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Do You Have a Stuck Metabolism?

Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA

Walkng at Gaviota

Get Stuck in the Right State

Trying to lose weight? Like me, were you lean and easily able to maintain a stable, healthy weight until menopause came around the corner and body slammed you? Have you restricted calories, increased your strength training, cut fat from your diet, yet seen no weight loss?

Not Going to Take it Anymore

I’m Not Going to Take Fat Any More!

Turns out, the above “solutions” don’t really work. All they do is make us feel deprived, hungry, and frustrated. Add menopause into the mix and no wonder we’re fat as hell and not going to take it any more!

Fat and Getting Fatter

Obesity is one of our most serious public health concerns, according to Dr James Hill, one of the world’s top obesity experts and author of State of Slim. No way around it – our nation is fat and getting fatter. Years of evidence tells us what DOESN’T work to prevent weight gain and to reduce body fat. (That’s a link to our post on Reducing Fat. Click to lose). More specifically, the evidence spoke to Dr. Hill, who went on to co-found the National Weight Control Registry, which tracks people who have lost significant weight and kept it off over time.

We Know What Doesn’t Work

Screen Shot 2014-04-20 at 10.52.35 PMObviously as a nation, what we’ve been doing is not working. (Heavy dieting anyone?) But what does work? Armed with data and provable results, Dr. Hill recently filled us in when we interviewed him for our new radio show, Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers that airs via VoiceAmerica.com’s Health and Wellness Channel.

The Easter Bunny May Not Exist, But Stuck Metabolisms Do

We highly recommend you click on the link to Fat Loss:What Does and Doesn’t Work to hear what he has to say about stuck metabolisms and what successful weight losers have in common. Speak to me sagacious one! Our interview has Dr. Hill admitting that when people (and by people, he meant mostly women) came to him in the early days of his wild and trim youth, claiming they’d tried everything to lose weight to no avail and that their metabolism must be the problem, he poo-poohed the idea. (Knowing him, I doubt he actually scoffed, but I suspect he worked his professorial look of compassionate doubt). Then he did what good researchers do — turned to science. Lo and be bold! Turns out there is such a thing as clogged, stuck, non-compliant, downright naughty metabolisms.

Are you ready for the truth? One of the key reasons we midlife women, in particular might not be making headway could be due to having the dreaded “stuck metabolism.” Cutting calories is one of the BEST (secret code for WORST) ways to stay stuck!Anschutz Health and Wellness Center

What Does Metabolism Mean In the First Place?

What the what the what the!?!! Acck, we’re stuck! What exactly is a stuck metabolism? How do we shift gears out of it into its coveted opposite: a flexible metabolism? (Cue the singing lean angels). First, let’s clarify that metabolism simply means the process for converting calories (food)  into usable energy.

Who Wants a Flexible Metabolism? I Do, I Do!

Pretty sure we’re all clear on what a stuck metab is. Yeah, it’s the one we have right now, that excels at storing fat and holding onto it like my grip on a See’s dark chocolate walnut square. So let’s figure out what constitutes a flexible metabolism. Flexible metabolisers hum along efficiently burning fuel (a not at all fancy way to say “food, glorious food”). Even BETTER, they have the ability to adjust rapidly to ever-changing calorie intake and activity outgo. Flex Met people constantly shift internally to maintain energy balance. Give me a double dose of that, pronto so that I can achieve presto, change-o.

The Big Question: Where are Flexible Metabolisms on Sale???!!

To go from having a stuck (or “inflexible”) to flexible metabolism we have to……..:

  • Read at least the first few chapters of State of Slim where the reasons and solutions are explained much better than I can do here. Did you think it was going to be easy?Book State of Slim
  • Listen to our radio interview of Dr. Hill. Shameless plug and I’m not ashamed to admit it. The radio show is a good one and Dr. Hill is the bomb, so spend an hour and reach your weight loss goals! That link again is to Fat Loss: What Does and Doesn’t Work.
  • Accept that ultimately it’s not just about losing weight or cutting calories. It’s also not about dropping fat from our diet. It’s about creating healthy eating and movement habits we can live with the rest of our lives.
  • Be active. More active. MORE active! Exercise even!
  • Avoid being fooled that exercise will help with weight loss. Whoa! What just happened there? Details are important. We are talking three separate processes or stages:
    • Shifting a stuck metabolism to a flexible one
    • Losing excess weight
    • Keeping weight off or maintaining healthy weight forever
  • Activity is Critical with a capital C for keeping weight off. To lose fat and jump start our stuck metabs into hot, burning, fired up flexible ones (ooooh, I just described myself pre-menopause. Sigh) Movement and TEMPORARY diet changes are the key.
  • Eat the right foods at the right time to unstick — for two weeks, not months or years or anything unsustainable. For actual meal plans and exact exercise doses, go to Dr. Hill’s book. He gives all the specifics there for reigniting your metabolism.
  • Actually follow the plan. This last step is the one I keep bump- bump- bumping up against. Yes, I’m stuck in the middle with you (that’s me talking to my waistline)
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After talking with Dr. Hill for our radio show, I am inspired to reread his book, follow his advice, and suck up the two weeks needed to go back to the flexible metabolism I used to have. I need to stay focused on my purpose. (learn how your purpose affects your success rate in another of our stellar posts) I How about you?

Unstick your finger to subscribe to our website and listen to our radio show. Experience some of the best leaders in the health, wellness, and fitness world every Wednesday morning at 8:00 PT/ 11:00am ET. Listen in (better yet, call in to 866-472-5792) to our new radio show Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers with guests who offer practical advice and cutting edge solutions to your active aging challenges. You’ll find us at voiceamerica.com on the Health and Wellness channel.

