A Basic Primer on How the Body’s Metabolism Works

Stop Starving Yourself:  A Basic Primer on How the Body’s Metabolism Works

Reducing calorie intake and increasing your metabolism (the rate at which the body burns calories) is the key to achieving your weight loss goals.  Hearing the words “reducing calorie intake” can make people think that starving yourself is the way to achieve maximum weight loss. Not only is this unsafe, it’s completely untrue! When you cut down your calorie intake too drastically it may make it harder for you to shed weight and maintain any weight loss you did achieve once you begin eating again.

Calorie cutting affects every part of your body. Your brain is fueled by glucose—the sugar molecule that is regulated by eating—and your body will do anything it can to keep your brain up and running. If you continue a low-calorie intake for more than a day, your body will start to break down muscle tissue to get at the amino acids stored, which it can then convert to glucose to power your brain.  The body breaks down muscle in the absence of fuel because, as the muscles become smaller, they work less and utilize less energy, allowing you to last longer on the stored supplies of fat.

Starvation leaves no fuel for these basic bodily functions, let alone energy for daily tasks. Following a fast or starvation diet for several days can also cause nutritional deficiencies, dizziness, weakness, digestive distress, nausea, irritability, depression and fatigue.

The focus of a healthy weight loss should be your metabolism– the mechanism our body uses to burn calories. Think of it as your body’s “motor.” The faster your metabolism operates the more calories you’ll burn and lose in the process.  As we age, our metabolism naturally slows down. The truth is you don’t have to starve yourself to lose weight. In fact, the best way to rev up your metabolism is to eat and stay hydrated.  Here are some other tips to increase your metabolism:

  • Don’t skip meals. It’s better to eat four to six small meals per day than to skip a major daily meal, especially breakfast.
  • Eat smaller meals, more frequently.  Try eating smaller portions, but more frequently so you don’t feel like you’re starving. Constantly snacking on small, healthy foods will help keep your metabolism going, increasing its overall effectiveness. This method of eating will also keep you full, allowing you to control your calories and prevent overeating.
  • Eat vegetables with every meal. You don’t have to eat only vegetables. In fact, you should incorporate foods from all the food groups into your daily meals. However, eat a lot of veggies with every meal to help you fill up on foods that are nutritious and low in calories.
  • Gain more muscle.  While you don’t necessarily have to bulk-up like a body builder, putting on a little more muscle mass is a great way to give your metabolism a jolt once it’s become sluggish. Having more muscle requires your body to burn calories just to sustain that muscle, even when you’re not doing anything. Numerous studies have shown that those who have more muscle mass have a higher metabolic rate than those with less muscle.
  • Increase your water intake.  If you are gaining insufficient amounts of water, you need to start hydrating yourself properly. Dehydration is one of the factors that can slow down a person’s metabolism, since water is very important for the body to burn calories. While it’s important to drink plenty of water to kick-start a slowing metabolism, it is also important not to overhydrate to avoid water-intoxication.
  • Avoid empty calories, such as fruit juices and soda. They do not substitute water and provide no nutritional value.
  • Be fidgety.  Standing or sitting completely still for extended periods of time while at your desk or on the couch will slow down your metabolism. Try making a habit of keeping your body constantly moving by either tapping your feet, constantly stretching or constantly moving your legs and being fidgety. Constant movement will keep your metabolism cranked, plus you’re burning calories, even if it’s only a small amount.

While weight loss is important, it is more important to do it in a healthy way that can also be maintained to keep the weight off.


How Your Diet Can Fuel Your Day

Boost your energy:  How your diet can help you get more out of your day

Are your energy levels low? Does your busy morning come to the screeching halt of afternoon blahs? If so, you may need to boost your energy. I’m not talking about energy drinks or anything that comes in a pill form. I’m talking about a few changes to your diet that can help put more spring in your step and focus in your day. You need to change the way your mind sees the word “diet”. It’s not about deprivation and suppressing your cravings. It’s about choosing foods that have the most impact to your energy levels. Follow these guidelines and you’ll find an improvement in your overall health while boosting your body’s processes.

Nutrient-Rich Foods

Eat nutrient-dense foods to optimize your metabolism. Your brain and body require vitamins and minerals to get everything accomplished in your busy day. Much like a car running low on gas, when you run out of nutrients to break down, your body becomes tired and your thoughts, sluggish. Metabolism is the process of converting food to energy, and the more nutrients per calorie, the more you benefit from eating it. Choosing vegetables, beans, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fruits, and lean animal proteins will give the most nutrients per calorie. Refined breads, fried and fatty foods, desserts and sweets, processed snacks and foods give a lot of calories but have little to no nutritional value.

