metabolism

Why we all Need a Fall Detox

The Fall season is officially here and along with cute sweaters, pumpkin spice everything, and cozy blankets, there is the inevitable cold or flu that tends to blow in. As the seasons change, we begin to see how these changes become mirrored in our lives too. Toxins build up in our bodies from excess chemicals, parabens, heavy metals, and synthetic hormones in our food, and mental activity and workloads accumulate. All of these factors make Fall a perfect time for a physical and mental reset.

You will generally hear claims both for and against detoxing. I’m a huge proponent for seasonal resets and here’s why:

  1. Our Natural Detox System has a Disadvantage

    Although the body is designed to cleanse itself, its ability to do so has been rapidly slowing down over the years. This is due to increased levels of stress, an unhealthy lifestyle and the rise in man-made chemicals. Whether you buy organic or not, dangerous chemicals are found virtually everywhere. From household cleaning supplies, to beauty and hair products, even the furniture and carpets in our homes are packed with toxic substances. We would have to live in a bubble in an untouched forest to really escape all of the dangers. Considering going off the grid is not a viable option for most, detoxing seasonally is a great way to give your body a break and a great opportunity to eliminate excess toxins.

  2. Fat Needs an Escape Route

    We know that the body is designed to naturally eliminate toxic materials but to understand how this affects how we store or lose fat we need to look at the two main types of toxins the body has to deal with; exogenous toxins and endogenous toxins.

    Exogenous toxins are chemicals that are made outside of your body and can harm your body on a cellular level if they are ingested, inhaled, or absorbed into your bloodstream through some other channel.

    Endogenous toxins are toxins that are produced inside of your body. Some of these toxins are waste products from normal metabolic activities - carbon dioxide and lactic acid are examples of endogenous toxins that your body filters out naturally. Unless your health is severely compromised, your body is well equipped to eliminate these types of toxins from your system

    Our body, with all of it’s incredible filtering systems, utilizes enzymes that break chemicals down into smaller compounds and has various ways of transporting unneeded substances out of the body. However, we have a limited ability to eliminate exogenous toxins. What it can’t eliminate, our body begins storing in our fat cells as a way of protecting other organs from exposure to these compounds. Detoxing gives the body a break so it can begin clearing out and freeing up the fat cells from toxic overload.

  3. You’ll feel WAY better

    When you detox, you will simply feel better. You will wake up more easily, feel alive, happier, and have more energy. I am generally a skeptic until I see the results for myself, so as you can imagine I was doubtful I would experience extraordinary results when I did my first detox. Boy, was I wrong. I remember feeling like a blanket had been removed from my brain. I felt like my life was incredible. I was genuinely a happier person and my energy was through the roof. It doesn’t take much either. Even a few days on a detox can help you feel a lot better very quickly.

  4. You kick cravings to the curb

    If you didn’t already know, sugar and processed foods are biologically addictive. Although the science behind it is clear we continue to blame ourselves when we binge or fall off the diet wagon. I am here to tell you it’s not your fault. Cookies and chips are designed carefully by experts to ensure you keep eating them. When you detox you are allowing your body a chance to return to it’s natural state and get the natural hunger and satiety signals firing again.

As you can see, when we get an unhealthy buildup of toxins in our body, it’s not pretty. These excess toxins can show in our bodies as depression, brain fog, headaches, difficulty sleeping, hormonal imbalances and chronic fatigue. Since many of these toxins cannot be fully avoided, taking a few days in Fall to detox is much needed.

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Now I’d like to hear from you…

What do you think of environmental toxins?

Do you experience the effects of them in your health?

What are you doing to rid your diet of these toxins?

Please leave your thoughts by adding a comment below and don’t forget to grab your free FALL DETOX GUIDE. Signup below.

Metabolism and calories – What's the connection?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.  You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight.  But what exactly does this all mean?

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Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It's how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do. Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

●      Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).

●      Allow activities you can't control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).

●      Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”. 

Metabolic rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).  The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

●      Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).

●      Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).

●      Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you're not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!  The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.  This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you'll burn.  But that's not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.  How big you are counts too!   Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial! 

As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you're not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you. 

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don't want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they're doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).  You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently. 

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don't forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

Tarrah is an Integrative Nutrition & Health Coach who I works with women (and men) who have busy lives and who don’t have the time to spend hours in the gym and who WANT to be their healthiest, click here to check her out.