How to Lose Weight Eating a Pro-Metabolic Diet
Updated: Jun 9
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Have you started eating a pro-metabolic diet and gained a few pounds? Maybe you came into pro-metabolic eating with a few pounds to lose? Whatever the case may be, it is not hard to lose weight while still supporting a healthy metabolism.
I would argue a pro-metabolic diet the only long-term sustainable way to lose weight and stay at a healthy weight!
Before we dive into how to lose weight, let's first discuss weight loss in general.
First, weight is not THE measure of health! As a matter of fact, I would argue that weight should be one of the last things you look at when measuring your own health! How do you feel? How are your energy levels? How’s your sleep? Mental Health? Appetite? Those health markers are so much more important than the number on the scale!
What actually is a healthy weight? Are you actually shooting for overall health OR are you basing your weight-loss goals on today’s beauty standards? Maybe it’s a bit of both. Beauty standards change every 10 years or so and are most often unrealistic. For women, in the early 2000s, it was about low-rise jeans to show off a perfectly flat stomach and a thigh gap. Today it’s about large curves with a tiny waist. Both are usually unrealistic for real women with real bodies! Our bodies are all different and unique and none of them are perfect according to beauty standards, but perfect in their own ways!
Currently, I’m at my heaviest weight I’ve ever been, (145 lbs and 5’ 7”), but I feel the healthiest I’ve ever felt in my entire life! I remember a few ago getting my weight down to 128, and thinking that I would still like to lose 5 lbs. I was WAY under-eating, tired, and anxious all the time. It was unsustainable and unhealthy. The simple fact is, most women will not have 6 pack abs without really cutting body fat. Our bodies are just not designed to work like that! I’d like to encourage you so much to not base your body goals on beauty standards but on the actual health of your body!
That all being said, maybe you really do have some weight to lose! Many people in America are overweight and have some extra weight to lose. Getting down to a healthier weight is a great goal to have!
What is Pro-metabolic eating?
Eating a pro-metabolic diet should really be just normal eating, but in today’s world of processed food and fad diets, we need a name for this kind of eating. Pro-metabolic eating is all about supporting our bodies by getting back to the basics of food. Our food system today is so messed up, that it takes a real effort to buy and eat foods that are actually healthy for the human body! Pro-metabolic eating is eating enough food, and focusing on high-quality food to support our metabolisms and overall body. This kind of eating means supplying your body with lots of vitamins and nutrients from whole food sources!
I've landed on eating "ancestrally". Read my post here to learn what that means!
And, if you'd like some other sources, here are 5 books that changed the way I eat.
Again, I would argue that eating a pro-metabolic diet is the only healthy, sustainable way to lose weight and keep it off. Losing weight this way takes time! This is not a quick fix to get you into a smaller dress size for your cousin’s wedding next month! Commit to making small, sustainable habits for the long haul!
Create safety in the body
The human body will cling to excess weight if it feels unsafe. (I used to be a therapist, so this is the language that makes sense to me). For example, if you regularly eat too few calories, the body will send out stress hormones (cortisol) just to keep things running. This creates stress in the body, not safety. Creating safety in the body means feeding it regularly and focusing on high-quality foods. Long-term stress in the body, due to undernourishment, leads to hormonal imbalances and a sluggish metabolism. The two go hand in hand.
Just because you eat enough calories does not mean you are well-nourished, and an undernourished body is a stressed body!
The simplest way to make sure your body is well-nourished is through food! Multivitamins are NOT a good way to nourish a body for a LOT of reasons (Vitamins are NOT regulated and many are full of filler. The body does not usually absorb everything in the vitamin. And many more.) Food is the BEST way to nourish the body! Again, visit my post here on ancestral eating, as I believe this is the best way to eat for nourishment!
Healing the body from years of stress does not happen overnight. Healing your metabolism. If you’ve spent years and years yo-yo dieting and eating food that is not good for you, it might take a long time for your body to really get healthy again. Your body needs to be a safe place for the metabolism to run fast. Read my article here on How to Speed up your Metabolism.
Cut out seed oils.
Seed oils include canola oils, grapeseed oil, sunflower oil, and vegetable oils. These oils are highly processed, and made of highly unstable molecules that break down once consumed. Seed oils are added to everything! Start reading nutrition labels. Read the back of the carton of oat milk in the grocery store, crackers, cereals, any snack, ice cream, and so on! Seed oils are added to most processed and packaged foods, making them unhealthy for consumption!
