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Clean Eat Education: Your Metabolism - What Exactly is it?

EducationWhitney CarlsonComment

Does this sound like you? You have heard the word metabolism before and you know that in order for you to feel your best, look your best and function at your optimal performance level (even if that's sitting at a desk answering telephones), your metabolism should be up and steady. However, you are not exactly sure what all this talk about your metabolism really is!  What exactly does it mean and what does it do?

Let's throw out the definition of metabolism for you:

Dictionary.com defines metabolism as: the sum of the physical and chemical processes in an organism by which its material substance is produced, maintained and destroyed, and by which energy is made.

Merriam-Webster defines metabolism as: the chemical changes in living cells by which energy is provided for vital processes and activities and new material is assimilated.

Easy to understand? Not quite... let's break this down.

Simply put, metabolism is the body's process by which it converts your food, fat and yes, your muscle (scary, huh?) to energy. This energy fuels your normal body processes and functions, gives you the opportunity to digest and even chew your food, fuels you while you work out and play and helps your brain to process simple and complex tasks.  If your body is involved, your metabolism is involved!

So wait a minute... you just said that your body can burn your muscle for energy?  That's not a good thing, right?

Nope.  Not a good thing at all! You want to fuel your body and give it what it needs to perform its best and LOOK its best! Naturally, if you are not feeding your body every 2.5-3 hours, it starts to believe that it will not receive any additional food, thus beginning the stages of fasting fat storage. Your body holds on to the resources it has already - fat - in order to "stock" up for later since you aren't giving it more food. It begins to convert your muscle into energy instead of fat. Your hard work in the gym... gone! GOOD NEWS! You can fix this... keep feeding your body every 2.5-3 hours and not only will your body use the food you just put into it for energy, but it will break down some of your fat stores for extra energy rather than stealing from your muscle. Make sure you check out the calorie calculators to determine how many calories you should have each day and plan those meals accordingly.

Here is a graphic below:

Which one do you want? Boost that metabolism by eating 5-6 meals per day and stay above that line! 

See this post for information on foods that you can eat for extra energy boosts!  Remember though, unless you start eating more times per day, you will continue to rob yourself of energy and muscle! 

Stay lean and toned! Keep that muscle!