Metabolism Rehab – The 3-Step Plan That Solves Any Weight Loss Problem

According to the Gallup’s Annual Health and Healthcare Survey, the average man now weighs 196 pounds; the average woman weighs 160 pounds. Both figures are 20 pounds greater than self-reported weights in 1990. So why are we still getting fatter?

We have all been there – the diet rollercoaster. We frantically try fad diet after fad diet, only to creep back up to our previous weight (or higher!) thanks to cravings, improper sleep habits, daily stresses and our on-the-run lifestyles.

I hear daily from patients who are perplexed that they are suddenly gaining weight on the same diet they have been eating for years and years. Or perhaps they have tried to repeat a successful diet from a few years back, only to discover it no longer has the same effect. Despite their best intentions, these patients are finding that the so-called low-carb, low-fat or low-cal effort just throws them deeper into a state of metabolic imbalance and dietary frustration. Sound familiar?

Consider this example: Imagine eating a healthy carb such as quinoa, lentils or a sweet potato. Sounds healthy, right? But what if your body interpreted that carbohydrate as though it were a big bowl of chocolate ice cream? No wonder it’s so hard to lose weight! In my clinical practice I have discovered that even low glycemic carbs such as the ones mentioned above can cause a blood-sugar spike and subsequent insulin surge in certain patients—factors that lead to cravings, weight gain and an excessive appetite in those of us who are metabolically challenged. In the end, it doesn’t matter whether the carbs you are consuming are “good” or “bad.” What matters is your particular carb sensitivity and metabolic set point.

When we are sensitive to carbohydrates, our cells do not respond effectively to insulin (a condition called insulin resistance), which causes insulin levels to increase.  This is a double whammy for our waistline since insulin is the only hormone that instructs the body to store energy as fat and it also blocks our ability to effectively burn fat.  But there is another challenge: many people are unaware that they are, in fact, in need of a metabolic reset and that they are experiencing signs of imbalances that will block most weight loss efforts. 

If you’re naturally lean, it’s safe to say that you are not carb sensitive and that your metabolism is “healthy”. But, if you are not, you tell if you are in need of “metabolism rehab” by asking yourself these key questions:

  • Do you crave carbohydrates?

  • Do you feel bloated, especially after meals?

  • Do you experience water retention or puffiness?

  • Do you have difficulty losing weight despite a “healthy, balanced” diet?

  • Do you often have cold hands and feet?

  • Do you feel you have slow digestion and elimination?

  • Do you often feel tired?

  • Can you gain 3 to 5 pounds in a weekend?

  • Do you have blood sugar or cholesterol issues?

  • Do you have inflammation or joint pain?

  • Do you sweat when you work out? You should!

  • Do you wake up hungry? You should!

If you answered yes to any of these questions, you enter my 3-step metabolic rehab program. I’ve been solving weight loss resistance in my clinic for years now and I’m here to share the steps so you can do the work to help you breakthrough your carb addiction, end the yo-yo dieting cycle and repair your metabolism.

Step One: Test for success.  

Test #1: Urine test for harmful bacterial imbalance in the gut

  • Think of your microbiome as a big city. The “microbiome metropolis” is filled with different “cities” or bacterial colonies. And the strong diversity of your healthy probiotics is needed for optimal health and metabolism. Research has found that people who are overweight and obese have lower microbiome diversity, and may, in fact, have an overgrowth of harmful bacteria in addition to a deficiency of the good. A simple urine test available only from Dynacare called the Indicans Test is what you need to ask for. A normal result is reported as “Negative”.

Test #2 and #3:  Blood tests to determine insulin levels and the presence of inflammation 

  • Believe it or not, inflammation isn’t just linked to swollen joints – it plays a role in everything from digestive disorders and allergies to autoimmune diseases and abdominal fat. Even more so, the very presence can greatly interfere with your fat loss goals. The blood test you need to ask for is High Sensitivity – C Reactive Protein, an optimal value is less than .08.

  • Despite the temptation to slash calories in order to fit into that little black dress (which often leads to hormonal havoc), the solution lies in altering the macronutrient makeup of your diet – particularly, the type and amount of carbs that you take in. A 2007 study published in JAMA found that people with high insulin in their blood lost more weight on a diet comprised of more fat and less carbohydrates. At the end of the study the group on the lower carb diet lost on average 13 pounds, whereas the group on the higher carb, low-fat diet lost an average of 2½ pounds. The test to request is fasting blood insulin and an optimal value is less than 36.

