Two out of three Australian adults are overweight. A stat that is all too familiar and often overlooked today. A myriad of metabolic dis-regulation diseases have become a massive burden on our public health system. Recently I heard the term diabesity used to describe this phenomenon. A term to describe the intersection of diabetes and obesity, two of the biggest health risks we face today.
Weight Loss & Metabolism
When it comes to losing weight and creating the body of your dreams, increasing your metabolism is your prime focus. Your metabolism is simply the sum of all the chemical reactions taking place in your body at any time. Read more about metabolism here. Your body craves stability. At the same time it makes sense that your metabolism speeds up and slows down in response to your environment and behaviour. When you eat a big meal, breaking down, using, storing and excreting nutrients and energy is an example of your metabolism in action. Another is finding the extra energy required to go from sitting in the car one minute to working out in the gym the next.
There are a lot of factors that can influence your metabolism. These include the composition and timing of the food you eat, the frequency and intensity of your workouts, the amount of lean muscle tissue you have, how you respond to stress and factors outside of your control such as your ethnicity and sex. This is why two people who weigh the same amount and follow the exact same eating plan can have a vastly different outcome when it comes to weight loss.
Here are three guaranteed ways to boost your metabolism and lose weight – eventually. That last word is very important because these are lifestyle modifications which take consistent application. It’s through consistency in the small things that we achieve big changes.
1. Food Quality
To the food industry, food quality is about the size, taste and characteristics of food that are acceptable to the consumer as well as meeting health and safety regulations. In this post I’m referring to the nutrient density of your food, as in how many nutrients you’re getting from your kilojoules. The bang for your buck!
While kilojoules count, you don’t necessarily have to count them. Not all kilojoules are created equal and simply counting kilojoules in vs kilojoules out is not going to ensure you get your metabolism firing. As an example, you could consume roughly 500 kJ in a glass of white wine. You could however yield a similar amount of energy eating 2 fried eggs. I think you know which is more likely to leave you feeling full while providing essential amino acids, vitamin E, D, B12 and also iron!
If there’s one thing that all of the diet recommendations/trends agree on, it’s that 50% of your main meal/s should come from organic leafy green vegetables. And while kale might cause you to yawn, if you want to lose weight start by googling recipes that could help make leafy greens somewhat exciting.
Make organic leafy greens 50% of your main meal.
Quality protein sources, providing 20-30g of protein 3-4 times per day.
Healthy fat is required in healthy doses. “Fat free” is not always the answer.
2. Food Timing
You may have heard the term intermittent fasting which has seen a recent rise to prominence. I personally feel the term is a little miss used and most of the time we are referring to time restricted eating.
Time restricted eating is consuming your daily food intake within a reduced window of time. Doing so has a dramatic effect on many of your bodily systems involved in metabolic regulation. Reducing your eating window to 11 hours each day, such as only eating between 8am to 7pm will help you improve insulin sensitivity, better regulate blood glucose levels and promote increased fat mobilisation during your fasting period. Not to mention the late night snacking you avoid will drastically increase your sleep quality and your daily energy levels.
Establish and commit to a daily eating window of between 8 to 12 hours, ensuring you eat enough quality food in that time.
3. Resistance Training
Resistance training combined with weekly HIIT training sessions is my go to method for increasing metabolism. Individual differences aside, it’s an undeniable fact proper resistance training increases lean muscle mass and increased muscle mass influences metabolism. More muscle uses more energy to maintain. You also get the added benefits of being stronger in every day life, increasing your bone density, and the moment of pride when noticing your bicep definition for the first time in a random work photo.
In order to build muscle mass you generally want to be performing two to four sets of 8 to 12 repetitions of your resistance exercises. The minimum effective dose to ensure you are going to get results is two sessions per week. It’s best to target your biggest muscle groups first through a range of multi-joint movements particularly if you are doing the minimum of two days. An example of a beginner full body resistance program would be:
Perform 3 sets of 10 reps of:
– TRX squat
– Seated row
– Dumbbell chest press
– Hamsting curl
– Dumbbell shoulder press
– Single leg lowers
– Glute bridges
Note: the above workout does not take into account your condition, mobility or past injuries which will impact on your individual program design.
Undertake multiple sets with repetition ranges to increase muscle size and density at least twice per week.
Putting it all together
Each of these three strategies can have a big impact on your metabolism alone. However, there are so many variables available to us when it comes to combining them and forming a unique plan. You can manipulate the timing of eating to coincide with workouts or the composition of your foods at different times of the day. when you are willing to get to this level of detail, results are inevitable.