The Metabolism Plan

Discover the Foods and Exercises that Work for Your Body to Reduce Inflammation and Drop Pounds Fast


By Lyn-Genet Recitas

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The New York Times bestselling author of The Plan is back to help readers customize their diet and exercise less to lose more weight!

The Plan — the instant New York Times and USA Today bestseller that helped readers pinpoint which “healthy” foods were making them gain weight — has helped hundreds of thousands of readers slim down.

Now nutritionist Lyn-Genet Recitas shares her groundbreaking new 30-day program that helps readers create a customized diet and exercise plan to boost their metabolism and burn more fat. Readers will discover: why exercising less — as little as 12 minutes, 3 times a week! — can help them lose more weight; why “healthy” foods like oatmeal and salmon may be packing on the pounds, but French fries may not; and how to optimize their thyroid function. Featuring all-new recipes and backed by science, The Metabolism Plan is primed to revolutionize the diet shelf and help readers shed weight for good.



A Health Plan Just for You

"I've been on half a dozen diets and followed every one to the letter. I lose weight for the first week, but then it all piles back on and I gain back even more, even though I practically live at the gym!"

"I've tried every diet there is—vegan, Paleo, you name it. Now I'm on a no-carbs, no-sugar, and no-fruit diet. They all work for a little while—but then I gain back even more than I lost. At this point maybe I should be on the no-food diet!"

"If I basically starve myself and exercise to death, I can lose weight—but the moment I start to have a life, it all comes back on."

Does this sound like you? Smart, motivated, disciplined—and totally unsuccessful when it comes to losing weight and keeping it off?

Well, I've got some great news for you: It's not your fault. You've been told to count calories, focus on "healthy" foods, and exercise until it hurts—right? But guess what: That advice is completely wrong. Instead, if you want to lose weight you need to:

1. Stop counting calories.

2. Stop eating healthy foods.

3. Stop exercising so darn much.

Does that sound completely counterintuitive? I've been helping people use The Plan precepts to lose weight for more than a decade, and I promise you—it's true. As a nutritionist, yoga instructor, and best-selling author who has worked with tens of thousands of clients, I have seen what works and what doesn't. What I'm going to tell you in this book works. What you've been doing before you got here probably doesn't.

Calorie counting doesn't work. Plain and simple. If it did, we would all be skinny. There would be no way we could gain 3 pounds in one day. If calorie counting worked, you wouldn't be beating yourself up right now for your body not "responding."

Healthy foods? There is no such thing—only what is healthy for you. Each of us is chemically unique, which means that a food that works for me might trigger a weight-gaining sensitivity in you. Your weight—and your health in general—is basically your chemical response to food. This little scientific truth is very good news indeed, because it means that when you find the foods that work for you, you will have optimal weight and health. For example, I gain an entire pound every time I have one little 70-calorie egg, while eggs may be the healthiest food for you. We're all different—and calories have nothing to do with that.

And then there's exercise, which has become the new diet religion, the thing that's supposed to be good for everybody all the time, and the more, the better. But here's the truth: If you exercise too intensely for your body, you'll gain weight because you'll drive up your levels of inflammation and cortisol, a stress hormone that can slow your metabolism and cause you to gain weight. Cortisol plus inflammation can wreak total havoc in your body, causing weight gain, hormonal and metabolic issues, and even illness.

How can all the diet information you've been hearing about for years be so wrong? Well, the health information you've been getting—whether from diet books, websites, or your favorite health guru—is based on what works for "most people," "average" responses that are true for the "general population." But you are not average! You are unique and complex, and you deserve to know what works specifically for you, which might very well be completely different from what works for "most people."

The diet gurus try to hedge their bets by putting as many foods as possible on the "forbidden" list. Anything that might be a problem for someone gets taken off the table for everyone—including you. No fats, no gluten, no sugar, no dairy… it seems like every day, another list of foods gets demonized. Page after page of weight-loss advice steers you away from "danger foods," with involved scientific explanations for why they cause you to gain weight. Just as many pages steer you toward supposedly healthy choices: salmon, turkey, egg whites, spinach, cauliflower, and yogurt. In theory, you can lose weight on these foods. But what if you can't? What if the experts are looking at the problem in the wrong way?

