Common signs you’ve sent your metabolism in reverse. How to correct this?

The internet is full of quick fix solutions to our diet and weight issues. Yet we often question whether such solutions could be doing us more harm that good in the long-term. What if these so call solutions are actually sabotaging our metabolism?

Excessive food restriction and or overtraining (HIT is a good example) can actually push the bodys metabolism into reverse and may even cause long lasting damage.

1. Can’t lose weight

Crash or low calorie diets can actually have the opposite to the desired effect. During such events, the human body will go into a temporary state of hibernation. Let’s consider two points;   

a) consuming food costs energy. It you don’t eat, your bodies metabolism is very likely to slow down. This is very similar to the conditions experienced by our ancestors who needed to slow their metabolism during periods of extended fasting owing to harsh weather conditions and low food availability. If their metabolism didn’t slow down,  they would very likely die so this is a physiological mechanism designed to help humans survive. Yet this is the opposite of what we want in a world that has excessive food (energy) availability. You can measure your own bodies requirements using our Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) diagnosis and use this information to tailor your energy intake.

b) Rapid reductions in calorie (energy) intake can signal your body to consume the energy stored in your body. Your muscle mass is a large storage site of energy and the body will use this in cases of extreme energy deficit (starvation or extreme / over exercise training).  In this case, you will be losing the very tissue that makes your body more metabolically active resulting in and decrease in metabolism. Thus control weight loss by food restriction is best carried out with an exercise programme that targets muscle mass gains. Check your body mass (fat mass and muscle mass) with our body composition diagnosis.

2) Feeling cold

Research tells us that food restriction alone will not be effective in reducing that hard to shift fat. Key to successful weight loss is understanding your metabolism, and not estimated values from potentially random data. If you often feel cold this could be a key sign that your metabolism has slowed down dramatically. Research has shown that reduced body temperature can slow metabolism by 130 calories per day. This may be linked with a reduction in body temperature and reduced blood  circulation (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Basal_metabolic_rate).

2. Eczema or psoriasis – poor skin

Skin conditions such as eczema and psoriasis can lead to distress and pain. Research has shown that there is a relationship between eczema and poor insulin sensitivity. This latter condition is a problem with the way the body uses insulin and is seen in those at risk of metabolic syndrome, a condition that contributes to poor metabolism, diabetes, heart disease and obesity.  Insulin resistance is a term that encompasses the poor handling of carbohydrates and sugars.

To find out more about the Metabolic Health services at RRMG click here

Dr Richard Mackenzie