Slow metabolism or fast feeding arm?

· December 2, 2016 · 3 minutes to read

I hear the phrase “I just have a slow metabolism” all the time. Almost like its an excuse for why you’re putting on weight and fat. Trouble is most of the people that say this to me, they don’t even know what metabolism actually is. There are two questions that I ask these people, first is “how do you know its slow?” and second (which usually gets me a few disgruntled, how dare you? kind of looks) “how fast are you feeding your pie hole?”

What is Metabolism?

You cant know if your metabolism is fast or slow until you know exactly what it is. I’ve pulled from various sources here and I hope this gives you a better idea of what it actually is.

  • Metabolism is a term that is used to describe all chemical reactions involved in maintaining the living state of the cells and the organism. Metabolism can be conveniently divided into two categories: Catabolism – the breakdown of molecules to obtain energy. Source
  • The organic processes (in a cell or organism) that are necessary for life. Your metabolism is the result of all the processes in your body working together to create the energy that keeps you going. Source
  • Biology, Physiology. the sum of the physical and chemical processes in an organism by which its material substance is produced, maintained,and destroyed, and by which energy is made available either anabolism or catabolism. Source

My definition I explain to my clients and people I meet in general is. ‘The conversion of calories from food and drink that you consume to potential energy for the body to use.’

Potential energy

I say potential energy because not all calories consumed become energy. There are literally thousands of chemical reactions happening in your body at any one time. And for those of us that remember basic chemistry from school, there are always factors that can affect chemical reactions. In the body a lot of these factors are hormonal. Different hormones will affect how efficiently your body converts the calories to energy. If your body isn’t converting the calories to energy, your body is smart and stores those calories for future use as energy in the form of fat. When your body stores more fat around the internal organs and under the skin, it then releases more of the stress hormone cortisol.

Why is the stress hormone release an issue?

Stress can impact just about every aspect of your metabolism. From lowering stomach acid potency which means you cant break down food as efficiently. Higher levels of stress will cause your body to convert less thyroid hormone from T4 to T3. Stress can shut off pathways that will help you sleep, by sleeping less you don’t repair as well and then slow down metabolism. Cortisol can also stop you pushing sugar into cells meaning that you have higher blood sugar than normal. Chronic elevated blood sugar can lead to insulin resistance, type 2 diabetes, if not managed well, type 1 diabetes. Final point of elevated stress is that it can alter sex hormone regulation. Too much elevated stress means that you steal from sex hormone production to make more adrenaline to cope with the fight or flight response.

Influence over metabolism

When stressed, insulin resistant and have low thyroid function/conversion the chances are your metabolism  isn’t up to speed. After you eat, if you’re felling bloated, tired, lethargic and sleepy if fairly safe to say that you’re sub-optimal when it comes to digestion and metabolism.

Ways that you can speed up your metabolism is to eat the right kind of calories. There is a huge difference between 1000 calories of mars bar and 1000 calories of chicken and veggies. The will both bring about different biological responses, each have positive effects, but 1 has a massive negative impact. You’re intelligent enough to know which is which. The mars bar will spike insulin then crash it as your body battles to regain a balance. It doesn’t contain much in the way of useful vitamins and nutrients that the body needs for healthy metabolism.

Another to speed it up is not to be in an overfed state. It’s so easy to get into this state, but your body hates it. Being over fed or in a feasted state causes your energy production cycle to spin backwards. This can lead to the sleepy, lethargic and bloating that you can experience after eating. To spin the energy cycle you need iron, magnesium, B-vitamins, manganese and water to name a few. When stressed out you tend to deplete stores of these nutrients leading to reduced energy production. Combine that with the feasted state, low thyroid output, insulin resistance, poor sleep, increasing fat stores, increased inflammation and you’re on the way to whats called Metabolic syndrome.  So restricting calories to a not containing convenience food is the easiest step to take, increasing your water intake is probably the easiest step by far.

What to do to speed up metabolism

  • Drink more water
  • Cut down on caffeine
  • Reduce/remove alcohol
  • Reduce/remove processed or pre-prepared foods
  • Increase aerobic activity walking outside for a minimum 30 mins or aiming to get heart rate 120-150 beats per minute
  • Eat lots of green veggies this means lower calorie but higher nutrients
  • As much regular and good quality sleep as possible

Hopefully that helps explain a little about metabolism, as always if you have any questions please fire them to me and I’ll respond personally to any questions you have.

Much Love


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