This article discusses weight management and how people can use Emergence to alter both metabolism and body weight consciousness.
What are "Metabolic Transitions "
In the last section, I defined "metabolism" as "the body's average expected rate of activity." Said more simply, I told you that "metabolism" is "how much the body expects you to have to work."
Now think again about what this definition implies. It implies that if you are active, then your body will expect to need this level of energy and will know to maintain this capacity. And if you are inactive, then your metabolism will slow down, because your body will expect you to do less and so, will efficiently manage it's resources. Your anticipated need for energy will be less and so, your energy reserves will be smaller.
Now how about "metabolic transitions?" What are they?
First, let me define three arbitrary metabolic states. Arbitrary? Yes, I'm making them up in order to paint a picture.
So what are the three states?
"Stillness." "Mid-level movement." And "full-level movement."
"Metabolic transitions," then, are the times when you change between these three metabolic states: between stillness and mid-movement, between mid-movement and full movement, and between full movement and stillness.
For example, let's say you just woke up and are now taking the garbage out, picking up the living room, or cooking breakfast.
The first metabolic state (just woke up) is stillness; the second (taking the garbage out; picking up the living room; or cooking breakfast), mid-level movement. The change between these two states then; between stillness and mid-level movement; is a "metabolic transition."
What about if you were to get on the treadmill for half an hour after taking out the garbage and picking up the living room?
Taking out the garbage and picking up the living room are both mid-level movement states. Being on the treadmill? This is a full-level movement state. And the time in between? Another metabolic transition.
Now apply the basic principle of Emergence to this concept of levels of movement: the state you are in is the greatest factor in your process toward or away from health. Thus, the more time you spend in the state I call, "baby consciousness," the more time your body will naturally process both food and movement with health and ease. Conversely, the more time you spend in some degree of shock, the harder it will be for your body to process whatever you are doing, be it eating food, exercise, or even resting.
Not going into shock is the key. And making your transitions gradual is the foremost way to keep yourself from going into shock.
Now for some real world examples
How Shock Affects Us During Metabolic Transitions
Everyday people rush from work to the gym, believing they are getting in some healthy exercise. Are they? Well, a little. Unfortunately, most of the hard work they do during that workout goes by their body unnoticed. Why? They are in shock.
Let me say this again. What I'm saying is, in order for the body to benefit from exercise, it must be present. In other words, like a person must be present to benefit in a classroom, in order for a person to benefit from exercise, he or she must be present and conscious during the time they're exercising.
What if they're not present?
Then they still, benefit but much less. In truth, the rest of the work, the work they don't benefit from, is simply wasted effort, similar to how pushing on a locked door wastes effort. The door won't open as long as it's locked. Likewise, the exercise won't help as long as the person's body is consciously locked away.
How can I be so sure this is true?
Read the literature in and around Olympics and around major sports. Visualization has become a normal and essential part of the workouts of the best of athletes. Why? For the same reason I'm telling you. It opens their bodies up to the good effects of their workouts.
So what keeps people from realizing this?
Hurry. And sadly, the most common reaction to being in shock is also hurry. Thus, hurrying to and from a gym puts people into shock in a similar way to how staring at a single spot while watching a train go by blurs the image.
Hurry blurs the image, thereby blurring the health benefit. How? By literally blurring the workout image on the person's inner mind.
So am I saying you must picture what you are doing to get the benefit?
For the most part, yes, I am saying this.
Bypassing warm ups and cool down periods. No warm up. No gradual metabolic transition. No gradual metabolic transition. You go into shock. And so does you body. Thus you, and your body benefit little if at all and the work you do becomes wasted effort.
OK. So this makes sense. But what about the cool down. The cool down matters too?
Yes, the cool down matters too. Why? Because your body processes the work you do for hours afterwards, sometimes even for days. Thus, being "conscious" of your activity is a 24/7 experience.
In other words, the effects of activity we do last far longer than the time we do them. They last for hours and sometimes for days. So if we rush from the gym to grab a quick supper, before hurrying out again, we blur our inner images even more. The result? We benefit significantly less from our hard work than we would if we were to remain conscious during these transitions.
Creating Gradual, non Shocking Metabolic Transitions
So how do we create gradual metabolic transitions?
For one thing, by noticing hurry.
Thus, by noticing hurry and then easing up, we can evolve our awareness to the point wherein we increase the benefit of every physical activity we do.
Every physical activity?
Yes, every physical activity. In fact, we can actually reach a point at which we may noticeably decrease our workout times as we need less time to get the same effect.
So here is the first metabolic transition tool: noticing hurry.
Refine these observations. How? By noticing things like our urges to look at the time clocks on treadmills and on other workout equipment. Thus, if you notice yourself looking down to see how much time you have left, you just went into a hurry state. Moreover, the effort you were making during this time was for the most part wasted. Why? You simply were not present during this part of your workout.
How about if you don't look at the clock?
Well you can still be "looking at a clock" even if your mind simply is on other things, thing you want to do after the workout, for instance. This is just human nature and the way minds work. We can see only one story at a time on the screens of our minds. During a workout, you want the story to be the workout. Which brings me to another tool.
