1. Sleep – it leverages and maximizes the other things
Metabolism is the mechanic built-in to your body that acclimates to your environment. For the most part, you think when you increase intake, weight goes up. When you decrease intake, weight goes down. Your body cannot survive or persist in an ongoing state of weight increase or weight decrease because the metabolism’s job is to acclimate. Metabolism is the biological and hormonal compilation within our body that adapts to our environment, therefore, weight loss or weight gain is what occurs during the interval amount of time it takes for our body to adjust. Some people lose weight easily. Some have a stubborn metabolism and have difficulty losing weight. Some people are predisposed metabolically where they will acclimate quickly to a decrease in intake while some may acclimate slower and are able to lose weight throughout a longer period of time. Metabolism isn’t any more important than any of the other pillars involved in weight loss or gain. It’s just so misunderstood that people become frustrated when they compare themselves to others or do great for a couple weeks and then have a stall in weight loss or gain. That’s your metabolism working as designed. Good news is, we can come up with strategies to work with it and not against it.
Most people when they start overindulging will gain some weight, but not in direct correlation to the amount of increase in the food they have had. If you are consistently eating, for example, 1,600 calories a day and exercising and maintaining weight and then decide to add in a pint of Ben and Jerry’s ice cream every day for a year, how much weight would you gain? It is very likely a person would gain 20-40 lbs. If you do the math and think about adding in an additional 1,000 calories a day which equates to 7,000 a week or an additional 2 lbs. per week with 52 weeks in a year, that doesn’t exactly add up to 20-40 lbs. According to the math, you would be gaining 104lbs a year. That is where your metabolism jumped in and got involved. Even though you gained 20-40lbs, your metabolism actually sped up to try and decrease a drastic weight gain.
The metabolism acclimates to your environment and it does so for better or for worse. This is not new information. The body building industry have been using these principles for decades. This is why they often bulk then cut. Cycles of controlling your metabolism by revving it up and then cutting creates contrast and forces body fat to incinerate off your body. They are simply implementing it in a very severe way. Weight loss is not a function of eating right or wrong. It’s a function of contrast. This is why when you do a specific diet you may lose 20 lbs. that first time and only 10 lbs. the second time in addition to other factors such as possible increased muscle, etc. People think they need to assess factors such as weight, height, gender, and age. They think with that info they should know what you need to eat. What you have to do is start with a meal plan. You then have to identify how your body responds to it. You don’t know if you’re that 125lb girl that can eat 3,000 calories a day or if you’re that 270lb man who eats 1,800 calories and is hardly losing weight. You have to learn where your body is at before you can build a strategy to cater to you. As humans, we tend to think in very common terms. Everyone has 2 eyes, 2 hands, 2 legs, so why would our metabolisms be so distinctly different? If it worked for your friend, you think it should work for you. However, every body is different and every body will react differently to a plan.
So, what should you eat? What should you eat to change your body weight and your metabolism? Unfortunately, there is no one exact answer for that. It is different for each person. This is why baseline testing for each individual person is important. If you’ve been intaking higher calories, then lowering your calories will cause weight loss. If you’ve already been dieting on lower calories, then you may have to do an increase to rev up your metabolism. This will ensure that when you hit a plateau, you can bust through it.
It’s not about eating boiled chicken and broccoli. It’s about the contrast in your diet. When you’re placed on a strict diet and can know the exact breakdown of macros which includes carbs, fats, protein, etc. then you can learn how your body reacts. If in a few days, you are seeing results, then you can know your metabolism is just fine. It is revved up and working. If no results come, then you can know your metabolism is not at its finest. With that information, a better meal plan can be made. You can know that certain macro breakdown did not fit your body. There are those that have genetically predisposed higher metabolisms. Those people will always lose weight a little faster than others. The average person can lose 20-30 lbs. and will then hit a plateau. With that plateau, something has to change. This is where the shift in diet needs to begin. This is where you adjust that first initial meal plan. This may require gaining a few pounds back to shake up the metabolism. The best way to do this is to do it healthily by adding in an extra apple or sweet potato a day. This does not work best by deciding to binge eat on ice cream. Then, you have to burn it off with exercise without eating one less bite of food. This is where exercise fits into weight loss. You can’t exercise 50 lbs. off. You can exercise 1 lb. off and you can do so in a coupe of days. After that’s done, you need to gain that pound back with healthy eating. This is a process that needs to be done 3 or 4 times over the course of several weeks. What this does is systematically recharge the metabolism to accept more and more food and instead of going to body fat, it is expended through exercise. Over the course of this process, you’ll increase your metabolism and be able to intake more food. When that process is over, you can go back to chicken and broccoli and will lose a ton of weight fast! This is the process of bulking and cutting that body builders use.
This is a tough sell for a lot of people. It’s not easy to do. Our bodies are complicated and it takes each person figuring out their body to understand it. Once you do this process the right way, it will stick. People often ask what is the right way to do this? Cutting carbs? Intermittent Fasting? Keto? Cutting calories? The answer is… there is a host of things you can do for your health, but from the standpoint of your metabolism… whatever you subject your body to on a day-to-day basis is what’s going to acclimate you. You want to do the least amount of restriction necessary that triggers a good pace of fat loss. You want to set a goal that is sustainable and progressive. You’d much rather lose weight at a slower pace while keeping your metabolism high and keeping a good intake than drastically dropping calories, losing weight fast, and then plateauing for a very long time. You can’t simply ask what someone is eating and hope that you have the same results. You have to make a meal plan, try it, and adjust it. Even better, contact a nutritionist/ dietician to make a meal plan for you. They will know breakdowns of macros and be able to assess and adjust your diet for you. All the diets work; Atkins, keto, Southbeach, intermittent fasting, but they won’t work forever. Knowing where you’re at metabolically is the key to weight loss.