Vitamins/Nutrients

Omega-3 fats are a high impact nutrient that improves your mood, memory, and thinking. They’re an excellent source of fat that you need to focus and improve your energy levels. You’ll want to get in at least one source of omega-3 fats a day. Fish, flax seeds, flax oil, hemp seeds, hemp oil, leafy greens, and walnuts are all excellent sources. While a fish oil supplement can help, it doesn’t replace the powerful impact of your body breaking it down itself.

Foods rich in antioxidants are essential to maintaining overall body health. Antioxidants are the clean up crew for your body. They take away damaging chemicals (some that your body makes on its own) that cause fatigue and lead to illness. Choose colorful fruits, vegetables, and other plant-based foods for antioxidant bursts. Berries, melons, dark leafy vegetables like kale, broccoli, collard greens, and spinach are excellent sources. Notice that leafy greens are also mentioned in the omega-3 fats above. Food rich in antioxidants are also nutrient-dense. That isn’t a coincidence. Once again, you want to eat the foods so your body can break it down and gain the most nutritional value. A bill or processed food will never give the same impact.

Don’t Starve Yourself!

Don’t skip breakfast OR snacks. Remember above where we mentioned that you need to change the way you think of the word “diet”? Breakfast jump starts your body’s processing system. It’s also a quick and easy way to get in some fresh fruit or other nutrient-rich foods first thing in the morning. If you get nauseous at the thought of food in the morning, consider a power snack for when you wake up completely. Snacking isn’t evil. But if your first instinct is to grab a bag of chips instead of a nutritious alternative, you’re not doing your energy levels any justice. If you’re hungry, your body crashes and it wants something quick and easy to process…like junk food. If you find yourself in that boat, make sure you have nutrient dense snacks to help you perk up.

Fantastic snack ideas include a container of yogurt topped with natural granola, a mix of nuts and dried fruits, whole grain crackers with baby carrots and hummus, a half cup of berries with walnuts, and more. Hummus is an excellent dip choice because it’s made of garbanzo beans (also known as chickpeas). While most versions require the use of Tahini (sesame paste), there are other versions that give a rich flavor without the paste.

Hydration Matters!

Finally, what you drink has a powerful impact on your body. Keep hydrated means water. You want to drink one cup every couple of hours. An easy way to drink water on the go is by keeping a reusable bottle with you.

Alcohol intake is another thing to consider. Alcohol is a depressant that contributes to low energy. It also has the added effect of occasionally acting as a stimulant several hours later. That interrupts sleep cycles and causes fatigue. Did you know there is also a nutrient-dense option? A glass of red wine is a good choice because of its antioxidant content, but certain medications and those suffering from certain types of anxiety, high blood pressure, or dependence issues should avoid alcohol completely. Also note that red wine doesn’t replace a nutrient-rich diet. Alcohol should be an occasional indulgence.

Then there’s caffeine. Caffeine can’t stave off sleep for an extended period of time. It’s also not the energy boost you think it is. Regular coffee drinkers who feel a “boost” in the morning are actually counteracting the withdrawal effects of caffeine deprivation through the night. If you have to drink your caffeine, that’s fine, but consider adding an apple or apple juice to your morning routine since apples will wake up you faster and more thoroughly than coffee can.

Don’t try to make dramatic changes overnight. If you try to do a complete diet overhaul, you’ll fall back on destructive habits and feel like you’ve failed. Start small. Make sure you have at least nutrient-dense snacks a day. Then move to breakfast. Then your other meals. Before you know it, you’ll see a dramatic change in your energy levels that also benefit your overall health.


The Common Thread in Weight Loss | Weight Loss Strategies Denver

Weight Loss Strategies DenverThe Common Threads in Weight Loss

It’s no surprise that weight loss is a billion dollar industry. We want to look and feel our best, and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is key to that. But where do we start? Everyone has an opinion about which diet or health plan will work best. You have more choices than ever before: low-fat, low-carb, Mediterranean, Paleo, high-protein, low-sugar, etc. Add in the occasional self-conflicting research, and you may be wondering why you should try any of it. To make matters worse, not all diets are equal. Your friend may swear by low-carb diets, but it might not work for you at all.

Take a deep breath and realize one very important fact: your dietary needs are unique to you. Whether you follow a bandwagon diet or choose your own adventure of proteins, fruits, vegetables, dairy, and starches, make sure you follow these guidelines.

Eat Your Nutrients 

Macronutrient balance is necessary to maintaining long term weight loss and body function. They keep chronic diseases at bay and help you stay healthy. For adults, this means that, in terms of daily calorie consumption, carbohydrates should make up 45-65%, protein should be 10-35%, and fat should be 20-35%. Remember, the goal isn’t quick weight loss that breaks down your body. The goal is focused, healthy weight loss that can be maintained without causing damage to the body in the process.

Note: There are some diets that restrict macronutrients below these thresholds. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you must meet your nutrient requirements.

Making smart, healthy choices are also key to success here: lean proteins over fatty ones, complex carbs over simple carbs, etc.

