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Metabolism, the weight loss genie

By Ross Macdonald

The reason for eating a five times a day diet plan is to control your metabolism and make it work for you. It’s easy to spend 3, 4, even 5 hours a week in the gym or some other rigorous exercise. It is very hard to have the perseverance, the mind set, to pursue a “diet” which will keep the weight off!

Your thyroid gland, located in your neck, regulates metabolism which is controlled by three factors: The thermal effect of feeding accounts for 5–10% of the calories you burn. This is the energy your body needs to digest the 1/2 liter (or more) of ice cream you were not supposed to have last night.

The thermal effect of activity makes up 20–30% of the calories burned daily. This refers to the number of calories you burn in physical activities during the day.  Finally and most important is your resting metabolic rate (RMR). This is the number of calories it takes to maintain the body’s basic functions and uses 60–70% of the total calories you expend in a day.

It is when this RMR declines that the battle of the bulge begins and RMR decreases as we grow older. Often this happens BECAUSE we grow more sedentary. A low RMR, however, can also be caused by diet, especially if it is too low in calories. The more calories you cut when you start to diet the harder it will be to lose weight!!

As we cut mega calories from our food intake, in the mistaken belief this will reduce fat, the opposite happens: the metabolism, believing it will starve, burns fewer calories, stores fat and turns muscle into fat.  This latter effect is a disaster. One pound of muscle can burn 50–60 calories a day compared with less than 10 calories for one pound of fat.  So if your strict diet causes you to lose 5 pounds of muscle and you have decreased your calorie intake by 500 per day your net result is a calorie reduction of 200 calories because the 5 pounds of muscle you lost no longer burns 300 calories. All you are doing is losing lean muscle.

Eating 5 times a day is inconvenient.  People tend to underestimate their calorie consumption by 400–500 calories per day. Eating large meals “dumps” a lot of insulin, glucose and fat into the blood all at once. The body cannot absorb it. So we create more AND GREATLY INCREASE OUR BLOOD SUGAR COUNT. The point of 5 meals is to even this out. The body no longer believes you are starving so it burns all the food calories and presto! Pounds come off. You can also take Vitamins C and natural E before meals to slow the fat/glucose build up.

Now the fun part—lets outsmart our genes, muscles, metabolism etc.   Did you know that muscles have memory? To make them grow we have to “kid” them into trying harder. This is basically genetic and each of us is different. Some believe there is a genetic base below which your body does not want to lose weight. This is the “set point” but you can change your metabolic destiny. But the experts including the Mayo Clinic now agree:  lift weights. !! This increases that calorie burning muscle mass. If you build enough lean muscle you will force the body to lower the “set point” and you WILL lose fat and weight. . Fact: weight lifters keep burning calories up to 15 hours after the workout, (Even the soreness burns calories); cardiovascular or aerobic exercises have little if any after effect. Exercise and nutrition go hand in hand, it’s worth a try.

If you have questions contact Ross at


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