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If you’re frustrated with your slow metabolism, I will help you get a deeper understanding of the true cause so you can take the right steps to get it back on track.
In this article:
- Facts About Metabolism
- Set Point
- What Causes Insulin Resistance?
- How Do I Know If I Have Insulin Resistance?
- What Causes High Insulin?
- What Is the Insulin Index?
- How to Correct Insulin Resistance and Speed Up Your Slow Metabolism
- Additional Things to Do to Improve Insulin Resistance and How to Fix a Slow Metabolism
What You Should Know About a Slow Metabolism
Facts About Metabolism
1. Dieting Slows Metabolism and Increases Cravings and Hunger
When you diet, you’re really slowing down your metabolism and increasing hunger at the same time. This becomes clear when you look at shows like The Biggest Loser. The participants are placed on a diet and often lose a bunch of weight for television.
But what they don’t show you, however, is that after the show, the contestants gain all the weight right back. This is because when you have a slow metabolism, you need to keep up with the diet to maintain your weight. When you diet, what you are really doing is causing your body to enter starvation mode. You deprive yourself of the fuel, just long enough for your hunger to surge and leave you feeling uncomfortable and unsatisfied.
2. Age Contributes to a Slow Metabolism
This probably comes as no surprise to many of you, but as we age, our bodies naturally begin to burn less energy throughout the day. You may have heard people say that “I seem to put on weight much easier these days than when I was younger” or thought of that yourself, too. It's true that as we get older, we use less energy, which makes it easier for us to overeat and gain weight as our metabolic rate decreases.
3. Exercise Increases Hunger
After exercising or doing physical activity, we usually feel hungry. At this moment, the ghrelin hormone sends signals to the brain that the body needs to eat up. And since the body has burned most, if not all, of the energy it has, the body's demand for fuel or energy increases as well. So now, the body wants to replenish energy expenditure through eating.
4. It’s Very Unnatural to Lose Weight
The body stores fat as a method of survival to protect itself from starvation. The stored energy is used as an energy source for times when food is not available. Naturally, your body does not like to burn this stored energy and will try to keep it around as long as possible before letting it go. This is why it takes persistence to train your body to choose fat as a main source of energy rather than dietary sugar, so losing weight is more effective to avoid obesity.
A set point is a level your body loves to settle in weight-wise. The body doesn’t like to go below that; it might not even go higher than that point. So, the main aim of this article is to show you how to lower that set point effectively. For example, you have a set point of 182 and want to bring it down to a goal of 142. You have to drop your metabolism level to achieve that set point, and like I said earlier, the body likes to stay the same. It doesn’t like a significant reduction because it considers that starvation.
So, I’m giving you the foundations on how to fix the set point, and to do this, we need to be aware of what destroys the set point besides dieting.
What Destroys the Set Point?
Firstly, we need to be aware of the pancreas (located underneath your left rib cage). Contained in it are so many cells (alpha, beta, and delta), and among these cells, the beta cells are our main concern as they are the manufacturers of insulin in the body. Sixty percent of cells are beta cells, and 40% are other cells. As you know, insulin regulates blood sugar, but there are also other important functions of insulin you may not be aware of, like:
- It affects fat metabolism.
- It affects protein metabolism.
- It converts sugar into blood fat (cholesterol and triglycerides).
- It retains sodium.
- It increases tension on the arteries (increases blood pressure).
- It drives amino acids (protein) into the cells.
This is just to give you an idea of what insulin does in carbohydrate metabolism. But then, the most important thing you should know is that it is the primary regulator that makes you fat and blocks all your chances of burning fat.
Having a high level of insulin over time leads to insulin resistance, and whenever we eat at any point in the day (breakfast, lunch, and dinner), we get insulin from our digestive tract. Yes, we get rid of the sugar, but when we eat a snack in between these meals, we end up increasing insulin, thus leading to insulin resistance. This is why you must opt for 2 or 3 meals a day to correct insulin resistance.
What Causes Insulin Resistance?
High insulin + time = Insulin resistance.
Let’s consider why so we can fully understand how to correct a slow metabolism.
When insulin is high for a long time, the body begins to ignore it. The cells become resistant to insulin and no longer listen to what it’s telling the cells to do. Imagine you have just moved into a new house located close to some train tracks. For the first few weeks, the loud trains chugging at night will bother you and keep you from sleeping. Over time, however, the chugging won’t stop, and you learn how to ignore it and sleep soundly through it. You effectively become 'resistant' to the train noises.
