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Fire Up Your Metabolism

9 Proven Principles for Burning Fat and Losing Weight Forever

About The Book

"I can't loose weight because I have a terrible metabolism"
You may not realize it, but you can take control of your metabolism.
Identical twins and registered dietitians, Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames embarked on a twin study to determine precisely what does -- and doesn't -- increase the rate at which our bodies burn calories and fat.
Their findings? Small changes have big results.
The nine weight-loss principles -- and the 200 tips that help you incorporate them into your lifestyle -- in Fire Up Your Metabolism are surprisingly simple: Eat breakfast before you get to work. Learn which sugary snacks trump others (peanut M&Ms boost metabolism, but Twizzlers don't). Drink water, which is essential to burning calories. Always eat dinner, even if it's late. Focus on muscle building, not cardiovascular workouts.
With Fire Up Your Metabolism, you won't have to avoid restaurants or follow a diet (though one is included if you like regimentation). The fatigue and distracting hunger that derail most dieters won't affect you because revving your metabolism is all about eating. You will enjoy breads and other carbohydrates. You will boost your metabolism with power proteins, including hamburgers, and avoid other proteins that bog you down. You will indulge in snacks you thought a dieter could never touch.
Lyssie and Tammy's clients have experienced not only dramatic weight loss but also the thrill of having more energy than ever before. Now you, too, can rewire your metabolism to lose weight fast and forever.



Dieters today are frustrated and discouraged. Their strict eating plans are carried out in vain and their trips to the gym don't pay off. If they do see some success, their results quickly vanish as soon as they veer -- even slightly -- from regimented diet and exercise programs.


Many people don't burn calories efficiently, and they store food as fat rather than burning it up for energy.

Frustrated dieters simply need to fire up their metabolism.

So now you may be saying, "What exactly is metabolism and how can I fire up mine?"

Simply, metabolism is the way your body uses calories from the food you eat. The speed at which it does so is called your metabolic rate. Everyone who likes to eat wants to have a speedy metabolism so that they can burn food for energy without storing it as fat, which is what happens when the metabolic rate is slow. Unfortunately, the body's natural tendency is to slow the metabolism and store food as fat, causing weight gain.

Yet no one is doomed by these factors.

People who have a slow metabolism often blame their weight gain on their genes. Or their age. Or their inactive jobs. They don't realize that they can burn more calories by making relatively small changes in their diet and lifestyle.

It's probably not news to you that what you eat and how you live affect your weight. Despite this, desperate dieters want a quick fix, and they jump to try the newest fad diet, such as the Atkins Diet, Sugar Busters!, and The Zone in hopes of seeing quick weight loss.

These diets can cause an initial quick weight loss, but when they do this, they do something else, too: They actually slow the metabolism. And that hinders long-term weight loss.

We are all too familiar with the embarrassed dieter who rebounds to a higher weight after each round of dieting.

When weight fluctuates in this manner, not only is body composition altered, but so is metabolism. You see, chronic dieting transforms metabolism to favor weight gain.


Because each time you lose weight, you also lose lean muscle tissue. Lean muscle tissue needs calories simply to exist. So the more times you gain and lose weight, the more lean muscle tissue you lose, and the fewer calories your body burns.

When you fire up your metabolism, you are not going on a diet. So there's no such thing as "cheating." Yes, you will make some changes to what you eat, but more than anything you are changing the way your body uses food.

On the Fire Up Your Metabolism plan, you will try to apply as many metabolism-revving tips to your life as possible -- and you will see results. This plan will become your nutrition and fitness bible, your way of life, a lifestyle that keeps your metabolism on high. You can have that cookie. Take a bunch of french fries. Enjoy a slice of pizza. Relish your favorite foods. You can't have a lot every day, but you don't have to swear off the foods you love to fire up your metabolism.

After reading our book and following our tips, you will lose weight and keep it off -- without feeling deprived. Whether you are a man in your mid-twenties trying to stave off a gut, or a menopausal woman, our strategies combined with the nutrition principles we explain in plain language will help anyone who has struggled to achieve a thinner body. Weakness and lethargy will be feelings of the past.

