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Discover How Your Individual Metabolism Reacts to Food


kamurj

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Excerpted from
6-Day Body Makeover: Drop One Whole Dress or Pant Size in Just 6 Days-and Keep It Off
By Michael Thurmond

Have you ever wondered why your rail-thin friend can eat ice cream, bread, french fries, and other types of foods and not gain an ounce-and why you, on the other hand, seem to put on pounds just looking at that stuff? Could it be that your metabolism has downshifted to neutral or perhaps stalled altogether?

If you even suspect that your metabolism is puttering along, you're probably correct. But you don't dare suggest it, since many weight-control experts regard "it's my metabolism" as a lame cover-up for the steady diet of pizza and ice cream they're sure you've been on. The truth, however, is that your metabolism may really be out of whack, so the fact that you're prone to weight gain may not be entirely your fault. Don't despair: You're not doomed to a life of plus sizes and seat belt extenders. You can recharge your metabolism by eating and exercising in ways that are completely customized to your individual metabolic needs.

You see: The first key to losing weight quickly is determining how your body responds to different types of food. Not all metabolisms are created equal. Everyone is different. Not everyone can eat exactly the same foods the same way and get the same results. Foods that help one person stay lean may have no impact on another person, and someone else may gain weight eating those same foods. That's why your friend's metabolism bums up those surplus calories as heat, while yours stores them as fat. To be successful at weight control, you must discover how your own metabolism reacts to food: what foods work for you to help you lose weight, and what foods don't. You must customize your diet to your own unique metabolism and biochemistry. Once you do that, you can eat more, not less, and ultimately have the body you want.

The reason you can achieve that goal, plus lose one whole size in six days, is because this program is tailored precisely to you. It is not a one-size-fits-all plan, because one size does not fit all when it comes to nutrition and dieting. You'll need to customize your diet by using my Body Type Blueprinting system, which is explained later in this chapter. It begins with a written questionnaire, with corresponding illustrations, that accurately and easily pinpoints your body type and metabolism. This Blueprint will help determine which of five standard metabolisms you have and which of five standard body types best fits you. By completing the questionnaire, you'll identify your body type and you'll learn, once and for all, how your metabolism ticks. After all, you can't get it running in high gear until you know how to shift it there.

Once you do your Blueprint and understand how your metabolism works, you can start eating more of the foods that cause you to lose weight and keep your body functioning at the healthiest possible level. When that happens, weight loss becomes automatic, because you've created a chemical reaction in your body with predictable results: a smaller dress or pant size in just six days. If you stick to this six-day program, it can work for you virtually 100 percent of the time-and you'll jump-start your metabolism so that your body becomes more efficient at burning food as fuel rather than storing it as fat.

Your Metabolic Machinery

There is a lot to this business of metabolism. Derived from a Greek word meaning "change," metabolism is the sum of all the chemical changes and reactions that happen inside your body. Some of these reactions serve to build up various substances such as muscle, fat, bone, hair, or nails. Other reactions serve to break down food, fat, or glycogen (a form of carbohydrate stored in muscles) for energy. Both the building up (called anabolic) and the breaking down (called catabolic) are going on simultaneously, every second of the day. The main raw material-the stuff your body uses for metabolism-is food, or more accurately the nutrients in food.

The speed at which your body does all of its metabolic tasks is referred to as metabolic rate, and it eventually regulates how much you weigh on the scale. If you have a very fast metabolism, your body can easily bum all the calories you take in. That's why some people can regularly eat a pint of ice cream and not put on weight. Their metabolisms are so fast, anything they cat is rapidly converted to fuel. On the other hand, if you have a slow metabolism, even a spoonful of ice cream goes straight to your hips, because your body can't bum up all the calories you feed it, and many of them get deposited as fat. Yours may be a fat-storing metabolism when what you want is a fat-burning metabolism.

I often use the analog}' of a bonfire to explain how the body's metabolism works and to help people understand how to manipulate their diets to burn body fat. So try to imagine your metabolism as a bonfire, and the food you eat as logs you put on the fire. If the bonfire is burning big and hot, it has no trouble consuming the additional wood you put on it. You put on a giant log, and it burns in minutes. To keep the bonfire going, though, you have to keep feeding it with pieces of wood, or else it will die out. Unless you keep throwing wood on the fire, the blaze will turn into a pile of embers. Your metabolism works the same way: If you continue to feed it with the right foods in the right amounts at the right intervals, you stoke your metabolism. It will run very efficiently, and your body will bum that food for fuel. When you have a very fast metabolism, your body can easily bum whatever you feed it.