With all these impossible rules, your body starts to feel like the enemy. So you tie yourself up in knots, asking the waiter for tomatoes instead of toast, and steaming up cauliflower instead of baking a potato. Yet you can't lose weight, and you're miserable. Eating has stopped being satisfying, let alone enjoyable, because every choice is a constant battle in a war you can never really win.

If that's true for food, it goes double for exercise. The experts agree: Exercise is good for you, and the more, the better. So you drag yourself out of bed each morning to get in that hour on the treadmill or trudge over to the gym after work to lift weights. No matter how hard you work out, how many extra sessions you book at the gym, your body just isn't responding in the ways the experts say it should.

Or maybe you've got the opposite problem. Maybe believing that you need to exercise at least five hours a week has kept you from exercising at all. Maybe you could manage a few minutes a day, a few days a week, but the experts have you thinking, "What's the point?" so you don't even begin.

What's the solution?

Learn what works for you. I've been working for more than 25 years as a nutritionist, and my book The Plan not only is a New York Times bestseller but has been published in more than 15 countries. It has shown hundreds of thousands of people how to find the foods that are right for them so they can lose weight, feel great, and regain their health. My work is in line with all the latest research: Study after study now acknowledges that bio-individuality—an individualized diet that works for your personal chemistry—is the only effective way to lose weight and keep it off forever.

My first book, The Plan, gave readers the tools to do just that, using a program I developed and have perfected over the years with clients at my health center in New York City. In this book, I take my original Plan to the next level. The Metabolism Plan will show you exactly how eating the right foods for you supports your metabolism, while eating the wrong foods for you sabotages your metabolism. Bio-individuality is the weight-loss secret that no one has told you about—until now.

In this book, you'll also learn why your thyroid is the key to weight loss, energy, and overall well-being, and how you can rev up your metabolism by supporting your thyroid. You'll even find out that sleeping more can be one of your most powerful weight-loss tools—seriously! Last but definitely not least, you'll learn a bio-individual approach to exercise, finding out which types of exercise and lifestyle choices work for your body, and which sap your metabolism and create weight gain.

I'm thrilled with The Metabolism Plan because this book represents the latest and most successful stage in my work with clients, expanding on my success with The Plan. In that book, I shared one key piece of the puzzle: the importance of choosing the foods that are right for you—foods that work for your biochemistry. Since that book was published, I've realized that there is another crucial piece that can make weight loss even more effective: your metabolism. Yes, choosing the right foods is absolutely vital—but so is supporting metabolic function by taking care of your thyroid, choosing the exercise that's right for your body, and getting the sleep and stress relief your metabolism needs to function at its best. The Plan gave you the basics: how to choose the foods that support your own unique body chemistry. But when I saw people gaining weight from doing too much exercise, when I saw how stress and insufficient sleep were disrupting metabolism and sabotaging weight loss, I knew I had to write this book to give you the rest of the story. You're working too hard not to have the best results.

Your body can seem like an impossibly complicated puzzle. But once you have the right information, that puzzle becomes remarkably easy to solve. So stop worrying, my good friend. Relax, the weight-loss and fitness solution you've been looking for all your life has finally arrived. And you know why it works? Because it's all about you.

Stress Is Slowing Your Metabolism and Making You Sick

It is not your imagination. Yes, you are gaining weight and you can blame stress for your expanding waistline. But the effects of stress don't end there. Feel like you're running on fumes? That's stress. Depressed, raging hormones, snapping at coworkers and your kids? That's stress, too. And, worse, premature aging and chronic illness are all by-products of the S word. A never-ending list of to-do's, job pressures, family stressors, exercising too intensely, and constant exposure to technology are some of the reasons why we feel like there's never enough time and that we are ten steps behind.

