Beauty and the Obese
Copyright 2011 Troy LaCour
All rights reserved.
DISCLAIMER: This information is not presented by a medical practitioner and is for educational and informational purposes only. The content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health care provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read or heard.
Table of Contents
Metabolism Defined: 5
Anabolism and Catabolism Defined: 6
Tips and Strategies for Boosting Your Metabolism: 8
Diet and Food Choices: 14
Protein, Carbohydrates, and Fats: 16
Metabolism Myths: 18
Healthy Eating Guide: 21-45
Metabolism is a word frequently used and seldom understood by dieters. And it's no wonder. The information available - online, in magazines and books, from your doctor, and from well-meaning friends - is not only conflicting, it's often incorrect.
Food manufacturers add to the confusion, because they want consumers to believe that their products are the answer to speeding up your metabolism - and will allow you to lose weight effortlessly.
For instance, some manufacturer’s splash their packaging with the words "Low Fat!" in order to fool consumers into thinking it's OK to eat more of them. But the truth is, just because a food is low in fat doesn't mean it's low in calories, or that it will help speed up your metabolism. The calories from proteins and carbohydrates can add pounds just as easily as fatty foods.
This manuscript has been created for the millions of people who want to separate fact from fiction. It's for those who want to speed up their metabolism, and lose weight in a manner that will keep them healthy and filled with energy to enjoy their daily lives.
Here we'll examine:
What is metabolism, and what role does it play in weight gain or loss
The proven, scientific ways to speed up your metabolism
Specific diet and food choices that promote a faster metabolism What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is the process by which the body converts food into energy. It is also referred to as the "metabolic process," because that's exactly what it is - a process.
Much as photosynthesis allows plants to turn water and sunlight into growth, your metabolism allows you to live, breathe, and grow. It's the means by which you have the energy to exist.
Everyone has a functioning metabolism - slow or fast, it's working.
Metabolism is sometimes referred to as a harmonizing process that manages to achieve two critical bodily functions that, at first glance, seem to be at odds with each other.
These two functions, which together make up the metabolic process, and occur in harmony, at the same time, are:
Anabolism, which uses energy to create cells, and
Catabolism, which breaks down cells to create energy.
Anabolism and Catabolism
The first function, anabolism, is the creation of tissue and cells. Along with normal growth, this is the function that comes rushing to the rescue when you cut yourself.
It causes blood to clot and seal the wound, and then immediately moves forward with the healing process.
At the same time, as you move through your day, walking, running, playing sports, and even sitting watching TV, you're using energy. And catabolism is breaking down food and converting it to that energy.
Metabolism and Weight Loss
As every dieter knows, calories play a primary role in weight loss and weight gain.
Calories, of course, are not specific things. A calorie is simply a unit of measure.
Calories measure energy, and in science one calorie is defined as the energy required to raise one gram of water one degree Centigrade. Since that amount of energy would vary depending upon other factors, such as the temperature at the beginning of the experiment, different definitions of the word "calorie" exist.
However, this unit of energy is generally accepted as approximately 4.2 J (joule).
This definition, of course, means nothing to you as a dieter, except to point out that every calorie is energy coming into your body. It has nothing at all to do with the nutritional value of the food you eat.
You and I may differentiate between good sources of energy, which we might define as those that add vitamins and minerals as well as calories, and bad sources of energy, which we might define as foods lacking in nutritional value. Most people know that an apple is a better food choice than a handful of chips.
We'll get back to diet a little later. For now, the thing to remember is that...
The energy has to be used
When your body takes in a calorie - or a thousand calories - it has to metabolize that calorie. That metabolization can be by anabolism or catabolism.
Thus, the calories can either be used to convert the energy into cells/tissue or it will use that energy to break down cells and provide energy for activity.
At this point, the link between calories / energy, metabolism, and weight management becomes clear.
This energy will first go to keep your body functioning. Some of it will be used for digestion, some for exercise, and some for mental function. The energy not needed for those uses will first be used for growth or repair, including the growth of muscle tissue.
Unfortunately, for those who take in more calories than needed for these functions, there's an excess and the body must deal with it.
The body has no choice but to create cells with that extra energy. These extra cells, when not needed for growth or repair, convert to what dieters commonly refer to as
Conversely, a person who takes in fewer calories than necessary for body maintenance and daily exercise will begin to lose weight as catabolism breaks down cells to create the necessary energy.
That rumor about fat cells: It's true
Once created, a fat cell is there for life. However, and this is a big however, those cells can be shrunk. Even though the number of fat cells in your body remains the same, their size and the percentage of your overall weight, can be reduced.
