Updated: Feb 25, 2019
Are you fighting to stay awake throughout the day?
Can't seem to lose that stubborn weight?
Have you tried everything but aren't achieving the results you want?
It might be the result of a slower metabolism.
But there's good news! You can fix it!
There are a few small changes you can make today that will dramatically affect your health. They might sound a little crazy, but they work.
And that's not all...
Not only will these changes supercharge your metabolism, they will also help you lose weight, increase energy, lower stress, and achieve more focus.
Too good to be true?
Not at all! Give these 5 unconventional strategies a shot and see for yourself how much better you feel.
1. FEEL THE RELIEF OF HAVING 1-3 BOWEL MOVEMENTS PER DAY.
Did you know that less than 1 bowel movement a day means you are constipated?
Not as crazy as it sounds.
According to STAT, "[constipation is] the reason for millions of clinic visits each year and more than 700,000 emergency department trips. The number of people admitted to the hospital primarily for constipation has more than doubled since 1997." They go on to site a case in which someone died from a perforated colon caused by his constipation.
A bit extreme?
Perhaps, but constipation is no joking matter (as anyone who has suffered from it can attest).
You see, if you're not pooping then you are recirculating toxins in your body, which directly affects your metabolism and overall health.
Not only does constipation keep toxins in your body, it can also increase fat storage.
When your body is exposed to toxins it tries to protect you by storing the toxin in fat. Not only that, it also decreases the rate that fat is burned so that those toxins are not released back into the blood.
Your body is trying to protect you by holding on to your fat.
This is a protective mechanism can unfortunately cause people to gain weight and feel fatigued.
And that's not all!
Constipation also indicates that you may have an imbalance in your gut bacteria. The microbes in your gut produce compounds that travel to the liver and can directly impact the metabolism of sugars and fats.
Curing your constipation is simpler than you think - but it's not easy.
It requires changing your diet, exercising, and controlling stress. It may also require doctor intervention if you have an imbalance or medical issue causing the constipation.
The best thing to do is speak with a functional medicine doctor about your bathroom habits and other symptoms you are experiencing. They can help.
You may also benefit from a 10-Day Reset. This detox program can:
Recharge your metabolism
Increase your energy
Break cravings to sugar and processed food
Reduce stress and reset your mind
To learn more, visit https://www.modrnmed.com/programs.
2. GET YOUR THYROID TESTED TO MAKE SURE IT'S WORKING PROPERLY
UP TO 60% OF THOSE WITH THYROID DISEASE ARE UNAWARE OF THEIR CONDITION
If your thyroid is not functioning properly, it affects your entire body - not just your metabolism.
Symptoms of below optimal thyroid production include:
inability to lose weight
hair loss/dry hair
cold hands and feet
puffiness around the eyes
longer recovery time needed after activity
Having some of these symptoms does not mean you have hypothyroidism since these can also be symptoms of many other things.
The best way to know is to have your thyroid hormone tested by a functional medicine doctor.
In functional medicine, we use a much narrower range than your conventional medical doctor to define what optimal thyroid hormone production should be.
In conventional medicine, it is considered "standard of care" to run a screening thyroid stimulating hormone (TSH) test before ordering any other thyroid lab tests. TSH is a hormone released by the pituitary gland that signals the thyroid to make more thyroid hormone.
If everything is working properly, the body balances TSH levels with an inherent negative feedback mechanism to decrease TSH when circulating thyroid hormone is high, and to increase TSH when circulating thyroid hormone is low.
But there are three major issues with relying on TSH as the SOLE parameter:
PROBLEM 1: MISLEADING REFERENCE RANGE
The range for "normal" TSH of 0.5-5.0 is misleading and is the main reason for the epidemic of under-diagnosed thyroid conditions. Many individuals will find themselves right in the middle of that range around 3, yet feeling miserable and left with no answer as to why.
Not only do these broad reference ranges leave many people in misery, but they also allow thyroid disorders to silently progress until they become "bad enough" to treat!
PROBLEM 2: TSH IS AN INDIRECT MARKER
TSH should reflect the level of actual circulating thyroid hormone, but in some cases, our internal feedback mechanisms can be a little off!
This happens most often when an issue arises with the hypothalamus or pituitary. There are a number of reasons for hypothalamic and pituitary dysfunction, including, but not limited to: a traumatic brain injury, severe blood loss during childbirth, past or present eating disorders, PTSD, and even significant chronic stress.
PROBLEM 3: PARTIAL AND INCOMPLETE PICTURE
Running TSH only gives us ONE piece of a very complex puzzle.
Thyroid issues can arise from a number of areas. It is not only important to get a full thyroid picture for proper detection, but it is also crucial for proper treatment.