Why does stress affect us so much? And, more important, what can we do about it? Stress, in and of itself, is not necessarily bad. In fact, we need the stress response to fight infections and keep us safe. A stress response can also mean excitement—think of a first date or the thrill of a job promotion. The issue with stress is when it doesn't go away and becomes chronic. When the periods of stress are too high and you don't have enough of a relaxation response, your body goes haywire.

In my practice, I always look at thyroid hormones and two hormones I like to call your "base hormones": DHEA and pregnenolone. Low levels of DHEA and pregnenolone are signs that your adrenal system is under great stress. Pregnenolone is produced in our adrenals and is the base hormone from which nearly all other steroid hormones are made, including cortisol, DHEA, progesterone, testosterone, and estrogen. When someone deals with chronic stress on a regular basis, more of the pregnenolone is used to feed production of cortisol. As cortisol levels rise, it reduces the production of DHEA, which is known as the fountain of youth. Okay, now this is starting to sound bad, right? DHEA is used to make all your sex hormones, like estrogen and testosterone, and it is critical for fat-burning and lean muscle mass, as well as immune system balance.

Ideally, when the stress is gone, pregnenolone, cortisol, and DHEA levels should go back to normal. However, when the stress is prolonged and occurs for too long, sometimes the body does not recover or bring these hormones back to normal levels even when stress is lessened. Instead, your body remains in crisis mode with high cortisol and low DHEA output. If this continues for long enough, your body will get to the point where even cortisol levels will drop because your other hormones have become so depleted. This is known as adrenal burnout.

Adrenal dysfunction can also cause autoimmune issues to flare up because stress weakens and disrupts digestion. The most common side effect of chronic stress is the development of a leaky gut–type syndrome, where large proteins and antigens pass through the intestinal barrier. These proteins and antigens trigger an immune response and are strongly implicated in triggering autoimmune disorders as a result. This also means that the food sensitivities you have will heighten and you will start to put on more weight in reaction to these reactive foods. More and more foods become inflammatory over time, which results in an inability to lose weight. This syndrome also causes digestive disorders like IBS, chronic constipation, and Crohn's disease. These effects on digestion all heighten the levels of chronic inflammation, which also means premature aging and heightened risk for diseases like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

Adrenal stress and the inflammation it causes can also lead to thyroid hormone resistance by making your cells less able to "accept" the thyroid hormone's stimulation. This means that, even if your thyroid numbers read in a "normal range" and even if you're taking thyroid medications, your body may be resistant to the thyroid stimulation that is essential for optimal metabolism, mood sex drive, and energy levels. Since the thyroid is essential for every metabolic and cellular function, this will further worsen weight gain.

How do you know if you are having adrenal issues? Simple blood work can help you determine your stress levels and we can put you on a regimen to restore you back to optimal weight, health, and mood. Ask your doctor to test your hormones and include DHEA and pregnenolone as part of your blood work.

How I Developed The Metabolism Plan

I want to share with you the story of how I developed The Plan, which has since evolved into The Metabolism Plan. I suffered terribly from near-daily migraines from the time I was five and went to doctor after doctor trying to find answers. Nothing helped, and the drugs they gave me only numbed the pain without making me feel really well. I refused to believe that there was nothing more to be done, so I kept reading health books trying to find an answer to my near-constant pain. I even started practicing yoga at the age of 11.

When I was 14, I had found my answer: I became a vegetarian. I had discovered a whole new world, one where I felt great every day. I also realized that I loved to cook, and I started baking in health food restaurants that very year!

That was how I began what would turn out to be a lifetime practice: solving my problems through changing what I ate and how I exercised. Today, I would say, "I found the foods and movement that my body loved, and avoided the foods and exercise that weren't right for my particular chemistry." At 14, all I knew was that once I gave up certain foods and practiced yoga, my whole life changed. I went from being a low-energy, slightly depressed teen to becoming a vital, optimistic person who was pretty much always at "110 percent." It was my first lesson in the power of food and exercise—and it was a powerful lesson.

