If you made it through tip #3.75 I applaud you. That was a long one, but damn that stuff is so important. If not, welcome back anyways, I’ll try to expedite my thoughts. Today’s topic is one of upmost importance…Metabolic Flexibility. Do you wonder ever wonder if your metabolism at all resembles your impossibly tight hamstrings? Is seeing your Respiratory Quotient on the same level as seeing your toes? Nerd Joke….ok not funny.
Let’s get this party started. I get to see the lack of metabolic flexibility every time I administer a resting metabolic test on my indirect calorimeter (scientific tool for measuring your metabolism). This tool not only allow me to see the number of calories your body needs, it also lets me look deep into your metabolism. I can see in real time what type of fuel your body is utilizing at that very moment. You’re sitting in a chair at rest and your body should be burning fat, however, 75% of people who I measure are burning sugar at complete rest. This is showing your metabolic inflexibility. If you never dip into your fat cells for energy (which you should be at rest or low intensity activities) then how will you ever burn fat around your belly and organs? Here’s the problem, you won’t. You’ll endlessly burn and reproduce glucose for energy while your fat simply accumulates. This is how you end up gaining 5-10 lbs per year.
How do we combat this? For most it would be to start out with a low carb diet. Because of your body’s inflexibility this transition will likely be pretty miserable in the beginning. When your system is used to only utilizing glucose (carbs) then you quickly take those carbs (glucose) away, all of your organs will spit and sputter. Your brain will scream, you’ll call your significant other your ex’s name and then what? Diet over…damn it, you were so close. If you could have mitigated those miserable side effects and kept going you’d be on the path to recovering your health. (How to do this we can discuss more if you ask). If you make it through the first battle then your body will relatively quickly (1-2 weeks for most) have to start utilizing fat as fuel. You’ll slowly feel better and better, and soon you’ll see your blood sugar stabilize and your daily energy flux will do the same. Stick with it and you’ll be a fat burning machine and your sugar addiction will melt away along with your mid-section. Problem solved right! If only things were that simple. Almost to the point, hang on just a few more….
Here’s where we need to pivot. Depending on how dependent you were on sugar is how long you should stay on a low-carb/keto diet. No matter the case this diet should be only temporary. Metabolic Flexibility should be your ultimate goal. Stay on low-carb/keto too long and your body will forget how to deal with glucose (carbs). You’ve essentially went in the other direction. If you care about your metabolism you’ll make a pivot and re-introduce carbs (healthy carbs) and allow your body to utilize glucose for energy. You’ll still be burning fat for fuel at low intensities. Stay too long and you’ll lose that flexibility.
That’s why I switch from low-fat to low-carb every month or so (length of time on each diet is relative to your situation). This is not only a good fuel partitioning strategy, but also a great way to experience new foods that only weeks ago were off limits. You’ll only be weeks away from something you look forward to at all times. Win, mother frickin Win!
There’s money to be gained by keeping us fat and unhealthy. There’s life to be gained by opposing this force. Ask questions and be a part of your recovery, who knows you could start a trend with your friends and family that doesn’t involve dancing and lip singing in front of a cell phone. Do More, Be More!