Catabolism will help you shed pounds
Catabolism, as you recall, is the side of the metabolic process that converts cells into energy. These cells can be the food you're eating, or the fat cells you want to shrink. In extreme cases - such as starvation - they will be muscle cells.
A word about muscle...
As already noted, energy that isn't needed to keep you breathing, keep your blood circulating, keep your brain functioning, keep your food digesting, etc. will go next to growth and repair. The amount of energy available for this next function will depend upon the demands you've made in terms of exercise on a given day.
You've probably noticed that children who are entering a "growth spurt" can't seem to get enough to eat. Their bodies are telling them that they need extra energy for building those new cells.
Creation of new and enlarged muscles in adults requires the same sort of energy. Body builders must eat more calories than individuals with sedentary lifestyles - not just to build the muscle, but to maintain it.
One reason is that muscles require calories to maintain. Thus, people with strong muscle tone burn calories even when doing nothing. This is why building muscle will boost your metabolism, and why you don't have to be a body-builder to benefit.
Techniques and Strategies for Boosting Your Metabolism Altering your metabolism comes down to three basic things: 1. Exercise
Of course, these aspects overlap, as you'll see
Unless you're one of those lucky people who can eat everything without gaining an ounce, you need to give your metabolism a kick-start with an increase in exercise.
Remember, however, that you should check with your doctor to make sure that you're healthy enough for exercise.
Begin with cardiovascular exercise, also known as aerobic exercise. This will increase your heart rate, blood circulation, body temperature, and oxygen intake/carbon dioxide exchange. That in turn will send a message to your system to initiate catabolism. After all, you'll need more energy for all those things going on in your body!
Note that I said "begin," because you shouldn't stop with aerobic exercise.
You may equate aerobic exercise with boring work-out tapes, but it doesn't have to be so. How about turning on some fast music and dancing your way into faster metabolism? How about putting your dog on a leash and going for a jog? The dog will love it and so will your body.
Since all body parts work together, the dancing and the jogging will also build leg muscle - and muscle building is the next step.
Building that muscle is important to your weight loss plan. As you'll remember, maintaining muscle tissue requires more energy than maintaining fat - and this in turn revs up your metabolism.
If you have more muscle anywhere on your body you will simply burn more calories as a result - even while you're sleeping.
While many women worry about building muscle for fear of looking like the women seen on body builder magazine covers, there really isn't much danger of that. Unless you dedicate a great portion of your life to weight lifting, you aren't likely to "bulk up."
Muscle is built through strength training, also called resistance training. For many, it means working out with weights. But don't panic!
Start with easy weights and work up. As you build more muscle, you can handle more weight. For now, if you're out of shape, even a 2 pound weight in each hand will begin to build muscle.
If you have a gym handy and can afford to hire a training to get you started correctly, do it. Otherwise, there are many good books on the subject, many of which you can borrow from the library.
Resistance training adds an extra benefit, especially as we age. It strengthens bones, which reduces the chance of injury from a fall.
Interval training is adding a high-energy burning component to your exercise plan on an infrequent, or interval, basis.
For instance, you may have increased your capacity for cardiovascular exercise until you can jog for 20 minutes every other day. This is helping you burn energy and use up those calories, but you can burn disproportionately more calories if you add even a 30
to 60 second sprint to that jogging time.
By increasing your energy output for even 30 seconds, you give your body a jolt - telling it to burn more calories.
It sounds strange, but you should create these jolts ONLY at intervals. The reason has to do with giving your body an unexpected need for extra energy. It's the immediate, quick need for extra energy that creates the spike in metabolism.
It's as if your body says: "Whoa! We need more energy here FAST. This person has increased her heart rate from 180 beats per minute to 190 beats per minute! Let's go to any available cell, like those fat cells down at the waist, and break them down via catabolism so she can get the energy she needs!"
As you become stronger through aerobic and muscle building exercises, you can increase the length and frequency of interval training, but do take care not to overdo it.
Pushing yourself so hard that you tear a muscle will put your whole exercise program on hold, so pace yourself.
Variety adds to the benefits...
Spicing up your exercise routine with variety will help boost your metabolism while it helps you stay on track.
One effective way to add variety is to break your exercise time up into 2 or 3 segments during the day rather than force you to commit to one long session. Knowing that 10 or 20 minutes will give you good benefits is one way to stick to a routine even on a busy day when you might not have a whole hour to devote to your routine.
But don't just assume that only that activity formally labeled "exercise" is beneficial.
Instead, recognize and use the opportunities for exercise that present themselves throughout your day.
