Put a Spring in your Step

Spring is usually the signal to get moving. People enjoy more time outdoors and there is a natural increase in energy to shake off those winter blues and maybe shed a few winter kilos. But there are a few things to keep in mind before starting a serious spring detox and exercise plan.

Your body’s metabolism dictates the rate that you burn the food that you eat. This also dictates how much fat your body will retain as protection. If your metabolism is slow it lowers your body’s core temperature leading you to feel the cold more than people with a higher metabolism. As a protection your body will prioritise making and keeping fat, as fat helps to insulate your vital organs. The best way to combat this is to ensure you eat good quality food at regular intervals for your body to burn for heat. This in turn helps to speed up your metabolism.

If you decide to diet where you restrict your eating or fast for periods, your body will use stress hormones like adrenalin and cortisol to access fuel for your body to burn. It does this by breaking down tissue. It will then take muscle tissue over fat, as it needs the fat to keep you warm. As a further protection mechanism, high levels of stress hormone will continue to reduce your metabolism to slow the rate the body breaks itself down.  Once you start eating normally again your metabolism has slowed leading to more weight gain.

So as you can see dieting and fasting will only create more of a problem if you are trying to lose weight. It is the same with exercise; every time you exercise without enough fuel in your body, you will be relying on stress hormones for energy, which in turn will reduce your metabolism. This means not exercising on an empty stomach as most people suggest and to enjoy stimulating exercise rather than exhausting exercise. This is why incorporating exercise into your everyday life is going to have more of an impact on your overall health. Activities like bushwalking, walking to work or playing ball sports with your children are more symbiotic with long term health and weight loss goals. Don’t go for a run if you are already tired.

A good spring plan is to: Eat regular meals that contain good quality protein in balance with carbohydrates. And to exercise in a way that is stimulating rather than exhaustive. Muscles are metabolically active tissue.  At rest they consume mostly fat, so exercise that promotes the maintenance and/or building of muscle is important in your program.

Dianna Schwarzbien MD states that you must get healthy to lose weight, not lose weight to get healthy!