This is not a fad diet book. It's a plan that adheres to the recommendations of the American Heart Association and the American Dietetic Association. The plan is rooted in nine principles that will teach you how to speed up your metabolic rate:

  • 1. Never skip meals.

  • 2. Eat at the right times.

  • 3. Choose a diet rich in the best carbohydrates.

  • 4. Appropriately time intake of lean proteins.

  • 5. Drink appropriate amounts of certain beverages at specific times.

  • 6. Eat a diet low in "bad" fat.

  • 7. Get enough sleep every night.

  • 8. Find surprising ways to stay active.

  • 9. Incorporate muscle strengthening in your exercise routines.

You may have heard these suggestions before yet not fully understood how to incorporate them into your eating and lifestyle habits. Or, like many of our clients, you may be suspicious of anything that promises weight loss. We are, too. Not only will we tell you what to do, but we will explain why it's important for revving up your metabolism. We know that if you don't understand why something works, you won't be motivated to try it. For instance, you will understand why you must become a devotee of breakfast.

We had a great way to prove our theories -- and we took advantage of it. Each chapter contains a "twin trial." There are many things twins can do that no one else can.

For example, you can make your other half be a guinea pig for you. If you don't like what happens to your twin, then you don't follow in her footsteps. A few years ago, Tammy watched as a hairdresser got scissors-happy. She chopped Lyssie's long locks, which had hung halfway down her back, to hair that barely reached her earlobes. Lyssie's heart sank as she looked in the mirror with horror -- the bobbed hair was far from flattering. On this particular day, Tammy happened to be the lucky one; she immediately noticed that this short hair was not a good look for us and decided that she would skip the chop.

When it came to writing this book, both of us fought to avoid being the guinea pig. When it comes to nutrition and exercising, we both practice what we preach because we like to do what makes us feel healthy -- that makes us feel good. We realize that eating any other way won't allow us to feel our best. Our first twin experiment, which involved manipulating the carbohydrates we eat, caused quite a battle, as neither of us wanted to be the one to mess with the body's major fuel source.

However, despite the tension caused by the first trial, we continued to test each of these nine principles, one of us serving as a control, and one of us serving as a guinea pig. We are extremely regimented (almost to a fault, if you ask our mom), but this made us excellent study subjects, as we both eat the same amount of calories and foods. We have the same jobs and exercise together. Therefore, we could run trials in which the twin who was the guinea pig would not follow the recommendations of one of our basic premises. We saw the results -- and they were dramatic!

You may wonder why we tested the nine principles, which people already seem to know about. But the truth is, they just don't get it. And until we saw the results of our trials, we weren't aware of how much each principle completely affects metabolism.

In addition, we conducted these trials because we didn't just want to tell you what to do. We wanted to prove to you why our tips will fire up your metabolism. People always make the mistake of thinking that they can lose weight only if they make drastic changes. We wanted to prove to you that making small changes, like any of the tips based on our nine simple principles, will fire up your metabolism and cause lasting weight loss more than anything else.

Whether you have tried every possible trick to lose body fat or have never tried in your life, whether you travel frequently or spend most of the day at your desk, this book will help you. We give you hundreds of specific suggestions and show you how to incorporate them. We help you time your meals and offer dozens of ideas for what to eat so that you're neither hungry nor craving metabolism-slowing foods. We also provide sample menus to help on the frontlines of your metabolic revolution.

Hundreds of tips is a lot. We include that many because we want you to choose which ones suit you best. You don't have to take advantage of every tip to see results.

If, however, you like to follow a step-by-step plan, we've got that for you, too.

So no matter who you are and what works best for your lifestyle, this book is designed to help you succeed.

Each chapter includes our clients' success stories. You will be inspired by how our clients gave their metabolism a jolt and not only saw mind boggling results but also changed their lives in other important ways. You, too, will experience this.

You will feel rejuvenated.

You will be more energetic and light on your feet.

Physical challenges such as staying alert in the afternoon, or walking up several flights of stairs, or running a couple of city blocks will be so easy that you won't give them a second thought.

