It’s “New Year/New You” time. You know what that means. Jumping on another diet. But if you’re not seeing results (again), it may be for a reason you don’t realize. We asked one of our longtime contributing writers and founder of FUEL YOUR FITNESS (FYF), Georgette Yacoub, about rejuvenating your metabolism and how to keep it functioning at a high level. Read on for her highlights, and see her website fyfnutrition.com for on her e-book Metabolic Jumpstart.
In America, we don’t actually have a weight loss problem. In fact, we’re really good at the diet thing—Atkins, Paleo, Keto, or whatever the fad diet of the year seems to be.
What we do have is a weight regain problem.
We diet until we reach our goal weight, or the date of this wedding or that vacation, or until we get so tired of being restricted from enjoying life that we eventually call our diet to an end.
So why do we gain back the weight once the diet is over? There’s actually a physiological reason why this happens that has nothing to do with your love of pizza or lack of willpower.
In order to drop body fat, we need to eat in a caloric deficit (meaning we need to consume fewer calories than we burn every day). But after prolonged periods of under-eating, or an extensive dieting history, our metabolism adapts to the fact that it’s consistently getting fewer calories. So it slows down the metabolism and downregulates the thyroid to make up for the fact that it’s just not getting enough calories. This is called “metabolic adaptation.”
Our bodies have one job—to survive—and sometimes that means protecting us from ourselves. But your metabolism can be rejuvenated.
A few signs you may be metabolically adapted
- You have a hard time shedding body fat or putting on muscle
- You’re low energy
- You’re injury prone
- Insatiable hunger or no hunger response at all
- Period irregularity
- Lack of sex drive
- Digestive irregularity (constipation)
- Poor sleep quality or inability to fall asleep
If more than two of those things sound familiar, it may be worth digging in and potentially working with a professional to help you rejuvenate your metabolism so you can look, feel, and perform your best.
Photograph: Olga Yastremska, New Africa, Africa Studio – stock.adobe.com