The same is true for the body. When insulin is too high for too long, the receptors that pick up and respond to the insulin actually downgrade and can even stop working altogether. The insulin comes along, but the receptors on the cell don’t listen to it. This prevents insulin from doing its job and lets blood sugar levels remain high since the insulin is unable to enter the cells. When the body stops listening to insulin, it acts to stoke the fire. Insulin levels increase further, leading to even more resistance.
If insulin is allowed to go on too far, it begins to damage proteins throughout the body, affecting muscle mass. Think about how important protein is in your body. It does nearly everything! The damaged proteins are converted to sugar or released through the kidneys, which can cause kidney damage, too, if allowed to go on for too long.
Let’s say before a meal, your blood sugar is around 80 and 100. When you eat, your blood sugar spikes to about 120 or 140 as the sugar is broken down and released into your bloodstream. As the insulin is released, the blood sugar is told to enter the cells and is then burned as energy, stored as sugar, or converted to fat. In a diabetic person, however, the sugar rises too high and is not able to enter the cells (due to the insulin resistance). It then takes much longer for the blood sugar to return back to its normal levels.
In effect, the sugar levels in the blood are high. This tells the pancreas to release its insulin, which acts as the gatekeeper to your cells, to let the sugar in. Since the gatekeeper is no longer taken seriously and the cells are resistant, they do not allow this sugar in. This does not mean your cells are no longer hungry for sugar, though, but this creates an interesting and paradoxical problem.
The inside of your cells is now in a state of hypoglycemia (low blood sugar), but the outside of your cells is in a state of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar). It is very interesting to see how you can be both sugar deficient and sugar excessive at the same time — all because the gatekeeper (insulin) is no longer taken seriously.
How Do I Know If I Have Insulin Resistance?
These are the symptoms or signs of insulin resistance:
- Fatty liver
- Brain fog
- Belly fat
- High-fasting insulin levels
- Digestive issues
- Sleepy after meal
- High blood pressure
- Cravings and hunger
- Dark pigment in different folds of the body
- Hunger between meals
There are actually many causes of having high insulin. As we talked about earlier, insulin is the body's response to high blood sugar. It may be fairly obvious then that diets high in sugar and regular snacking of foods high in sugar will cause insulin levels to rise. These foods can be something less obvious like bread or more obvious like a candy bar or soda. When this sugar is eaten and released into the blood, the body responds with insulin.
What Causes High Insulin?
What many people don’t understand is sugar is not the only thing that triggers insulin release. Protein and hormones like estrogen can also have a stimulating effect on insulin in the body. Estrogen is the female sex hormone. It's what distinguishes a woman from a man. It’s responsible for regulating a woman's monthly cycles but also has a regulatory effect on insulin. If unbalanced, estrogen can cause insulin to remain high for long periods or cause insulin spikes regularly.
Protein can also stimulate insulin release and can lead to high levels of this hormone in the blood. Not all proteins are the same in this respect, though, which leads us into the concept of the insulin index.
What Is the Insulin Index?
The insulin index is different than the glycemic index which is more familiar to most people. To jog your memory, the glycemic index is a way of measuring how fast a certain type of food raises the blood sugar levels of the body. It measures glucose levels.
On the other hand, the insulin index measures how food raises insulin levels. The difference here is the insulin index takes other insulin-spiking foods like lean protein into account as well. It paints a clearer picture of the effect food has on your insulin levels rather than simply measuring sugar.
As mentioned earlier, proteins can also cause insulin to spike. The insulin index allows us to determine which of these proteins (and sugars, of course) spike insulin levels the most. For example, heavy cream, butter, olive oil, pecans, and avocados all have a low insulin index, meaning they do not cause insulin levels to spike.
When you look at the foods I’ve listed, you may notice they all contain protein. They also contain fats, which is the major difference between a high insulin index and a low one. Foods on the high side include lean proteins like lean beef, chicken, and potatoes. All of these foods cause insulin to spike.
After considering this information, it becomes even clearer how important it is to avoid going for lean protein options. It is fat, not protein, that reduces the body's insulin response and acts as a sort of buffer on energy levels and on insulin.
How to Correct Insulin Resistance and Speed Up Your Slow Metabolism
Now that we have discussed why insulin resistance is bad and how it can happen, let’s talk about what you can do to correct this problem or prevent it before it happens at all. We will talk about intermittent fasting, avoiding snacks throughout the day, the importance of fat in the diet, and breaking habitual eating.
- Do not eat when you’re not hungry.
