By Kim Duke, NETA & AAFA Certified Trainer

Metabolism in its plainest form is the conversion of food/fuel to energy to run cellular processes.  It is also a key factor in weight gain and weight loss.

Unfortunately, weight gain is complicated. It is likely a combination of genetic makeup, hormonal controls, diet composition, and the impact of environment on your lifestyle, including sleep, physical activity and stress. All of these factors result in an imbalance in the energy equation. You gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn — or burn fewer calories than you eat.

While it is true that some people seem to be able to lose weight more quickly and more easily than others, everyone will lose weight when they burn up more calories than they eat. Therefore, to lose weight, you need to create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories or increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity or both.

Recently, I came across an article written by neuromuscular re-educator and nutritional specialist, Angelo Poli.  In his article, he outlines four steps to permanent weight loss, which I not only agree with, but also have been using for countless clients and myself over the past several years.  These are his four steps:

1. Break up your weight loss. Think “The Biggest Loser.” If you have a lot of weight to lose, do not attempt to lose it all in one push.  Why?  Because losing too much weight too quickly will ultimately slow your metabolism down to a crawl.  You will inevitably gain the weight back and attempting to lose it again will be even harder. Instead, Poli suggests, “reduce the amount of food you are eating modestly.  Track your weight and maintain objectivity.  If you are losing weight, don’t try to speed it up by eating even less.”  Poli adds, “Decrease food ONLY when weight loss stops, not slows.”

2. Eat more frequently. This tactic will help prevent over-eating and help keep you satiated.  Poli states, “The key is getting your body used to more food without gaining fat. There are two tricks here. First, increase food slowly. Second, increase meal frequency rather than adding more calories to the same meals. It makes it easier to add calories without storing fat.”

3. Prioritize your time. Basically, pre-plan your meals and snacks.  This does not need to be time-consuming or difficult.  Hard boil up some eggs, put together snack bags full of nuts and veggies.  Pre-cook chicken and have it ready to go.  These small changes make a big difference when you are hungry.  Poli adds, “if you’re taking time to exercise, but not yet implementing the above strategy, you’re doing it wrong and you need to adjust your priorities.”

4. Think locomotive, not bow and arrow. Poli states that the prevailing weight loss model is like an arrow shooting from a bow.  It starts out with great enthusiasm, but eventually crashes to the ground.  Instead, Poli suggests we learn from the locomotive. “It takes a lot more energy and effort to get it moving but once it gains momentum, it’s unstoppable. Focus your efforts on building that Monster Metabolism and you’ll eventually gain enough momentum to transform in a lasting way.”