OPTIMIZING YOUR METABOLISM
OPTIMIZING YOUR METABOLISM
Metabolism…This word is tossed around commonly in the wellness and weight loss worlds.
We know we want to “boost” it but what is it and how does our metabolism impact our body?
In medical terms, metabolism is defined as the set of life-sustaining biochemical transformations and reactions within the cells of every living organism. These metabolic functions allow us to grow and reproduce, maintain cellular structural function, digest and absorb nutrients, and respond to our environment. In the world of metabolism, we are either building through anabolism or breaking down through catabolism. In an anabolic state, we are able to build muscle, repair tissue, and provide our nucleotides for production of DNA the very code of our being (kind of a big deal). In a catabolic state, we are able to partake in cellular respiration, the process in the body where we turn nutrients into energy or burn excess calories from our stores. Yes….this is the part you care about, right?
But before I give you some weight loss tips…it is important to understand our metabolic function is the catalyst of our wellness; beyond managing our ability to maintain a healthy weight and burn calories.
In an ideal setting, we have all the nutrients available in our system necessary to build everything the body needs for optimal function. Also, in an ideal setting our metabolic pathways are able to tag environmental toxins, medication by-products, and food additives as foreign and adequately excrete them out of our system.
But what happens when the balance of nutrients to toxins is tipped out our favor?
When the body is overwhelmed with excess load on metabolic detoxification pathways and not supported with adequate nutrition to fuel them, we get toxins stuffed into storage packages, yes these are also called fat stores! What is interesting to consider is that we are now discovering in medical research that our fat cells themselves are functioning as endocrine (hormonal) cells interfering with our metabolic pathways causing irregular elevated blood sugar, decreasing calorie burning activity, and promoting additional fat storage vs. burn. This creates a vicious cycle.
What happens when we restrict fuel to promote catabolism for weight loss but we are lacking the nutrients necessary to fuel those pathways of energy production?
If we just restrict our calories to promote weight loss and we don’t provide the necessary nutrients for energy production the body will auto-metabolize or eat itself…sounds good right, you may want to get rid of some of those stores; however, the body is smart, it knows it needs nutrients and it doesn’t get much value from metabolizing its fat stores, so your body will go into muscle breakdown. This is concerning as our metabolic rate or caloric burn is based on pounds of lean body mass and our vital organs. So if you were burning at a baseline of 1600 calories and wanted to lose 1 pound a week, you may reduce your calories to 1100 (note: it requires a deficit of 500 calories a day to burn 1 pound at 3,500 calories). If you don’t ensure nutritional balance and you aren’t fueling your muscle with adequate protein, you will still lose the weight but at the end of 3 months, 12 pounds less, you may be at a metabolic rate of 1100 calories or so (as you lost your metabolically active muscle mass) and that is where you reach a plateau, get frustrated, and fall off! To tie things together we need a balance of all our required nutrients with adequate fat and protein to promote optimal metabolic function.
Identify and address your biochemical uniqueness!
What is your nutritional state? Are you absorbing all the nutrients from the foods you are eating? Are you eating enough of the foods with nutrients you need? I run a micronutrient panel that assesses your nutritional status compared to your optimal state rather than a standard reference range. From this information, we identify trends in your metabolic biochemical pathways to determine need for optimal function. For instance, a person trending with lower B vitamins, may be using them rapidly due to stress, inappropriately due to blood sugar fluctuations, may be missing them in the diet due to avoidances or food selection, or not absorbing them due to digestive function. From the lab results and an assessment of symptoms, we are able to replete these deficiencies and correct the metabolic errors yielding improved brain function, improved reactivity to stress, and regulated blood sugar levels.