Hey, what’s up with my messed-up metabolism anyway?

When you think of metabolism, what comes to mind? For a lot of people the immediate thought is your good old digestive system- essentially food going in and coming out. While this is definitely an aspect of your metabolism, truth be told, your metabolism is very complex and contains many biological processes that result in the human body thriving.

When treated properly, our metabolism allows for us to be nourished the way we were meant to. Nutrition becomes a huge component, because without the right kind of nutrients and foods our metabolism can become sluggish, inefficient and cause unwanted symptoms. Harming our metabolism is not something that we consciously do.

Do any of these sound familiar:

  • You’re tired and your day seems so long?
  • You feel bloated after most of your meals?
  • You crave sugar, carbs and other ‘unhealthy’ foods?
  • You have a little bit of weight that you can’t seem to get rid of?
  • You’ve tried dieting and nothing has worked?
  • You LOVE food and want to lose weight/ feel great but also want to enjoy your summer and not have to extreme diet to get there? 

We need to get real with you for a minute. The two of us gals got into this game because some of those issues were our own. We have yo-yo dieted, counted calories, had body image issues, hormonal issues, sluggish metabolisms and SEVERE gastrointestinal issues. We have been there, done that, and have spent a lot of time researching just exactly how to get things back on track. After years of research, countless clients with similar issues, it really just boiled down to one huge thing:

Healing should start with your gut and metabolism.

If you aren’t feeding your body with the proper kinds of foods (AKA- the right kind of nutrients) you will have issues. They might not present themselves today, they might be mild and go under the radar, or they might jump and scream at you saying “Hey! Body… listen to meeee”.

What is metabolism and what affects it?

In layman’s terms: your metabolism is what converts food into useable forms for the body and rids the body of the waste the food produces. It is necessary for maintaining life, and a healthy functioning metabolism is necessary for thriving in a healthy body

Your metabolism is forgiving. So, if you haven’t been treating your body right over the last little while, don’t worry. You can start by implementing subtle changes into your life slowly to get things back on track. But before you start making these changes it is vital to understand how we are harming our metabolism in the first place.


3 big reasons why your metabolism can become compromised: 


1) Not Eating Enough or Yo-yo Dieting

If you have been hanging out with us at all then you might know we aren’t fans of rapid weight loss solutions and/or yo-yo dieting and there are numerous reasons why (we have a couple listed here) but since we are on the topic of metabolism, we need to break down just how bad this habit can be for your body.

Diet programs that either cut calories or food groups can be beneficial for the sole purpose of losing weight, correct, but rapid weight loss also comes with a few issues:

Your body uses carbs as energy first, protein as energy second, and as a last resort your body will burn fat for energy. Now remember these key tips: you know you are on a diet but your body does not, and protein burns more calories and weighs more than fat.

When you start to lose weight rapidly by drastically cutting down calories, your body hangs on to fat and says, “hey we need to burn off the carbs and protein before anything else”… we will save the fat for desperate measures in an attempt to preserve nutrients. Rapid weight loss also ends up slowing your metabolism and it does its best to burn the least amount of calories, not waste energy. In the end this can end up burning lean protein rather than fat.

When you are on a diet that restricts a food group, you are depriving your body of that specific thing- meaning when you are off the ‘diet’ your body will crave it and this often results in binge eating that food. If it’s carbs you might decide to carb load, if it’s calories your body might try to overcompensate, and the outcome can end up being more weight gained than lost in the first place.

Now all of this doesn’t happen overnight, but the more diets you frequent, the more your metabolism gets ‘confused’ and the result can be a slow, sluggish metabolism and harder attempts at weight loss in the future.

The key is making better food choices, eating less non-foods, less refined sugar, and treating your metabolism right with nutrient dense foods.


2) Lack of Sleep, Exercise & Water

Let’s face it- there could be so many reasons why we don’t sleep enough. While TV and devices are a huge factor, other things that can affect our sleeping patterns might be: late work schedule/ shift work, kids, social events, pain, and even the burdens of our day. All of the many variables that can cause a sleepless (or countless sleepless) nights have a huge effect on your metabolism.

Lack of sleep directly affects 2 hormones in your body:

  • Decreases Leptin “satiety hormone” = you eat more, because you don’t feel full.
  • Increases Ghrelin “hunger hormone” = stimulates your appetite, you feel more hungry and you eat more.

