Health

5 Simple Tips To a Healthy Metabolism

When I talk to a client for the first time I always ask them, “How frequently are you eating?” They usually answer with, some days I wait up to 5 hours without eating.  I'm always blown away by this and at the same time share compassion.  We live in a busy time, this is why some people put off eating or taking care of themselves to get things done.  

But can you really get things done when you have no energy?  Nourishing yourself has to be a top priority if you're going to strive to have more energy and a healthy well functioning metabolism.  Contrary to popular belief, your body needs food on a regular basis in order to regulate your blood sugar and keep all systems functioning optimally.  

If you have trouble losing or gaining weight you may want to start by nourishing the body on a daily basis.  Eating a small meal every two hours then tapering off once your metabolism begins to function more efficiently.

Even though food frequency seems like such a simple solution, I find it’s the most underestimated factor in most people's nutrition program.  People are just not doing it.  Maybe it’s because of our busy stressful lives or maybe it's because calorie counting has been drilled into our psyche as the best way to lose weight and get healthy.  Whatever the reason, at some point our bodies are going to slow down if we’re not giving them enough fuel.

I think eating clean organic foods is really important, but if you’re not eating frequently enough to balance your blood sugar each day, you’re simply not going to be able to meet your body’s metabolic needs, thus slowing your metabolism down and storing more calories as fat. 

This can also sets the stage for hormonal imbalance and thyroid slow down which can make it basically impossible to lose weight.

The goal is to heal the metabolism first.  Excess weight will come off when the metabolism and thyroid are healed and working efficiently again.  You can do this simply with the right foods in the right amounts and at the right times.

5 Simple Things You Can Do To Heal Your Metabolism

1. Eat every 2 hours.  When you’re training your body to run on glucose instead of adrenaline it’s really important to eat every 2 hours until your body is able to run more efficiently.  If you go too long without food you run the risk of going into an adrenaline mode and your body can go into it’s cortisol reserves.  Doing this too often can slow down your thyroid which is what regulates your metabolism.  You want to avoid this hormonal fluctuation by eating frequently enough to meet your body’s metabolic needs.  This will depend on the person.

2. Eat food with your coffee in the morning.  It’s ideal to eat food with your morning coffee to avoid a blood sugar spike.  I also recommend adding organic heavy cream and/or gelatin to your coffee to slow down the effects of the caffeine.  The nutrients you get from the heavy cream and gelatin will help your body metabolize the coffee.

3.  Be prepared.  Plan ahead for your meals and snacks for the week.  You can easily avoid moments where you realize you have nothing to eat.  Because you waited so long to eat your body rebounds by overeating at the next meal.  You can avoid this by simply planning ahead. Shopping on the weekends and having enough snacks on hand to keep the blood sugar regular throughout the day.

4.  Eat balanced ratios of macronutrients in every meal.  What are macronutrients?  It's your protein, fats and carbohydrates.  Each one should be represented at every meal to avoid blood sugar fluctuations.

5.  Eat before, during and after your workout.  Exercise can create inflammation and lactic acid in the body as well as cause a temporary drop in blood sugar.  In order to minimize this response I suggest eating a small meal 30 minutes before your workout.  You could even sip OJ with gelatin added to it during your work out and eat a meal right after.

 

Get Better Sleep

Getting enough sleep is a big deal. Restful deep sleep is essential for restoring the physical and mental body.  Any excess physical, mental or emotional stress you experience gets repaired when you sleep at night.  If you’re not able to get enough sleep to restore your body, your body responds with stress hormones, pushing you into a continual state of inflammation.  Indicating to your body that it’s detrimental to your survival to stay up and be wired.

Here's what you can do to get better sleep.

Get to bed to early

Getting to bed no later than 10:00 pm will help you reap the full benefits of your restorative time for both the body and the mind. Your physical repair time occurs from 10:00 pm – 2:00 am and your mental repair time occurs from 2:00 am – 6:00 am.

If you’re getting to bed too late, start by going to bed 15 minutes earlier every night until you’re going to bed at 10:00 pm on a regular basis.  This allows your body can gradually adjust to the change.

Get Rid of All Distractions Before Bed

Assess your nightly routine.  If you’re getting any screen time before bed this can negatively effect your ability to wind down and get to sleep at night. The light that you get from a computer screen or TV can create a cortisol response which could keep you from getting into a restful sleep for at least two hours afterward.

I suggest shutting down your computer two hours before you begin winding down and turning down the lights.  Shut down your computer after dinner or come up with a time that works for you.  If you shut it down you’re less likely to go through the trouble of turning it back on.

Turn down the light

Start turning down the lights at dusk.  As the day comes to a close train your body to wind down by giving it less stimulation with your lighting.  Bright lighting at night can trick your body into thinking it’s day time.  I recommend using a salt rock lamp which emits a softer soothing light or use candles.

Become aware of the value you get from sleep

Most likely you feel better. Consider this a value and a priority. You can only repair your body with enough sleep.  Just remember anything you feel like you miss out on during the night by staying up late you end up missing out on the next two days or more depending on how often you stay up late. Your sleep deficit builds up the more sleep you miss out on. This will negatively effect your concentration, focus and energy in the days following.

Take a Hot Bath

An epsom salt bath is wonderful for winding down at night.  The magnesium is great for relaxing your muscles and nervous system.  Try adding lavender essential oil which is a great for calming your nervous system along with candles and some soothing music.

Stretch Your Body

Stretching can be most beneficial right before bed.  Since you’ll be laying down in a relaxed position for about 8 hours your body will most likely hold the stretch better.  Stretching also calms and relaxes the body naturally.

I get on the floor every night and pick out three stretches.  Sitting on the floor motivates me to move around and stretch, whereas if I were on the sofa I’d be way more comfortable and less likely to want to move.  I also recommend Feldenkris movements or Qi gong before bed.  These help to calm the nerves and connects you to your breathing for better sleep.

