Thursday, February 23, 2012

Secrets to Being Fit and Fab Secret 2: have a plan for metabolism changes

PHS editor and Historical Romance author Michelle Styles looks an important but often overlooked part of maintaining your weight -- having a plan.
Last month, I spoke about how you determine your ideal weight zone, this month I want to discuss how you stay there. You need to have plan and an idea of what you are going to do. Simply going back to your old lifestyle will mean the weight will come piling back.
The first thing to know is that there are many competing theories about how we gain weight and how our metabolism works. Nutrition  is an imperfect science. It is sort of in the same state that surgery was back in the 16th century. Part of the trouble is that everyone has her own unique biochemistry. It is part of what makes you, you. And you always have an unique combination of good and bad bacteria in your gut. How you absorb food makes to a difference to your health and your metabolism.
People can suffer from low level inflammation and leaky gut syndrome which gets expressed in a number of ways. Once your digestion gets back in balance, it is far easier to maintain your weight and to begin to work on things like -- what your emotional triggers are for eating.
So the first step in my plan has been to learn as much about my digestion as possible. What makes me bloat, what makes me crave other foods, what my body needs more of. The way I did this was through an elimination diet (aka an anti-inflammatory diet) where I not only went for a few weeks without certain food stuffs but also paid attention to how my body reacted when I reintroduced those foods.
It is never about having things permanently off the menu but rather allowing your digestion to recover and your hormones to start working properly and then seeing.
Typical foods that cause people problems include wheat, corn, refined sugar, dairy products, salt, starch etc. But it does depend on the person and how their gut reacts.
It is also important to allow your body enough time to detox overnight. This is particularly true if you suffer from Leptin resistance or a low level inflammation of the hypothalamus. If you have a tendency to plateau or you find reducing calories no longer works to shift the weight, you might have Leptin resistance. Giving yourself a 12 hour window from the time you eat your supper to when you have breakfast in the morning can help. During that time you should only have water or water with fresh lemon juice.
Speaking of water, another step in my plan has been to dramatically increase the amount of water I drink. Dehydration can cause bloating. And this is particularly true IF you have recently lost a lot of weight as the fat cells attempt to hang on to the water. It can be why you sometimes seem to plateau and then whoosh lose a ton overnight as your hydration level improves.
By knowing about how my individual biochemistry works and how my body responds, I am able to respond with the right sort of remedy if my metabolism changes and my aspirational clothes feel tight.
Second part of the plan is to learn about emotional eating and my individual triggers for that. 90% of serotonin is manufactured in your gut and when you get into an emotional state, your gut wants something to do. Food, and in particular carbs combined with fat can really give your body what it craves (temporarily). It can also lead to self-loathing and guilt as you know that the cake or box of biscuits really doesn’t do anything for your waist line. Guilt genrally leads towards the need to eat more and so the cycle begins!
 Any time you binge or eat  in an unplanned unhealthy manner, you should look on it as an opportunity to learn more about your body. You want to create a gap between the emotion and the eating so that you can do other things to take care of your body. One of the number one causes of emotional eating is stress. (I am going to deal with some of the strategies for combating emotional eating through self-care in later months). But the important first step is to take away the guilt. Any breakdown is an opportunity to learn and thinking of it like a baby learning to walk is useful. Babies fall down and then get back up again and stumble some more. You don’t get annoyed or mad at them for falling. The important thing is to get back up again and really examine the reasons behind and see if there is anything you can learn from it. Perfection is not required or wanted. So the plan is to treat any emotional eating as an opportunity for learning rather than for beating myself up!
The third part of my plan involves exercise. In order to maintain my weight, I need to sweat. And I am going to talk about exercising and coming up with the right amount for your body in next month’s blog.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance for Harlequin Historical. Her next book His Unsuitable Viscountess will be out in the UK and the US in August 2012. And her book after that Hattie Wilkinson Meets Her Match is a November 2012 release. To learn more about her books visit her website

1 comment:

  1. Tips to help you become more successful on your diet ... I'm so doing this diet starting today, Thank for the tips Michelle...
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