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Expert Solutions: Metabolism Mistakes

SparkPeople experts and coaches weigh in on the top 4 metabolism mistakes even smart dieters make


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WOW! I think I have been enlightened!! I've posted on message boards about how madly frustrated I have ben....looking for any type of help. I am 5'3" and weigh 136 with a BMI of 24.5%. My MAX weigh loss goal is just 16 lbs. that I haven't shed any of! Having said this (not meaning to knock anyone) I got VERY little feed back in general! But reading other articles, larger people seemed to get tons of reply's.....ahhhhh okay so that's off my chest, WHEW! This article has seemed to hit on many of the things it seems I'm doing wrong!! I'm a "night owl" fr sure. For some reason, whn it get's dark...I wake up!!So, it's not unusual for me to go to bed at 2AM and get up at 7 to get the kids to school, but I feel so miserable in the mornings. I don't have to be at work til 11AM, so sometimes I'll lay back down for an hour and BOY do I go into a DEEP sleep when I do!! Secondly, I am eating wayyyy too few calories and skipping meals!! I can't seem to make myself hungry! Maybe the way I was brought up is behind some of this. We grew up very poor and ate little food, especially very little meats. Maybe my body just got too used to eating 700 calories a day or so?!! When I found SP, I tracked my calories but stopped bc I almost never met my 1299 min. calorie count, although it felt as if I was forcing myself to eatto help fix that problem! One thing not mentioned is alcohol and how that may cause problems too. I admit to loving wine and usually have 2 to 3 glasses 5 to 6 nights a week. I'm no expert,,,,,,,but I'm sure these things are urting me. I'm at the gym at least 4 to 5 hours a week and love cardio, no change, yeah I'm doing alot WAY wrong! I bought melatonin today and plan to try that tonight nd be in bed by 11. So, I apologize for ranting.....but this article has been great for me I think. So, THANK YOU!!!! Report
I do not like diet pills or any pill for that matter, however, I do want to bring up what was said about diet pills not being FDA approved. The FDA gets their money from the drug companies. Just because a pill is FDA approved, it is not necessarily safe or effective. People should not take diet pills because some are dangerous, some don't work, and natural weight loss is just cheaper and more rewarding, the FDA shouldn't be the reason for this decision. Report
Working out on an empty stomach a myth!
Its a fact that working out on an empty stomach first thing in the morning will tap into stored bodyfat and not blood sugar. This is one of the staple facts that I provide hundreds of the clients I have helped get into their best ever shape.

Its a little strange to see myths in the myths. Is that a oxymoron myth?

What I see too often is people who do not really have a lot of experience sharing innacurate information with others, this only leads to confusion.
There are a few fundamentals that need to be followed and understood.

- Weightloss has nothing to do with calories, your body is not a simple counting machine. How can you count calories when various foods like protein use up 40% of themselves in the digestion process? That kind of blows the calorie counters out of the window.

- Exercise, and how much is too much?
Do not believe the crazy people who try and tell you that 5 minutes is all you need.
Or the people who say you don't have to raise a sweat to get results.
For every action there is a re-action. No action = zippo so don't fall for the less is more thinking. 20 minutes per day is a minimum and best this be in the form of weight training circuit style with short rest intervals or interval cardio. Short burst of intensity couple with reduced pace.

- Food choices - natural is not always best.
Just because you change your diet to eat more natural foods does not mean you will lose pounds of fat. In fact in many instances if your food choices are not accurate you may find yourself gaining weight!

One of my favorites is fruit, this is the worst food you can possibly eat if you are trying to lose weight and live a long and healthy life. Don't believe me just do a search for fructose and bodyfat or fructose and aging in google.
I often hear gym goers say but fructose is very low on the glycemic index. I say for sure, the reason why is it never enters your blood stream as glucose it is converted in your liver to triglcerides (fats) and enters as fat! If you want to jump start your fat burning efforts drop the fruit and replace it with vegetables. Far better choice and far superior end result.

- How to kick start your motivation.
First things first to be motivated you need a reason to be motivated.
If your goal is to lose weight stand in front of a full length mirror naked and be honest with yourself. Do you want to keep moving down the same old road getting bigger and bigger, and more unhealthy with each successive year?
There are people in the world who have serious handicaps who would kill to have normal use of their limbs. What excuse do you have?
If you have full mobility of your arms and legs the skys the limit, you have the power to transform the way you look much faster than you could ever imagine.

