Lesson 3.1: Diet and Metabolism and Body Weight Exercises

Module 3 Objectives
  1. Diet: Diet and metabolism: understanding what impact certain foods have
  2. Exercise: Basal metabolic rate and incidental exercise
  3. Psychological: Getting on the path to wellness
  4. Exercise: Understanding the benefits of muscle strengthening resistance exercises
  5. Exercise: Learning basic pushup and tricep exercises

Diet and Metabolism


To have weight loss success, we need to understand how our body works.

Do you remember the 1980s. It was all about calorie counting and where did that leave us in the obesity battle? We are fatter now in the 2000s than we were in the 1980s. Although the calorie is a measure of energy, it does not mean that all calorie sources have the same effect on your weight. Different foods go through different metabolic pathways and can have vastly different effects on hunger and the hormones that regulate weight. For example, replacing simple carbohydrates with protein can boost metabolism, depress appetite and cravings and reduce weight-regain hormones. So look to reach for a boiled egg or some strips of chicken breast instead of a chocolate bar. It sounds strange but your body will soon turn off the “sweet switch” and will not crave for it anymore. It takes time.




Unfortunately, carbohydrates have a sedating effect on both the mind and body. They boost levels of serotonin which is a neurotransmitter known to have a calming effect on the brain. It also lifts your mood but will have a sedating effect to your energy levels. Have you noticed how sleepy and sedated you are after a big bowl of pasta. It is hard to feel energised and motivated to work after finishing off a large bowl and all you want to do is lie down and sleep. Filling up on protein gives you energy and drive.

Notebook inscribed with Serotonin and chemical formula surrounded by brain shape and lab test tubes with blood and cerebrospinal fluid. Visualization of serotonin function, effect of it level on mood


To simplify things, there are simple carbohydrates and complex ones. Simple carbohydrates are found in refined and processed foods such as juices, soft drinks, white bread (with white flour, instead of wholemeal wheat flour) flavoured milk, cakes, biscuits and sweets. These are the “bad carbs” and should be eliminated from your diet. Complex carbs are found in non-starchy vegetables, 100% whole wheat flour and pasta, oats and brown rice. These foods are low GI, will slow the digestion process, keep you fuller for longer and will reduce your calorie input overall. These are “good carbs”and should not be eliminated from your diet. Once again, this is using the principles of the low HI diet because unmodified foods are complex in nature.

Clean Eating, Clean Sleeping


 If you are not getting enough sleep, eating too many carbohydrates may be the cause. According to research in the Journal of Clinical Medicine, those who have a high sugar diet and indulge in refined carbs are more likely take longer to fall asleep. If you fall into this category, you may also have trouble getting restful sleep during the night. We spoke about sleep being a non-negotiable weight loss component in module 2.

We also know that not getting enough sleep reduces the level of the satiety hormone Leptin and boosts the hunger hormone Ghrelin, which also steers us towards high carbohydrate choices. If you are sleep deprived, your motivation is at an all time low. Even if you do follow your plans and exercise, you would have missed out on all the fitness benefits of sleep – increased speed, strength and endurance. We spoke about the importance of human growth hormone production in sleep in the last module. It is now week 3 into the program. If you are not getting 8 hours a sleep, please commit to it for the next 3 weeks and see how much your exercise improves.

What should our food contain?

Until now, you have been following our eating and exercise plans to help take decisions out of your day and to guide you what to eat. However, there are certainly some foods which promote weight loss and we have aimed to include as many of these in the plans. These foods are considered not just for weight loss but also health so that we do not get sick or develope diseases. In a nutshell, colour is the best medicine. The more colourful the foods, the more macronutrients, anti-oxidants, nutrients and cancer fighting properties they have. What are these foods?

Blueberries, broccoli, kale and cabbage

Why do blueberries always make it on health food articles whether it is on TV, the internet or in newspapers and magazines. Not only are they delicious and juicy, they are one of the most nutritious foods in the world. Frozen and fresh they ate high in Resveratrol, a powerful anti-oxidant shown to protect against ageing, thus promoting longevity. Having blueberries everyday, may make you live as long as Emma, who died recently as the oldest woman in the world. Other coloured vegetables are broccoli, kale and cabbage which contain Indol 3 Carbinol which is a cancer protective enzyme that metabolizes carcinogens and enhances DNA repair.

Tomatoes, red oranges and grapefruit.

Ripe tomatoes, red oranges and pink grapefruit contain Lycopene, which is especially known to fight against prostate cancer. Make sure you feed your husbands, boyfriends, brothers and yourself with these colourful “balls”.


A goodie but an oldie. Garlic contains allicin, which provides the perfect natural remedy against the common cold. Allicin contains antimicrobial, antibacterial, antiviral and antifungal activity which not only keeps Dracula away but germs and microbes from coughs, colds and flus. When we are losing weight, our bodies may become run down. So ensuring our immune system is running well is essential.