This tool has to do with something many people do in order to override their discomfort during workouts. By this, I mean, many people do things to distract themselves during workouts, things like listening to music and self help tapes.
Are these things in and of themselves bad?
Of course not. But if you want to get the full benefit from them, like your workouts, you need to be fully present and not be paying half attention.
So how do you endure the pain of your workouts?
You slow them down. And here is the tool, the second metabolic transition tool: being in one place. Let me explain.
In the previous section, I mentioned how I did eleven weeks of training to climb a mountain last year. During this time, I noticed how I would often be wanting to be somewhere else as the pain of getting into shape was hard. My solution? I bought a small stereo and listened to books on tape.
Did this hurt me?
Hurt me? No. But I also tried working out without the tapes going and much to my surprise, I felt a noticeable increase in benefit when I focused only on my workout.
But doesn't the body go on without you, even when your mind is somewhere else?
Actually, no. And because it is normal for us to talk about our bodies as if they are just a possession or simply a container for our consciousness, we forget, we are our bodies. And our minds and hearts and spirits as well. We simply refer to these things as separate because we humans tend to anthropomorphically refer to everything, from our feet to our lawns. Translation. We act as if everything has the characteristics humans have, as this is the only way we can connect to these things.
Is this a bad thing?
Not really. Unless you forget the reality here. In which case, you can forget important things about our world like we are our bodies.
Now the important part.
We humans need to connect to things in order to be conscious. Connection is how we become conscious. Thus, we need to experience our bodies as also separate from us in order to connect with them. So what I'm saying is, we need to know and do both things.
How do you do that?
It's easier than you might think. You do it every time you picture what you're doing on the screen of your mind. You do it automatically. Which is why visual consciousness is so important. Especially during times wherein you are working hard to better yourself. Including during your workouts.
What About non Physical Transitions?
What about those times wherein we are not working out?
Well, fist off, everything we do is physical. And spiritual as well. Here again, we just separate these ideas so as to better picture them. This means, eating is a physical activity and in fact, I was amazed to learn some time ago that the act of eating burns calories.
This makes eating a sort of workout of sorts. Granted, it's not the same as a run or a yoga class. None the less, when considering your metabolic transitions, the fact that eating burn a significant amount of calories makes it a mid-level activity.
So can you use eating to transition between rest and full level movement?
You could. But it's probably not the best mid-level activity to use. Why? Because eating require your full attention in order for you to fully benefit from what you eat.
So when is the best time to eat?
The best time to eat is after a workout cool down activity, as the tail end of your mid-level transition into stillness.
Putting All This Together
What you've been reading here is meant only to introduce you to metabolic transitions. It, in no way, has been meant to fully explore what this concept means.
Even so, before moving on to the next Emergence weight management section, let me describe a typical day in which I have used metabolic transitions.
I'd begin by getting up. Slowly. This means I'd roll into an upright position and sit on my bed for a minute, allowing myself to warm up to the day.
Next, I'd slowing begin to do some minor physical activities, some mid-level activities like perhaps picking up some magazines or taking the garbage out.
Coffee? Yes. But no food yet. Even if I wake hungry. Why? I'm still transitioning from a state of stillness to a state of mid-level movement.
Next, a half hour workout on the treadmill. What's this entail?
My favorite program begins slowly and ends slowly, and never goes beyond my ability to enjoy.
What about the old adage, "no pain, no gain?"
Well, it still applies. It's just that it was never supposed to mean, the more you hurt, the more you benefit.
In other words, the adage is not saying, "more pain, more gain." It's just saying you must feel work in order to benefit from it. And as far as my time on the treadmill, this applies in that I usually use treadmills at very slow paces, and make up for what I may be missing by adding weight to my wrists, ankles, and back.
I, in fact, pretty much always carry about forty-five pounds on me during these workouts, the result of my having explored my body during me mountain climb training.
Please know, here too, I transitioned gradually, by beginning with something like five pounds or so.
What made me work up to forty-five pounds?
I was training to carry a full backpack up a mountain. This weight was to get me used to carry my pack.
And after the climb?
After the climb, I continued to use weight in my workouts, as I had come to love doing this, and here is one of the most important benefits you could ever get from metabolic transitions. To the degree that you use them to help you to stay conscious, to this degree you will fall in love with whatever you are doing.
What about the rest of my morning?
After the treadmill, I usually do some kind of brief ab workout, no more than a few minutes at most. And here again, I transition in and out, waking this part of my body gradually and then, allowing this part of my body to adjust to not being used. Now here is yet another important thing to know about metabolic transitions.
Metabolic transitions apply at every level of activity; between activities (like between taking out the garbage and being on the treadmill) and within activities (like the warm up and cool downs I do for ab workouts.)
The simple truth is this: the most you are aware of your transitions, the more you will be conscious. And the more conscious you are during any and all activities, the more you benefit. This applies even to sleep and rest and to any stillness state.
What's next? What's next is what I consider the foundation of every physical activity; being aware of your body weight. And please know, being aware of your body weight does not mean being aware of what I call, your "scale weight number." It means something entirely different.
You'll find out what I mean in the next section.