Learn how to love and respect your body by understanding how it works. My goal is to help educate you so you’ll be more empowered to ditch dieting for good! What do you know about energy and your metabolism?
What is metabolism?
Metabolism describes the process by which your body converts the food and drinks you consume either into energy for immediate use or stored for use later. It's responsible for two different metabolic phases: anabolism and catabolism.
Anabolism is the process of building and repairing. It helps you generate new cells and store energy that your body will access when you need it!
Catabolism has the opposite role as anabolism. Your metabolism breaks down large molecules to convert them to energy. It’s this phase that gives your muscles the ability to contract and allows your body to move. It’s also during catabolism that your body breaks down waste and removes it.
You can boost the speed of your metabolism in several ways. What you eat, when you eat, how much lean muscle you have and exercise all have major effects on the rate of your metabolism.
My number one tip when it comes to body transformations
If you want to change the way your body looks or to improve your base fitness, do it. But do it safely with your long-term health in mind — not to ‘lose weight’. Give yourself plenty of time. Make small lifestyle improvements that cumulatively add up to big results, positively and sustainably.
You need to eat to lose fat.
Do you think that the fewer calories you eat, the better your weight loss results? This is a metabolism crushing fallacy.
What is a calorie?
We’re always fed (pardon the pun) information regarding calorie content, so we see this term every day, but what does it mean?
A calorie is a measure of energy: “1 calorie is the amount of energy required to increase the temperature of 1 gram of water by 1 degree Celsius.” The official measure of energy is Joule.
One calorie equals 4.184 Joules. What we usually refer to as “calories” is kilocalories (kcal).
One kilocalorie, or one dietary Calorie (with a capital “C”) is the energy required to heat one kilojoule of water by one degree Celsius. One dietary Calorie (kilocalorie) is 4184 joules. When we discuss calories, we are looking at how much energy is being put in or expended by your body.
2. What Does ‘Energy’ Mean?
Energy is the capacity of your system to work. The human body requires energy for life. We need constant energy for basic conscious movements plus breathing and thinking through to unconscious requirements like contracting your heart, pumping blood around your body, digesting. Energy is necessary to keep you alive.
On a molecular level, the body functions with a complex set of chemical reactions that form your metabolism. These chemical reactions use energy which is where calories step in.
3. Calories in VS Calories Out — CICO for weight loss
The Calories In, Calories Out (CICO) principle is favoured by a lot of diets. CICO proponents believe that weight gain results from eating too many calories. This is true to a certain extent.
The CICO method focuses on the theory that the caloric contribution of foods is the key to weight control.
Even though you will have more body fat if you ingest excess calories and you will have weight loss with a calorie deficit, this is still a drastic oversimplification.
There are three macronutrients you body requires; protein, carbohydrates, and fats. They each have certain functions within your body and go through differing metabolic pathways before they’re turned into energy. If you focus solely on the calorie content of foods and disregard the metabolic effects, you may end up with some short-term results. But not long term fat-loss.
Don't follow plans that won't meet your basic caloric requirements. By focusing on dieting and relying upon deprivation and reducing calories, CICO weight loss programs invariably set you up for failure.
What happens to your metabolism when you diet?
Your body makes a choice when faced with calorie restriction: lose body fat or lose muscle.
This is why CICO diets don’t work. Your body will drop calorie-burning muscle before it will drop fat when it’s being starved. Diets cause an excessive loss of lean muscle mass with no improvement to your body composition or health.
As a result of reducing lean muscle you also lower your basal metabolic rate (BMR). This means you use fewer calories every day and your body composition changes, leaving you with more body fat and less metabolically active lean muscle.
If you have a problem controlling your weight or improving your physique, it may not be because you aren’t making good food choices. The reason your weight loss has stagnated could be that you’re not eating enough calories to lose fat.
If you don’t eat enough calories, this causes metabolic changes.
Your body is amazing. It can sense a large decrease in dietary energy. And for a short while, you’ll get away with eating less. But then your body wakes up and sounds the alarm! It needs to save calories because you’re starving. Your body needs that energy (specifically fat) to survive and thrive.
For example, your brain is 2% of your body weight yet it uses 20% of your total daily energy. When you starve, you affect the basic functioning of many of your vital systems including your brain.
Your body responds to fewer calories by increasing your appetite and lowering your satiety to prevent starvation. Your body doesn’t know you’re trying to reduce your body fat — it does what it can to save you from hunger.
How realistic is it to diet then?
Part 2 covering macronutrient roles and how to protect your metabolism is just a click away. Click here to read more...
eFIT 30 - Fitness @ Your Fingertips
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