Over the years, I studied holistic nutrition, homeopathy, herbology, and Eastern medicine. I started practicing as a nutritionist, kept working in the hottest restaurants, and even became a sommelier! Good food and excellent wine have always been an integral part of my life, and I want them to be part of yours, too. Eventually, though, working in restaurants just wasn't offering me enough fulfillment. So in 2000, I decided to devote myself full-time to wellness.

Since then I've owned and directed a yoga studio, run a physical therapy center, and opened a holistic health center. I also shared with my clients the three-day food-based cleanse I had been using myself—a cleanse that has brought us all remarkable results for more than 25 years. During the cleanse, my clients stuck to a few select foods, primarily fresh vegetables, fruit, and seeds, all chosen to provide optimal nutrition. The people who went on the cleanse felt great, got rid of symptoms, and generally lost 5 pounds or more.

After the cleanse, I gave my clients a list of healthy foods—and that's when some of them started having trouble. Although they had easily lost weight during the cleanse, many people inexplicably gained 1 or 2 pounds in a single day—even though they were still eating only foods that I had been taught were super healthy. One person would gain weight with beans, another with salmon, yet another with yogurt or strawberries. What was going on?

It wasn't only weight gain. Immediately after eating a supposedly "healthy" food, many people began to feel unwell. Headaches, indigestion, constipation, aching joints, depression—my patients responded within minutes and almost violently to the foods that were supposed to be good for them.

This was when I first realized that different people had vastly different responses to foods—even foods that were supposed to be healthy. I also understood that their intensely negative responses were partly because the cleanse had done such a good job of allowing their bodies to heal. Once freed of all the unhealthy foods that had been weighing them down, their bodies were quick to reject any other foods that didn't really work. Symptoms that are muffled and "under the radar" when your body has gotten used to a problematic food suddenly emerge dramatically when you have cleansed your body of that food. If you eat even a little of a food that doesn't work for you, your body says loud and clear, "Please don't feed this to me!"

Certain patterns of seemingly "perfect" started to emerge. Keeping careful records, I discovered that 85 percent of my clients had negative reactions—weight gain, symptoms, emotional issues—when they consumed salmon, asparagus, Greek yogurt, or strawberries. And 70 percent had negative reactions to walnuts, green peppers, and tofu. Another group of foods provoked negative reactions in 60 percent, 50 percent, 40 percent, and so on. I kept tracking people's responses until I ultimately came up with the reactive food chart you can see here.

The more data I collected, the more astounded I was: Seemingly "healthy" foods were the exact opposite of health promoting for many people—and everyone's reaction was different. But what was the problem with these foods? Why were they provoking all these symptoms?

The answer is inflammation, an immune-system response to any type of injury or infection that your body considers a threat. Inflammation is meant to help your body rid itself of bacteria or viruses that threaten your health, and to help your body repair injured or infected tissue. However, this healing response can also produce troublesome effects, including weight gain and a wide range of symptoms. (You'll learn more about this in Chapter 1, starting here.) Apparently, certain foods were triggering inflammation in my clients, resulting in weight gain and a whole host of physical, mental, and emotional symptoms.

I had already been researching the effects of inflammation, so I was able to see how well it applied to the results I had noticed in my clients. I had learned that chronic inflammation—inflammation that never really goes away—is behind many of the diseases of our time: cardiovascular disease, diabetes, autoimmune disorders, and cancer. As I realized how many foods caused inflammation, I was intrigued and thrilled by a new idea. Maybe we could address these chronic illnesses by lowering inflammation—which we could do by changing people's diets. It wouldn't work simply to tell people, "Don't eat unhealthy foods." What we'd have to do is figure out which foods were unhealthy for them—which foods triggered inflammation in their own particular chemistry. Those were the foods they would have to avoid. Those were the foods—the only foods—that were causing them to feel sick and to gain weight.

