Do you blame your metabolism for your propensity to gain weight when you look at a cheeseburger? You may actually be right. Your metabolism decides how efficiently you torch calories and use energy stores. But don't fret. You can change your metabolic rate! To make more effective change it's important you understand the basics of how your body uses food for energy.
Metabolism is “the processes that occur within a living organism to maintain life.” It is the process of cells creating energy. How do they do this? You may remember from high school biology the terms “glycolysis,” “Krebs Cycle” (aka TCA or CAC cycle) and “Electron Transport Chain.” In case you don’t remember what actually happens in these processes I’ll give you a high level view.
When you eat protein it’s broken down to amino acids. These amino acids are then used in the Krebs cycle to create energy. Protein is also used to create muscle, enzymes and antibodies.
When you eat fat it’s converted to fatty acids and glycerol through the digestive process. It then goes through a process called oxidation in your mitochondria that creates fatty acid acetyl CoA which can be used in the Krebs Cycle to create energy. Fat is also used for hormone production, energy storage and assists protein in its functions.
Carbohydrates are broken down to glucose through digestion or stored as glycogen in the liver. The glucose that’s not being stored is further broken down and then used in the Krebs Cycle for energy. Carbohydrates are almost exclusively used for energy but can be converted to fat for energy storage. It can be stored as glycogen in the liver and muscles for release when you need some extra energy.
HOW TO IMPROVE METABOLISM
When your body is very efficient as using the food you eat for energy you don’t store as much as fat. Your metabolism is somewhat determined by genetics but there’s good news- you can promote the expression of your helpful genes and turn down the expression of your “bad” genes through lifestyle changes. A newer field of genetics called “nutrigenomics” which is the study of how your genes are impacted by what you eat has consistently shown it’s possible to change genetic expression through what you eat. To promote your good genes to express themselves (control your energy use) you should eat more vegetables! Can it really be that simple? Eat at minimum 5 servings of vegetables every day.
Your thyroid is another big impactor of metabolism. You can support your thyroid to function at its best through other lifestyle factors. These include:
Basal Metabolic Rate and Total Daily Energy Expenditure
Your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the amount of energy your body uses at rest. It’s just the amount of energy your body needs for necessary functioning (heart beating, brain function, breathing, etc.). If you want to calculate your BMR you can google “BMR calculator” and find one that does this for you. If you’re a pen and paper kind of person you can use this formula if you’re a woman:
BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) – 161
And this formula if you’re a man:
BMR = (10 × weight in kg) + (6.25 × height in cm) - (5 × age in years) + 5
To make weight loss easier or weight gain more difficult you can increase your BMR by gaining skeletal muscle. Making more muscle and using those muscles will create an increase in energy expenditure.
Your Total Daily Energy Expenditure (TDEE) is the amount of energy your body uses for all of your needed functions to survive as well as your typical activity throughout the day. You can also easily find an online calculator to figure out a rough estimate of your TDEE.
To increase your TDEE you have to move your body more. Spend more energy throughout the day and your TDEE goes up.
Scientists have made the discovery that people with a normal weight have different bacteria in their gut than people who are overweight. This is a very new field of study so we’re not sure yet how we can use this information to help with weight loss but we do know that taking care of gut bacteria is important. Luckily, this doesn’t really complicate matters because the behaviors that improve your BMR, TDEE and general health also improve your microbiome. Other things you can include are:
How you live life can have a HUGE impact on how efficiently your body functions. Taking care of your body will only work in your favor when you’re trying to lose weight. I cannot emphasize lifestyle changes enough! Your life should include these things:
Don’t you feel relieved to know there are things you can control about your metabolism? I’ve created a whole weight loss course to teach you how to think, eat and live to achieve a healthy weight.
You’ll get 7 learning modules plus 2 bonus modules as well as a >70 page workbook. The learning modules will teach you valuable information and the workbook helps you apply the knowledge to make the needed changes for weight loss. I’ll be available to answer any questions you may have along the way on a couple zoom calls (dates and times TBD). Don’t worry- if you can’t make it to the zoom calls can email me your questions and listen to the recording of the call later. You’ll also have access to exclusive coaching hours reserved only for my weight loss course participants.
During the weight loss course I teach you to build your meals using The FFP Method. This meal building method promotes overall health, optimizes your metabolism and hormones and is practical for use in everyday life. There are no rigid meal plans, forbidden foods, calculations or counting. I include a 2 week meal plan to get you well on your way to perfecting your meal building skills.
Enrollment only lasts one week (closes 4/18) so if you’re interested head over to my website to read more about the course and enroll!
What you eat today has the potential to impact generations to come. How? It's the concept called nutrigenomics. Food impacts gene expression and disease. It's the nutritional environment you provide for your body that changes the way your DNA is expressed. Can you make the negative genes that you inherited much quieter and turn up the volume on your good genes? You bet!!!!
Check out this video that explains some research that was done on powdered fruits and vegetables changing the expression of over 1600 genes!!!
Have you ever heard the term "epigenetics"? How about "nutrigenomics"? These are two up and coming fields of study that I believe will provide new approaches to disease prevention and treatment in the future. Some knowledge that we've gained from these fields of study are being implemented now. For example, did you know that something as simple as eating more fruits and vegetables can change your DNA expression? Check out this article. If reading research articles isn't your thing you can check out this video summary of the article.
We are not victims of our genetics!! We can change our risk for diseases by changing how our DNA expresses itself through lifestyle changes. Does that give you hope? It should!