Thursday, September 9, 2021

The Traveler’s Cure for Metabolic Syndrome

There's a term, "Metabolic Syndrome" which encompasses a constellation of symptoms that used to be known as “a slow metabolism”. 

Loads of people find themselves afflicted via perennial stupid dieting - eating less and less, which convinces their bodies they’re starving, so metabolism slows way down to conserve calories. It's a sticky wicket, because if you try to correct it with lots of eating,  your weight will balloon, and if you try to correct it with massive exercise, you will burn muscle. And if you just stay as you are, hello diabetes, reflux, sleep apnea, hypertension, and all the other familiar outcomes above/beyond dreaded love handles.

Ask a doctor how to escape Metabolic Syndrome and they'll hem and haw. But here's my trick: I go to Europe. I don't take taxis. I walk 5-7 miles per day. And I eat like a pig.

This has been a long-assed trip to Portugal. Three weeks in total (I have reasons).  And my body feels like it's sprung back to life. My lukewarm hunger reflex has become acute, like a fire that must be stoked. And I haven’t gained much weight, because calories are being burned without my body messing with the formula.

I just feel better. Active. Alive. Dynamic. The antithesis of couch potato. I can digest a peach in like 15 seconds flat. It’s like I’m throwing it into a kiln. 

And when I get home, I won’t make the mistake of shutting down my food inflow. Rather, I'll clean it up. Less pastries and cheese and fatty meats. Nothing fried. "Clean" proteins (lean, ala egg whites, white meat turkey, fish, tofu), "healthy" fats (extra virgin olive oil), and complex carbs (not much white flour and no sugar). I'll eatthree solid meals per day, including protein with each meal, to keep the fires burning, metabolism revving, and hunger reflex sharpened. Weight lifters know that to lose weight, you need to eat tons and never get hungry….but (this is critical!) all clean eating, and with no snacking.

I'll find ways to exercise as much as possible, but I don't need to maintain this ridiculous regimen. Having sprung my body from metabolic jail, it will stay normalized with 3-4 gym visits per week plus  reasonable walks. Just so long as I don’t re-starve myself via perennial dieting - i.e. eating small portions of poorly-balanced foods and skipping meals like crazy because, meh, I just don't feel hungry (your body is only trying to accommodate you, and you’re the one who trained it to stop asking for food!).


Anonymous said...

Why do you think egg whites are "cleaner" than "egg yolks," whatever cleaner means? Egg yolks are essential for health.

James Leff said...

whites are entirely protein, yolks are entirely fat, mostly saturated.

you need to alert the scientific community to your groundbreaking theory on egg yolks. your erudition is wasted here.

TechnoSwami said...

Thanks for sharing this, and I am looking forward to going back and reading your posts about Portugal.

BTW, per 100 grams, egg yolks contain more protein than egg whites. Just sayin'! And yes, yolks contain saturated fats but they also have important omega-3s.

Angel322 said...

This is such a great description of the effect I've experienced in my travels in Europe, too. Thanks for providing this explanation of how eating fresh, wholesome food and lots of walking can reset your metabolism. I always swear that I'll keep the proccess going when I get home, but never have. So this time, I started improving my diet and exercise in anticipation of my upcoming trip to Portugal. Can't wait to see if it works!

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