I prefer not to over complicate the process of getting into great shape and enhancing health. There should be no confusion and the fundamentals should always be at the forefront of your mind.

Site like this are fantastic and the internet itself is brilliant, however it has allowed an avalanche of information to be thrown out in front of people. The problem is when the mountain of information floods in its difficult to disect.
Just remember anyone can have a website these days, and anyone can post whatever they want! Whether its accurate is another question.

My best piece of advice is do your own research, as I mentioned with the fruit issue.
Jump online and search some of the medical sites like pubmed. Science does not lie.
Look at the people who are preaching a particular method, are they in great shape?
Text book heroes have little to no understanding of what it takes to lose weight, enhance health and overall fitness. I see this all the time, people decide to become a personal trainer and do a 8 week course, they are then in the gym sharing their 8 weeks worth of knowledge.

Experience comes with time and it has taken me over 20 years to decipher the Dietcode. It is not all what it seems and most often by doing what you think is right is taking your further away or if not slowing down your overall progress.

So be selective and research the information that you find before implementing it into your lifestyle, you may find it will save you years of frustration and dissapointment.

Remember the truth always tends to shine brightly and makes perfect sense.
If it makes little or no sense, it is more than likely missing an "n" as it's non-sense. Report
I think consistency is the key, consistency and variety. I also think that a person's body constitution is a factor, people who have more muscle on their bodies have a higher metabolic threshold so lower intensity for them is not the same as someone with less muscle mass. There is no bullet solution, other than be consistent and try to vary the workout and diet. Report
A friend of mine in a professional trainer and she told me about the the Zone. She said that the body burns fat better in this zone. She says when your heart rate is too high your body stops burning fat and starts burning other things (can't rememeber exactly what). This made since to me at the time..... now I am unsure of both beliefs :) Now what??? Report
I thought longer cardio with less intensity was correct. I do sleep too much- I am unexpectedly unemployed. Plan get up at regular time & get my workouts in. Report
Thank you for keeping us informed. I looked forward to your articles. Report
i now realize that the reason my metabolism is so slow is because i sleep to much due to depression. i dont eat, but i dont lose weight either. and there lies the problem, i need something to kick my metabolism into high gear. i do get out and walk, but thats about all the energy i have. plus its so hot out side that you just want to stay in the house. i need changes.........i need to increase my appetite so i can eat the right foods, but i just dont know how to do that............ Report
I agree with ALL of the input..I fall in all the catagories.
Starvation mode produces lack of energy and too much acid...Burnt esophagus
exercising on an empty stomach.feels good at first but produces..acid reflux
diet pills..not eating enough...acid reflux, burnt esophagus
Unfortunately...the damage is $100 in over the counter meds to control acids. Report
Gosh, I didn't even know what "fat burning zone" is! Report
An ok article. Tells more about what you should not do than what you should do. Plateaus are frustrating for everyone. Finding that right balance and combination is very difficult. Also changing every 5 -6 weeks is hard.
I am just starting weight training and hope to work on finding that balance for me - so that I have a stable place to start from. Report
Agree with others-- this article was a bit vague, but at least it gave me a starting point to start looking for more info. I especially am interested in finding out more about sleep deprivation. I've always thought the idea was to minimise food intake before bed otherwise you'll have too much energy and won't be able to sleep, but looks like that's wrong. I can see I'll have to investigate that concept a bit further! Report
Hmmm... I'm a major fan of appetite suppressants, so I don't entirely agree that diet pills are a problem.

Even with careful eating (the "what"), my metabolism is still slow and my hunger is out-of-synch with it. That's been true all my life. So I can be chubby and STILL hungry and hate it, or I can blot out the "unreal" hunger signals that make me physically miserable. I choose the latter.

The article discusses insufficient calories, which is great, and balance in your approach. It probably should stress the quantity of sleep though-- most people don't realize that not getting enough sleep triggers hunger and keeps you from losing weight as effectively. Report
Great article! I learned a lot of this last week in biology, but what i didn't know was the myth about the fat burning zone. Whenever i go to the gym, I usually use the weight loss program and try and keep my heart rate down. Apparently, I don't have to do that! Report

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