Let's start by backing this train up a little bit so we're all in the same place. Do you know what metabolism actually means?
Metabolism is basically the sum of all of the activities your body has to do to stay alive and rock this wonderful life you're living. We talk about it in metabolic rate which is totally what you would expect: the higher your metabolic rate the more calories or energy you need to function each day.
It makes sense then, that your goal is usually a HIGH metabolic rate and definitely NOT a low one right?
Let's keep going with this. How do you know what you're metabolic rate looks like?
Well that's pretty easy. Take a deep breath and think about how you feel? Are you always cold? Is your energy low? Have you gained weight and CANNOT lose it? What about your digestion-is it far from perfect? These are all indicators that you metabolic rate is lower than it should be and this can be for a TON of different reasons. Here are the top 3:
- You are not eating enough. Yup-said it. Your body is a smart, adaptive little creature and if you cut calories in an attempt to lose weight then eventually your body down regulates metabolism to conserve energy. You may lose a few pounds at first, but then you'll plateau. Now you need to cut even MORE calories for the same rate of weight loss. Guess what? Once again your metabolism down regulates. You see where I'm going with this right? Takeaway? Don't cut calories below what your body needs-just eat smarter (aka high fat lower carb-I'll tell you more below)
- Your thyroid hormone is low. Your thyroid is basically the master of metabolism. If it's not functioning properly everything sloooooooows down and you tend to feel really tired, cold and hold onto weight like nobody's business. Takeaway? Show your thyroid some love! make sure you're getting minerals like Selenium & Iodine in your diet in the right amounts (think foods like fish, shellfish and seaweed) and manage your stress.
- Your lean muscle mass. This is a big one! Muscle is metabolically active (that means that it burns calories just by existing, raising your metabolic rate). Fat is so NOT metabolically active and it just sits there taking up precious real estate. Takeaway? The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn just by existing and the easier time you have maintaining your ideal weight. So if you're a cardio lover who can't understand why nothing really changes no matter how long you spend on the elliptical, maybe try adding in some strength training to your regime so you start adding muscle!
So how does keto fit in when we're talking metabolism???
- When you decide to LOVE fat and start giving carbs like grains and starchy veg the cold shoulder your body is able to tap into the fat stores it already has for energy production. This means that even though most people on keto tend to naturally eat less (because you're eating delicious and filling food NOT diet crap), your metabolism doesn't down regulate because your body doesn't sense danger (there's plenty of fuel available to burn through dietary fat and stored fat).
- By increasing fat you are naturally showing your hormones some serious love (hormones are literally built upon fat). By doing this you naturally support your thyroid. Also, foods like salmon and dark leafy greens are naturally rich in thyroid supporting nutrients and we eat a TON of them in keto.
- If your goal is weight loss, and you start cutting calories enough to trigger starvation mode, your body naturally starts breaking down muscle for fuel. In keto, you are teaching your body to become fat adapted which means you're preferentially burning fat for fuel and conserving muscle. This makes sure you maintain (and build) your lean muscle mass! Just make sure you keep your protein level moderate (you don't want to dip too low here) and you'll be all good.
There it is!!!!!!!
Have I convinced you to give fat some thought yet? It literally is my FAVOURITE thing to talk about (along with wine & chocolate of course)!
If you're intrigued and haven't downloaded my free Starter Guide For Women Who Just Want To Lose Weight, I would suggest starting there (I mean, it's free right). Download link is below-just click below and grab your copy!