By Haylie Pomroy Celebrity nutritionist and wellness consultant Author of The Fast Metabolism Diet Get the Fast Metabolism Diet recipes for Phase 1, 2 and 3 of Haylie's plan.
If you’re like many of my clients, you’ve been on the diet rollercoaster for years, cycling through whichever new miracle diet is topping the week’s headlines. The problem is you’re still stuck with the same belly fat. Maybe you’ll lose a little on some of these punishing diets, only to gain it back once you start eating like a normal person again. You’re exasperated and feel like your body has thrown in the towel.
Sound familiar? It’s called chronic dieting. But the problem isn’t you, it’s your out-of-whack metabolism. It doesn’t need another miracle diet – it needs to go into rehab!
Metabolism rehab is the exact opposite of all these diets that have failed you in the past. Starving yourself, cutting out food groups, and counting every calorie and carb actually slows down your metabolism, making it harder and harder to lose weight.
The best way to rev up your sluggish metabolism is to eat, and eat a lot. How could eating a lot help you lose weight? The secret is to shake things up: Confuse it to lose it! By eating specific whole, nutritious, delicious foods on specific days, you’ll speed up your metabolism and get it burning again. And you’ll do it without going hungry or giving up your favorite foods. And never forget about exercise: If you want to truly optimize your metabolism, you have to get your body moving. It’s as simple as 30 minutes of exercise, three times a week.
I’ve developed a three-phase eating plan that shows you how. This is not a “diet” in the traditional sense. This is an eating plan that heals your metabolism, satiates your body and mind, and helps you learn to love food again. You’ll shed excess weight and finally slay those old dragons – the metabolic myths that have been dragging you down.
The 3-Phase Plan requires that you complete all three phases, every week for four weeks. Each day of each phase requires that you eat three meals and two snacks. You can always repeat the 28-day plan, or even just a week or two of the plan if you find your metabolism needs a boost.
Metabolic Myth #1: If I could just eat less, I’d finally lose weight.
“Eat less to lose weight” is the worst diet myth around. Ignore your body’s hunger signals, and it’ll plunge directly into starvation mode, hoarding every molecule of fat that it can. You start producing too much of the fat-storage hormone RT3, which tells your body to store fat rather than burn it. And what does your body then burn as fuel? It starts eating your muscles for food instead of fat.
Metabolic Rehab Phase 1: Unwind stress, calm the adrenals. Duration: 2 Days
The first step of rebooting your metabolism is giving it what it needs to pull itself out of emergency mode: whole grains and natural sugar in the form of fruit. The sweet fruits and wholesome carbs in Phase 1 stimulate endorphins in the brain and flood the body with very easily digestible nutrients. You can also eat moderate amounts of lean proteins.
Phase 1 convinces your body that it’s no longer in an emergency situation, encouraging it to actually digest the food you are eating, and use those nutrients for fuel rather than storing it as fat.
Phase 1 Sample Meal Plan
Breakfast: Strawberry French Toast (fruit and grain)
Snack: Mango or other fruit
Lunch: Chicken sandwich with a side salad (grain, protein, fruit and veggie)
Snack: Baked Cinnamon Grapefruit (fruit)
Metabolic Myth #2: If I like it too much, it can’t be good for me – or my waistline.
This is another doozy. As chronic dieters, we’ve been told that good-tasting food is bad, that diet foods must be bland, dry and tasteless. This just isn’t true. Food is naturally one of the human body’s greatest pleasures. Take a bite of a delicious food you love, and your adrenal glands start pumping out endorphins (feel-good hormones). This prompts your brain to release serotonin (another feel-good hormone). And that tells the thyroid gland to produce another hormone you’re going to like – one that burns fat.
And while you’re feeling happy and burning fat, your leptin (hunger hormone) levels are sinking. You don’t feel hungry anymore, so you don’t overeat! Remember, if you eat boring food you hate, none of this will happen. Worse, you’ll screw up your body’s natural food response.