Step 2: 5-Diet Essentials Of Metabolic Rehab :  

  1. Rid inflammatory and insulin spiking foods

  2. Increase your cooked veggie intake

  3. Protein, protein, protein – you can never be short on any given day.

  4. Stick to the four fruit choices that are best for supporting fat loss (berries, kiwi, grapefruit and watermelon)

  5. When you move more – eat more, when you move less eat less. The simplest ways to eat less *Skimp on your fats – even healthy ones like nuts and avocado. You don’t need extra fat when you are sitting at your desk. *Cut starchy things like bread, starch, potatoes, etc – if you didn’t earn these carbs with movement – skip em!

Step 3: Improve Your Sensitive Side: There are a few must-have supplements that have been proven time and time again to improve your insulin sensitivity and metabolic set point, which in turn sheds body fat, tames your appetite and boosts your health. Omega 3’s and Vitamin D are first on the list. When we eat fatty acids especially plant-based omega 3’s —our cell membranes become more receptive to insulin, we preserve muscle mass and plant-based oils maintain bone density where fish oils have not been shown to do so. Vitamin D has been proven to lower insulin, improve serotonin levels, enhance the immune system, control appetite and even improve fat-loss efforts.

Muscle Mates: Training for Two

Working out with a friend or partner can be a lot more fun than sweating it out alone, plus it can inject a little bit of spice and competition into the workout that may push you both to work even harder! These partner exercises provide new and exciting ways to challenge your balance, coordination and strength. All you’ll need is a slam ball and each others’ body weight. Perform 8-12 reps of each exercise, alternating back and forth between partners for most exercises, or taking a break between sets for the ones you both do at the same time. Complete 2-3 sets before moving on to the next exercise.If you’re looking for a new addition to your home-gym that doesn’t take up a lot of space yet lets you add a variety of new moves to your fitness routine, then check these out. The Lebert Equalizer bars are versatile pieces of equipment that allow you to use body weight to get a great, full-body workout and can be neatly tucked away. Perform 2-3 sets of the following exercises, 12-15 repetitions per exercise.

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Ball Slam Pass: Stand about two paces apart facing each other. One partner slams the ball into the ground with as much power as possible, making sure to hinge at the hips and bend at the knees. Partner two squats down to pick the ball up and alternately slam the ball into the ground. This is a full body exercise that is sure to get the heart rate up!


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Assisted Pistol Squat: Stand about two arm’s length apart facing each other slightly off center with right shoulders lined up. Clasp each other’s right wrists while extending the left leg straight in front and slowly lower down into a pistol squat together and then stand back up. You’ll be using your partner’s body weight and shared strength to help stabilize and keep your weight slightly forward.


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Wall Sit and Pushup: Partner one assumes a squat position against a wall, with knees and hips at 90 degree angles, while pushing through the heels to keep the pelvis firmly against the wall. Partner two places their feet on partner one’s thighs to perform pushups. Make sure wrists, elbows and shoulders are stacked at the top of the pushup.


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Sit up pass: Lay down facing each other with knees bent and feet interlocked. Partner one lays back and reaches ball overhead, then sits up and passes to partner two. Partner two then does the same. A few ways to make it harder is to reach further overhead, to keep arms straight, and to keep the ball back and in line with the shoulders until passed to the partner. A few ways to make it easier is to sit back only part way and/or to keep the ball in front of the body.


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V-sit side to side pass: Sit in a v-sit beside your partner about arms length apart and facing the same direction. Chest should be lifted, back straight and then lean back until you feel your abs working hard! Each partner takes a turn rotating away from the other and then rotating back and passing the ball. Perform reps facing one direction, then turn around and repeat facing in the other direction.


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Leg Throws: Partner one lays face up on the ground and grips on to Partners Two’s ankles. Partner one lifts their legs up towards partner two, who then throws the legs towards the ground. Partner one should resist the throw and regain control of the movement, and then slowly lower the legs to the floor. Ways to make this easier are to bend the knees a bit and/or only lower the legs as close to the ground as you can with control.


