While achieving a healthy weight comes easy for some, for others it seems like an endless uphill battle. The reality is that each body is unique and cracking the code on healthy metabolism and body composition means looking at the individual factors that impact metabolic health in every patient we work with. While outdated thinking reinforces a calories-in-calories-out method, the truth is that there are other critical aspects to body composition that override even the most restrictive diets.
These 5 evidence-based reasons for stubborn metabolism are the most common roadblocks we uncover at BioLounge.
1. Your microbiome
Research continues to point to the gut microbiota as a major factor in metabolism and risk of obesity, due to its role in the integrity of the gut barrier, regulation of satiety and insulin resistance, and changes in metabolic signaling. The dynamic interplay between bacteria, fungus, viruses, and protozoa not only affect metabolism, but drive food preferences and cravings. Rebalancing the microbiome and addressing pathogenic bugs can be a major factor in metabolism and food preferences as well.
2. Continuous glucose stability
Until recently, blood sugar balance was largely thought of as binary, either you had high blood sugar, or you didn’t. What we now know is that even when your average glucose is in range (by measuring HbA1c), swings throughout the day lead to weight gain and poor metabolism. Over the last decade, glucose tracking has revealed that each of us have unique responses to different foods in our diet. While some may experience a glucose spike from an apple, others stay in optimal range. The same can be said for rice, corn, honey, and the like. And it’s not just food that can cause a wild spike in blood sugar; stress, poor sleep and even intense exercise can impact glucose regulation. Whenever blood glucose spikes and the body does not need the “fuel” these sugars can be packaged up as triglycerides and stored in fat cells. Identifying the individual factors that impact your blood sugar is essential to overall health and metabolism.
3. Hormone balance
Often, when our patients can’t lose weight, there is an interplay with hormones. This may include reproductive hormones such as estrogen, testosterone and progesterone, thyroid hormones, insulin, or even satiety hormones such as leptin and ghrelin. Studies show that when any of these hormones are out of balance, metabolism is impacted. Moreover, every one of these hormones can be thrown out of their delicate balance by stress, poor nutrition, interrupted sleep, environmental toxins, and glucose imbalance. Identifying the unique triggers to hormone imbalance for our patients is crucial to regulating metabolism and activating weight loss.
4. Sleep debt
Poor sleep has become normalized in our culture, however or bodies cannot thrive when we are in a state of sleep debt. Sleep apnea, insomnia and poor sleep routines are on the rise and while sleep problems may be managed with prescriptions and devices, the research shows that poor sleep is directly linked to obesity. Sleep interruptions can slow metabolism, lead to weight gain, trigger unhealthy food cravings, spike blood sugar, and deplete exercise tolerance. Assessing and getting to the root of sleep troubles means better metabolism and a higher overall quality of life.
Studies show that genetics play a role in every aspect of our health. However, the more we learn about genes, the more we develop approaches to circumvent genetic factors that negatively affect health. Recent research shows that over 300 genetic mutations affect BMI, waist-to-hip ratio, and overall adiposity. Understanding and identifying these unique genetic factors for our patients mean we can provide increased support to circumvent the genetic mutation whenever possible, restoring healthy metabolism.
Personalize your weight loss
If you struggle with metabolism and weight loss, there are surely factors at play that go well beyond willpower and calorie counting. Understanding your unique metabolic make-up means that you can use personalized and targeted approaches to improve overall body composition in a sustainable way.