Thursday, May 23, 2013

Secrets to Being Fit and Fab: Eat Before You Work Out

PHS editor Michelle Styles confesses a hard lesson she had to
 learn -- eat within 30 minutes of waking and have a little something about 20 min before you workout.

I work out first thing every morning. Basically because then I don’t have time to think up an excuse...and my family doesn’t interrupt.

One of the things I did was not to eat before I worked out. I thought I would be burning more fat  as my carb stores would be depleted and it would give my body a chance to really detox. To a certain extent it worked, particularly as I made sure I ate within 20 minutes of finishing. However, I began to notice that I was getting hungrier and hungrier through out the day and also I started really getting tired in the evening. I cut down on my cardio. I tried eating more nutrient rich food. Both these things helped but the problem remained.

I happened to read an article about Hayley Pomroy and her new book the Fast Metabolism Diet. In it she explained that one of the worst things you can do for your metabolism is to delay eating when you wake. You want to eat within 30 minutes of waking. She also recommended to really up your water intake. Not including tea or other beverages, you should be drinking 1 oz of water for every 2 lbs of weight to help flush the toxins out of your system. She also had a number of other suggestions including combining various foods on  different days and making sure you eat  every 3 -4 hours to avoid wild swings in your blood sugar.  

As a side note, her diet would work but that is because it follows the principles laid out in Lustig’s book Fat Chance: The bitter truth about Sugar. They are low to no refined sugar, high fibre, avoid omega 6 and trans fat as well as fat and carbohydrate consumed together in the presence of an offsetting amount of fibre.  And the combining of foods for 28 days seems to work for some people.

I decided to try and see if eating some easily digestible before I worked out made any difference to my need to snack. To my astonishment, it did. I found myself getting less hungry and not being exhausted by eight o’clock. I think my body kept going into starvation mode. If your body does into starvation mode, your basal metabolism lowers as it strives to burn fewer calories. You want your basal metabolism rate to be at a  fast rate because then you are burning more calories over all.  Other things that inhibit metabolic rate include repeated dieting (particularly long term calorie restriction)  and fuelling your body with foods which cause it to bloat or be more inclined to store calories rather than burn them.

Increasing the water does help and eating every 3 -4 hours also works for me.  The key is remembering to eat and making sure to vary my snacks. It is very easy to fall into a rut with snacks and only grab an apple or a handful of raw almonds because it is easy but your body needs different nutrients.

Another new area of research is how women’s  hormonal cycles effect their ability to lose weight.  A new book which is one my TBR list is Womancode by Alisa Vitti . Vitti suffered from PCOS and rather than accept that the only way was to manage it through birth control pills and other drugs, she discovered that she could do it through a change in diet.  The book is about repairing your endocrine system and how to work with your hormones rather than against them.

Michelle Styles writes warm, witty and intimate historical romance in a wide range of time periods. She lost over 66 lbs in weight in 2011 going down to a US size 4 from her starting point of a US size 20. She has maintained her size. You can read more about Michelle and her books on

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting, Michelle, and congrats on the huge weight loss. That is very impressive!!! You must feel fabulous! I haven't read her book, but I agree about the frequent, small meals.

    I discovered years ago that I have an "early" metabolism. I am hungry when I wake up, ready for lunch by 10am, and dinner by around 4pm. And then that is it. I don't eat in the evenings (unless we are going out). It seems to work for me, as does cutting out the sugar!