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The #1 reason people say they have a slow metabolism..

is because they can’t lose fat

How do I know? because it’s the go to excuse for nearly every client that starts training.

In the initial consult we talk about their goals, why they’re important & what’s holding them back from their goals

Without fail every week at least one person mentions their slow metabolism.

My response, did you get it measured?

 

NO… but they insist they have tried everything.

*As a caveat* I am not making fun of them, I was totally this person. I would come up with all sorts of reasons why I wasn’t getting results (pre nutrition study days), I was reading all sorts of articles and self diagnosing myself.

Typically it involved buying all sorts of supplements and training plans from over the top fitness characters (us fitness people are not immune to this).

The result: nothing, apart from a significantly lighter wallet.

Getting back to the client (and maybe you too). I explain to them it’s probably a lot simpler than they think.

I typically ask, have you ever tried tracking your food intake? Like seriously tracking every single thing you put in your mouth? The reason I ask is that in all my years as a nutrition coach I have only had x1 person with a “slow metabolism” so chances are….

You are not a unique snow flake

Here’s why

People don’t want to hear it, but more often than not, people completely underestimate (2) how much food (& drink) they consume.

Typical responses are, but I only eat x1 meal per day!

Even if this was the case you can absolutely overeat in x1 meal. Meal frequency has nothing to do with it, total amount of food is the most important factor.

How do I know their guess is off? They did a study back in 2002 and Dieticians couldn’t even guesstimate food intake correctly

If professional food people can’t accurately guess, you have NO CHANCE!

As a basic test –

Can you guess the macronutrients in this meal?

Slow metabolism or overeating?

A.) Toast = Protein, Egg = Cholesterol
B.) Toast = Carb, Egg = Protein & Fat
C.) Don’t care, the picture just made me hungry

If you don’t know what macronutrient (protein, fat or carb) your food is. There is a pretty good chance you have no idea how much you’re consuming.

(don’t worry it’s totally learnable & the answer is B in case you wanted to know)

Example 1:

I was at Dad’s recently.

Me: What’s for dinner?
Dad: Stir-fry, it’s really healthy you will really like it
Me: Oh yeah, what’s in it?
Dad: Beef, veggies & sauce A, B, C… (he listed about 7 sauces)
Me: Mate that’s about 1000 calories in sauces
Dad: Stop being one of those weird food people

Sauces don’t taste sweet & delicious for no reason, they are typically loaded with sugar (excess calories) and can turn your healthy meal into an unhealthy meal in no time.

Quite often people think they are being “healthy” but due to their lack of nutrition knowledge they are constantly over consuming.

But I read articles that say you can boost your metabolism!

They are garbage, I actually read a bunch of them when researching this article.

I am less smart for reading them.

They would have you believe that you can eat whatever you want then just:

– drink a couple of green teas
– eat some chilli powder
– only eat organic
– change from 2 to 5 meals a day

and hey presto you look like a cover model.

Bottom line, if it sounds to good to be true… it probably is.

Learn this and you can x10 your results

The process of learning to track your intake will change your life.

I am not talking about walking around with a scale and a measuring cup, it’s way easier than that.

Even taking 1 week to learn what kind of foods & the quantities you eat will dramatically change the way you look at food.

Ok fitness guy if it’s so important why doesn’t everyone do this?

Because it requires a little bit of effort, unfortunately people are always looking for the easiest option, which has given rise to the “hacking” trend where everyone is looking for shortcuts.

It’s the same reason the supplement industry is booming. People want the easiest path from A to B.

And where has that got us?

Finkelstein’s 2012 study estimates at current rates there will be a 30% increase in obesity & a 130% increase in severe obesity over the next 2 decades.

Not interested in learning anything about nutrition? Pretty good chance you will become a statistic.

Everyone should have a basic understanding of nutrition

There are 2 things you need to know:

– A basic idea about what each food consists of e.g Protein, Fat & Carb
– A method of tracking

With tracking, I am not even talking about weighing and measuring on a scale, I am about to teach you a really easy method.

