Friday, February 1, 2013

Metabolic Burnout: How YOU can reverse the damage

Today on the show, we talked about 'Metabolic Damage' also called 'Metabolic Burnout' - just to re-cap, metabolic burnout is the result of many years of abuse (stress, lack of sleep, prescription and over-the-counter medications, poor diet and exercise patterns) that cause your organ(s), i.e. your adrenal glands, pancreas or thyroid, to work less efficiently. Your internal balance is thrown off and the body struggles to bring itself back into equilibrium.  

How many of you live off coffee and energy drinks?  Feel exausted all the time and have to rely on sleep medications to fall asleep at night?  Feel sick to the stomach with excessive bloating, gas and digestive problems?  Have done every fad diet in the book only to end up heavier, unhappy and feeling lost?  

STOP THE MADNESS!  All of these things disrupt the 'homeostasis' in the body!  Living in a constant state of up and downs from dieting to binging to over-cardioing all in the name of weight loss will NEVER work long term and will damage your metabolic system and your ability to lose weight!

Signs of metabolic Damage
·       Weak nails
·       Hair falling out
·       Feeling lost
·       Gaining weight while on dieting calories
·       Fatigue
·       Irritability
·       General Malaise – you feel terrible
·       Gas
·       Nausea
·       Bloating, cramps
·       Digestive  problems,  digestive  stress,  constipation,  irritable  bowel  syndrome,
·       Menses abnormalities,  colitis,  and  Crohn’s  disease
·       Living on caffeine or stimulants throughout the day
·       Anti anxiety medication
·       Anti depression medication
·       Interrrupting sleep patterns
·       Gaining weight, especially cellulite even while doing consistent training & diet
·       Require sleep medications 

 The good news? You CAN reverse Metabolic Damage!!  As discussed on the show, here are 10 strategies to reverse metabolic damage - and not to mention, ALL of these strategies are things we encourage EVERY day to move toward a healthy, lean lifestyle!

 1.) Eat more! You need a caloric deficit for weight loss, but there are different ways to achieve a deficit. You can eat less. You can exercise more. You can do a little bit of both.  In addition, how specifically you eat less and exercise more makes all the difference. The smart way is to avoid crash diets and pursue slower but steady fat loss with an eye on body composition. Start with a conservative deficit of only 20% below your maintenance level. Use a larger deficit only if you’re seriously overweight. Increase the deficit incrementally when you need to, ideally not going above 30% under maintenance. When you add in resistance training, cardio training and an active lifestyle, your calorie expenditure (metabolism) goes way up, and that’s how you can legitimately eat more and keep getting leaner.

2.) Eat clean & natural. The long term daily consumption of refined, artificial foods in large amounts will eventually take its toll on your health. When hormonal health declines, body composition outcomes are worse during weight loss and risk of metabolic damage may increase. Furthermore, most natural, unprocessed foods, especially vegetables and lean proteins, are lower in caloric density and can lead to spontaneous decreases in caloric intake compared to the standard American diet (S.A.D.)  For optimal body composition results and  metabolic and hormonal health, it’s not just about calorie quantity, but also calorie quality. Don’t focus on one to the neglect of the other.  Eat CLEAN foods in their whole form (lean proteins like chicken, fish, turkey, steak - eat fruits, vegetables and healthy fats like olive oils, salmon, nuts and avocados - eat complex carbohydrates like whole grains, sweet potatoes and whole wheat products).  Does eating clean mean you have to eat 'boring'?  NO!  Check out our recipes and look at great 'clean eating' resources like 'Clean Eating Magazine'

3.) Eat regularly: Eat like an athlete! Spread your total daily calories into 4-6 small meals per day and be sure to include a source of lean protein with every major meal. But whatever meal schedule you choose, consistency is of great importance: studies have shown that haphazard eating patterns are at least partially responsible for metabolic disarray including decreased thermic effect of feeding and dis-regulation of blood sugar and insulin.

4.)  Eat carbs. Instead of the carb-phobic diets that millions of people still follow (which can actually suppress hormones like thyroid and leptin), EAT carbs.  Complex Carbohydrates like those found in whole grains like oats, brown and wild rice, qunioa and other complex carbs like potatoes, whole grain products, legumes, etc. are our body's energy source and seek to not only keep you FULL with the fibrous components in the food, but also help to break down proteins and fats in the body.  Carbohydrates, proteins and healthy fats work TOGETHER to break one another down and a healthy diet includes all of them.

