A lot of people struggle to lose weight. They try all kinds of diets and fitness trends—but none of it seems to work. Well, the truth is that there's a lot of misinformation out there, and it's hard to discern the nonsense from fact.
Here I’m going to show you three reasons your metabolism could actually be working against you and what to do instead so you can actually lose the weight and keep it off.
Metabolism Issue #1: You’ve been eating carbs for breakfast.
For years, we’ve been told to eat carbs in the morning because if we eat them later in the day, they’ll be stored as fat. Well, that’s not true.
Here’s the problem with eating carbs for breakfast. First, most carbs we associate with breakfast—like cereal, oatmeal, bagels, muffins, etc.—are quickly broken down into sugar upon digestion. This results in a surge of blood sugar, which stimulates your body to release insulin, one of your main fuel- (fat-) storing hormones. Not great if you want to lose weight.
Second, eating carbs in the morning disrupts your body’s natural circadian rhythm. Upon waking, cortisol levels are naturally supposed to be elevated. This prompts your body into action as this hormone ensures adequate blood sugar levels to start your day.
However, eating carbs early in the day blunts cortisol release since you’re already increasing your blood sugar by eating those carbs. Doesn’t seem like a big deal until you realize that over time, this upset of natural cortisol levels can lead to shifting circadian rhythms, which will only lead to further hormonal and fat-loss problems.
Instead, to keep your metabolism revved up and blood sugar and cortisol levels happy, it’s best to start your day with at least 20 grams of protein.
Metabolism Issue #2: You’ve been eating five or six meals a day.
Unless you’re diabetic or have serious blood sugar issues, eating constantly throughout the day is not helping you keep the weight off. And it all comes back to insulin. When you eat, especially carbohydrates, you're increasing your blood sugar, which then causes insulin levels to rise.
Since insulin’s job is to “store” instead of “burn,” you essentially put yourself into fat-storage mode all day long by eating every two to three hours. Frequent eating leads to consistently higher blood sugar, which leads to chronically high insulin levels, and that leads to increased fat storage. Instead, eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full. It’s that simple.
Metabolism Issue #3: You’re doing too much cardio.
Most weight-loss seekers hit the cardio machines (or run outdoors) as a means of repenting for their dietary sins. Please don’t be that person. It’s unhealthy to kill yourself in the gym just to burn 500 calories.
Plus, long cardio sessions have been shown to decrease your metabolic-friendly thyroid hormone, testosterone, and growth hormone while increasing your levels of cortisol, which, when chronically elevated, are associated with increased belly fat.
The key to a healthy metabolism is to focus on heavy resistance training that recruits more of your type 2 muscle fibers, which are associated with increases in strength, power, and testosterone and growth hormones, all of which keep your metabolism healthy and burning through fat 24/7.
Now you’ve got a better sense of what’s been holding you back from the body you deserve and how to keep your metabolism primed to support your healthy weight for years to come.