What it Metabolism?

65453317 - silver cube word metabolism on wooden table

65453317 – silver cube word metabolism on wooden table

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight.  But what exactly does this all mean?

Well technically “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body.  It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive.  And without this amazing biochemistry you would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:

  • Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
  • Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
  • Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.

Metabolic rate

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!). The calories you eat can go to one of three places:

  • Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
  • Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
  • Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat).

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate.  One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: a lot!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid.  This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism.  Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too!

Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial!   As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does.  So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be.  Even when you’re not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program.  Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don’t want to happen.  So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they’re doing “work”.

The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food.  This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).  You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%.  By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow.  By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don’t forget the mind-body connection.  There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.  This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.  So remember to eat your lean protein (easy recipe below), lift some weights and get some rest to keep your metabolism in shape!

Here’s a super simple recipe for chicken breast.  It’s a great source of lean protein and so versatile:

Recipe (Lean Protein): Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

  • Serves 4
  • 2 lemons, sliced
  •  1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 4 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (I like to also add Garlic Powder for a more garlicky flavor)
  • 4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • dash salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive old

Preheat oven to 425F.  Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish.  Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper.  Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken.  Drizzle with olive oil.  Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through.  If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!





Protein for Breakfast; How To

53022857_mlWe all know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day…right?  Eating within the first hour you wake up keeps you metabolism humming.  Unfortunately, Americans have become accustomed to eating “breakfast foods” full of sugar and simple carbs.  Cold cereals, pastries, bagels, granola bars and various other options are out there for convenience.  I’ll admit that I used to eat these foods too.  Ever wonder why your bagel or breakfast bar with 10+ grams of protein only lasts you about an hour (or less) before you are starving again?

Processed foods cause a blood sugar spike that gets you going at first but lets you down with a crash within a short period of time.  They don’t provide the nutrition your body needs to think clearly, manage stress and maintain endurance.  Whether you’re going for a run or running the office, a power breakfast of 20-30 grams of protein is essential to start your day.

No time to cook?  No problem!  With a little planning, you can set yourself up for a quick meal and out the door.

We know eggs are awesome.  Boil and peel a dozen eggs on Sunday.  Two eggs and half an avocado or 1/4 cup of hummus are delicious together and give you some healthy fats & carbs to get you to snack time.

Yummy hot cereal anyone?  Use a slow cooker or rice cooker to make a batch of steel cut oats or other grains like quinoa, buckwheat or barley for the week.  Heat some up with nut butter, milk of choice and fresh or dried fruit.  I like to add pure protein powder & chia seeds for staying power.  A good thermos is great for this.  Get to work a few minutes early and calmly eat breakfast in your car before going in.  It’s a game changer.

How about a good quality protein shake?  Look for a product with no sugar.  Add some berries and greens like organic spinach for a hit of fiber and antioxidants.                                    Click here for my favorite.

Lastly, I am also a fan of dinner for breakfast.  Leftovers like pot roast & lentils can go a long delicious way (throw it in your thermos or make it a wrap!).

How do you do breakfast?

Order my favorite clean, non-GMO  protein shakes, booster and bars today!



Does Your Upbringing Affect Your Success?

Chantal, mom, me '90sThere are many psychological and social studies about how your upbringing and childhood experiences form your adult persona.  As I thought about this question, I realized that no matter what, I am my mother’s daughter.

An orphan raised in a convent, my mom emigrated from Spain at the age of 17 to pursue her dreams.  She arrived in this country without knowing English, armed only with the tenacity to build her future.

We were a blue collar family. She worked tirelessly to ensure that her children had the best education she could provide.  She encouraged a rigorous academic schedule, participation in extracurricular activities, celebration of our cultural heritage, and spiritual growth. My siblings and I have accomplished our dreams because she never allowed our financial situation to hold us back. She ensured that we applied for any possible scholarships, and took advantage of every opportunity, even if it meant more overtime for her. As a result, my siblings and I have all traveled different paths and become successful in our fields.

I believe that I am a product of my mother’s guidance and love and am fortunate to have had such unconditional support from her. It’s so important to acknowledge the people who have helped us become the people we are today.

As a health coach, my relationship with my clients becomes very personal.  I do my best to guide them to explore themselves and their relationship to their world.  I’d like to think I’ve developed my “motherly” skills from my personal hero.

Here’s to you mom!


Welcome to Coach Marisol’s Blog!


Thank you so much for visiting!  I am so excited to share healthy lifestyle tips with my family, friends and clients.  You can look forward to reaping the rewards of my research, experiments with products and recipes as well my life experiences.

I am often asked why I’ve decided to redirect my life’s work to health and wellness – specifically weight loss and maintenance.

No stranger to the yo-yo cycles of weight loss & gain, confidence & insecurity, I was constantly searching for the newest information and training to help me live the best life.  The type of life that included pleasurable healthy food, a fit body I could be proud of and a sense of comfort in my own skin.  It’s a tall order but it’s a work in progress of course!

After many years of “dieting”, I gradually moved towards a Holistic approach to wellness through online research. I experimented with many forms of eating and exercise in search of a healthy lifestyle. During this time, I have run many high end restaurants that featured local, sustainable ingredients. A few years ago, I moved towards fast casual concept restaurants that featured more affordable menu options that did not match the wholesomeness of the foods I was used to serving. One day, I decided I could not sell another order of cheese fries – I felt like a fraud preaching healthy eating while selling commercial fried foods. That was my turning point. There were too many regular customers that really had no idea how they were hurting themselves. I want to help people get educated and develop healthy habits to make better choices that will keep them happy.

After researching different options for health coaching and nutrition programs, I enrolled in the Institute of Integrated Nutrition in 2015.  I was certified as a Health Coach in 2016.  I have since worked with a handful of clients of varying backgrounds and needs.  My experiences throughout this time have confirmed that the decision to dedicate my life to this field was the right choice for me.  Participating in the transformation of others, although challenging, is exciting, healing and inspiring.  It feels good to wake up and be excited to go to work.  To know that you are making a difference and to be content by living life on your own terms.

Check out more about myself here, my kick ass programs, and my clients’ testimonials

Find me on:

Twitter: @CoachMarisol
Facebook: @YouEmpowered.Life

Email: SolCoach@MarisolBallaro.com

I look forward to hearing from you!

-Coach M.

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