About Fun and Fit

Get practical exercise advice, your fitness questions answered, and cutting edge health edu-tainment that is accessible and doable from long time fitness experts, Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA and Alexandra Williams, MA. We have taught on land, sea, and airwaves for 3 decades on 4 continents. From writing to speaking, emceeing to hosting a radio show, reviewing products to teaching classes, we believe that little steps turn into big paths. Move a little more than the day before. FitFluential Ambassadors and award-winners both online and off.

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14 Responses to Do You Have a Stuck Metabolism?

  1. Yum Yucky April 21, 2014 at 9:42 am #

    Thank you for breaking down your metabolism knowledge. Love to learn this kind of stuff.

    My metabolism is pretty bendy & flexy nowadays. It also has a voice. Just yesterday it instructed me to eat pie. You must obey the voice of your metabolism… always.
    Yum Yucky recently posted..Flat Abs Meal Planning IdeasMy Profile

    • KymberlyFunFit April 21, 2014 at 1:23 pm #

      We’re breaking it down like stomach acid on pie. Oh, did I say that? My metabolism said to meet it at the gym. I obeyed.
      KymberlyFunFit recently posted..Ease Out of StressMy Profile

  2. Karen D. Austin April 21, 2014 at 10:41 am #

    Thanks for the nudge towards increased activity. I need to do more strength training for bones, muscles, and metabolism. I like my cardio classes, but I often procrastinate working the various weight machines.
    Karen D. Austin recently posted..Philomena: Late-life ReconciliationMy Profile

    • KymberlyFunFit April 21, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

      Dr. Hill said that cardio actually contributes more to a flexible metabolism than strength training. We were surprised at first, but it does always boil down to the goal and to whether someone is in a loss or maintenance phase. I’ll meet you on the dance floor (and by the strength training equipment as we still want to do both).
      KymberlyFunFit recently posted..Incontinence, Confidence, Group Exercise, and Big-Headed BabiesMy Profile

    • KymberlyFunFit April 21, 2014 at 1:26 pm #

      Oh, and you are welcome for the nudge, which sounds like nag, which sounds like Giddy Up and move Karen!
      KymberlyFunFit recently posted..What is Your Health Worth? My Profile

  3. Donna April 21, 2014 at 11:54 am #

    Great info! I’ve been working on losing 10 pounds (well, started out with 13 and dropped 3) but the rest is like glue. The more I work out, still no different and it gets frustrating. It’s nice to be more toned but when you can’t see the toning much, it’s frustrating! Glad to know there are things I can do and why it happens.
    Donna recently posted..Our 20th Wedding Anniversary Getaway Trip to Pismo BeachMy Profile

  4. Aqiyl Aniys April 21, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

    I definitely feel levels of movement definitely has something to do with losing and keeping wait off, but I think it is the smaller part of the problem. The larger part of the problem is the types of food we put into our bodies. Processed foods and excessive meat consumption throws off the state of homeostasis our bodies want to be in. Well balanced plant based whole foods reduce the amount of toxins taken into the body that disrupts the state of homeostasis. If we are eating a lot of toxic foods we will need a lot of movement/exercise to boost the metabolism to counteract the toxins. If we are taking in less toxins we need less movement. A great combination is less toxins and more movement for ultimate vitality.
    Aqiyl Aniys recently posted..Artificial Sweeteners Are Unhealthy Sugar AlternativesMy Profile

  5. KymberlyFunFit April 21, 2014 at 2:02 pm #

    Hi Aqiyl: Nice to hear from you! What we are trying to clarify, and Dr Hill is super clear on this in our radio interview is that for weight LOSS, exercise is secondary to diet. For weight maintenance, weight maintenance, weight gain prevention – then exercise is THE KEY. He also cites evidence in his book about the role of movement and a flexible metabolism.

    I have not seen much in published studies on the relationship between metabolism and toxins in our food. Would you be so kind as to post in the comments here some links or sources to studies that you find well designed and valid? While I have attended sessions on this subject, I am not an expert and would like to read more from science based sources THANKS!

  6. Jennifer Priest April 21, 2014 at 2:27 pm #

    That totally makes sense!

  7. Cathy Chester April 21, 2014 at 5:02 pm #

    I said it before and I’ll say it again. I need to move closer to you so you can be my personal trainer – diet, exercise, motivation – the full shabang. You really rock it. xo
    Cathy Chester recently posted..Six Tips That Have Helped Me Stick To My Weight Loss PlanMy Profile

  8. Jody - Fit at 56 April 21, 2014 at 6:46 pm #

    YUP, I know all about increased activity or at least intensity too & my food – oh yes, working that since I turned 50 – constant evaluating for me at this stage in life.. at least I know enough on how to manipulate – it may not be fun at times but I do what I have to do for me.. :)
    Jody – Fit at 56 recently posted..Taking a Few Days Away; Happy EasterMy Profile

  9. GiGi Eats Celebrities April 21, 2014 at 8:06 pm #

    I think what helps a slow metabolism, other than eating very well and not being nutrient deficient is varying your calories day to day so that your body has to keep guessing! Never eat under 1200 obviously, but one day maybe eat 1300 and then next eat 2200! BOOM – huge spike, but it definitely helps your metabolism – KEEPS it on it’s “toes”! LOL!
    GiGi Eats Celebrities recently posted..This Recipe is ALL ME!My Profile

  10. Karen @BakingInATornado April 23, 2014 at 7:49 am #

    Oh, how I would love to find unstuck metabolisms on sale, and I’m a good shopper, if it were out there I’d find it.
    Karen @BakingInATornado recently posted..Show Me The MoneyMy Profile

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