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Fitness for Body, Mind and Spirit

GreenNote Life

Fitness for the body, mind & spirit

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Why dieting makes us gain weight and what to do about it

We have all heard the theory that to loose fat we need to exercise more and eat less. Some of us may have incorporated that protocol into our routine and may have noticed a difference…at least for a while. Then what happens? Feel hungry? How are the energy levels? Have cravings? There is more to this story that I learned from Dr. Jade Teta, and his brother, Dr. Keoni, authors of “Loose Weight Here”. Looking at metabolism all wrong Dr. Teta explains that the way we have been looking at metabolism is all wrong. All wrong. As one example, think of what has happened with contestants on the Biggest Looser, gaining back even more weight with their resting metabolic rate being even lower than when they started the contest. You can read about that here. Teta explains that the reason the contestants and those dieting put the pounds back on is due to the Law of Metabolic Compensation. This Law states that your metabolism will respond by pushing back against you. If you diet in this way, you will actually slow down weight/fat loss and create a situation making it more difficult to loose weight in the future. So dieting, eating less and exercising more, may be contributing to weight gain. Yes. You read that correctly. When we start dieting, we start getting hungry and getting food cravings. The metabolism starts to decline. Those cravings turn into eating unhealthy foods, sleep gets disrupted, and the body does everything it can to hang on to fat, to eat more, and crave more. When we break our diet, we will gain back weight. Statistics clearly state that 95% of those on eat less exercise more programs gain weight back; 66% end up fatter due to not understanding this Law of Metabolic Compensation. Bottom line is that we need to work with the metabolism. When our metabolism compensates, we must compensate with it. When you do this it will stop those plateaus and weight changes.

We can look at a balance metabolism in a couple of ways:

  • Previous assumption: calorie reduction = weight loss = balanced metabolism

  • Reality: balanced metabolism = natural calorie reduction = permanent weight loss

Will power vs. biology Back to that point made earlier; the body does everything it can to hang on to fat. Our bodies are wired for survival. We have heard that having more muscle burns more calories but why is that so important? Muscle is your metabolic potential. Those two go hand-in-hand. So why do we re-gain weight? If you loose weight incorrectly, you are loosing lean muscle. We need to make sure we are loosing fat and not muscle. This is a key point Dr. Teta makes. Movement is key Both muscle and fat are endocrine organs. They release hormones. When we move by walking, slow movement, even fidgeting, hormones are released that give a signal not to store fat, and sends signals to control hunger. When we loose muscle it is creating a "metabolic soup” as Teta refers to it. So it is very important to maintain muscle tissue so the beneficial hormones are released. Fat tissue releases inflammatory hormones that tell the body to be inflamed, have more hunger, have more cravings. Fat tissue wants to get bigger and bigger. Muscle is the fighter of that. Fat and muscle are like the yin and yang; they need to be balanced. You get to a place of balance by moving and exercising smarter. You want to be moving towards behavior that builds muscle and burns fat. That behavior includes what you eat, how you sleep, relaxing, meditating, getting a massage, which all helps to balance the equation more in favor of the beneficial hormones that muscle release vs. negative hormones that fat release. Can you burn fat and build muscle at the same time? Dr. Teta refers to this as metabolic multi-tasking; build muscle and loose fat. As we discovered with metabolic compensation, as the body begins to compensate, your cravings will go out of balance. Dr. Teta explains this as getting your HEC (hunger, energy, cravings) in check. When HEC is not in-check, you must change it. In order to multi-task, you have to change your approach. Let’s look at ways to move your metabolism:

  • ELEM - eat less and exercise more (diet)

  • EMEL - eat more and exercise less (couch potato)

  • ELEL - eat less and exercise less (Europeans walk/move a lot but don’t eat much or as much as Americans do)

  • EMEM - eat more and exercise more (athletes)

The key point with these ways to move your metabolism is that you don’t pick one and stay there. You must move through these different approaches to keep your HEC in check. How could this be structured? Dr. Teta explains that the example given below works for about 30-50% of people, others will have to adjust and tweak it to their individual metabolism. Effectively it could look something like this for someone who works during the week and travels some: During a hectic week when not training, not getting to the gym, this person would eat less and exercise less (ELEL). Since not doing much exercise, would not need additional calories or carbs On the weekends with more time, this person would be training more, lifting weights, so would eat more and exercise more (EMEM) Vacation in a location conducive to activity, one might be eating less and exercising more (ELEM). This isn’t for long, may be up to a week, then, Vacation where you are eating more and exercising less (EMEL), but again, this isn’t for a long period of time. Then you go back to exercising more Making use of estrogen An interesting point that Dr. Teta discussed was for women to adjust their training and eating to their cycles. For example, in the first part of menstruation, estrogen is higher during this time, which helps with building muscle and burning fat better. During the first part of a women’s cycle, it would be better to eat more and exercise less (EMEL). During the second half after ovulation, estrogen levels drop relative to progesterone. At this point a women needs to be more careful about stress. Training is a stressor for the body so could be advantageous to not do hard, intense workouts at this time. This would look more like eating less and exercising less (ELEL). During part of menstruation both estrogen and progesterone drop. There are receptors all over the body, including in the brain, and when these levels drop, other things drop too i.e. dopamine, serotonin, etc. What restores these naturally? Cocao powder. Dr. Teta suggests placing a tablespoon of cocao powder in water and mixing it. This will help elevate brain chemistry and a nice way to shut down sweet cravings. Summary

  • Metabolism should be looked at differently; a single protocol of eating less and exercising more will not set you up for a balanced metabolism

  • When you diet your metabolism will push back against you and your body will start to hang on to fat

  • It is important to maintain muscle tissue so it can balance the body wanting to hang on to more fat

  • There are different combinations of eating and exercising that help keep the metabolism moving

  • Women can use different protocols during their cycles to maximize fat loss

  • Need to find what works best for you


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