Avoiding seed oils means cooking most foods from scratch to use whole and healthy foods. My motto is to crowd out processed foods with whole foods. I will admit, this takes some work and practice. My advice is to keep things simple. Breakfasts can be simple: eggs and fruit or oatmeal and sausage. Lunches and dinners can be equally simple: steak and sweet potato, chicken and rice. What you’re aiming for here is a carb and a protein. Cutting out processed foods does NOT mean you can’t eat the foods you like. Ice cream? Pizza? Make it from scratch, using good ingredients!
See my post here on tips to avoid processed foods!
And see my post here on Ancestral Eating Meal Prep Tips and Tricks!
Track your macronutrients
Tracking your macronutrients (carbohydrates, protein, and fats) is extremely useful for weight loss. I recommend tracking macros as opposed to just calories so that you can make sure you’re not over or under-eating protein or fats. It’s so easy to under-eat protein and overeat fats.
I aim for about 250 grams of carbohydrates, 100 grams of proteins, and about 60 grams of fat. Emphases on about. Your macro needs are most likely different from mine! For example, if I was wanting to build muscle, I would up my overall caloric intake to put me in a surplus and add in extra protein.
Commit to tracking your macros daily, and commit to doing it correctly! Start by first tracking your daily food, and just eat normally (don’t cut calories). Women will naturally be hungrier in the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle as the body just burns more calories, so be sure to track your macros over the course of several weeks, encompassing both the luteal and follicular phases of the cycle.
Weigh yourself throughout this time. Did your weight stay the same? If so, take the rough average over the course of the weeks you tracked, and that’s your baseline.
From there, cut calories. Start small, maybe 100-200 calories a day. For example, my baseline is about 2,100. To lose weight, I would eat between 2,000-1,900 a day. If your baseline is 1,700 or under, stop, and refocus on your metabolism. A baseline of 1,700 is too low and is a sign that our body needs some support. Again, this takes time! Don’t rush, and listen to your body! If you’re starving at the end of the day, bump up your calories some! If you eat way over the caloric goal one day, don’t sweat it! Just pick it up the next day. The goal here is to still feel full after meals and satisfied at the end of the day. If you cut too many calories, the body will slam on the brakes to slow down the metabolism, so it's important to take it slow.
A word about hormones
If you’ve consumed too few calories or poor-quality food for years, your hormones may need some support. Putting yourself into a calorie deficit will work, UNLESS, your hormones are out of balance. This could just be sex hormones like estrogen and progesterone, OR it could be your entire thyroid gland needs support! If you don't lose weight in a small calorie deficit, like the one I recommended, you're likely struggling with hormonal imbalances. If you're struggling with hormonal issues, you'll likely have other symptoms as well such as fatigue, low mood/moodiness, and painful periods for women.
Address your hormones first. Read my article here on how to balance hormones. You may also want to consult a holistic/root cause doctor to seek extra support. The emphasis here is on holistic/root cause, as they will work with you to actually get to the root cause. A conventional doctor is most likely to put you on either birth control and/or thyroid medicine, which is not a good long-term solution.
BONUS TIP: Strength train
Strength training is not necessary for weight loss, but it helps a LOT! Strength training builds muscle.
The more muscle you have, the more calories your body burns daily just to maintain the muscle.
AKA, your metabolism runs faster. The more muscle you build, the more calories you burn throughout the day. If you’re trying to lose weight, you’re also likely trying to improve your health and body composition. Building muscle is THE way to do this!
While cardio and HIIT workouts are fine, neither builds muscle like strength training, AND neither is as metabolically supportive! The key to building muscle is to continuously push yourself to failure. Lift HEAVY weights, and keep your reps short. This is called progressive overload. Reps should be between 4-10, and you should barely be able to lift the last rep. If you’re able to finish the rep easily, bump the weight up.
To summarize, the key to losing weight while supporting your metabolism is to eat enough to keep your body feeling safe, but stay in a caloric deficit. First, make sure your body is healthy and supported because otherwise, it will hold on to excess fat. When your body is healthy (your metabolism is fast and your hormones are balanced), track your macros and keep yourself in a slight caloric deficit. This is not a quick fix, but is the long-term, healthy way to lose and keep weight off!
Want to learn more? See my post here on 5 fast and easy pro-metabolic snacks to eat on the go!
I hope you enjoyed this article! What’s been your experience with pro-metabolic eating? Did you gain weight? If so, did you also lose it? And how? Please share in the comments!