5.) Take a break: Avoid prolonged periods in aggressive caloric deficits. If you have a lot of fat to lose and it’s going to take more than 3 months to hit your long term fat loss goal, don’t do it all in one stretch. Take a week at maintenance calories after 12 weeks of restricted dieting. This – raising your calories - is the most counter-intuitive of all the metabolism-rebuilding strategies but it’s one of the most important. This is the same concept we use with your 'cheat meal' - eating clean all week and giving your body the break it deserves with your cheat meal helps your metabolism to fire up rapid speed because of the change in its normal plan.  The same is true with your calorie intake and ratios throughout the day.  After a few weeks, change up your caloric intake, ratios, nutrients in meals, etc.  

6.) Get serious about weight training: In the physique world, weight training is a foregone conclusion. But in the everyday world of non-athletes, weight loss = “diet,” not weight loss = “lift weights.”   For Suzy soccer mom, or average Joe beer belly "lift weights to lose weight” probably doesn't even compute. But weight training is so important for metabolic health and better body composition, that if you were forced to choose one or the other – cardio or weights – the weightlifting would be a NO BRAINER decision. If you have a concern about metabolic damage and you’re not weight training yet, there’s nothing else to discuss. Start pumping iron and building muscle first, then get back to me

7.) Do Cardio. Don’t Over-Do It. If you’re overweight, you can sometimes get away with very low calorie diets without adverse effects if you’re not doing tons of cardio on top of it.  Endurance athletes get away with high volume training because they provide ample amounts of food to fuel it (man, those guys can EAT!) Dieters and physique competitors on the other hand, often semi-starve themselves while doing huge amounts of cardio at the same time.    Exercise research says that extreme amounts of cardio during a diet can actually cause the same type of adaptive metabolic downshift as eating too little food. For example: Fitness competitors have been known to do 2 or even 3 hours of cardio a day before competitions. This kind of overtraining can be counter-productive when you look at the metabolic damage and “cardio dependency” potential. And remember, if you’re not diligent, you can out-eat almost any amount of exercise. If you’re doing upwards of an hour of cardio a day and not seeing significant fat loss, you’d better take a close look at your diet first before you rush to add more cardio. 

8.) Balance stress with recovery: It's ok to have stress in your life - the only people who don't have stress are dead people. Training is a form of physical stress and it's a good type of stress if you recover from it. That's the key point: If you don't balance each period of stress with a period of recovery, you will be in dire straits. If you add stress on top of a metabolic damage situation, it's like an amplifier, multiplying the usual symptoms, the most well known of which is increased cortisol, the catabolic stress hormone (that causes hunger and cravings). Stress without adequate recovery has been linked to insulin resistance (diabetes), increased fat storage and decrease in energy. 

9.) Get adequate sleep: In the past several years, the amount of new information coming out of research centers about the association between sleep and fat loss is staggering. Short sleep and sleep deprivation affects you 'hunger' hormones (cortisol) and may affect hormones regulating metabolism. The study that really got my attention was when scientists at the University of Chicago compared 5.5 hours per night to 8 hours per night and the short sleepers lost more of their weight as lean body mass at the same caloric deficit. Do NOT overlook the importance of 7-8 hours of quality sleep per night for better body composition and metabolic health. (NOTE: These last 3 points - overtraining + continuous stress without recovery + sleep deprivation - all at the same time, while on a calorie restricted diet, are what I call the metabolic "trifecta of doom")

10.) Gradually add healthy lifestyle changes: Don't go 'cold turkey' or the likeliness you will fail is high. Incorporating healthy changes like clean eating, consistent frequent meals, strength training and a healthy cardio plan WILL make a life changing difference for you, your body and your overall feeling of wellness.  But you are more likely to be successful if you take things slowly, one step at a time instead of trying to do them all at once, feeling overwhelmed and going right back to damage mode.

Metabolic damage and metabolic burn out are extremely prevalent in todays crash diet society.  What is right and what is wrong by way of health and nutrition is confusing and information is skewed in every different media outlet.  Bottom line - its proven.  Its science.  Eating 'clean' is the way our bodies were meant to eat - before there were Hostess processed desserts and Red Bull chemical sugar drinks - our bodies were created to eat REAL food.  The over chemical, over processed, over sugared foods are making us unhealthy, overweight and damaging our bodies.  But there is a way OUT and it starts right here!

In Health,

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