How are you doing today?
Did you get a good night’s sleep?
Did you burn 60% of your body fat while you were dreaming?
Today’s topic is not about slumber, we’ll cover that in the future.
But I do want to point out that more than half of your calorie burning actually happens while you’re resting.
When you add up all your non-physical activities, such as:
- the pumping of your heart
- breathing in oxygen, and breathing out carbon dioxide
- cell reproduction
- hair growth
- maintaining your body temperature at 98.6 degrees
- tissue repair (e.g. healing of a wound)
- or just the plain act of thinking…
Can you guess how much the cumulative total is, as a percentage of your total energy requirements?
Why is this important? Because…
Controlling your metabolism is your fastest and healthiest strategy to lose weight.
Metabolism is the process of converting your fuel stores into actual energy that is used in one or more of the following areas:
- Resting metabolic rate, which is the bulk at 60-75%.
- Physical activity, e.g. walking, talking, lifting, etc. which makes up 15-30%.
- Digestion, (or thermic effect) – your energy requirements spike up temporarily 5-15% to break down the food in your stomach
- Your genetics at 5%, and you can’t do anything about this.
Source: John Berardi, Ph.D., The Metabolism Advantage, pp. 14-17
Now, doesn’t it make sense that in order to lose the most weight, you should concentrate on your resting metabolic rate?
In other words, that’s where you’ll get the most bang for your efforts.
We’re going to tackle #1 and #3 today, since they are closely related. We’ll talk about physical activity in the next email.
So what makes up the variation? How can you maximize it to the upper limit?
Think of your body as a pipeline through which energy flows. Within that pipeline there are 2 gateways or faucets that control the energy flow.
Remember: food = sugar (glucose) = fuel = energy.
When that energy flow is disrupted, the sugar accumulates, or backs up, and it gets converted to that bulge in your belly, your arms, your butt…all concentrated forms of energy.
(The groom can’t find his bride, right?)
Faucet # 1 is your digestive system, which converts your food into glucose. Included in here are your eating habits, your food choices.
Faucet # 2 is the individual cell, all 50 trillion cells in your entire body, that use up the glucose for its individual energy requirements.
Like the engine in your car, your cell does not live off on gas alone. Your engine needs air, oil, water, an electric current, etc.
In addition, a running engine by itself is not sufficient. You need:
* a working transmission, * air in your tires, * a steering system, and * you also need brakes.
Then you need a gas tank, and a fuel system to deliver just the right amount of gas to your engine.
In other words, your car is a SYSTEM.
Likewise – your body – your metabolism, is a SYSTEM. The whole cannot function properly, if the individual parts are not functioning properly.
Your cells need not just glucose, but also vitamins, minerals, enzymes, water, oxygen, etc. etc.
This could be the single biggest misunderstanding about weight loss.
Why? Out of sight. Out of mind.
You’re just focusing on faucet #1, but in order for faucet #2 to work, you need to provide all the other ingredients for your metabolism to work.
Let me give you a specific example.
You probably already know that protein is what you need to burn the body fat you’ve got. Here’s why:
- Protein takes more effort to break down. Your digestive system needs to burn more calories, increasing your consumption to the upper limit.
- Protein takes more time to break down. It doesn’t provide for your immediate energy needs – so your body will get its fuel from your belly fat.
Protein is also used to repair muscle tissue.
When you lift weights, and challenge your arms to the point of breakdown, your muscle fibers actually tear apart, much like a tear in your clothing.
When you allow your body to recover, the protein that you eat will be used to fill up the gaps in the torn muscle. That’s when the muscle expands and grows bigger.
This process of tearing and building muscle is part of your resting metabolic rate, and by itself, actually requires more energy and thus, more calories burned.
In comparison, fat tissue does not really grow like muscles, and it does not require as much energy for normal bodily functions.
So the more muscle mass you have, you increase that resting metabolic rate to its maximum setting of 75%.
That’s the secret to losing weight while sleeping.
Like I said before, I do have some belly fat, and I’m not muscular at all. But I would typically lose about 0.5 to 1 pound from the time I go to bed, until I wake up in the morning.
So now do you understand why counting calories is a prehistoric method of managing your weight?
A calorie of a donut is NOT the same as a calorie of an omelette!
Like I said, you don’t need to bulk up like The Hulk. As long as you maintain your BMI to 25 or less, you should be fine.
So now you’re thinking:
“OK, I now get it about how NOT to GET FAT. But how do I burn the fat when I don’t have any muscle mass?”
Here’s my straightforward answer: eat less sugar and have more protein.
The usual suspects of protein are beef, turkey, chicken, fish, pork, shrimp, clams, cheese, eggs, tofu, etc. etc.
These are all the basic stuff. Organic is preferable, but if you cannot afford it yet, then you should be alright for the purposes of burning fat.
But in addition to the fact that we are eating poor quality protein, we are also NOT eating fruits & veggies that provide us with the other ingredients for full metabolism.
All the factory processing has stripped the meat of its normal nutrients, like the B vitamins, which is critical to your metabolism.
Why? Because your body is a system, and you need all the ingredients it requires to fire up your metabolic engines.
So let’s summarize our discussion on macro-nutrients and metabolism:
- Fat does not make you fat, it tells you to stop eating.
- Carbs turn into fat, most especially simple carbs.
- Protein repairs protein, and speeds up burning body fat.
- Fiber cleans up your body, and provides all the other ingredients for fat burning.