Take the stairs instead of the elevator. When you go to the grocery store - or on any shopping excursion - park at the far end of the lot instead of searching for a spot closest to the door.
Instead of sitting down to lunch and reading a book, go to the mall and get portable food. Then spend your lunch time window shopping.
If you work within a few blocks of the post office or the bank, volunteer to do those errands, and then take the opportunity to clear your head and build your muscle by walking there.
One of those "Only in America" phrases that's gone around lately says: "Only in America do people spend 10 minutes driving around and around a parking lot to find a space closest to the front door of the gym."
It doesn't make much sense, does it?
You can also add little mini-exercises to your day. Try putting your weight on the balls of your feet and lifting your heels off the ground repeatedly as you wash dishes or tend to cooking dinner. Try trading your desk chair for a balance ball while you work at the computer, so you're in a state of slight, but constant motion. (This is good for building good posture, too!) Try reaching as far as you can when you're doing clean-up work around the house or pulling weeds in the garden. Remember, every little bit counts.
Variety is important because it prevents your body from getting into a groove.
Remember, the body always strives for efficiency. That means that when you start exercising, your body will develop an expectation of energy output.
Your body actually begins to predict that you need a certain amount of energy to meet a certain task. When it knows that it needs energy for a 20 minute jog or a half hour of energetic dancing, it will begin to achieve that energy output more efficiently.
That's why, when you first start jogging for say, 2 minutes at a time followed by 5
minutes of walking, your body may require a great deal of energy. You may find yourself out of breath or tired as your body works to meet the increased energy demand.
At this point, catabolism kicks in and your body metabolism increases.
But over time, your body will become stronger, will become used to providing this extra energy output, and will do so more efficiently. After a month or so of doing this exercise that left you breathless and panting, you may now not even break a sweat.
As your health improves, your body doesn't have to work as hard to meet your energy needs.
Unfortunately, this can derail your metabolism boosting efforts. Once your body becomes efficient at supplying the energy you need, it won't need to dig into the reserves (otherwise known as fat cells) to get it. Your metabolism will actually begin to slow down again as your body becomes more efficient at supplying the energy that it expects to need.
By keeping variety in your workouts, and adding some extra exercise here and there, you prevent the groove from developing. Variety also helps you target different muscle groups so that your entire body becomes stronger as a result of your exercise.
You'll also look more attractive. I once knew a man who worked out with weights almost fanatically, but did no other exercise. His arms and upper body were bulging with muscles, while his spindly little legs looked like they could hardly hold him up!
What is lifestyle? It includes everything from the place we choose to live to the foods we eat to the work and leisure activities we pursue. In short, it's the way we live, and too often people equate a "good lifestyle" with plenty of money.
But when it comes to health, weight control, and metabolism, your financial picture has nothing to do with a "good" lifestyle. Instead, it's the little things you do from day-to-day that have the most influence on the speed of your metabolism and your overall health.
Let's look at some common factors that greatly affect your metabolism: Alcohol
You may choose low-fat, low-calorie meals and avoid dessert, but include a glass or two of wine, a beer, or a cocktail with your meal.
If so, you're undermining your efforts to boost your metabolism.
Alcoholic beverages are almost as rich in calories as a sugary soft drink or a milk shake.
Wine delivers fewer calories than beer or bourbon, but 3 glasses of wine with dinner can add 300 calories to the meal - and those are calories that your body has to deal with one way or another.
In addition, enjoying an alcoholic beverage with a meal actually increases your appetite and encourages over-eating. This is one reason why those who are trying to gain weight are encouraged to add wine to a meal.
Many who enjoy a cocktail, a glass of wine, or a beer in the afternoon also make it a habit to accompany that beverage with a snack of some kind. Remember, those crackers and cheese slices also contain calories!
If you enjoy alcohol, I'm not suggesting that you cut it out entirely. In fact, red wine is said to have many health benefits, such as antioxidants. But you should be aware that it does influence your metabolism.
Every drink adds calories. And unless you compensate for the extra calories through exercise or muscle building, catabolism cannot occur. Instead, anabolism will occur and new fat cells will be created from those calories.
Most of us don't get enough of it these days. Between work, family, education, household tasks, and social obligations, there simply aren't enough hours in the day.
Sleep time is important because this is the time when the body repairs and rejuvenates itself. For children, it is the time when growth occurs. In addition, getting sufficient sleep improves metabolism.
One reason why sleep has such an effect on metabolism is that sleep deprived people typically have less energy to do daily activities - including digestion. Their bodies simply don't have the strength to break down food efficiently, particularly when the food is carbohydrates.