Common Threads

Your body is as unique as your fingerprint. It needs to be fueled and maintained by proper diet and exercise. With all these options available, how do you know where to start? Let’s start with the commonalities among the success stories. The law of averages states that a particular outcome or event is inevitable or certain simply because it is statistically possible. All of the popular diets have three things in common.

Eat your vegetables. Every single success story involved vegetables as a key part of your diet. Some suggested dark, leafy greens. Others suggested root vegetables as core content. Either way, put vegetables in your diet. Vegetables range from sweet to savory, and some will change based on the way you cook them. You can adapt ANY specific diet recipes to your personal menu. The point is to find food that inspires your palate while maintaining your health.

Avoid added sugars. We’re not talking about naturally occurring sugars, like those in fruit. We mean sugars that are added to foods. Here’s a list of common sugar add-ons:

  • agave nectar
  • brown sugar
  • cane crystals
  • cane sugar
  • corn sweetener
  • corn syrup
  • crystalline fructose
  • dextrose
  • evaporated cane juice
  • fructose
  • fruit juice concentrates
  • glucosehigh-fructose corn syrup
  • honey
  • invert sugar
  • lactose
  • malt sugar
  • malt syrup
  • maltose
  • maple syrup
  • molasses
  • raw sugar
  • sucrose

These added sugars will sabotage your weight loss more often than anything else. One easy ways to avoid them is to personally sweeten your foods. If you want fruit yogurt, buy a plain one and add the fruit yourself. If you add honey to your food, or any other sweetener mentioned above, you’ll likely use far less than the manufacturer would.

Avoid refined grains. Refined grains are milled grains that remove the dietary fiber, iron, and many B vitamins that are necessary to your health and wellness. Refined grains are usually “enriched”, which means that certain B vitamins and iron are added back in after processing. Fiber, however, isn’t.

At least half of all the grains eaten should be whole grains. If you still use refined grains, such as flour, make sure it says “enriched” on the label to ensure a healthy alternative.

A lifestyle change won’t happen overnight. Start with one goal in your diet. It could be as simple as eating vegetables every night with dinner. Don’t wait. Start today!


Hormone Therapy Benefits For Men

How men can benefit from hormone therapy from Denver Hormone Experts

Denver Hormone ExpertsTestosterone is more than a reproductive health hormone. It’s essential to the body’s overall well being. The hormone decline in men begins, on average, at the age of 35. Those levels can increase up to 2% per year thereafter.

Hormone therapy is the replacement of testosterone in a controlled, balanced method that’s right for you. If you’re not sure whether hormone therapy is what you need, consider this:

Testosterone is essential in maintaining: 

  • Bone density
  • Muscle strength and mass
  • Sex Drive
  • Red blood cell production
  • Health
  • Proper sleep patterns

Bone Density

Osteoporosis is a universal problem across the genders. Testosterone has a direct connection to the production and strengthening of bone. The longer you go without treatment for low testosterone, the more susceptible the bones become to fractures.

Muscle Strength and Mass

Testosterone has been proven to increase muscle strength and mass. The hormone binds to the receptors in the muscle cells, telling them to contract and grow. Hormone therapy works to recharge your system.

Sex Drive

Note that decreased sex drive is symptomatic of many different issues. It’s only part of the picture, and should not be the sole consideration for a hormone therapy evaluation. That being said, testosterone is essential in both a healthy libido and sperm count.

Red Blood Cell Production

Testosterone is essential to red blood cell production. As we age, our bodies slow down the production cycle. If your hormone levels are lower than average, this can affect your health and well-being.

Health

There has been a direct correlation between low testosterone levels and metabolic function of the body. Studies have shown that diabetes becomes a higher risk as testosterone levels lower. For years, low testosterone levels have predicted the development of type 2 diabetes in men. Additionally, low levels can increase cortisol. Insulin and cortisol imbalances not only increase the risk of type 2 diabetes, it also increases belly fat.

Sleep Patterns

Low levels of testosterone can alter the cycle of sleep by preventing the synchronization needed for deep sleep. This leads to constant fatigue, lack of motivation, and mental health issues such as depression and anxiety.

Do any of these issues sound familiar? If so, consider the benefits of hormone therapy. The regulation of our bodies becomes difficult as we age, and if we take steps early enough, we may be able to change the course of our health for the better.

If you think hormone therapy is right for you, seek an expert in hormone balance. Pay attention to your body and keep track of your moods and sleep patterns to help your doctor find the right balance for you. Thyroid panels and vitamin D3 levels should also be checked. Once you find out where you stand against a “normal” lab for your age and your body, a hormone regimen can be started.

The key to success is finding a natural hormone balance method that keeps you at your optimal levels 24/7. Educate yourself, do your research, talk to a practitioner who is willing to sit down and talk with you about your concerns, and consider your options.