First things first, don't eat when you are not hungry. If you wake up for breakfast and do not feel hungry, then don't eat! Your body knows when it needs food, and it will tell you. By eating breakfast just for the sake of eating it, all you are doing is raising your blood sugar levels beyond where they need to be and telling your body to release insulin to deal with it.
- Avoid taking snacks within the day.
The next important thing to remember is to avoid snacking throughout the day. Snacking keeps your blood sugar levels high, which means higher insulin levels throughout the day. Have you ever heard of intermittent fasting? Intermittent fasting means you go for periods of time (anywhere from a few hours to a day) without eating. It trains your body to use fat as a source of fuel, allowing your insulin to level off, and is very important for lowering your set point. You can achieve this by not snacking between meals and definitely no snacking after dinner.
When you are fasting, you’re living off your own fat. It is not starving your body; it is training your body to live off of its stored energy sources and not burn sugar. Balance is the key. Again, eating 2 or 3 meals a day is recommended not because you need to correct calories, but it’s to correct insulin resistance.
- Eat more fats.
Add more fat to your total number of calories in your meals. The old idea that fat is bad is just simply wrong. Nutritional science has come a long way on this, and we now know fat is crucial for keeping insulin levels down and for preventing insulin resistance. Choose the full-fat options, and add fats like vegetable oils and butter to your foods. The added fat stretches the meal farther and allows you to go longer in between meals, improving your sluggish metabolism.
When you have a lower insulin level and reach a state where your body prefers to use fats as energy, it means your liver needs to work harder at converting that fat. Your chances of developing a fatty liver increases, too. The solution is simple: consume enough vegetables and water to keep this organ washed out and clear out the fat deposits.
In my Exclusive Membership Site, I cover this extensively to teach people all the actions to overcome insulin resistance and reveal all my secrets and all the advanced stuff. I do this through short and interesting videos, guiding them one step at a time. Our group can ask me questions along the way and get the details and nitty-gritty of what you need to do to be super healthy.
Additional Things to Do to Improve Insulin Resistance and How to Fix a Slow Metabolism
1. Take Apple cider vinegar (ACV)
Apple cider vinegar is one of the best ways of improving your fat metabolism and lowering insulin resistance. Consume it with a meal, in a pill, or add a teaspoon per glass in water.
2. Eat Fermented Foods
Fermented foods are great and even contain some vinegar naturally, which may help you achieve a fast metabolism!
3. Eat Lots of Vegetables
Eating high-potassium vegetables is a great way to prevent a fatty liver. They contain high levels of nutrients including phosphorus, potassium, and chromium — all useful for lowering insulin levels. When fat is burned, it needs to be processed in the liver. The greens keep the fat flushed out of the liver to prevent a fatty liver. It even gets rid of the fatty liver that you may already have. One of the best ways to get this is through my Raw Wheatgrass Juice Powder.
4. Vitamin B1
This vitamin is found in nutritional yeast and reduces the need for insulin to take its effect.
5. Go for High-Fiber Foods
Always choose the higher fiber option such as juice with the pulp in it. This helps buffer insulin and goes a long way in preventing insulin resistance on its own and enhancing a slow metabolism. Try eating high-fiber vegetables like celery.
6. Eat Lots of Fat
Fats sustain energy levels between meals. This means you go longer without eating between meals. It prevents the blood sugar spikes and the insulin resistance that follows. This is how you can reverse diabetes.
7. Lower Cortisol and Estrogen
Cortisol is a stress hormone that triggers insulin release. Find ways to relax and minimize stress. Estrogen is the female sex hormone, which also stimulates the release of insulin. Try to avoid taking estrogen tablets, and do things that promote balance in your hormone levels.
8. Get Enough Sleep
When you get enough sleep, your stress levels reduce which can directly lower insulin levels. It also helps with intermittent fasting during the night. If you sleep an extra hour each night, you have simultaneously added an extra hour between your meals.
Overall, there are a lot of things you can do to lower insulin resistance. Start with the intermittent fasting: eat 3 meals a day with no in-between snacks and then go down to 2 meals per day. This lowers your set point. While this is the way to fix a slow metabolism, many people need guidance. There are still many things you need to know to tailor-make to your body and conditions. For this, check out my Exclusive Membership Site.
Are you suffering from a slow metabolism? What are your ways to improve it and achieve a faster metabolism? Share your experience in the comments section below.
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Disclaimer: Our educational content is not meant or intended for medical advice or treatment.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated for quality and relevancy.