Unfortunately, many people with a busy lifestyle believe the only way to fit in exercise is to steal the time from sleep time. You might try to fit in a half hour of exercise after the rest of the household has gone to bed.
This is probably not a good idea. While exercise is vital, stealing the time from sleep is damaging. Plus, exercising before bed can cause you be too energized to sleep when you do crawl into bed.
Instead, find a way to integrate a workout into the daytime hours. Perhaps you can carve out a half hour at lunchtime or right after work. If you have children, use part of their time with them to run, play ball, or go for a bike ride. It will be good for you and for them.
If you must steal the time from sleep, do it in the morning, when the exercise will energize you and help you be more productive throughout the day.
If you're exercising earlier in the day, but other factors are robbing you of sleep, take measures to correct the problem. Here are a few steps you can take to set yourself up for a restful sleep:
o Avoid eating late at night
o Try drinking warm milk before bedtime
o Avoid coffee and other caffeinated drinks and foods in the evening o Turn the TV and the computer off at least an hour before bedtime o Try yoga or meditation
o Take a few minutes to write in your journal - and talk about the good things that have happened in the day - make a gratitude list o Write down the things you must do tomorrow - this will allow you to let them go rather than stay awake telling yourself what you must remember o Read something soothing and uplifting
o Take a warm bath - cooling down is a signal for your body to sleep Relaxation
The list above includes yoga and meditation - both things that reduce stress.
Experts are now telling us that stress can send signals to our body that lead to slower metabolism. Essentially, what happens when we're under constant stress is that the body releases stress hormones that flood the system.
These stress-related hormones actually tell the body to create larger fat cells in the abdomen. The result can be both increased weight and a slower metabolism.
Unfortunately, many people live with constant stress. It may come from work, from family, from finances, or from worry over the problems in the world. But there it is, and if we want to enjoy good health, we need to take steps to reduce it.
Make time in your daily routine for a "time out" where you can re-center yourself and de-stress, even if for a short time. Try walking more, listening to relaxing music, meditation, yoga, dancing, watching a good comedy, playing with your kids or dogs, or any activity that you can get fully "into" and enjoy.
For Ladies Only - Something good about That Time of the Month Yes, there is something good when it comes to fat-burning. Studies in Australia have shown that women were able to burn off as much as 30% more fat in the 2 weeks preceding PMS.
Researchers believe the reason is that when the female body's production of estrogen and progesterone are at their highest, they tell the body to use fat as a source of energy. Thus, exercising during this time will pay off in increased fat loss.
Diet and Food Choices to Speed Your Metabolism
The truth is, some foods will boost your metabolism while others will slow it down.
Instead of relying on food manufacturer's packaging to guide your choices, let's look at some scientific information - including the fact that it is not only what you eat that matters, but when and how you eat it.
Calories are not the enemy
Your body needs calories - without them, catabolism would simply use up all your fat and muscle cells, leaving you nothing but a weak skeleton. Calories create energy, and energy is necessary for life.
So while you should avoid "empty calories" in favor of calories that also deliver the nutrients your body needs; you should not create a "starvation mode" in your body.
Your body is a marvelous machine that tries at all times to make your life easier. Part of this effort is to efficiently use energy to keep you alive and functioning.
When you suddenly decrease your caloric intake, your body won't necessarily provoke catabolism and begin burning fat cells. Instead, your body will try to keep you alive by slowing down its metabolism.
When in a starvation mode, your body believes that food will not be forthcoming soon, and will become very stingy with energy.
Thus, if your body needs 2,000 calories per day to function and you suddenly begin giving it only 1,000; it won't begin to burn 1,000 calories worth of fat cells.
Instead, your body will attempt to get all it can from those 1,000 calories by slowing down metabolism and devoting all the energy to essential systems, such as keeping your heart beating, and supplying blood and oxygen to your system.
You'll naturally feel tired because your body won't be giving you energy for activity.
Strangely, this could actually cause you to gain weight.
Instead of starving yourself, you should strive to maintain a daily caloric intake that is proportionate to your body size, type, and weight loss goals.
Once you determine the number of calories that you need to maintain a healthy weight, work to provide them with nutrient-rich foods. If you aren't sure what your body needs, seek advice from a qualified nutritionist or fitness expert.
If such advice is financially out of reach, buy a good book or borrow one from the library.
Such books will not only help you determine the number of calories you need, but will provide charts showing the approximate calories and nutrients in say, an apple, compared to a slice of chocolate cake.
Remember, that along with energy from calories, your body does need vitamins and minerals to keep all systems functioning well.
Should you Eat More?
You probably should, for two good reasons.
The first is that by planning to e