Thursday, July 14, 2011

Breakfast, Metabolism, Weight Management - How it Works

By Miss Barb

How does it all work?? Skipping Breakfast will put the pounds on.

Our bodies are like these very efficient computers. Most of us are familiar with the term “Energy Star” which is an early green technology implemented in all types of smart electronic devices that reduces power to conserve energy. In essence the computer processor shuts down non-essential activities thereby allowing basic functions to be maintained and monitored.

Biologically our body has it’s own unique “Energy Star System” – skip breakfast and your body goes into a reduce energy cycle. So, which human functions would you choose to reduce? – unfortunately when a person skips breakfast they give up those rights, and the bodies “Energy Star System” kicks in and overrides even our conscious commands. We feel sluggish, and fuzzy, rather than sharp and alert. In this state running for the school bus or commuter train, forces your body to deplete stored nutrients and throws your Blood Glucose Levels into the danger zone – and depending on one’s present health condition in these emergencies the bodies reaction can be scary.

Your body has a name for it’s “Energy Star System” it is called Metabolism. Another explanation for Metabolism is -- the rate at which your body burns calories. There is no easy way to cover the plethora of information and the dynamic correlations of Weight Management and your Metabolism – the internet is a great wealth of information -- if you have school age children sit with them and read it together.

Breakfast is essential to fuel the start of another day – research shows that those who eat breakfast lose more weight than those who skip it. Your metabolism slows down while you sleep and it doesn’t speed back up until you eat again. If you don’t eat until lunchtime?? – your body won’t burn as many calories as it could during the morning period.

Your body's BMR is dynamically affected by several factors.
• Age
• Body Type
• Genetics
• Activity Levels
• Diet
The higher the BMR the better, and sedentary lifestyles have lower BMR's which makes it more difficult to keep weight off.

Making Your Metabolism Your Friend
There are 2 biochemical processes working independently in the body called Anabolism and Catabolism. The results of these 2 processes is what we call the Metabolism. In the simplest terms Anabolism is the buildup of molecules into energy, while Catabolism is the breakdown of those "energy molecules."

A simplified example of how this works is imagine a storage bucket. Everything we eat gets evaluated in the Anabolic process -- molecules that can create energy get incorporated into larger mass and stored in this "Energy Bucket", the size of which is determined by your BMR. The Catabolic process breaks down the stored energy from the "Energy Bucket" as the body creates demand -- the more active a person is the greater the demand. If due to a combination of factors the demand for Energy throughtout the day is insufficient to empty the "Energy Bucket" and more calories are consumed the body converts the molecules in the "Energy Bucket" into fat in order to make more room in the "Bucket." Body Fat is how the body stores Energy for "Long-Term Storage." And when caloric intake is insufficient to meet the body's demand for energy it begins to consume that stored fat/energy, thereby potentially initiating weight-loss or reduction in body mass. Lastly when everything is in balance the body's weight remains unchanged.

From this can you begin to understand why a person might feel sluggish with no energy?? If you guessed poor diet offering too little sustainable energy you are correct -- this condition is almost entirely diet related.

As children we receive encouraging suggestions from adults……….eat your veggies, drink your milk……if you want to grow up to have a healthy strong body. These are good lessons to adopt -- and this loving suggestion is a life long lesson to once learned to be practiced everyday. As adults people tend to take better care of their automobiles than their bodies. They use the right grade of gasoline, the correct type of oil, brake fluid, spark plugs – it’s all clearly spelled out in the owners manual – ah-ha! No “Human Manual.”

A good friend likes to use an expression “My Body is My Temple” – that seems to work for him. Why not make Your Metabolism Your Friend? It’s a good place to start.

If we refer back to the Anabolic and Catabolic processes – the body needs good quality and correct amounts of specific food types for these processes to work efficiently. Simple Carbohydrates in the form of refined sugars (white sugar, high fructose corn syrups) enriched flours, other forms of processed grains work against the body. Processed foods have many of the vital nutrients essential to sustain our daily needs stripped away in manufacturing, and in the long-term produce the results – Obesity and Insulin Resistance (leading to Diabetes). Many breakfast cereals targeting children -- that are frosted, artificially flavored and artificially colored offer little opportunity for "sustainable energy."

Breakfast Foods that offer a good choice of Whole Grains, Quality Lean Proteins, and Healthy Fats is the best way to start the day. Feeling good is contagious and unconsciously your body and mind will begin to attract more right choices throughout the day.

Conversely processed foods offer too few essential nutrients if any in comparison to their
calorie count, and so the body doesn’t convert these to energy. Unfortunately starting your day with poor choices and your body will push you towards further, like choices throughout the whole day -- pushing you further into low energy, irritability, depression, lack of focus and worse. Ever feel thirsty and just can't quench that thirst? ah-ha! same thing keep feeding the body sugar and processed foods.

The following plan is an example of poor habits that is almost guaranteed to result in worsening health issues, which wil be discussed in the 3rd part of this 4 part series:
• Eating lots proceesed foods with little nutritive value
• Little or No Exercise
• Skipping Meals (not just breakfast)
• Eating too close to bedtime

The above plan will over time develop High Cholesterol, High Blood Pressure, Insulin Resistance. Without any remediation these conditions will lead to Inflammation in the body , sometimes referred to as “Heat”, and Oxidative Stress and Free Radicals, “Rust.”
Likewise here is the list of good practices to support a “healthy” weight management system.
• Eat a balanced good quality lean diet, balanced between protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats.
• Eat Small meals every 2-4 hours through out the day
• Reduce your caloric intake
• Exercise 3-4 times/week (every other day) a combination of cardio fitness exercises like walking/running/swimming, and weight resistance approximately 40 minutes in duration.


  1. Thanks Barb, some great and helpful tips and information as always! All that food looked so yummy. :)

  2. It is also healthier to eat food which has been grilled, steamed or boiled rather than fried. It is also important to include a lot of fibre in the diet. Frequent rehydration is also necessary so drink a lot of water. Nutrisystem success