How will you choose to be today?
Mysterious weight gain, inability to lose weight, weight piling up in places it never used to, mood swings, fatigue, lack of motivation…. this list goes on and on. What do all these have in common? Well, besides totally sucking – all of these are related to your metabolism and your hormone health.
But WTF happened to me you ask? How, when, why?
Ladies, this didn’t just mysteriously happen overnight (although sometimes it feels that way – you know what I mean – “I hit 40 and it all went to shit”). It actually is a product of a buildup over time and the way we have mistreated our metabolism and hormones throughout our lifetime. Sad and harsh – but true.
“Well, shit” you’re thinking – how they fxxx do I fix this mess? There are contributing factors that you have under your control here. But before I get to those, let’s just quickly talk about what your metabolism really is and the rules it lives by (you know, just so you can avoid making it worse).
Your metabolism is the process that causes the chemical reactions in your cells that create energy from the foods you consume. It regulates the pace at which your body converts what you eat/drink into energy – or if it should store it away for a rainy day.
There are 4 main purposes it fulfills:
- Converts food into energy
- Converts food into the building blocks for proteins, fats and carbs
- Eliminates cellular waste from thousands of metabolic chemical processes that occur each day
- Transports substances between your cells
Rules it lives by:
- Our metabolism is constantly working to balance itself and stay in a state of homeostasis (the happy place your body likes where it feels safe and is functioning well). It is responsive to what we do, think and feel as well as how we act and what we put into our bodies. In other words, it monitors – figures out if it feels unbalanced and then responds to work to get us to back to safety.
- Your metabolism is NOT a good multi-tasker. It doesn’t like and is not good at both burning fat and building muscle at the same time. Caveat – exception is when you first start something new and you’re in the beginning stages of change – it hasn’t caught on to your tricks yet. However, once it does, it knows and remembers and it is not easily fooled again. It learns how to quickly compensate (see Rule 1 above)
- Your metabolism is extremely unique to YOU – like your finger prints
Let’s go back to our question – how did we get into this mess? There are lots of factors, but for women the largest suspect is the dieting mentality and lifestyle that we’ve all grown up with since young girls. Our brains like to find the easiest means to an end. It’s normal – we’re humans and that’s how we work. Hence, our love of the dieter mentality and the ease with which we believe that the route to weight loss is through our calories and exercise only. The belief that this diet holds the key or this workout routine will do the trick, sadly is a total myth. Remember the rules above? When we restrict calories and exercise more, our metabolism can be fooled for a bit – but then it catches on and adjusts itself to compensate. It holds onto those calories for dear life because it fears we will need them. Each diet cycle over time, it gets smarter and we work harder to offset it – resulting in the place you may be now. Stuck. Where even though you may be eating great and exercising your body just isn’t budging. See the vicious cycle here?
Now onto the good news part! There are factors we have control over. And we can start working on them – today! The big players: stress levels and your threshold of stress resilience, hormone function, sleep quality, nutritional state, digestive function. Yes, ladies. Really. These are not magical unicorns – but they are the pillars of good health. And THEY WILL help!
Here are 5 actions you can start taking immediately to get you started on your road to metabolic health:
- Increase your Stress Resilience (& keep your cortisol in check) – take 5 minutes each day to find something you are thankful for. Get some perspective, calm your nervous system and relieve some anxiety
- Eat meals/snacks regularly throughout the day (& keep your blood sugar balanced) – fluctuations in blood sugar create hormonal imbalance and wreak havoc on your metabolism
- Cut down on caffeine (& support your sleep and hormones) – drink decaf green tea instead
- Eat balanced meals/snacks (& support your digestion and hormones) – protein, fiber (vegetables), water and healthy fats
- Cycle your exercise routine (& help prevent your metabolism from over-compensating) – keep it guessing
Focus on balancing your energy and taking care of your hormones and you’ll be on the road to wellness in no time!