Conversely, if the bonfire begins to die out and bum more slowly, it doesn't burn as quickly the new wood you put on it. If you put a big log on the smoldering embers of a fire, the log is liable just to sit there. It may take all night for it to slowly bum away. Again, your metabolism works the same way. When your metabolism is very slow, it can't bum all the calories you feed it. The food you eat just sits there and eventually gets stored as fat. Put another way: A slow metabolism is not burning food for fuel: it is storing food as body fat.

Let's go back to the bonfire for a moment. Suppose you toss a few old newspapers into the fire. What happens? Poof! The flames shoot up fast in response. The newspapers incinerate in milliseconds and disappear-but so does the intensity of the flames. The fire dies as fast as it was ignited. Those newspapers are like foods high in sugar and simple, processed carbohydrates. They bum up fast, but don't do much to fan the flames of your metabolic fire. In fact, they slow it down. You need clean, solid-burning fuel just like the bonfire needs a good solid log. That's where the proper food comes in-clean slow-burning food like lean proteins and wholesome, natural carbohydrates. These foods can help fan the flames of a sluggish metabolism, and you'll be eating them on the 6-Day Body Makeover.

Now that you have the picture of how metabolism works, let's talk specifically about you. What factors affect your metabolic rate?

Age

Remember when you were a kid and could cat anything you wanted and not gain much weight? But after you had your first child or turned 40, the pounds started sneaking on, and now it seems harder than ever to keep that weight off. It's true that metabolic rate slows down the older we get. But there's good news and bad news here. First, the bad news: Part of this decline is due to age-related losses of muscle tissue. The good news is that you can reverse, or even halt, this process if you lift weights as part of your exercise program and build metabolism-boosting muscle tissue in the process.

There's more good news: In addition to exercise, the foods you choose on this program-which will be the right fuel mixture for your metabolism-will effectively manipulate your metabolic rate so that you can regain the body of your youth, or the body of your dreams.

Gender

Comparatively, men have faster metabolisms than women do-between 10 and 20 percent faster, in fact. One of the main reasons for this is that men have more muscle and less fat than women do, and muscle uses more energy than fat tissue (which is metabolically inactive). But anyone, male or female, can add muscle to the body through weight training and other forms of exercise, supported by a metabolism-enhancing diet. If you build muscle, you'll raise your metabolic rate and bum off more fat, even at rest.

Perhaps you've recently joined a gym and/or started an exercise program, or you've tried some form of exercise in the past. More than likely, you have been disappointed by your failure to lose weight with exercise and are wondering why. The reason is that weight loss will not happen without the right eating plan. Nutrition and exercise work hand in hand to achieve the best results.

Physical Activity Level

Anything that gets your heart pumping and your muscles moving-whether it's jogging or weight training-will stimulate your metabolism so that you'll bum energy at a faster rate than usual for as long as 24 hours after you perform the exercise, in addition to the immediate bum-off accomplished during the activity. Exercise, particularly weight training, does something else, too: It reduces the body fat you're carrying and increases your muscle mass. If you have a high ratio of muscle to body fat, you'll have a higher metabolic rate. That means you can eat more and not gain weight, because you can burn more. Muscle is like a furnace that never goes off. It constantly bums food for fuel at a rapid rate, every moment of the day, even when you're asleep.

One more important point: Exercise must be done correctly to maximize your body's ability to burn fat-and that doesn't necessarily mean working out hard. In fact, hard workouts often have the exact wrong effect, as you will learn in chapter 6.

Genetics

Your ability to fit into your jeans is partially affected by your genes, a set of instructions that tells your cells what to do. You can inherit genes that regulate whether you have a fast metabolism or a slow one. If you've had trouble losing or controlling your weight your entire life, then you were probably born with a slow metabolism. Your body type was inherited, too, just like the color of your hair, the shape of your nose, or your mother's hips. The tendency to store fat, particularly in certain parts of the body, is also inherited.

Fortunately, genetics are not the biggest factor in metabolism and can be easily overcome when you customize your diet and exercise to your unique body type. That is what you'll begin to do in this chapter with my Blueprinting process: determine what kind of metabolism you were born with, or have developed, so you can select the right foods and cardiovascular exercise to accelerate it-and begin burning fat immediately.

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