I know most people asking this question are hitting the end of their willpower for their weight loss goals and just want to see some progress. How can they turn up the heat on this fat so it will go away? I hear the frustration loud and clear. We all want to drink another cup of coffee and watch our waistlines melt. It’s just not that simple.
Metabolism is, fundamentally, the rate at which you convert food into energy.
This does not mean calories in = calories out. Far from it. A calorie burned in the lab is a unit used for measurement; a calorie in your food is information that your body uses based on its needs. That calorie could fuel your labors, heal an injury, carry out a larger load of trash, or even build some new muscle. The goal is to achieve efficiency in bodily function, to make sure that every bit of fuel is used productively.
It would seem, especially with all the talk about keto dieting, that excess fat would translate into excess energy. It makes sense that finding the burn switch would be the simplest way to use all that storage. But not everything we take in, or store, is useful.
I live in the country, where garbage is reduced, reused or burned. If I’ve been inefficient with the first two R’s, my burning will be, to a certain extent, useless. There’s too much in my pile that won’t burn. It’s obvious to the neighbors that I didn’t grow up here. My burn bin is full of charred cans and bottles. They will have to be taken away because they are not fuel for fire. Interestingly, the litter from my daughter’s rodent cage should be pure flammability: just dirty wood shavings and shredded cotton. But it is damp, and packed tightly into a bag for disposal. It remains after burning because the fire can’t stay lit long enough to actually use it. There’s too much junk.
Likewise, much of what is sold as food in our stores is either not actual food, or is difficult to use because of how it’s been treated. Many so-called foods have been devised in a laboratory or processed into oblivion, and there is no energy present to convert. In order for food to be truly considered food, it must be viable. That is, there must be some life within it. Life can be destroyed, or it can be multiplied, but life is never stagnant. It will not wait on a shelf until needed.
If we want our bodies to haul off the junk, we must provide actual life. With more vital foods going in to fuel the work, more gets accomplished. If too many deadbeats come on board, less gets done as more is required. This is why sometimes high fat, high calorie foods are more efficient. They work in the body.
What’s the bottom line?
-Be intentional about what you do. Eat quality foods and devote time to sleep. But don’t do a major overhaul overnight. Your body needs to prepare for a different style of working. A proper approach to achieving efficiency in the body is to recognize that your body is unique. There is no ideal diet that works for everyone. You must start where you are, and begin to make good choices based on your needs, tastes and abilities. If you don’t like meat, don’t think you have to eat it. Give your body some security, so it knows that it will have what it needs when it needs it. Pushing yourself too hard to do something unfamiliar triggers hormones that effectively stop digestion and fat burning. Give body what it needs, and it will begin to handle things properly. Know that it will take time – no truly good thing happens overnight. You are building a new body.
-Choose fresh foods over frozen ones, choose frozen over canned. Fresh foods have enzymes that assist the body with assimilation. The more of these you can get, the healthier you’ll be. Cook vegetables gently, to where the color is bright. If a vegetable looks dull, it’s lost a lot of the valuable nutrition that your body could put to use righting wrongs. Canned food is ok, but it’s designed for storage, not ideal health. If you’re trying to declutter, more storage foods aren’t the solution. The same goes for boxed “foods.”
-Sleep well. The fastest way to create havoc in the digestive process is messing with the sleep cycle. Sleep is when your body does repair work and takes trash to the curb. Just like in the kitchen, when your body runs short on time, trash is pushed aside until there are more resources to deal with it. Give your body time to do maintenance and take out the trash. Stop eating 3 hours before bedtime and don’t rush for breakfast in the morning so your body has uninterrupted time to do its work. Aim for 12 – 16 hours between dinner and breakfast. As your body gets used to burning more than it took in, it will become easier to go longer. If you do shift work, take time to nurture yourself on your days off.
-Fats are necessary to burn fat. Don’t buy into the line that all fat is bad. Margarine is cheap for a reason. Real foods contain real life, and they will break down and expire. If it won’t go bad, know that it will become part of that unburned pile of garbage over your hips. If you don’t like fish oil or butter, don’t eat it. But opt for coconut oil over shortening, and olive oil over generic vegetable oils. Vegetable and corn oils are added to cattle feeds to fatten them. Don’t think they won’t do the same to you.
Metabolism is more than burning fat faster. It’s about the efficient use of whole foods to build wellness. As fewer non-fuels are consumed, the body is enabled to begin taking care of useless debris that has collected.
Do you have questions on any of this? Comment below and I’ll try to answer them or write further on this subject.