Good Monday morning!
Today we're going to dive into a good fat-loss tool and a natural state the body loves to be in.
Metabolic flexibility … what is it?
Metabolic flexibility is the ability of the body to dip into and out-of carbohydrate burning or fat burning, without severe side effects such as headaches, lethargy or blood sugar crashes. It means your body can use whichever fuel is available – dipping into dietary fat, stored fat, or carbohydrate via glucose (sugar), or glycogen (sugar stores) with ease.
It's a natural state of metabolism.
So why is it so good for fat-loss?
Let's take a trip back in time to the origins of our hunter gatherer genes. Before our restaurants, takeaways, 24/7 supermarkets and the advent of on-line shopping, our bodies would have been metabolically flexible by necessity; Some days there was plenty of food, and other days there wasn’t enough to go around. Metabolic flexibility allowed people to go days without eating and feel fine … no blood sugar crashes or headaches! Again, it's our natural state. Your body is wired for metabolic flexibility. Our modern environment messes with your ability to switch between burning fat and burning carbs/sugars.
We're wired to eat … it's not our fault!
It's a survival mechanism all animals have, it ensures our DNA will be replicated and we can reproduce. That's the main drive of our survival mechanism. Combine this drive to eat, with the standard western diet and food pyramid emphasising the consumption of carbs, as well as the doctrine of eating frequently; a minimum of three meals a day plus sugar based snacks to ensure we do not starve between these meals. Eating this way will adapt your body to utilise carbs as the primary source for energy. When carbs are not present, the body craves them, your mood changes and and you end up with cravings and distraction until you can replenish the carb stores.
We will not starve without a snack. If this were the case, we would never have made it this far as a species. It's not our natural state and our bodies are literally overwhelmed with incoming energy and in most cases unfamiliar toxins.
When you’re metabolically flexible, you reduce cravings. 'hangriness' and sugar crashes. It's easier to maintain a healthy weight without trying too hard... your body doesn’t have to keep your food-seeking mechanisms constantly alight. Your hunger hormones regulate, and experience real hunger when it's needed. Your body is smart and it realises you don’t need to store extra fat to prepare for a constant need for energy. It burns what is available.
So, how do we become metabolically flexible?
The first is fat adaptation. Allow your body to adapt to burning fat. Gradually reducing your processed carbohydrate dependency and increasing fat intake will flatten the insulin spikes, mood swings, increase insulin sensitivity and move the body to using both dietary and stored body fat as fuel. We need to become fat-burning beasts again!
Second on the list has to be exercise - regular training, high intensity and strength training (the type we work through with my clients) as well as plenty of low level intensity walking. MOVE A LOT AT A SLOW PACE, MOVE OCCASIONALLY AT MAXIMAL EFFORT.
Thirdly, stick to high quality nutrient-dense food. Nourish the body and full-fill it's micro-nutrient needs or vitamins and minerals as well as its macro-nutrient requirement for energy. Show the body it will not starve nutritionally.
Once in the fat burning, metabolically flexible mode, the body no longer craves carbs. Energy soars and mood swings diminish... you take on a new lease of life - please see my testimonials !
That's it for this week, feel free to contact me for any specific or general questions on any health or fitness topic - I would be more than happy to help.
Remember to keep sending in your questions for Friday's reader Q&A!
Stay healthy, stay safe!