- I was sure I had a slow metabolism
- Understanding how our bodies work makes healthy decisions easier
- Find out how to get your slow metabolism to bounce back!
It took me 10 years to realize I don’t have a slow metabolism.
Do you think you have a slow metabolism? You probably don’t! This post explains how to stop confusing your body. Then it’s easier to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
Life is a series of patterns. Whether it’s what we do to get out the door in the morning or the way the earth moves from season to season.
Sometimes we fall into patterns without even realizing it—ones that can set us up to fail or set us up for success.
I wrote this post because I wish I’d known I was repeating a self-destructive cycle earlier on in my attempts to lose weight. Then I could have learned how to replace self-defeating choices with healthy routines. And experienced that life gets much better when you’re kinder to yourself.
I thought I had a slow metabolism
For 10 years my weight fluctuated. I was always between 10 and 30 pounds overweight. I was sure I had a slow metabolism. So I kept trying to eat less and exercise more.
Now I know I don’t have a slow metabolism
In 1999 I started eating more and exercising less. Instead of grazing on low-fat food, diet pop and fruit, I started eating 3 roughly balanced meals a day, made mostly of whole foods. When I was hungry between meals, I ate balanced snacks.
After a decade of dieting I became completely frustrated. I decided to focus on building healthy habits instead of trying to reach a healthy weight at any cost.
I also stopped going to the gym every day. As an alternative, I worked out for 25 minutes, 3 times a week. Plus I incorporate a little movement in whatever I’m already doing–like walking up the stairs instead of riding the escalator. And when I thought I ate too much, I didn’t try to make up for it by doing more exercise. Instead, I just focused on making my next choice one I felt good about. Knowing there wasn’t an option to do extra exercise soon made it easy to stop overeating.
To my surprise, I naturally reached a healthy weight when I started building healthy eating and healthy exercise routines. And these healthy patterns have made it easy to maintain a healthy weight. I also have a lot more energy.
But the best part is I’m present. I can concentrate! I’m no longer preoccupied by feeling hungry, guilty or trying to decide if I should go to the gym, again. Knowing where to focus my energy has made me more productive in every part of my life.
How I discovered I don’t have a slow metabolism
Once I started opening up and talking to people, I began to understand how our bodies work.
I learned that when I was dieting I was never eating enough. For long periods of time I’d over-exercise and under-eat. Then eventually I’d get so hungry I’d break down and overeat. Eventually it turned into a starve, binge and purge cycle. But I didn’t recognize this pattern. Or that I repeated it, again and again for 10 years.
The only proper way to eliminate bad habits is to replace them with good ones.
– Jerome Hines, opera singer
By sharing my experience I learned these wild extremes confuse our bodies.
Basically, when you’re not eating enough food, your body goes into survival mode. It slows down your metabolism. Then your body can hold onto the energy and nutrients you’ve consumed longer.
A slow metabolism also means that when you eventual eat more – or overeat like I did – your body is able to grab and hold onto energy quickly. Your body is preparing for another long period of starvation. But it needs energy and nutrients to do vital jobs—from keeping your heart beating to growing your finger nails. Your body is good at keeping you alive.
This information helped me understand the importance of getting my body into a consistent routine—rather than jerking it around with inconsistent amounts of food and exercise. Suddenly it made sense why I needed to eat more, regularly.
Here’s the great news. As as soon as we start eating a decent amount of food at roughly regular intervals and stop over-exercising, our bodies relax. They don’t need to be in survival mode. So our seemingly slow metabolism speeds up. It bounces back! Then it’s easy to reach and maintain a healthy weight.
The hardest part for me was having the courage to eat 3 balanced meals and snacks (when I was hungry between meals). It had been years since I ate more, regularly. But understanding how my body works made healthy choices easier. Experiencing how much better life is with a regular routine helped me keep making good decisions.
Whether your experience is more or less extreme than mine, it’s important to work toward the same goal: Get your body into a regular routine.
Remember, asking for help is a strength. Think of a family member or friend you trust. Plan to cook and eat a balanced meal or snack together.
You don’t have a slow metabolism! Your healthy goal is to regularly eat roughly balanced meals and snacks made mostly of whole foods. Keep the Eatwell Guide in mind to help you include each type of food in the correct proportion.Focus on healthy eating and exercise goals. Your healthy weight will follow.
Eve Of Destruction by Barry McGuire
Stop and reflect. Are there cycles you repeat over and over and over again?
Sharing what I learned makes those 10 years worth it
Have you ever worried you have a slow metabolism?