Interviewer: As we age, we hear a lot about our metabolism and how it slows
down and we can't do anything about it. What do we need to know about our
metabolism and how does it affect the body?
Mark MacDonald: Great question. When someone turns 50, or let's say a lady
comes to me and she's 40. She'd say, "Okay. I don't know what I've done,
but all of the sudden, all the weight is just coming on."
This is how your body works. Genetically, there are three real different
body types. I'm going to generalize here. There's an Ectomorph, which is
like that person who can eat whatever they want and never gain weight.
There's a Mesomorph, which I am, where I can put on fat and I can put on
muscle. So, I can do both. And there's the Endomorph, which is that person
who seems to just look at food and gain weight. Genetically, that's who we
are. You're born and it's internally what's called your set point. It's
that weight that you know and that we all know that we always can drop
weight to that point and then we plateau. Your plateau weight is your set
That's controlled through something in your brain called the weight
regulating mechanism. To make it simple, it's like a thermostat in this
room. That, if this room was set at 70 degrees, that would be the set
point. If it got above 70, there would be a cooling mechanism. You would
move your thermostat to lower it. If it got below 70, there'd be a heater.
That's how your body works. Based on your set point, it teaches your body
to burn calories or store calories.
This is what happens. Blood sugar is here. People keep skipping meals,
overeating, skipping meals, overeating. Slowly and surely, they burn
muscle, which controls their metabolism. They store fat. Slowly and surely,
that set point rises. So, they turn 30 and 40 and go, 'I'm getting softer.
What happened?' It's every choice you made from the moment that you were
two, and on. That's what affects someone's metabolism.
Now, the next question is: How do I reprogram my metabolism? Simple. Start
eating in three. Stop the progression. Stop burning muscle. Stop storing
fat. And then, once you stabilize your blood sugar and you start
implementing the right exercise, you can lower your set point back down.
So, you can reverse the damage.
Interviewer: Your way of thinking, I think, is not uncommon as a lot people
that talk about how we should be eating versus the way we are now. With all
the technology and information that we have, why is it taking so long for
that to become accepted and why are so many people, and even physicians,
stuck in 30 years ago?
Mark: Physicians. I do a lot of training, I'll speak to new medical
students at Emory Medical. Doctors are phenomenal. Their skill set as
physician is unbelievable. They are just not taught nutrition. Dieticians
are taught dietetics, which are more disease side. So, there's a hole right
now when we talk nutritional education. But I think the biggest thing is
there's just a gap. That you have the health professionals, like so many
fitness people saying, "Oh, you've got to take gluten out and dairy out."
So, you've got to cut everything. And then, you have the dieters who say,
"No, I don't want to cut that." And there's too big of a gap.
To me, I'm going to talk to a person at where they are. It's not like if
someone's two meals and they're eating fast food twice a day, I don't care
if they have gluten and dairy or soy. It's irrelevant. Let's get them
eating in threes first. Let's get them working to make this a way of life.
Then, we'll pace them. It's a Japanese term called the Kaizen Method, which
is slow, incremental changes. So, the analogy I use in my book is, we look
at driving from Los Angeles to New York. A big goal mindset is, "I don't
care how I'm going to get there. I'm not going to sleep. I'm just going to
drive, drive, drive." You suffer the whole way, you get there, but it was
such a miserable experience that you never want to go back. That's how
people look at dieting and food.
The Kaizen Method, slow, incremental, now imagine that same scenario. You
map out your favorite stops along the way. Maybe it takes a day longer, but
it's such an enjoyable experience. You have an amazing time that whole
time. Then once you get there, you continue the journey. That's kind of how
we have to start looking at it. Talk to a person from where they are. Pace
them to where they want to be. If we start teaching that and we don't
become extremists, then we lead people to where they want to be. That, to
me, is what body confidence is all about, looking and feeling your very
best, taking back control of your health.