 

Is Sugar Really The Problem?

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Could sugar intolerance, your inability to metabolize sugar and carbohydrates, be the problem instead of sugar itself?  Sugar intolerance is a malabsorption issue, leading to fatigue, bloating, gastrointestinal distress and anemia.

Consider the issue could be you’ve been oxidizing free fatty acids for some time now, producing too much lactic acid and thus slowing your energy metabolism down over time.  Caused by eating too much protein and not enough healthy carbohydrates, eating the wrong fats and by doing too much activity without replenishing your energy reserves.  Basically burning yourself out.

I’ve been one of those people.  Years ago when I was experimenting with the low carb diet, I eliminated dairy, fruit, root veggies, grains and anything that contained sugar.  This was my "so called" solution to what I thought was candida.

I felt great at first, but it didn't last long.  Eating soon became a joyless experience and I quickly fell into a state of depression and chronic low energy.  After doing some research, I discovered cutting carbs was the last thing I needed to do if I wanted to heal my candida and fungal issue. More surprisingly I realized that I may have even made my issues worse by trying to fix the problem by cutting all sugars.

I’ll explain why….

It was a real shocker because since I could remember (since the 1970’s) sugar was seen as a junk food and something that’s incredibly harmful for your health. So cutting it all out is good right? Well not exactly.

Looking back on it, I'm not sure what surprised me most, the fact that I'd been working so hard at something I thought was healthy but was really making me sick or the fact that I now needed to consider eating sugar again.  

It took me a really long time to process this but I eventually realized I needed to redefine what "I believed was healthy", not what had been marketed to me as healthy.  I was on a path to discover my truth about what was healthy for me. 

There wasn’t a whole lot of information about it so I kinda felt like I was heading into uncharted territory.  At that time the consensus was that sugar was bad and the recommended advice was to go low carb.  To be honest that's still the case, but what's changed is my experience and perspective. Now I see sugar as a food that can aid the metabolism in it's function if used to deliver nutrients.

What I found out...

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We produce higher serotonin and adrenaline levels when we either skip meals (fast) or skip any of the three macro-nutrients (protein, carbs and fat) in your meals.  A significant and frequent blood sugar drop can create an addiction to dieting (just by chronically raising serotonin levels), low energy, low metabolism and muscle wasting (catabolic state).

The simplicity of this was surprising to me.  Although the biochemistry can get really complex, the therapy doesn't have to be.  I've found we can easily make the therapy more complex than it needs to be.  It surprisingly comes down to proper blood sugar regulation and replenishing your body with enough fuel (food) on a daily basis.

If you’re cutting your essential macro-nutrients out or fasting, your energy will consistently come from adrenaline and cortisol instead of glucose.  You can survive for some time off of adrenaline (which is a by-product of fat oxidation) but ideally glucose is our body’s preferred fuel for the brain, energy metabolism and recovery.  Since glucose gets stored in the muscles and liver, your body doesn't have to take resources from the tissue itself to produce energy.  

Glucose is also what your thyroid and liver rely on to function well.  This sets the stage for anti-aging protective hormones to be produced like pregnenalone, progesterone and DHEA and more reserves for energy production and better recovery.  Not to mention better brain function and hair and skin, since your body's not in a hyper adrenaline state.  It's the best way to slow down the aging process.

On the other hand, if you lack reserves (glucose storage in the liver and muscles), there's absolutely nothing you can do to motivate yourself to workout, eat healthy and take care of yourself.  The energy is simply not there.  This is why I think most people feel they've failed, you just can't will your way through it because it simply comes down to a lack of energy.  

The science behind sugar intolerance….  

 

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If you’re producing too much lactic acid from low carb eating,  the cell begins to favor the oxidation of fat rather than glucose, which doesn’t produce as much carbon dioxide (needed to transport and liberate oxygen). Leading you down a path of reduced function, low energy and hormonal imbalance.  A similar process happens in cancer cells – Lactic acid turns into fat then the body oxidizes the fat.

We’re supposed to be able to metabolize sugar well, but instead the foods we’re presented with have missing parts, like separated macronutrients and manufactured/modified sugar.  This could be why our bodies have such a hard time metabolizing sugar.  Not because sugar is bad, but simply because our metabolisms are not functioning at their best.

The solution…

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The good news is there's a way to get your body back on track if you’ve hit an all time energy low. Considering the type of carbohydrate you choose is the most crucial factor.  Getting your healthy carbs from fruit, root veggies, squash and dairy instead of grains with sugar added and high fructose corn syrup can make all the difference in the world when it comes to repairing your metabolism.

Too much starch inhibits digestion and promotes endotoxins in the gut.  Energy from starch (grains and legumes ) is pure glucose which requires insulin to metabolize. Energy from fructose and sucrose has been proven not to require insulin to metabolize your food, therefore, does not create insulin resistance.

If you're constantly requiring insulin to metabolize the food you eat you damage your metabolism over time and your body’s energy systems become less efficient affording less energy production.

Begin by taking in more beneficial real food carbohydrates, like the ones I mentioned above, to offset the lactic acid and free fatty acid production.  Doing this slowly (if you've been avoiding them) as to give your body time to adjust and acclimate so your body can produce enzymes to break down the carbohydrates.  Always eat clean protein, saturated fat and healthy carbohydrates together, never leave one out.

In addition trade out foods that contain high polyunsaturated fatty acid (vegetable fats - canola oil, soybean oil, etc.) concentration for those that have a high saturated (animal and fruit) fats content. Saturated fat is a major contributor to blood sugar regulation as it aids in this process and helps you recover from stress.

 

References:

www.raypeat.com

www.eastwesthealing.com