Hey, have you ever thought something like:
“I’ve got a low metabolism.”
“She’s got such a high metabolism, she can eat anything! It’s not fair.”
Most of us think a high metabolism is something you either have or you don’t. It’s fate.
High metabolism? You’re lucky.
Low metabolism? You’re doomed
Metabolism gets a lot of press and gets blamed for all kinds of things from indigestion to obesity but how many people actually understand what “metabolism” is?
Now bear with me here because I’ll be dusting off an old text book or two for some of the details but I’ll keep it brief for you.
Your metabolism is the sum of all the cellular processes in your body.
What does that mean?
That means that digesting food, exercising, having a thought, fidgeting, regulating your body temperature, sleeping, all kinds of other things you aren’t even aware of like cell growth and regeneration, hair, skin, and nail growth, and tons of other body functions make up your metabolism.
Even your mood affects your metabolism!
There are a lot of things that go into your metabolism. If you look a little closer, you might even start to notice that certain people with higher metabolisms live and behave a little differently. Often they’re more active, fidgety, positive people, or they’re sleep fiends. Not always, but often.
But most of us seem to have slower metabolisms than we’d like.
And incidentally, most of us:
- Don't follow a well designed strength-training program
- don't have physically demanding jobs
- are climate controlled all day
- consume a lot of foods that take no digestive effort
- don't wait till we feel true hunger to eat
- don't stop eating when satisfied
- use fad/restrictive diets
- have disrupted sleep cycles due to stress and exposure to artificial light
- are mostly indoors rather than outdoors
- use escalators and elevators instead of walking and climbing stairs
- use body products (e.g., lotion, shampoo, etc) and OTC medications that can affect regular body function
- experience regular loneliness and lack of deep social ties
All of that contributes to having a slower metabolism.
You see, it’s not all fate. We do have some control over this and the really cool part is it isn’t just about diet and exercise. There are so many opportunities we have to increase our metabolisms.
I know this isn’t as exciting as a miracle supplement that promises to rev your metabolism up with a single drink. But really, that crap doesn’t work. The only thing “metabolic boosters” increase is the rate of money leaving your wallet!
So instead of reaching for a new detox drink, think about how you can work on those things above and not just improve your metabolism but actually improve your life! Here are a few ideas to start:
- Start a strength training program
- Make time for physical activity every day like chores, walking, stairs, biking, exercise, sports, etc...
- Have a regular sleep pattern with appropriate sleep hygiene
- Eat when you’re hungry and stop when you’re full
- Avoid fad/restrictive diets
- Choose mostly minimally processed foods
- Don't rely on climate controlled environments. Let your body adjust to warmer and colder temperatures naturally
- Get involved in jobs, hobbies, or volunteer opportunities that are physical
- Get outside every day
- Get more connected socially with family and friends
Work on these things one at a time. It takes a long time and a lot of patience to change your metabolism - and your life - for the better but I promise it’s worth it.