Building a Campfire, Part I

Have you ever built a campfire? One good way is to start by placing a pile of dried leaves or newspaper down. Then, add a layer of sticks and twigs, with some medium size logs next. The really big logs go on top. Why? Each piece of fuel burns at different rates. Dried leaves and newspaper catch fire very quickly, making a great starter, but they also burn out the fastest. The sticks and medium size logs catch on to really launch the fire. Those great big logs don't catch fire easily, but once they do, they provide a low, steady burn for a very long time. Each piece of wood has its purpose and is necessary for the success of the fire to keep burning.

Imagine that you have a campfire going inside of you. This represents your blood sugar level. Its interesting to note that as your blood sugar level goes down, so does your metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories.

When you wake up in the morning, your campfire is barely going---you just have glowing embers. Don't worry, if you wake up, it's not completely out! It is really important to add fuel to the fire in the morning. If you don't, you won't get the flames burning'll stay at ember level. Bad news.

Is that a problem? Studies have shown that your brain doesn't function as well, so don't plan to take a test or make any major decisions at the low flame level. Your physical performance definitely suffers, too. You'll be tired, dragging, and if you are trying to run a race then, just forget your time that day! Your blood sugar level is directly correlated to your brain function and your physical performance.

For those of you trying to lose some extra body fat, focus on keeping that campfire burning at a good steady rate all day. Remember, when the flames flicker down, so does your metabolic rate, so you burn fewer calories. Not cool. Many people try to skip meals thinking it will be a great way to lose weight. Not a chance. Visualize those campfires: fires dwindle, and metabolic rate dwindles, too. No skipping meals.

Refuel your campfire in the morning! It's so important to eat breakfast. "Break" your "fast." Get those embers up to flame level. Your body and brain will certainly thank you for it. I know some of you may be telling me that you get too hungry throughout the day when you eat in the morning. This is actually a good sign: your campfire is ON! Not hungry means you are running on an empty, low performance level. You just need to learn what to feed that fire to ease the hunger, which is coming up next.

Tomorrow we'll be talking about the types of fuel on your campfire: macronutrients, so stay tuned for Part II !

Keep your campfires burning!