A primer on food types

There are 3 major categories, known as “macronutrients”

Protein, Fats & Carbohydrates

Alcohol is also a macronutrient, but lets just assume the majority of your calories aren’t coming from alcohol (on a regular basis)

Protein:

Why we need it:

It’s the building blocks of the body – your luscious hair, bones & muscle are all made from it. It’s involved in building and repairing cells throughout the body.

And if that’s not enough to convince you. If you don’t eat protein you die.

Where do you get it from:

Animal meat – chicken, beef, fish etc
Eggs
Dairy Products
Beans, Legumes & Lentils
Nuts & Seeds
Tofu
Vegetables (Peas, kale, broccoli)

Fat:

Why we need it:

Fat is the stuff our hormones are made from. Can’t make hormones? Your body doesn’t work properly. It’s also involved in brain health & immune function.

And again, if that’s not enough to convince you. If you don’t eat fat you die.

Where do you get it from:

Oils – olive, coconut, sunflower etc
Animal fats
Eggs
Dairy
Avocados
Butter
Nuts & Seeds

Carbohydrates:

Why we need it:

Unlike protein & fats you don’t actually need carbs to survive, as you get energy from protein & fat HOWEVER there is no reason you should cut out a whole food group.

I know the ketogenic diet (super high fat) is pretty trendy right now – which definitely has some medical applications, but if you’re healthy & your goal is to simply look better naked, it probably isn’t something I would recommend.

*A note for females* – Females really seem to struggle when going really low with carbs, so be careful.

Carbs do provide some great benefits: Boost training performance, source of fibre (gut health) as well as supporting thyroid & immune health.

Where do you get it from:

Fruit & Vegetables
Grains, Breads, Pastas
Rice & Oats
Beans, Legumes & Lentils
Chocolate & Lollies

If you can’t figure out your macronutrients use a site like Nutrition Self Data, it provides a really easy breakdown of what is in each food.

How to track your food

The hand tracking method is by far the easiest method to track your intake.

Measure protein with your palm

Hand portion method - protein

Measure starchy carbohydrates (rice, potatoes) & vegetables with your fist

Hand portion method - carbohydrates

Measure fat with your thumb

Hand portion method - fat

& anything else that’s easier to count just do that.

Questions that always pop up

Question: My hands are bigger than everyone else, does that matter?

Nope, your hand size will always be the same size (hopefully)

It just gives us a repeatable way to measure things.

Question: How do I measure toast? You said I should measure carbs with a fist… don’t you know toast is a big square!

Correct. Carbs = Fist.

I want you to think about squishing whatever food (macronutrient) into the allotted measurement

Could you squish x1 piece of toast into a fist sized ball? Yep, well track it as x1 carb

Question: Some foods are x2 different macronutrient types what do I do?

E.g. Eggs or Salmon

When tracking I like to prioritise protein

I can fit x2 eggs into my palm – so x2 eggs = x1 protein

Whatever mini rules you decide, just keep following them. It doesn’t have to be 100% accurate, it just has to be repeatable.

What might a tracking day look like?

Here you can see a breakdown of the foods.

Pro Tip: having 2-3 servings of protein per day is really helpful for fat loss.

Protein keeps your full for longer + you lose up to 30% of calories in digestion!

Slow metabolism or over eating?

The 7 Day Food Challenge

Want to see if you’re eating too much / too little?

You need to track your food intake against what is happening with your body.

How-to-track-food-intake

So do you really have a slow metabolism?

Look you might

But it’s way more likely you are simply over eating (without even knowing)

Learning a bit about nutrition & actually understanding what you are putting in your mouth is a fundamental skill to have.

It’s a bit frustrating at first, but this has the potential to save you $1000 of dollars of future medical costs (being overweight = high correlation with metabolic diseases) + there is a pretty good chance you will look better naked because of it.

So do yourself a favour and give it a go.