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*BONUS* Partner shoulder squats (only for the advanced): If partner one is squatting, partner two should stand on their right side. Partner one will squat down and grab onto partner two’s right thigh. The pelvis should rest on partner one’s shoulder and the upper body should balance mainly on the shoulders while partner two’s right arm links around partner one’s left arm. Make sure weight is distributed as evenly as possible before partner one performs a set of squats. Have fun!

 

Originally published: January 18, 2018

Photography by Bob House

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about the author.jpg
Photo 2017-09-18, 9 20 34 AM.jpg

Jacquie Blanchette, Fitness Editor and owner of The Fitness Guild

+ Read Bio

Jacquie is a fitness & lifestyle coach who believes that one of life'e greatest joys is movement, and is passionate about enriching people’s lives through strength. After working in the fitness industry for over 15 years she feels fortunate to have found a home for her boutique gym in Rossmore. Jacquie has a BA in Sociology, a diploma in Fitness & Health Promotion and is currently certified in personal training, indoor cycling, fitness kickboxing and kettlebell foundations. Outside of the gym she can be found running/hiking/biking local trails or better yet local wine routes!



Lebert Equalizer Bars - Versatile Equipment to Update your Home Gym

If you’re looking for a new addition to your home gym that doesn’t take up a lot of space yet lets you add a variety of new moves to your fitness routine, then check these out. The Lebert Equalizer bars are versatile pieces of equipment that allow you to use body weight to get a great, full-body workout and can be neatly tucked away. Perform 2-3 sets of the following exercises, and 12-15 repetitions per exercise.

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Bulgarian Split Squat:

Place your right foot on the bars behind you and balance on your left foot. Bending both knees, slowly lower your body down as low as you can without causing joint discomfort. Keep weight on your left heel and the ball of the foot and be sure that your knee tracks in the same direction as your toes. Avoid placing your weight solely on your toes, if this happens your heel may lift and you may feel pain or pressure on the front of your knee. Stand back up and repeat.


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Hip Extension:

Place your heels on the top of the bars and lift your hips up towards the ceiling and then slowly lower back down. Great for the back of your legs (hamstrings), your glutes, and your lower back. *For added intensity, perform the exercise one leg at a time.


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Side Plank with hip adduction:

This is a tough one to challenge your core, shoulders and inner things all in one! Place your left elbow on the floor directly underneath your left shoulder, then place your right foot on top of the bars. Lift your body off the ground into a plank position and then lower and lift the bottom leg with control. If this is too much for you, simply hold a side plank for 20-30 seconds until you feel strong enough to try it again in the future.


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Pushups:

Place your hands on the side of the bars just a bit wider than shoulder width apart. Slowly lower yourself down until you feel a stretch through your chest (elbows should be just below a 90 degree angle). To increase intensity, you can put a bar down on the floor and perform your pushups there.


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Rows:

Place the bars side by side slightly wider than shoulder width apart. Lay on the floor face up with your knees bent and then lift your body up. Think of squeezing your shoulder blades together and while your chest wide and shoulders down away from the ears.


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Triceps extensions:

Assume a plank position on your knees and hands on the bars. Keeping your elbows forward and down, bend your arms and lower your forehead to the bars, then slowly straighten your arms and push your body back up into a knee-plank position. For added intensity you can perform a dip by placing the bars slightly wider than shoulder width apart and lift your body off the ground while bending your knees and crossing your ankles. Slowly lower body towards the floor until you reach a 90 degree angle in the elbows and push yourself back up.

 

Originally published: Novemeber 11, 2017

Photography by Bob House

Author opinion disclosure.jpg

about the author.jpg
Photo 2017-09-18, 9 20 34 AM.jpg

Jacquie Blanchette, Fitness Editor and owner of The Fitness Guild

+ Read Bio

Jacquie is a fitness & lifestyle coach who believes that one of life'e greatest joys is movement, and is passionate about enriching people’s lives through strength. After working in the fitness industry for over 15 years she feels fortunate to have found a home for her boutique gym in Rossmore. Jacquie has a BA in Sociology, a diploma in Fitness & Health Promotion and is currently certified in personal training, indoor cycling, fitness kickboxing and kettlebell foundations. Outside of the gym she can be found running/hiking/biking local trails or better yet local wine routes!