by Dr. Wally Taylor, Texas Integrative Medicine
People come into our clinic every day struggling with a slow metabolism and trouble losing weight. We tell them that your metabolism is like a scale, it can go up and down and with the right lifestyle and it can be optimized.
It is true that some of this is genetically determined. Research shows that if you have a parent or sibling who has Type II diabetes, you are 50% less effective at burning calories than the average person. This can make it easier for your body to gain weight or eventually develop diabetes.
While these predispositions are real, it is not an excuse to give up and accept your fate. The biggest risk factor comes from your diet. Food is fuel for your cells and acts as information to tell the cells what to do. Your body is naturally wired to keep you alive, not to fit into that summer swim suit.
Other things can affect your cells and metabolism including toxins, chronic underlying infections, stress, and gut dysbiosis or an imbalance in your gut microbiome.
Signs and symptoms of a slow metabolism may include:
- Difficulty losing weight
- Feeling cold
- Physical stiffness
- Weak adrenals
- General malaise (weakness)
- Frequent fatigue
- Weak digestion
- Loss of libido
- Ringing in the ears
So how can you turn your metabolism around? Follow these five tips!
1. Eat plenty of healthy fats.
Healthy dietary fat is our body’s preferred source of fuel. Good sources include avocados, avocado oil, nuts and seeds, and wild-caught fatty fish. Medium-chain triglycerides (MCTs) are found in coconut oil and MCT oil, these are fats are great for cell function and increasing the body’s metabolism.
2. Go for color
You’ve heard it time and time again, even though there are conflicting views on diet and nutrition nearly everyone agrees that eating a wide variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, and other plant foods is essential. Colorful, antioxidant-rich plant foods are necessary for healthy cell function and help to reduce oxidative stress.
3. Avoid sugar and flour
Processed, high-glycemic, high-carb foods put tremendous stress on our body. They are the biggest driver of inflammation and can damage your entire system including the gut and how your digestion works.
4. Exercise smart
Research shows that the best exercise for improving metabolism is interval training or HIIT. Try going all out for 30 to 60 seconds, then slow down for a minute or two, and repeat. This coupled with resistance strength training will increase and improve your cell function and metabolism. People who have more muscle mass as opposed to fat naturally burn more calories throughout the day.
5. Get great sleep
Our body goes into repair mode when we are asleep. Without sufficient sleep our body is susceptible to increased inflammation, increased heart disease risk, and weakened immune system as well as brain performance. It is essential that we get 8 to 9 hours of sleep every night!
Your genetics should not be looked at as limitations, you have more power over them than you think. Your health and metabolism are in your hands! You are never stuck. Are you going to make the decision and effort to become healthy and fit this new year?