How-to series: How to understand your metabolism


So I would think by now that most people would know that your metabolism is your body’s engine…right?

But so many people do not understand how it works.  I know that I certainly didn’t before I got started on this journey.  The basics of your metabolism are fairly simple.  Your body burns a certain number of calories everyday just to keep you alive. And that is different for everyone.  There are some great resources out there to help you figure out your metabolic rate; and before you engage in any kind of lifestyle change please do two things: talk to your doctor and get a physical, and figure out your metabolic rate.  Ok that’s really three things.  First off, meeting with your doctor and sharing your goals to get healthy is a great plan and they can make some recommendations for you.  Plus getting that physical will really help you track your progress if it’s been sometime since you’ve been active.

Also, there are tons of amazing books on the subject…but they will only help you if you’ve set your goals and are really ready to make this change.  You can read books about healthy eating, and your metabolism until you’re blind; but if you’ve not taken the first step and committed to yourself you won’t stick to this.

So anyway…here are some of the basics:

What is your metabolism?

It is the rate at which you burn calories.

How can I control my metabolism?

You control is by doing all of the following: staying hydrated (water, water, and more water), exercising regularly (3-4x/ week for at least 30 minutes), getting a minimum of 8 hours of sleep per day.  And by eating on a schedule (every 2-3 hours)  I know it sounds counterproductive to eat more to lose; but it is true!

Let’s break down these must dos above.  First hydration. Our bodies are pretty much all water.  And when we don’t drink enough during the day our brain thinks “oh no!  we don’t have access to water!!  Conserve it!”  So you don’t pee enough, and your body holds on to what little water it gets and you end up bloated.  I drink between 8-15 8oz servings of water per day.  More when I exercise, but 8 is my absolute minimum.  So that means no sodas, energy drinks or that other crap passes my lips.  I drink the following beverages: green tea, water (duh), my Isagenix stuff: my morning shake, and a blend of the Cleanse for Life and Ionix supreme in water (4oz CFL, 1oz IS and 10oz water) and I drink that all day long.  And maybe an extra coffee if I feel I need a pick-me-up but those occasions are rare these days.

Now the fun part: exercise!  You should be active for at least 30 minutes 4-5 days per week.  It could be a brisk walk, a run or a class at your gym.  Heck even a little Wii or Kinect will get your heart rate up!  If you sit at a desk all day, this is crucial!  Go for a walk at lunch, do a couple rounds of stairs in your building and recruit others to do it with you!  You will be so much more successful in a group!  Involve your friends, kids and spouse!  But if you are really serious about losing weight and living a healthier life…join a gym.  Do not be intimidated by the people that are there!  They are working on their goals too!  And if you are really, really serious…get a trainer.  Meet with them on a schedule that works for you schedule wise and financially.  Discuss your goals and where you see yourself at the end of the year.  These people are amazing, and they will help you achieve your goals!  A bond is key, so if you don’t feel a connection…move on!  And be honest with them.  You are paying them, and if you don’t trust them to support you do not continue to see them.  I learned that a few years back when I was a member of a large gym here in MN, and I thought the trainer I was scheduled with was an a$$ and it was clear that he did not take me seriously.  So my health journey was postponed due to no support from my trainer.

The most fundamental part of your metabolism is this: calories in vs. calories out.  There are 3500 calories in a pound.  And if you want to lose 1-2 pounds per week then you need to burn, or cut 3500-7000 calories per week.  Now I recommend finding your metabolic rate for determining your recommended caloric intake.  Mine is 1200 calories per day to lose 1-2 pounds per week.  That means that I must ingest 1200 calories of food per day, and anything that I burn through exercise gets me closer to that 3500-7000 mark.  If you don’t know what a 1200 calorie day looks like, or if you think that seems like not enough food…let me tell you, that can be a lot of food!  If you are eating actual food, and not empty calories of junk.  yes, if you are eating McD’s, or chips and soda 1200 calories is nothing.  But if you are eating veggies, fruits and lean meats that is 5-6 meals a day and a full belly after every one of them. And that is why I use Isagenix.  I am a busy lady, and can’t always get 5-6 meals of veggies and fruits.  So I use Isagenix to help me supplement my needs.  I have reminders on my phone that tell me when to eat, 6 of them…and they go off every.single.day.  Sometimes I am already eating when they go off, and sometimes it’s a reminder for me!!

At the end of the day, one of the most crucial parts of weight-loss is sleep!  You really need to get 8 hours every night.  Your body gets busy while you sleep repairing your muscles, processing what you ate during the day, and if you are not giving your body the adequate time it needs, you will not see the results you are looking for.  I used to get about 5-6 hours of sleep per night, sometimes even only 4 hours.  I have never been a very good sleeper, and I toss and turn a lot.  But that all changed when I started using Isagenix.  And when The Amazing Jeff and I set a schedule for ourselves.  We set a bed time and work very hard to stick to it.  We set reminders on our phones, and one of them even tells us to “stop talking”!!  So do whatever it is that you gotta do…but make sure that you are getting those 8 hours!  I know if you have kids it’s a bit more difficult, but if they see that you are in your pjs and getting ready to go to bed…it may encourage them to hit the hay with you!

When all is said and done, you have to want to make a change in your lifestyle, and you have to make the commitment to yourself.  Share your goals, and if you’ve not made them yet…do it now!

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