Igniting Your Metabolism


Dr. Jamine Blesoff, ND at Mariposa Medicine  and Seward Park camper met with 17 campers this past break week at Cafe Vita to chat about way to kick your metabolism into high gear!  Here are the notes from the talk in case you missed it!

Sleep Hygiene

“Sleep is the only sedentary activity that promotes fat loss/weight loss”

·      Goal is at least 8 uninterrupted hours of sleep each night.

·      Fall asleep between 10pm – 12am: Every hour before sleep before midnight is worth 2 hrs after midnight

·      Turn off electronics at least 30 minutes before bed time to support our natural Circadian rhythm – aka sleep/wake cycle – by decreasing Cortisol and increasing Melatonin

·      Sleep in complete darkness (dark room, dark curtains, eye mask)

·      Calcium-Magnesium at bedtime for muscle relaxation and sleep support


Stress Management

·      Minimize in the impact of stress on our body/in our lives so we can maximize the benefits that we are getting from Booty Camp

·      Remember to Breathe: incorporate deep breathing exercises during the day or at bed time

·      Sitting down and eating a meal with friends/family in an enjoyable setting

·      Exercise!

·      Sleep!

·      In order to produce and metabolize hormones, our body needs the proper ingredients to do so – our sex hormones (estrogen, progesterone, testosterone) come from cholesterol.  But our body will  prioritize appropriate stress response and “survival” over reproductive functions



Diet/Lifestyle Tips

·      Cutting calories sends the body into state of alarm (increased cortisol) and signals to store fat and increase hunger (ghrelin)

·      When we eat foods that are processed or nutrient deficient, the body craves the missing parts in your foods.  Eating a whole foods diet full of high-quality nutrient dense foods will help reset body’s natural state of balance to gradually bring on ideal/optimal health and fitness

·      The importance of Fiber

 – Fiber is a non-digestible carbohydrate, but simply put, the body tries hard to break it down anyway, using up energy — and boosting metabolism in the process.

–  Fiber and protein helps decrease food cravings in part by acting on Ghrelin signalling-

– Fiber slows digestion of starch and release of sugar into the bloodstream. 

  Fiber binds to cholesterol, hormones, metabolic by-products, and toxins, allowing them to be excreted from the body by the colon

  The more sugar and less fiber a food/snack has, the more insulin and fat storage that food will create

·      Include Protein with every meal & mini-meal

·      Before morning workouts: eat carb rich foods as fuel for muscles, then Protein & Carbs 30-45min after workouts – Protein after workouts to promote muscle repair and growth

·      Choose Whole fruits & Veggies for optimal Fiber + nutrients + sugar ratios

·      Don’t sit when you can stand, don’t stand when you can walk

·      Last meal of the day eat before 7pm – could be a Protein smoothie – frozen fruit, nut milk, protein powder for evening snack/meal. 

·      Increase the “afterburn”: high intensity interval workouts have shown to increase fat mobilization from stores for longer periods – something we’re all doing at SSBC

·      Eat every 2-3 hours – feeds muscles and “starves” fat.  It sends signals that there is no need to fast.  Each time you eat, you stimulate your metabolism for a short period of time, which means that the more often you eat, the more you’ll increase your metabolism. By eating frequently, you reassure your body that you aren’t going to starve; that food will always be available.  This is working with your body’s feedback system involving ghrelin, leptin, insulin, and cortisol

·      Increasing your metabolism will breakdown adipose tissue – our fat storage. When mobilizing fat stores – we are “releasing” chemicals and hormones that are ready to be excreted out.  Include ways to support our innate detox pathways:

o   Kidneys – Hydration: at least 1/3 of your bodyweight in ounces of fluids (NOT coffee)

o   Lungs – Exercise; Deep breaths: Inhale x 4 count, Exhale x 8 count, Hold x 4 count

o   Colon/Liver – Dietary Fiber, Castor oil packs over Abdomen

o   Skin – Sweating, Exfoliation, & Dry skin brushing


Some key players:

·       Insulin – signals for uptake of glucose into cells for energy

·       Glucose – aka blood sugar.  Utilized as building blocks for energy or stored as fat

·       Glucagon – opposes the effect of insulin.  Signals for increase production of glucose into circulation

·       Leptin – regulates appetite & satiety.  Secreted from adipose cells

·       Ghrelin – Hunger hormone sent from stomach to the brain

·       Cortisol – aka Adrenaline.  The “flight or fight” hormone.  Direct primary stress response and affects other hormonal functions (digestion, reproduction)

·       Thyroid gland – “Master regulator” stabalizes metabolism and takes cues from other hormones (like Leptin) to maintain weight set point and body temperature

·       Melatonin: secreted at night as Cortisol decreases.  Contributes to Circadian rhythm for optimal sleep.  Recently considered a major “anti-oxidant” made from the body

·       HGH – Human Growth Hormone: building and burning hormone.  Involved in repair, rejuvination (anti-aging hormone).  Elevated during sleep, decreased while we’re awake. 

·       Nervous system:

o   sympathetic  aka “Fight or Flight”

o   parasympathetic aka “Rest & Digest”

·       Inflammatory messengers secreted from Adipose cells

Additional Resources

·       The Metabolic Effect by Jade Teta & Keoni Teta 2011

·       The Whole Life Nutrition Cookbook 2nd ed by Segersten & Malterre