The key was how different each person's chemistry can be—how each one of us reacts to different triggers. That's why some of my clients couldn't tolerate salmon while others reacted badly to yogurt—each unique immune system was having its own specific reaction. I also realized that inflammation produces a different cluster of symptoms in each of us: One client might develop headaches in response to a trigger food, while another got indigestion and a third responded with anxiety. We might even develop different symptoms at different times in our lives: constipation in our 20s; aching joints and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) in our 30s; Crohn's disease, depression, and hormonal issues in our 40s. Still, the underlying cause of all these problems is the same: inflammation, the response of an alarmed immune system.

When I was making these discoveries, the prevailing theory was that obesity caused inflammation—but I was seeing something very different. It seemed that weight gain was also caused by inflammation—that is, by the inflammatory reaction that people have when they eat a food that triggers a negative response. That negative response always included both physiological symptoms and weight gain. Light bulb moment: Healthy foods could cause inflammation.

I continued to gather data from my clients, tracking their diets and their symptoms. I had people email me daily—even hourly!—a practice that my staff and I still use today. This stream of real-time data allowed me to monitor exactly how food choices affected my clients' weight, health, and mood. A couple of hundred case studies later, I had the basics of a new approach to eating, which I called The Plan. That became the basis for a New York Times bestseller.

Since publishing The Plan, I've continued to hone my approach, learning where it worked and where I could make it more effective. For most people, The Plan worked beautifully, but some of my clients were noticing they gained weight on days when they should have lost. As I began exploring this in depth, I realized that diet was just one piece of the body's very complex puzzle. True healing and reliable, consistent, long-term weight loss couldn't really begin until I factored exercise into the equation and until I'd addressed any underlying issues with the thyroid: the magic key to weight loss, energy, and overall wellness. Eventually I developed a new program: The Metabolism Plan.

This new program shares with the old one a radical new approach to eating and exercise, based on decades of research, development, and in-the-trenches experience. But thanks to the new data I gathered and the new insights I developed, The Metabolism Plan works even better than its predecessor, and I'm thrilled to share it with you.

I'm also excited that, like The Plan, The Metabolism Plan allows you to enjoy many of your favorite foods, to quickly and steadily lose weight, and to feel healthier and more energized than ever before. Even better, after a few months on The Metabolism Plan, your digestion will improve as inflammation subsides. This will allow you to tolerate many foods you may have had to cut out of your diet. I can't tell you the look of joy on people's faces as they are able to bring back in wheat or dairy after years of avoiding these foods!

Diet and Exercise: What Most People Are Doing Wrong

I work all day, every day with people like you who are trying to lose weight and get healthier. I'm always hearing about what people think is the right approach to weight loss—what they've heard from their doctor or nutritionist, what they've read in the latest magazine, what worked for their best friend. I've got to tell you, it makes me want to cry, because almost every time, the advice that they are killing themselves to follow is just plain wrong.

I can boil down their mistakes to one sentence: Instead of creating their own personal plan, geared to their own unique biochemistry, they followed the general advice that's supposed to work for "most people."

Now, if that general advice works for you, great. But if it doesn't—if the only way you can lose weight is by virtually starving yourself or spending every spare hour at the gym, and especially if even that doesn't work—then listen up. Because here is the true secret to weight loss:

Stop following general recommendations based on what is "normal" or "typical"—the foods that may be healthy or unhealthy for "most people."

Instead, develop a personalized plan specifically tailored to your own unique body chemistry.


On Sale
Jan 17, 2017
Page Count
320 pages

Lyn-Genet Recitas

About the Author

Lyn-Genet Recitas is the New York Times and international bestselling author of The Plan and The Plan Cookbook, which offers an effective way to lose weight, improve health, and reverse the aging process. A sports and holistic nutritionist, Recitas has helped hundreds of thousands of men and women reach their best health by finding their chemical responses to food, not counting calories. Recitas has been featured on The Dr. Oz Show, Fox & Friends, and Fox News, and in Women’s Running, Fitness, and More magazine, among others.

Learn more about this author