If My Metabolism is Stuck, What Do I Do?
Kymberly Williams-Evans, MA
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?
Turns out, the above “solutions” don’t always work. When weight lifting and What DO calorie cutting don’t produce the results we want, we 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
Obviously 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 former radio show, Active Aging for Boom Chicka Boomers.
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!Cutting calories is one of the WORST ways for midlife women to lose weight and keep it off. Click To Tweet
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?
- 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)
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?