Metabolism – Why it Matters
Growing up, I had four brothers and lots of cousins. Whenever we had a family gathering, there was always a big meal followed by a brisk walk. I’ve been thinking lately about why my aunt the nurse was so insistent on observing that “tradition”. My mom usually told us to rest for half an hour after eating before getting back to physical activity so that our food could digest, but she also encouraged us to get back to that activity right after the rest. Both of these women are now in their 90s, and they knew something that many of my younger friends and their families don’t know and don’t even think about. That something is the need to keep our metabolic rate at a healthy level.
Metabolism is the name for all of the processes that allow plants, animals, and humans to use food, water, and other nutrients to grow, heal, and make energy to build tissue and dispose of waste material. Each body processes food by release of enzymes. The overall speed at which the body carries out its metabolic processes is called our metabolic rate. Credit for the featured image here goes to: https://healthyagingproject.org/aging-basics-tips/metabolism/.
There are two types of metabolism:
- Anabolism – the synthesis or buildup of substances: simpler molecules are used to build more complex compounds like proteins for growth and repair of tissues
- Catabolism – the breakdown of organic compounds (especially food) to provide heat and energy
As we enter a new calendar year – for many, following a period of increased consumption of rich foods and beverages and other nutritional indulgences – let’s consider what we can do to improve the stability and level of our metabolic rate and, therefore, our overall physical and emotional health.
METABOLISM and the WELLNESS TRIANGLE
Our metabolic rate has a critical impact on how quickly we burn the fat and calories we consume. Some individuals want to lose weight and some want to gain weight, so we’ll talk about bringing individual metabolic rates to optimal levels. If you are interested in knowing how many calories your body would burn if you did no activity for a day, go to this BMR (basal metabolic rate) calculator to find out: https://idealprotein.com/bmr-calculator-2. For U.S. women, the average BMR is 1,493 calories. For U.S. men, the average BMR is 1,662 (www.livestrong.com). For my age, height, weight, gender, and lifestyle, my BMR is 1,272. For light activity, my daily recommended calorie intake is 1,749. For moderate activity, the recommended intake would jump to 1,971…and so forth. Although I am mainly focused on the specific foods and proportions of fat, carbs, and proteins that I eat, it is interesting to see the difference that even an incremental change in activity level can make. Let me just add here that those who want to gain weight should not become more sedentary – never the right strategy – for reasons I will discuss below. If you want to gain weight, let’s talk separately!
The general consensus among health and nutrition professionals is that there are a few basic factors that contribute to successful weight loss: attitude, eating the right foods in the right amounts, getting the right exercise in the right amount, getting adequate sleep, reducing stress. Sound familiar? These are the levels of the Wellness Triangle discussed in my early posts. I have some tips specific to this discussion of metabolism:
- Eat and exercise according to your blood type – this will minimize inflammation and stress and maximize energy and weight optimization. The best way to get started is with the book “Eat Right 4 Your Type” (revised) and with food list information on the website http://www.dadamo.com and The Blood Type Diet app. I have followed this way of living for more than a decade and would love to share the benefits with you. Just as meals and water should be taken consistently throughout the eating window, consistent and frequent exercise and stretching are necessary to maintain healthy metabolic rates.
- Be gentle on your body and metabolic processes: Don’t skip meals. If you are able, eat smaller meals several times a day rather than 3 large meals. Try to limit your hours of eating to a period of 8-10 hours, leaving the other 14-16 hours to drinking water or plain green tea made with water. Stop eating at least 3 hours before going to bed for the night. Stop eating when you are no longer hungry, not continuing to eat until you feel full. If you feel hungry, first drink water – you may simply be thirsty. Switch your foods and overall intake gradually to minimize stress on your recovering body.
- Use essential oils, oil-infused products, and other herbal and whole foods supplements to support balance in your mood and your metabolic rate and activity. Some of my favorites are:
- the three daily supplements in doTERRA’s Lifelong Vitality Pack (vitamins/minerals, omegas, antioxidants, and more)
- doTERRA’s TerraZyme (active whole food enzymes and mineral cofactors that help in predigestion)
- doTERRA’s PB Assist+ (pre- and probiotics that help in the conversion to energy and heat and the maintenance of gut health)
- doTERRA’s Metabolic Blend. The Metabolic Blend includes Grapefruit, Lemon, Peppermint, Ginger, and Cinnamon essential oils. This combination of oils used daily provides gentle detoxing, supports proper metabolic levels and balanced blood levels, suppresses cravings, stimulates the lymphatic and digestive systems, calms the stomach, and more. This blend comes in liquid and capsule forms and is also available as a chewing gum. Great taste, and it can be applied aromatically (diffusion), topically, and internally.
METABOLISM and MENTAL AND EMOTIONAL HEALTH
Proper metabolic levels are critical to mental health. Levels that are too high, too low, or that fluctuate affect attention span, concentration, mood and affect (your expressions and “sparkle). The lower the metabolic rate, the lower the animation. Conversely, an abnormally high metabolic rate can lead to an inability to be calm.
Your thyroid is a key organ in the endocrine system, and its main role is to regulate metabolism. Sometimes, these abnormal metabolic rates are the result of hypothyroidism (too low) or hyperthyroidism (too high). Thyroid hormones act on almost every kind of cell in the body to stimulate cellular activity. In the case of hypothyroidism, too few hormones are released and your metabolic rate slows down, making it hard to lose weight and leading to many other effects, such as fatigue and weakness, joint pain, infertility, and heart disease. To learn more about how the thyroid works, see www.endocrineweb.com/conditions/thyroid/how-your-thyroid-works. Consult your physician if you think your thyroid may not be functioning properly. There are a number of essential oils and home-based protocols that may support proper functioning of your thyroid.
FINAL THOUGHTS and an INVITATION
Autoimmune disorders, other gut bacteria imbalances, and external factors (such as drug use, antibiotics, antibacterial cleaners and toxic/hormone disrupting ingredients in household products) can also contribute to improper metabolic functioning.
Wellness Made Simple is here to offer products, educational resources, and custom strategies to revolutionize the way you do well. We want to prepare you to enter the new year with a simple, workable plan to optimize YOUR metabolism. You are warmly invited to contact me for more details on how to get started.