Life will be easier. Everything from meeting your health and fitness goals to advancing in your career to having successful relationships with family, friends, and significant others will seem like less of a struggle.

Looking in the mirror will be enjoyable, and you will want to show off your new body.

People will compliment you.

You will have a newfound confidence.

You will have the knowledge and the motivation to have a completely fulfilled life.

Do You Have a Slow Metabolism?

Take This Test and Find Out

1. Do you have a hard time losing weight?

yes___ no___

2. Do you gain weight more easily than you lose it?

yes___ no___

3. Do you frequently skip breakfast?

yes___ no___

4. Do you often skip other meals?

yes___ no___

5. Do you often wait longer than five hours between meals/snacks?

yes___ no___

6. Do you often sit down to one or several large meals a day?

yes___ no___

7. Do you often feel sleepy after a meal?

yes___ no___

8. Do you usually finish everything on your plate?

yes___ no___

9. Do you sleep fewer than seven hours a night?

yes___ no___

10. Some days, do you feel much more tired than others, despite getting an adequate night's rest?

yes___ no___

11. Do you often feel sluggish?

yes___ no___

12. Do you often almost doze off at your desk after eating lunch?

yes___ no___

13. Do you often have restless nights because of indigestion or feelings of fullness from eating too close to bedtime?

yes___ no___

14. When you eat carbohydrates, do you usually choose pasta, white rice, white bread, and other refined carbohydrates?

yes___ no___

15. Do you drink fewer than eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day?

yes___ no___

16. Do you drink more than three alcoholic beverages a week?

yes___ no___

17. Do you usually choose full-fat cheese, milk, yogurt, and other dairy products?

yes___ no___

18. Do you frequently eat cookies, cakes, and candies?

yes___ no___

19. Do you regularly use butter, lard, sour cream, or cream cheese?

yes___ no___

20. Do you eat fried foods more than twice a week?

yes___ no___

21. Do you exercise fewer than five times per week and/or fewer than thirty minutes per session?

yes___ no___

22. Do you lift weights fewer than three times per week?

yes___ no___

23. Do you often try popular diets?

yes___ no___

24. Do you frequently lose weight and then gain it back?

yes___ no___

25. Do you rarely get hunger pangs even if it has been many hours since you last ate?

yes___ no___

26. Is your skin either very dry or very oily?

yes___ no___

27. Are you apple-shaped (excess abdominal fat) rather than pear-shaped (excess hip, thigh, and buttocks fat)?

yes___ no___

28. Are you impatient?

yes___ no___

29. Do you have mood swings more than two times a month?

yes___ no___

30. After eating sweets, do you frequently crave more?

yes___ no___

31. Do your nails break or peel easily, or have grooves or yellow or white spots?

yes___ no___

32. Are you very sensitive to heat or cold?

yes___ no___

33. Does your body seem to change in an undesirable way with every passing year?

yes___ no___

34. Do you sometimes feel as though you could eat all day long?

yes___ no___

35. Do you eat more than usual when in social situations (with friends, at cocktail parties, etc.)?

yes___ no___

36. Does your weight generally fluctuate by more than five pounds over the course of six months?

yes___ no___

37. Do you eat fish less than once a week?

yes___ no___

38. Have any of your family members, including grandparents and parents, had any of the following diseases/conditions?

High cholesterol yes___ no___

High blood pressure yes___ no___

Heart disease yes___ no___

Stroke yes___ no___

Diabetes yes___ no___

Cancer yes___ no___

Obesity yes___ no___

39. Do you take any medication regularly, including birth control pills?

yes___ no___

40. Do you sometimes forget to take your vitamins, or not take them at all?

yes___ no___

41. Do you frequently drink juice, Gatorade, or other caloric beverages?

yes___ no___

Now score yourself. Count your yes answers.

0-6: Excellent! Your metabolism has not slowed at this point. You are probably like us, who practice our Fire Up Your Metabolism tips regularly. However, as you will see in our twin trials, a lifetime of good work can easily go bad when our major principles are not applied, even for a short period of time. So use this book as a guide to help you to make sure that you are consistently revving your metabolism forever. You certainly do not need to follow the entire plan to fire up your metabolism. You can simply take advantage of as few as 10 percent of the tips that you aren't following now and really fire up your metabolism to its ultimate potential.