What’s the magical yellow ingredient in curry, that we dread when we are wearing our favourite white shirt as the stain never comes out. That’s Turmeric (Cucumun). This is truly a magical ingredient as it has anti-inflammatory properties which reduce the pain associated with inflammation. It is protective against atherosclerosis and is also cancer protective. Other anti-inflammatory foods are

  1. Oily fish
  2. Ginger
  3. Berries
  4. Green Leafy vegetables




Chilli contains a substance called capsaicin which causes the fiery sensation in your mouth. This sensation triggers the release of endorphins similar to the ones you get when you exercise. It also is a natural pain killer and makes you feel good. When you are feeling down, instead of reaching for your usual comfort foods such as chocolate or ice cream, try a dish with chilli in it such as Malaysian rendang curry, sambal prawns or chilli con carne. It will lift your mood and give you a pleasurable high.

Vitamin B12

Do you find that you are suffering from brain fog or are constantly tired? Or has your medical practitioner prescribed for you an anti-obesity drug which is reducing your energy levels, then you may be lacking in vitamin B12. The good news is that the Metabolic diet contains foods such as salmon, beef, lamb and fortified grains which are rich in B12, so you should not be lacking in this essential vitamin while adopting this “eating style.” The richest source of vitamin B12 is sardines which is three times the daily requirement. Consider using a tin of sardines over a lunchtime salad, as a snack or a something to keep in your work place drawer.

As you can see, our eating and exercise plans are full of these foods. We know that by eating these foods in abundance, you will not only lose weight, but you will be healthy, vibrant and full of energy.

Eating Fat Does NOT Make You Fat


Another common diet myth is that when you eat fat you just get fatter. More importantly, it is how you combine them. Frying refined and starchy carbohydrates in fat is a recipe to gain weight. The low fat revolution brought the emergence of “Diet foods” and “low fat foods –  97% fat free”. Some examples of these foods that grace our shelves are low-fat foods, and processed gluten free foods. We are no longer afraid of fats, just saturated fats and trans fats which may clog our arteries or cause cardiovascular disease. Good fats found in foods such as salmon, nuts, avocado and eggs should be embraced as they improve satiety. Butter and full fat milk is fine as well in moderation.


Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)

Your basal metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns calories when resting. We know that raising your BMR has a profound effect on weight and on reshaping your body by burning fat. The more opportunities you take to increase your daily activity level, the more you will lift your BMR. It is so important to not only increase your “planned” exercise but to also increase your “incidental” exercise whether that means you take the stairs instead of the lift, play sport with your kids or go for a walk during your lunch break at work.


Just Move It


Not a fan of the gym? That’s absolutely ok as you don’t need to have a gym membership to keep fit. It is important we do have planned exercise that we write into our diary like appointments so that we prioritise them and it gets done. But there are some ways you can sneak exercise into your daily routine. Gyms were created for convenience – to offer people the opportunity to train, have access to equipment and be supervised in one convenient place.

However, if you don’t have a gym close by; have the responsibility of looking after children or other dependents during the day; or cannot afford a gym membership, there are other ways. What you do on a regular basis is just as important and effective as planned workouts. Each week we will suggest some novels ways which do not involve going to a gym. Add them to your weekly repertoire and soon you will moving without trying.

This week’s example

Clean the windows, car and fridge: there is unrivalled satisfaction, in looking through crystal clear windows or admiring a freshly cleaned car. It also involves a large amount of upper body movement, squatting, reaching and lifting. Aim to do one of these activities, once a week.

Getting Started on the Path to Wellness

Acroyoga straddle bat pose

Almost everyone can identify with stress. One of the main things to focus when you embark on this journey is to work out what your stressors and triggers are. Once you work them out, you must be mindful of them. If you are rating your stress levels out of 10 and you are more than a 7, you most likely suffer from emotional eating. It is important that you get your stress levels to under 3.

Basic Steps Towards Wellness.

  1. Set goals
  2. Manage your stress levels. Focus on getting to bed early, deep breathing exercises or practicing mindfulness. Look for non-food treats like
  3. Look at achieving success one step at a time – mind, diet then exercise
  4. Get your stress under control 1st, solve your eating, then incorporate exercise
  5. Create new habits and persist. It takes at least 2 weeks to create a new habit and repetition is the key.
  6. Educate yourself and continually learn and update yourself

Muscle Strengthening Resistance Exercises

Working out on a park bench

We spoke about exercise and muscles in module 2. Remember that the majority of calories burned in your body are burned as fuel for your muscles. If your muscles are in tip-top condition, the more calories they will burn and will make your body into an efficient fat burning vehicle. This means you will look more toned and trimmer and will also have a significant impact on your visceral fat. It is essential you do aerobic exercise as well as resistance exercises in any weight loss journey. In this program, we teach you how to strengthen your triceps and biceps and stomach muscles. Our next program will incorporate some more advanced muscle strengthening exercises.

This does not mean you become a body builder, but it means getting your muscles working efficiently, so they are strong and well toned which will also reduce your body fat.

Good fat burning exercises include:

  1. Walking
  2. Jogging
  3. Aerobics
  4. cycling
 Basic Triceps

BICEPS: Pushups

Go to Lesson 3.2 for your step by step guided exercise and eating program for week 3

Back to: Redefine™ Metabolic Weight Loss Program > Module 3: Week 3