Last week we dove into the first 5 action steps you need to take to boost your metabolism and make weight loss easier.
If you haven't checked that out already, click here!
If you did, you're ready to dive into part 2...
In part 1, I mentioned that restoring the glucose reserves in your muscles is a big part of your post-exercise metabolic boost. Meaning, you want to prioritize workouts that use up a lot of glucose, requiring more work from your body to restore them.
And with steady state cardio, your body uses very little glucose.
Meanwhile, when you do heavier strength training and high intensity interval training, your body drains your muscles of glucose, causing your body to expend much more energy repairing and replenishing those muscles.
So if weight loss is your goal, you'll do much better prioritizing weights and HIIT and throwing in steady state cardio around once per week simply for the health benefits and to balance out the intensity of your other workouts.
NEAT stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis which is just a fancy way of saying the energy you burn outside of sleeping, eating, and exercising.
This could be cleaning, doing chores, walking to work from your car, and even fidgeting and it accounts for about 15-30% of your total calorie expenditure per day.
So let's just say you're burning 2000 calories per day and you're on the bottom end of the range at 15%. That's 300 calories burned per day doing non-exercise activity. Say you then increased your NEAT to the upper range at 30%. That's now 600 calories burned per day doing non-exercise activity!
And of course, we rarely talk about just calories here. So we also want to address the other affects NEAT has that can aid in our weight loss goals like increasing our energy, improving our mood, and even helping sustain lipoprotein lipase levels, which is in an enzyme critical in the conversion of fat to energy.
We've talked at length about how getting enough sleep (read 7+ hours per night) stabilizes hunger hormones, reduces cravings, improves energy and motivation to exercise, and stabilizes blood sugar.
But did you know sleep itself can increase your metabolism? According to sleepfoundation.org "The most energy-intensive sleep stage is rapid eye movement (REM) sleep. During REM sleep, our heart rate increases and our brain exhibits activity patterns similar to daytime levels. The heightened brain activity requires more glucose, leading to a higher metabolism."
Not only that, but "Sleep deprivation, sleep disordered breathing, and circadian misalignment are believed to cause metabolic dysregulation through myriad pathways involving sympathetic overstimulation, hormonal imbalance, and subclinical inflammation." -PubMed
And this metabolic dysregulation is becoming more and more commonplace with evidence showing we are sleeping an average of 6.8 hours per night compared to 9 hours per night 100 years ago (and I think 6.8 hours is being generous) and nearly 1/3 of adults report sleeping less than 6 hours per night!
Considering "sleeping 5 or fewer hours per night was associated with 3.7-fold greater odds of obesity among men and 2.3-fold increase among women compared to those sleeping 7-8 hours per night", it's clear that sleep needs to be more at the forefront of the weight loss conversation.
We've talked in episodes' past about how stress causes an increase in the fat-storage hormone cortisol. This hormone causes blood sugar spikes, insulin imbalances, and carb and sugar cravings just to name a few.
But did you know it also is a catabolic hormone? Basically, cortisol exists to give you quick energy to fight off a perceived threat. But where does that energy come from? Often our own body.
That's right, when we're under chronic stress we are breaking down our own muscle for energy. And seeing as the more muscle we have, the higher our metabolic rate, we want to hold onto that as much as possible.
"Researchers from the University of Florida (UF) recently discovered that chronic stress stimulates the production of a peptide hormone called betatrophin, which inhibits an enzyme required for fat metabolism." -Psychology Today
And to add one more layer, "too much extra fat can impair the body's ability to send a signal to the brain to shut off the stress response," -Psychology Today. This means we can't just reduce stress to reach a healthy weight, we need to reach a healthy weight to reduce stress.
And as we take on this work, we have to remember that stress doesn't just come in the form of traffic, work, or a fight with our significant other. Other forms of stress include exposure to toxins, chemicals, and pesticides, over-exercising, under-sleeping, negative self talk, injury, illness, unhealthy foods, unprocessed trauma, and more.
So like everything we talk about on this show, we need to take a holistic approach to healing.
It's the Follow Your Gut Podcast! So of course we couldn't talk about metabolic health without talking about gut health. And honestly, we're just scratching the surface in this field but what we know so far is pretty remarkable.
They've found that certain genetic markers within the gut microbiome that help bacteria grow more rapidly are associated with weight loss. "These bacteria take more of the nutrients in food for themselves, leaving less to go toward human weight gain compared with slower-growing bacteria." -Web MD
In addition to the speed of bacterial growth, the type of bacteria in your gut has a huge influence on whether or not your body will respond to weight loss attempts.
For example, there are certain species that will cause you to break down carbs and sugars more quickly leading to blood sugar spikes and resistance to weight loss.
There was study done on mice done back in 2004 that compared germ-free mice (mice raised in an incubator without exposure to microbes) to conventionally raised mice. And despite consuming fewer calories, the conventionally raised mice had more body fat. "This was true for both female and male mice and across multiple genetic backgrounds." -Pub Med
This observation was what led to the experiment where they took feces from both obese and lean mouse donors and implanted it into germ-free mice. Over time, despite eating the same amount of calories, the mice that got the obese donor's feces gained twice as much body fat.
"This diet-microbiome interaction suggests to Turnbaugh that nutrition might be better viewed from a (perspective) that takes into account both host and microbial genetics. It also raises questions about the definition of a calorie (e.g., Do scientists need to redefine a calorie in relation to the gut microbiome?)" -Pub Med Once again disproving the old weight loss adage "calories in, calories out."
Want to know the exact steps you need to take to improve your gut microbiome and metabolic health at large? That's exactly what I teach in my Follow Your Gut Program! Click here for details and to apply to the next round!
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