7-14: Although you have not drastically slowed your metabolism, it is not working as efficiently as it could be. You may be like our client Dawn, who considers herself health conscious. Dawn avoids fried foods and limits metabolism doozies like butter and rich meat. She tries to include fiber in her diet -- she eats oatmeal and fruits and vegetables. Dawn rarely skips a meal, unless an unusual situation comes up at work and she simply doesn't have time. Like Dawn, you may go out to eat a couple of times a week and realize that it is harder to control exactly what you eat when you eat out; however, you still do your best. And like Dawn, you may have a job where you rarely get up from your desk, so you aim to get to the gym at least five to six times a week (although occasionally social situations get in the way of good intentions). And you may not get enough sleep.

Or perhaps you are more like Mark. Mark has the best intentions for his health, too. However, he is very social and occasionally has a couple of drinks with the guys and sometimes overeats at restaurants. Heart disease runs in his family, and he tries to protect his health by working out frequently and avoiding foods that have a lot of saturated fat, such as full-fat dairy products, baked goods, and fatty meats. He also makes sure never to skip a meal.

So like Mark and Dawn, you have the best intentions for your health, but you could be burning more calories and fat than you are. If you take advantage of 20 percent of the tips that you are not currently incorporating into your life, or if you follow the plan, you can fire up your metabolism to its ultimate potential.

15-26: Your metabolism is slowed and your body is not burning fat and calories efficiently. Perhaps you skip meals too frequently, or space them out too much, or overeat. Or maybe you eat at restaurants and your choices are wreaking havoc on your metabolism. Perhaps you are inconsistent -- some days you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains, non- or low-fat dairy products, and lean meats; then other days you give in completely to your cravings and end up consuming fries and brownies. Or maybe you have omitted an entire food group such as grains from your diet. Or maybe you've grown so accustomed to snacking and grabbing a soda that you've completely forgotten about meals and water.

You might be like Tammy's husband, Scott, an athlete in high school and college. However, by the time he met Tammy, he had gained thirty pounds despite working out regularly. He thought he was in great shape, because he watched what he ate. Unfortunately, he didn't notice that he was choosing a lot of the wrong foods -- refined carbohydrates such as white rice, bagels, muffins, white pasta, fatty cuts of steak, and ground turkey (which he actually thought was a health food).

Scott lost those thirty pounds quickly after meeting Tammy and learning about the principles of firing up his metabolism.

Although you may feel that you lead a healthy lifestyle, you have some metabolism-slowing habits. If you take advantage of thirty percent of the tips in this book, or if you follow the plan, you will dramatically speed up your metabolism every day, for the rest of your life.

27+: You are probably not at all surprised that your metabolism has been drastically slowed. You already know that you are burning far fewer calories and less fat than you should be. Chances are you have tried many diets in the past that may or may not have promoted weight loss, yet you probably have gained much of the weight back or find yourself as heavy as or heavier than ever.

Of course it's also possible that this is the first time you have taken steps to lose weight. Whichever scenario describes you, you are probably confused about what you should be eating. You may benefit the most by following the plan. However, if you are able to take advantage of 50 percent of the tips in this book that you don't currently follow, you will speed up your metabolism now and for the rest of your life.

Copyright © 2004 by Lyssie Lakatos and Tammy Lakatos Shames

About The Authors

Product Details

  • Publisher: Atria Books (February 3, 2004)
  • Length: 336 pages
  • ISBN13: 9780743245487

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Raves and Reviews

Lisa Lelas author of Simple Steps: 10 Weeks to Getting Control of Your Life Fire Up Your Metabolism is packed with wonderfully useful tips. Lyssie and Tammy Lakatos also offer something unique and fascinating with their "twin trial" testing of everything from low carbohydrate dieting to sleep deprivation.

Laura Allen actress The Lakatoses have convinced me that with very small, simple changes, I can transform my body....This book alone was enough to jump-start my metabolism!

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