Nov 15, 2017

Earlier this year, I took on a wellness program to reset my metabolism. Obviously, I’m no doctor, but the basis for the reset is quite simple. We can’t control the very chemical processes happening on a cellular level within our bodies, but we can control what we put in our bodies and how we live day to day.

To put metabolism in simpler terms, think of the body like a car. For the body to run, it needs a source of energy (the fuel) for its mechanism (the engine) to convert into power. A car won’t work if its engine isn’t up to specs, and neither will it function if given the wrong type of gas. So when it comes to losing weight or maintaining a healthy food intake, it’s not just about what the body receives but also how it processes energy.

“Overall, resetting one’s metabolism is a lifestyle change.”

The body stores energy in three ways in this order: inside muscle cells, inside the liver, and inside fat cells. Whatever energy the body converts from our food or drinks gets distributed first into emergency muscle storage. When that’s full, energy goes to liver storage and after that the fat cells. Then if there’s still an excess of energy, the fat cells duplicate. That’s where fat retention happens. There’s a surplus of junk in our trunks, literally.

I underwent a physical examination to measure my metabolic age and, apparently, I’m a 23-year-old inside a 48-year-old body. Minus the (for now) nonexistent wrinkles and graying hair, my body seemed older because of an accumulation of toxins, unprocessed nutrients, and lazy life decisions. To bring my body down to its ideal metabolic state, I went through a 10-day detox and a 30-day cleanse in which I took a truckload of daily supplements and overhauled my menu at home and at work.

The medical aspect just wasn’t sustainable for my lifestyle, though. I had to drink some fat-burning shake before every meal and honestly, who brings a blender to work? So I got myself off the supplements and maintained these three rules for maintaining my metabolic rate.

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The 4-4-12 rule

Those are the number of hours I need to keep in between my full meals. I take a full breakfast—no, coffee is not, in fact, a full meal—and wait four hours until lunch. After I’ve had lunch, I wait at least four hours or more before I can have dinner. This ensures my body can digest every meal as fully as possible before I eat more food. It’s not as intensive as, say, intermittent fasting periods, which is great for me because I can get hangry.

The power 3 plate

Remember when they taught us “Go, grow, and glow” back in elementary? It’s real. For every meal, the body needs a good proportion of protein, fat, vegetables, and complex carbohydrates. My carb-loving nature made giving up white rice and real pasta a trying sacrifice, but there are more than tolerable options: basmati or low glycemic rice, whole grain pasta, quinoa, and whole-wheat bread.

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Properly portioned meals

To get the optimal amount of nutrients per meal, the body can only process so much protein, fat, and carbs. But there’s a way to balance these nutrients, and it’s fairly easy to remember, just like the back of your hand. Or rather, the front. A serving of carbs should be around the size of your palm, protein the size of your fist, fat the size of your thumb, and, the biggest bonus, unlimited vegetables. Don’t get me wrong: green was not my favorite color to see on a plate. But after Pinterest-lurking and opening the plethora of cookbooks on our shelves, my family and I have found ways to eat our veggies without hating them.

Overall, resetting one’s metabolism is a lifestyle change. The greatest thing about it is that it’s sustainable and, more importantly, totally workable. It feels gratifying to be able to sit at a restaurant without having to restrict my orders because once a week, I’m able to treat myself to what I call the “cheat-all-you-can” meal, which is definitely something to look forward to.

This story originally appeared in Northern Living, Nov. 2017

Photos courtesy of Unsplash

Read more:
Six salad places for the busy and diet-conscious
Dietary supplements are the next big beauty secret
What to know before entering a gluten-free diet

TAGS: care diet health and wellness metabolic reset nolisoliph