Metabolic Repair Phase 2: Unlock fat stores. Duration: 2 Days
The second phase of my plan introduces rich foods you thought you could never have on a "diet": juicy steak, rich lobster, flavorful salmon. Meanwhile, we pull back on grains and fruit and introduce lots of alkalizing green vegetables. Leafy greens, asparagus, mushrooms and peppers help balance the acidity of the protein you’re eating, keeping the body pH balanced. Your body then converts those proteins into amino acids, the building blocks of muscle.
So while you’re eating fat in the form of meat and fish, you’re also burning fat as fuel. The protein combined with lots of vegetables are the keys to releasing “old” fat – you’re actually unlocking stored fat into the bloodstream, ready for Phase 3, when your metabolism will really burn hot, melting those pounds off. For these two days you will not eat other sources of fat or carbs.
Phase 2 Sample Meal Plan
Breakfast: Egg white, mushroom and spinach omelet (protein and veggie)
Snack: Smoked salmon and cucumbers (protein and veggie)
Lunch: Tuna Salad-stuffed Red Pepper (protein and veggie)
Snack: Turkey jerky or nitrate-free lunch meat (protein)
Dinner: New York Strip Steak and Steamed Broccoli (protein and veggie)
Metabolic Myth #3: Losing weight is simply calories in, calories out.
For years we have been told that dieting is all about calories-in, calories-out. But it’s just not true. In fact, the entire concept of calories is completely misguided. You can’t tell me that a 100-calorie serving of delicious butternut squash, or succulent strawberries, or fiber-filled oatmeal has the same nutritional “value” as one of those tiny 100-calorie packets of chemical-laden cookies. A calorie is not a thing. It’s just energy, and what really matters, much more than the number of theoretical “calories” you do or don’t consume, is how your body uses the food once it gets inside you. Which is why in Phase 3 of the Fast Metabolism Diet we’re going to make sure that food gets used as fat-burning fuel.
Metabolic Repair Phase 3: Unleash the burn. Duration: 3 Days
Now that your fat stores have been unlocked, your body can start using that old fat as fuel until it’s gone for good. In this phase, you'll get to enjoy the delicious whole foods from Phase 1 and Phase 2, but now you’ll be adding healthy fats to every meal: Coconut, avocado, olive oil, raw nuts and seeds – all of which help you torch old fat right along with the natural dietary fat that’s coming in.
The foods you eat in this phase are also rich in inositol and choline, cofactors that metabolize fat and keep it from getting blocked in the liver; they keep all that newly released fat from being reabsorbed.
Once you’ve cycled through the three phases, your body’s metabolism is running fast and hot. You’re no longer in starvation mode. Instead, you’re feeling satisfied and your hormones are happy. You can say goodbye to those old diet myths and keep nurturing your metabolism with real, whole, nourishing foods. Follow my program to rehabilitate your metabolism, and you may never need to diet again.
Phase 3 Sample Meal Plan
Breakfast: Egg and toast with tomato and onion (Fruit, fat from the egg, grain and veggie)
Snack: Hummus and veggies (Fat from the oils in the hummus and veggie)
Lunch: Avocado Turkey Lettuce Wrap (fat, protein and veggie)
Snack: Almond butter stuffed celery (fat and veggie)
More Signs That Your Metabolism Needs Rehab
If you’re stuck on the chronic-dieting treadmill, that’s one big blinking sign that your metabolism isn’t working like it should. Talk to your doctor; some simple lab work can give you a better picture.
- Estrone: One of the three forms of estrogen, estrone can be a culprit if you’ve gained weight around your midsection. Supplementing with diindolylmethane, or DIM, a phytonutrient found in cruciferous vegetables, can help.
- Thyroid function and RT3: Your thyroid produces the hormones T3 and T4 that really fuel fat-burning. But Reverse T3, or RT3, is a fat-storing hormone. For thyroid-based weight gain, I recommend foods rich in iodine (like kelp) and selenium (like shellfish).