April 14


One Surprising Bright Tip to Boost Metabolism

By Sue Ingebretson

April 14, 2015

anabolic, boost, catabolic, circadian rhythm, digestion, Douillard, efficiency, LIfeSpa.com, meals, metabolism, sundown, sunset, tip

One Surprising Bright Tip to Boost MetabolismAfter the age of 40 (or whatever number relates to you) the metabolism just slows down. It’s inevitable, right? Wrong! Read on to learn what the sunset can tell you about your metabolism and how to boost it to peak efficiency. While it’s true that the metabolism does slow for many of us, there are ways to not only mitigate the effects of this shift, but to thrive in the face of it! 

Hey … if we’re gonna shift anyway, why not figure out how to thrive? 

I grew up in the frozen tundra of the Midwest. I’ve been in sunny SoCal for decades now and my children (and grands) wouldn’t even know what it’s like to drive in the snow. One thing I remember about navigating slippery highways is that if your car starts to slide on the ice, you’re supposed to turn INTO the slide.

The same goes for swimming in the ocean (although I’m relying on the advice of others, here). If you feel a tide or current pulling at you, you’re supposed to swim parallel to the shore rather than toward it.

In both of these circumstances, working AGAINST the flow (or snow) makes you work harder than you need to. And, not only is it harder, it provides undesirable results.

That’s exactly what you need to know about the metabolism. We want to work WITH it rather than AGAINST it. 

Why make our bodies

work harder than they have to?

One way to work with our metabolism is to pay attention to when we eat.

If we look back in time, our ancestors woke with the sun and went to bed (or at least rested) when the sun went down. This innate circadian rhythm also relates to our natural ability to digest our meals.

Eating when we wake is important because it “breaks the fast” from a night of sleep. Eating our mid-day meal is where we ideally consume the majority of our nutrition for the day.

What do we eat at the end of the day?

A light meal – a soup or salad for example.

When do we ideally eat that light meal?

Before sundown.

In the Ayurvedic and Chinese medicine practices[1], the best way to help our digestion work with peak efficiency is to eat our last meal before sunset. In fact, eating after dark makes the digestive system work harder than it has to. And, for those who even eat more after their last meal (late night snacking), there’s an additional compromise to the digestive system.

This creates a metabolism bust

rather than a metabolism boost.

Of course, I do understand that we live in a modern world with electric lights and all. We’re not dependent upon the sun telling us when to eat and we may not even get home from work before sunset. So, what’s a person to do? As always, just do your best. Seek solutions that modify and adjust to your needs. Look for adaption – not perfection.

Dr. John Douillard of LifeSpa.com talks about creating an Eating Window[2] which allows for a specific time period during the day in which to consume your three meals. He also speaks to the wisdom of curtailing your daytime eating to three singular meals and to avoid what I call, the Graze Craze.

I adopted this practice more than ten years ago when I researched the topic of metabolism and studied the anabolic and catabolic states[3] of digestion. What I learned is:

Many of us unknowingly

sabotage our efforts with snacking.

When we consume a meal, the body goes to work to digest it, to metabolize it, and to absorb what it needs from it. This process takes time. We need to allow for that time between meals for the body to be able to “do its thing.” If we just go from one meal to a snack, to another meal, etc. the body never truly gets into fat-burning mode. Of course, super-active athletes may need to eat more frequently, and if that’s you – by all means, snack away. 

But, that’s definitely not me. And, from what I know, not the majority of this community.

The key to remember is that snacking between meals doesn’t allow our bodies to reach peak efficiency when it comes to metabolizing our foods. I remember seeing a bar chart that tracked the process of the metabolism post-meal. It works the hardest (and best) from the mid-point between meals right up to where it’s time to eat again. This concept became clear to me: Snacking thwarts metabolic progress.

From here on out, think of it this way: Between meals and after sunset –

The Kitchen is Closed!

Got a favorite metabolism tip to share? Jump in the comments below and let us know what you think!

[1] http://www.bodhimed.com/bodhiblog/152-what-everyone-ought-to-know-about-eating-at-night

[2] http://lifespa.com/to-graze-or-not-to-graze-its-not-really-a-question/

[3] http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/8871.php

  1. Sue,

    I am going to put that sign on my fridge! Hits the nail in the head.

    I wish my husband would like a light meal at night (he’s slim and healthy) I’m sore (Fibro) and trying to lose 20 kilos. And I’ve gone from eating chocolate to replacing that with wine – for a sugar hit and because it diverts my attention from pain.

    How can I implement this?
    With thanks, Shirley

    1. Shirley – the key is to make sure you feel full and satisfied after breakfast and lunch. Most of us don’t even know what that actually feels like. We eat for so many reasons other than hunger. Getting in adequate proteins and especially healthy fats can give us that sense of satiety. Once that happens, it’s easier to “go light” in the evening meal. As a bonus, getting that “full” feeling from real food (rather than junk food) also helps to diminish/eliminate cravings for other unhealthy stuff. Thanks for the great question!

  2. Working with rather than against our bodies is such an important lesson to learn, not just with changing metabolism but with all things related to health. So often, especially when dealing with chronic illness, we want to fight the changes our bodies are going through, we want to fight to be the person we used to be, etc. But, it’s when we learn to stop fighting and “steer into it” that we can finally start to thrive again.

    1. Julie – you’re so right! I’m glad you brought up the topic of “fighting changes” because that approach always leads to more distress for the body. Thanks for your perfect comment!

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