And, it all becomes a vicious cycle that starts with how you treat your gut. You don’t fuel your body right or hydrate properly, it causes lethargy – this causes lack of motivation to exercise, all of it combined causes stress, stress keeps you up at night, tired mornings cause lack of motivation to eat healthy and hydrate properly (coupled with the hormonal effects), and so the cycle begins again…

As you’ve probably experienced, everything seems more difficult when you feel tired and worn out.

You’ll be happy to know that it doesn’t have to be this way. Remember, small changes do add up and you don’t need to change everything at once. Start by committing to sleep 15 minutes earlier tonight, providing your body with the right kind of nutrients and simply having a little water in the day. These simple steps can help relieve some stress and create more energy.

If you are feeling fatigued, try drinking a glass of water before anything else.

3) Neglecting Gut Health

You may be wondering, what does gut health have to do with my metabolism? Your gut is at the front and center and that’s why as Nutritionists it’s our main area of focus. Simply put, you need to be able to properly break down, digest and assimilate nutrients for optimal energy and health. What you are eating literally contains the fuel (carbs, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals etc.) that your body needs and it’s essential to have a well-functioning digestive system to be able to absorb and metabolize that fuel for energy.

So many factors can affect your gut health. A biggie is what we call the S.A.D. diet, which stands for the Standard American Diet. This is a diet that is:

  • High in sugar
  • Low in fiber
  • Low in adequate protein
  • Low in essential nutrients like- vitamins, minerals, antioxidants
  • Low in water/ hydration
  • High in conventional animal meats and dairy
  • High in trans fats

If your diet mimics some of what is listed above, or if you aren’t mindful about the amount of the unhealthy foods you are putting into your body, your gastrointestinal system (your gut) can become compromised.

Refined, processed, pre-packaged foods- or what we call- fake foods

There are a lot of things that we grab off the shelves of the supermarket without thinking twice. From a simple loaf of bread, to salad dressing, even to natural or gluten free products. A lot of the time we make purchase decisions based on what the front of the package tells us, rather than what’s actually on the ingredient list. It’s not our fault, media has taught us to do this with clever marketing terms, colours and photos. Words like ‘natural’, ‘preservative free’, ‘healthy-choice’ have been subliminally wired in our brain so we think that it’s a better food choice and that it will help us lose weight. Marketing companies are clever; they must be.

Take Dempster’s 12 Grain Bread for example, you’d think it’s a healthy choice, but is it? Let’s examine… check out the ingredient list:

Whole grain whole wheat flour including the germ, water, grain blend (flaxseeds, rye flour, sunflower seeds, oat flakes, malted wheat flakes, millet, triticale flakes, sesame seeds, cornmeal, rice flour, buckwheat flour, barley grits), sugar / glucose-fructose, yeast*, wheat gluten*, molasses (fancy and/or blackstrap), oats, soluble raisin syrup (raisin solids, water), salt, vegetable oil (canola or soybean), dry molasses powder, vinegar, acetylated tartaric acid esters of mono and digycerides, calcium propionate, sodium stearoyl-2-lactylate, monoglycerides, soybean lecithin.

Some of these ingredients are not only created in a lab for the sole purpose of longevity, but they’re not even food! So, what are you putting in your body? Do we really even know? In small doses, many additives might not be harmful, but how many foods do you eat a day where you can’t understand the label? These things add up.

Your body recognizes whole foods. It was delicately designed that way. The biological processes that make humans function were designed like an algorithm or a mathematical equation. It recognizes it needs to break it down and utilize all the nutrients and allows the fibers to work their magic to flow freely and disregard whatever isn’t used. When we are constantly taking in non-foods the body becomes confused. Now the liver and digestive system will process out a lot of them, but the body will essentially look at these non-foods as toxins- something that has no benefit to the body and may cause damage in the long term. Not to mention many of these non-foods can cause immune or allergic responses that we are only starting to learn about. Now you see why processed, prepackaged foods can be damaging to your entire being let alone your gastrointestinal system.


Like a good read?

Check out The Secrets of People Who Never Get Sick here. Where the book tells stories of twenty-five different people who each possess a different secret to great health. From food secrets, to environmental secrets to exercise secrets, it really uncovers it all.

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