We hear a lot about metabolism when talking about weight loss, but what is metabolism? Metabolism is simply the body’s ability to make energy. The foods and liquids we take in as well as the oxygen we breathe all convert to energy needed to process nutrients for growing tissues, making hormones and regulating those hormones, and eliminating waste products. One of the first steps for healthy weight loss is to reset metabolism; without a metabolic reset, metabolism constantly stays at the same set point, and weight is static.
In order to achieve a metabolic reset, three things need to be increased: water, fiber, and fats.
- Water has zero calories and aids in detoxification (toxins are stored in fat, so detox is a critical part of weight management and overall health). Water is also a fundamental part of metabolism; metabolism is energy production at the cellular level, and water is a critical component of what makes our cells operate. Our daily goal should be to drink a minimum of one half our body weight of water in ounces and to start each day with a full glass of water or lemon water. (Tip: caffeine-free herbal teas count as water intake.)
- Fiber maintains blood sugar by controlling how the body processes glucose. Fiber is best from food sources like vegetables as well as added in through seeds such as flax and chia. Fiber also decreases appetite because it creates bulk, and it also helps with detoxification because it stimulates and cleanses the bowels. A goal should be to take in a minimum of 24 grams of fiber every day.
- Fats are broken down into two categories: saturated and unsaturated. Saturated fats are solid at room temperature (beef tallow, ghee), while unsaturated fats remain liquid at room temperature (olive oil, avocado oil). Unsaturated fats are further broken down into mono-unsaturated and polyunsaturated fats and contain Omega 3s, 6s and 9s, which are found in foods like fish, walnuts, and flax seeds. One caveat: industrialized modern “seed oils” (unsaturated fat) are treated with high temperatures, which converts them into saturated fats, producing a trans fat that is pro-inflammatory, extremely toxic to the body and is considered to be a slow-acting poison. Trans fats should always be avoided.
Our microbiome is our gut’s ecosystem. Its total environment. This is where billions of microbes digest proteins, fats, and carbs while also controlling and regulating many different processes including the production of hormones and vitamins—they even control and turn on, turn off and regulate our genes. Even the possibility of getting cancer or other diseases is regulated by our gut microbiome.
On the other hand, our microbiome is being established and regulated by the foods we eat. This is why it’s so important to eat organic produce and grass-fed organic meats—if the produce we eat or the soil it’s grown in has been treated with pesticides and other chemicals, those toxins also go into our ecosystems, increasing its toxic load. When it comes to meat, industrially raised grain-fed animals are given antibiotics that promote weight gain—when we eat the meat of these animals, we’re getting high levels of glucose (pro-inflammatory) and we’re ingesting those antibiotics that kill off the good bacteria in our gut and allow the bad bacteria to overtake it. Eating these meats and/or taking antibiotics for extended periods increase the risk of obesity. Having a healthy gut microbiome by eating the right foods and supplementing with probiotics can help us lose weight while improving our overall health and wellbeing.
Learn more about how the health of the gut microbiome affects weight, or how probiotics can assist with weight loss, by tuning into Module 2 of The Down5 Pounds Challenge.