 3 and 6 polyunsaturated fats.They work in tandem with L carnitine and CLA as a trio essential for helping your body mobilize your fat stores to be used as an energy source by the mitochondria, particularly during a workout. Quality varies tremendously. Try to use some that are pharmaceutical grade.

3. Control Cravings and Appetite with Ideal Food Choices

The first key is to understand how your brain, gut and fat cells communicate with each other through hormones and brain messenger chemicals to tell you whether or not you need food and compel you to eat. When they are working properly, they are an elegant machine pinpointing when you need energy and asking you to consume calories to obtain that energy. When they go haywire-and there are many ways for them to go haywire in our current eating climate-they cause you to eat when you don’t need to, contributing to metabolic issues and weight gain.

4. Manage Stress

Another key is to understand how stress makes you fat and how to overcome its effects. Under any physical or psychological stress, the body is designed to protect itself. It stores calories and conserves weight (you might need that energy reserve to run from a predator). It pumps hormones into your system that increase blood fats, sugar and insulin and cortisol to prepare you for fight or flight. Without eating more or exercising less, stress alone will cause weight gain.

5. Detox!

Detoxifying your liver will help it properly metabolize sugars and fats. Toxins from within our bodies and toxins from our environment both contribute to obesity. Getting rid of toxins and boosting your natural detoxification system is an essential component of healthy metabolism and hormonal health for healthy aging.

6. Exercise Efficiently and add Resistance Training

Most people don’t exercise at all but if you do, you will need to create a plan and have some tools. With cardio, a heart rate monitor and pedometer will help track your calories burned and the efficiency of your session. But you still need to add active muscle to increase your metabolism-add resistance training! You can work out at home, on the road, at the gym , office or outside. There are several exercises you can do to stimulate muscle growth without equipment.

Another few tips……

Stay away from ‘whites’. White bread, white rice, white flour, white pasta and white (animal) fats. The good stuff is ‘refined’ out of them.

Hydrate, hydrate, hydrate. The goal is not just to drink liquids but to get water inside cells. Best water to drink is mineral water. Best choices are Whole Foods flavored Mineral waters from Italy in flavors like strawberry kiwi and raspberry lime, Pelligrino or Fuji water for their purity and mineral content.

Become Accountable-if you fall off track often or you are used to yo-yo dieting and exercise, hire a trainer or a coach. Get involved in a group. Commit yourself to someone so they can help you commit yourself to YOU.

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This was written by J.J. Flizanes, Director of Invisible Fitness