We hear so much about metabolism, but do you really know what the heck it really is? Well, here’s the skinny on metabolism…no pun intended. Let’s start off with the definition: Metabolism is the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. So, in a nutshell, your metabolism is the conversion of what you eat and drink into energy. The calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function. Another way to understand how our metabolism works is to think of building a FIRE. When building a fire, you need paper, small kindling and a match. Together, a flame starts and heat begins to be generated. When the flame gets larger, you then add larger pieces of wood or a log until the fire is blazing hot. Easy peasy, right? Our metabolism works the same way. When we don’t eat for long periods of time, i.e. – skipping breakfast or only eating 1-2 meals per day, our metabolism burns at a slow heat. Does this sound like you? “I don’t eat much, so why can’t I lose weight?” “Well, the person who eats very little throughout the day, but has a larger meal later in the day is like trying to start a fire with a large log and a match. There may be a slow burn, but that log will take a long time to burn, if it ever burns at all!” (alive.com) What you will end up with is unburned logs…much like our body…When our body doesn’t burn off the food we ingest, the excess energy it stores it as fat. Symptoms or Signs of a Slow Metabolism To help you determine if you’re suffering from an abnormally slow metabolism, read through these 10 symptoms below and see if any of them hit home. Now, this is by no means meant to serve as a diagnosis or cause for alarm – but if you find yourself going down the list and nodding at each one, then it may be time to investigate some healthy, safe ways to repair your metabolism. 1. Difficulty losing weight and/or weight gain 2. Feeling cold all the time 3. Dry skin 4. Feeling bloated 5. Constant sugar cravings 6. Weak adrenals or general weakness or fatigue 7. Storing belly fat 8. Inability to sweat 9. Weak digestion 10. Headaches “So, what now Nat? Can I do anything naturally?” YOU BET! I firmly believe there is a place for traditional modern medicine, but if you are looking for a natural way to improve your metabolism and get that fire roaring again, I have a few suggestions for you. Importance of a Balanced Metabolism If you eat a diet that is balanced with protein, carbohydrates and healthy fats, your metabolism will be able to burn excess body fat more effectively, simply because it has used all the “good” fats you’ve taken in for energy. Here are some tips to increase your metabolism NATURALLY: 1. Don’t crash diet. Restricting your calories too low causes your body to go into “starvation mode,” slowing down your body’s rate that it thinks you burn calories at to conserve energy. 2. Drink green tea. It contains catechins, a type of antioxidant that triggers the release of fat from fat cells and helps speed the liver’s capacity for turning fat into energy. 3. Make protein and fiber your main focus. Doing so will keep your muscles fueled and help you feeling full, keeping those flames burning. 4. Eat whole foods. Foods in their whole, natural state expend more energy during the digestion process than processed foods. 5. Exercise with intervals and weights. We naturally lose muscle as we age and less muscle = a slower metabolism. Challenging our muscles with weights or even our own bodyweight is a necessity to help us burn fat. 6. Drink plenty of water. Hydration helps your body work more efficiently. 7. Get a good night’s rest. A purring metabolism is helped by a good night’s sleep. Finding the right groove for your metabolism can be tricky, especially as we age. However, getting older is NOT AN EXCUSE. Still feeling a little lost? I am here to help. You would be surprised what simple tweaks to your nutrition and exercise can get your metabolism burning strong again. Let’s get Fired UPP, Nat P.S. If you feel like you are doing the right things with exercise, but just need extra guidance and accountability with nutrition, I offer a 1:1 Online Nutrition Coaching program. If you have any questions, I’d be happy to chat! Just send me an email to set up a call.