Why spring clean your body right along with spring cleaning your home, decluttering your space and shaping up your finances? Well, it makes good sense and I suggest that you think of it as a required “metabolic wake-up” after transitioning from winter, the season where our metabolism is naturally the slowest. Yes, it’s true, we are physiologically and mentally set-up for weight gain and lethargy in the winter due to a drop in thyroid hormone, your metabolic master, and mood hormones, which control your cravings for comfort food.
I’ve come up with my own top five tips for a metabolic boost and spring-body-reset. Aim to adopt at least one of these habits, even better if you can achieve all five! In real simple terms these are the benefits you can expect:
- More Energy – which inspires you to do more and start to move more
- Better Brain Power – for increased motivation, focus, drive, energy
- Shedding of Excess Winter Weight – without a subsequent decrease in metabolism or energy, while only losing fat and maintaining muscle. You’ll also keep your hunger, energy, and cravings in check – to stay on track.
Tip 1: Adopt a FRESH new outlook towards your diet, exercise habits and lifestyle: Start each day by asking yourself this question “How much am I going to move today?”
Your answer to this question will determine your diet habits for the day – including what you eat when you eat it and how much. You should let go of the mentality of adopting an “eat less, move more” approach as it sets us up for failure. In fact, 96% of people who do this gain the weight back, plus more.
The answer is simple – yet so commonly overlooked – when you move more, you should eat more. When you move less – you should eat less. The days you are sitting at your desk or not exercising, are the days we need to take in less so that our body uses the reserves stored in our body as fuel instead.
How can we eat less?
- Most common – skip the sugar and all starchy carbs like bread, pasta, rice, potatoes.
- Eat one less meal on the days you do not strength train, so three meals instead of four.
- Stop eating by 6 – 7 PM at the latest!
- Drop the most calorie dense food from at least one or two meals – and that is fats! So, when you are moving less, skip the egg yolks, cheese, nuts, avocado – as your body doesn’t need added energy. You will, however, still consume your required protein and two cups of vegetables at each meal. Remember – it is all about getting your body to a ketogenic state – i.e. Fat burning state and we can do this by moving more, eating fewer carbs and sugar, and eating fewer calories overall – but it should never be done by failing to eat the minimum protein we all need to maintain muscle mass (formula is based on your body weight and activity level).
- Add a day or two per week of intermittent fasting (only if you have mastered your protein intake on the other days of the week).
Tips 2: Change your perspective on moving.
I ditched my Fitbit! I did this after researching into the benefits of walking and realized I have been quitting my walks right at the moment when my body would have switched to burning fat stored on my body as fuel, rather than the energy provided from the sugar in my bloodstream. You must deplete the blood sugars with steady activity before you can hit this metabolic sweet point. For most people, the time this happens is after at least 60 to 75 minutes of walking, briskly, and without dilly-dallying on your phone! So – use the Fitbit to track what you do – but do it right for the optimal metabolic, fat burning, stress reducing and mood enhancing benefits. Stop thinking 10k steps – start thinking 60 -75 mins continuous walking 5 to 6 days a week.
After you have mastered this habit – the next metabolic must is 30 minutes of high-intensity strength training, two to three days a week. Check the workout from The Hormone Boost, but make sure you hire a good trainer to learn how to do things right and to remain injury free.
Tips 3: Take my 3-month breakfast challenge – you won’t believe the benefits!
Go to your local health food store and pick up these simple items to mix in a shaker cup with as much water as you prefer (I prefer less water!) and begin your day by drinking these three ingredients:
- Creatine: Did you know this is one of the only supplements proven to increase energy, muscle growth/recovery, and brain power? Yes, its’ true – it is not just for muscle-bound body builders anymore because almost everyone can take it for mental function, energy, and muscle mass. It is also excellent for concussion victims. Take 5 grams – about 1 tsp. per day.
- Marine Collagen (hydrolyzed and with Vitamin C): As we age, our body’s ability to produce new collagen declines and existing collagen begins to break down. The loss of collagen effects skin, joints, and bones. The decreased collagen may also lead to increased digestive problems, weakened immune systems, and increased risk of chronic illness. A recent article in the Globe and Mail turned me on to collagen’s benefits for tendons, bones, ligaments, and repair after exercise as the scientists gave 15 grams to the athletes (so you will need to take about one and a half tablespoons). The researchers saw great improvements in the 15-gram dose. By the way, 5 – 10 grams didn’t do the trick. Since then I have gone on to find these additional benefits of marine collagen: it builds bone strength, boosts thyroid, improves skin, hair, and nails – and even wrinkles, stabilizes blood sugar, boost the mood hormone and brain function, reduces inflammation, heals inflammation and immunity within the gut and helps with joint pain. Read more on my recent blog post .
- Whey Protein: For immune, muscle, metabolic, antioxidant and strength benefits toss 1 to 2 scoops (at least 20 to 30 grams for women; and 30 to 40 grams for most men) in your cup. I prefer vanilla flavor. If you can’t take whey protein, pea or hemp protein can work too.
Shake, drink and devour all these wonderful metabolic, energy, and body benefits from the one simple concoction of these three supplements. I can tell you something else – I am never ever sore from my intense workouts and I feel energized and focused all morning.
Tip 4: Pay attention to how you feel: You may need to change when you eat certain foods and in which combinations.
- Feel tired after breakfast or hungry soon after? Never have starchy carbs at breakfast – your oatmeal, rye toast, hash browns or egg-on a muffin are not your brain power and metabolic friends. Go for my breakfast challenge – or choose high protein options like a meal replacement, eggs with goat cheese, turkey sausage with egg whites, and other high protein no starchy carb options.
- Craving muffins or pastries at 3 pm? Definitely cut the carbs from breakfast, increase your protein to hit your 30 to 40 gram goal per meal and add a fiber supplement to your smoothies at breakfast.
- Craving sweets after dinner or snacking at night? Never miss having a protein source between 2 to 4 pm. And even better, go for a whey – a rich source of protein as whey is proven to lower cortisol and to help you eat less in the following meal. Craving sweets and snacks at night means you have not eaten enough protein during the day and have had too many starches and sugar. Consume one source of starchy carb only, in your evening meal, best choices are carrots, peas, lentils, quinoa, squash, turnip, beets and buckwheat.
Tip 5: You must get results weekly! If one week goes by without favorable changes, while you are following your plan, get help – change your plan and reset your approach.
- Track your diet intake daily – as well as how you feel – your energy, hunger, cravings, mood and sleep.
- Measure your waist circumference at the level of belly button – you should see decreases here and your goal is half your height (in inches).
- You need to become a metabolic detective – everybody is different, and diets always need adjustments.
- Still no results – test your thyroid levels – TSH,. Free t3 and Free T4 – and see us at Clear Medicine or an ND in your area
Dr. Natasha Turner ND spoke with Wei Chen of CBC radio Ontario Morning today about the benefits of Spring cleaning your body.
Listen here. (It starts at the 13-minute mark)