The other day I was training a client of mine and she was mentioning how she felt her metabolism had changed. I asked her what she meant by that exactly and she said she felt like she was able to eat more without the added weight gain and just felt better. Not as sluggish, tired and fatigued all the time. She said she finally felt like her body was working FOR her not against her.
This was something I mentioned in my FB post the other day about the time I remember specifically when I was trying on a pair of my comfy jeans and yet they wouldn’t even go over my thighs when I was doing everything “right.” Or so I thought.
Now I realize so much of what was going on was merely the fact my hormones were wayyyy off and I was doing things with the wrong approach. I’ll explain….
First, I want to talk about words that float around the internet such as “a broken metabolism” and “metabolic damage.” which BTW I’m discussing in my killer FREE 5-day course via FB live video along with my workbook companion guide that you can download HERE. We start today!
Anyways, these terms tend to get thrown around and discussed when we look at someone who’s been in a severe calorie deficit for a prolonged period of time. This can be caused intentionally by excess exercise and decreased energy consumption. (restricting our food intake). At the end of the day, I do think there’s some underlying metabolic issues because our body just begins to “adapt.” To this way of living.
Let’s take for example someone whom trains for 2-3 hours a day, eating less than 1,000 calories and doing this for long periods of time. Of course there’s going to be some metabolic damage and adaptation because our body is smart! When we starve ourselves, our body knows it and it holds on to everything we put in our mouths for dear life!
Here’s the thing, when we use the term “metabolic damage” I think we instantly get freaked out and what woman wants to hear that they’re broken or damaged? Not me! I do think some metabolism shifts occur, especially when we’ve been in this restrictive behaviors for years.
So, I’m sure you’re asking, well, does this exist, do I have it and most importantly, what can I do about it?
Let’s start with the 1st question. Do I think “metabolic issues” exist? Absolutely. Especially after my own personal experiences of dieting hard, having the major rebound effect, repeating the cycle and so on. After working with hundreds of women I see so many diet, regain, try again and jump from plan to plan. But the thing I see most is the “diet” consists of less food and more exercise. (specifically cardio) We live in this mentality that oh, if I’m doing cardio then I’m burning a shit ton of calories on my Fitbit so why not do more of this to burn even more? Strength training is put on the back burner and we become solely fixated on the calorie expenditure vs. the quality of the exercise.
And this is exactly why I’m not big on the “more is better” approach by obsessing about the calories burned vs. what’s taken in and so forth. Sometimes I feel there’s a time and place for some calorie counting but definitely not in excess.
Here’s a shot of me in 2011 when I was training 3 hours a day and eating “super” clean. Sure you can see some abs but I had to work ridiculously hard for them. I remember feeling like crap in this photo because I was so hungry, taking ridiculous amounts of supplements and my hormones were all over the place.
Then, here’s a shot of me last summer. Doing 1/4th of what I was doing then. Eating healthy but not obsessive, using my #fullnessfactor method and training 30 or so minutes a day. I feel really good and healthy here. Tons of energy and my hormones were definitely more regulated.
Honestly, I don’t see much of a difference at all and I would take that second pic any day over the first because I felt amazing! The mindset shift is everything and my god, to not have to slave in the gym as long and eat morsels of food? The best.
Again, I’m just trying to show you that often times the more we restrict, try to eat superrrrr clean and train hours on end, it will backfire. In the first pic I felt bloated, gross, tired and my gut was way off. I couldn’t go to the bathroom for the life of me.
So this goes to show, even when we’re exercising like crazy and hardly eating a morsel why can’t we lose weight??
Here’s the thing many of us fail to recognize, our metabolism isn’t static and it’s not a muscle or organ, it’s a constant orchestration of our hormones and the processes that go along with it. Including releasing stored fat, burning or re-storing the fat an so forth.
THE PROBLEM COMES DOWN TO EXCESSIVE STRESS AND OUR MEANS FOR SURVIVAL.
It’s our body’s natural response to “hold onto” food during stressful times, especially when we’ve been in a super restrictive state for a long period of time. Our hormones don’t care about the number on the scale or if we fit in our size 2 jeans, it cares about survival.
(I will be diving deep tomorrow in what I call the “RUBBER BAND’ effect which is all on this stuff.).
Listen, I get we have to be in a slight calorie deficit for weight loss, calories do matter but so do hormones! It’s not always as simple as calories in, calories out ladies. We can only push our body’s to a certain point where we just crash and burn. (Been there done that, think of adrenal stress) Calories matter, just like insulin when it comes to weight loss but when it’s in excess we’re kinda screwed.
So the millon dollar question, “HOW DO WE FIX IT?”
First, we need to lessen the stress we’re putting on our systems. I tell my clients all the time, we can’t be 100% at every single thing in our lives. When I’m working a ton, I dial back my exercise, when my training has picked up, I dial back other areas that cause stress in my life.
Also, we need to be in tune when we FEEL it and truly pay attention to when we feel off. Examples of this include:
+Increased hunger levels along with cravings for high sugar, carbs, etc. (I’ve talked about this before when I was overtraining and it was working against me because I would come home and eat and eat!!!).
Let’s say we cut more calories and then try to work off more at the gym…..this can counteract because that behavior triggers lower leptin levels and higher cortisol levels. Think more hunger/food cravings and more of a stress response.
Next, dial back the exercise. I know it’s scary but all this stress can wreak havoc on our hormones. (more on this in my videos this week). I promise you won’t gain weight, I bet you might even lose weight if you’re body has been stressed for quite sometime. Listen, if you’re training for long endurance races I’m not saying you have to quit entirely, just take it back a notch. I also highly recommend strength training during this time to keep your muscle.
Finally, slightly increase your calories. I’m not saying you have to go hog wild but gradually increase 10% or so and see how your body adjusts. Maybe you play with your macros a bit and eat a little more carbs? Again, just stay in constant communication with your body and what feels good to you.
Seriously, if you’re someone who’s really struggling with their hormones, metabolism and eating patterns I HIGHLY recommend you download my FREE 5 day workbook to go along with my 5 free live FB videos this week.
We start today!!!! Whoop! CANNOT WAIT!!!! You can sign——>HERE