Thyroid replacement is not the only treatment that should be initiated with a thyroid condition, and it is important to know where the pathway went awry, so further work can go into detecting and addressing the root cause.
For these reasons, many thyroid specialists have developed their own functional ranges to detect a system that isn't functioning optimally. This allows them to initiate supportive measurements to alleviate symptoms and stop the progression into a more serious thyroid condition.
LACK OF SLEEP CAUSES AN INCREASE IN OUR HUNGER HORMONES, MAKING IT MORE DIFFICULT TO MAINTAIN OR LOSE WEIGHT (2).
"Getting enough sleep can be more important than what you eat."
But is he correct?
This video gives you some more background on Shawn's shocking statement.
He's not alone in his belief...
According to The Sleep Doctor, Dr. Breus, "A fascinating study from researchers at the University of Colorado found that one week of sleeping about 5 hours a night led participants to gain an average of 2 pounds."
60-70% of growth hormone is secreted during sleep (3). Growth Hormone is responsible for building muscle, reducing fat mass, and improving bone density.
When we don't get enough sleep, our hunger increases and makes it harder for us to maintain or lose weight.
Sleep also resets your cortisol/melatonin rhythm. Ideally, cortisol is highest in the morning, allowing you to burn fuels and feel alert, and is lowest at night allowing for restful sleep and repair. Which means if you don't get enough sleep, you're actually further decreasing your chances of getting enough sleep. It's a vicious cycle.
“Sleep is important for pretty much every one of your physical systems,” says Janet K. Kennedy, PhD, clinical psychologist and founder of NYC Sleep Doctor. “Sleep deprivation leads to deficits in cognitive functioning, whether it’s reaction time, decision-making, or memory.” This interview from The Daily Burn indicates sleep is important for all bodily functions, not just weight control.
Ok, so sleep is important. But how do you fix it?
This quick video gives some tips on improving your sleep tonight.
I also recommend the article 8 Tips for Beating Insomnia and Improving Your Sleep by Dr. Chris Kresser.
4. INCREASE YOUR POWER BY STANDING:
SITTING IS THE NEW SMOKING. SITTING ALL DAY MAY PROMOTE INSULIN RESISTANCE, EVEN IF YOU DECREASE THE AMOUNT OF FOOD YOU INTAKE TO MATCH THE REDUCED CALORIC EXPENDITURE (4).
"Sitting is more dangerous than smoking, kills more people than HIV and is more treacherous than parachuting. We are sitting ourselves to death," says James Levine, a professor of medicine at the Mayo Clinic, in an interview in with the LA Times. "The chair is out to kill us."
You may be thinking, "I exercise several times a week so this is not a problems for me." But Professor Marc Hamilton, Ph.D. from the Pennington Biomedical Research Center tells Men’s Health, “We see it in people who smoke and people who don’t. We see it in people who are regular exercisers and those who aren’t. Sitting is an independent risk factor.”
He further explains, “The cure for too much sitting isn’t more exercise. Exercise is good, of course, but the average person could never do enough to counteract the effect of hours and hours of chair time (Start Standing, 2018)."
But why does this matter?
Using your stabilizing muscles to stand promotes insulin sensitivity and may prevent metabolic conditions such as diabetes and obesity.
In addition, one study suggests that “power posing” may increase testosterone levels and decrease cortisol levels; making the perfect recipe for a happy metabolism (5).
Many experts recommend that the best way to start is to set an alert on your phone or computer to remind you to stand up every 20 minutes, even if it’s just for a few minutes.
Gradually extend your periods of standing, and increase your frequency of taking short walks. Many standing desk users will stand or walk every time they have to make a phone call (Start Standing, 2018).
Increase your standing time everyday to supercharge your metabolism.
5. LIMIT ALCOHOL:
Ok, I know this is not always the most popular step, but it is one you should think twice about.
Alcohol is a toxin. In addition to the negative effects that toxins have on your ability to mobilize fat for fuel, alcohol may decrease thyroid production, directly reducing your metabolism.
People who drink heavily have a greater risk of liver disease, heart disease, sleep disorders, depression, stroke, bleeding from the stomach, sexually transmitted infections from unsafe sex, and several types of cancer. They may have problems managing diabetes, high blood pressure, and other conditions. For more information, see Beyond Hangovers.
MEN: CHRONIC ALCOHOL CONSUMPTION MAY DECREASE TESTOSTERONE LEVELS.
Low testosterone has too many side effects to mention in one article but the most pertinent one is weight gain. A few others are:
reduced muscle mass
and the list goes on
Alcohol can also increase cortisol levels, contributing to negative effects on sleep (see #3).
Try reducing alcohol consumption for one week and see how you feel. Take note of how you sleep, eat, and function during the day and compare that to your typically weekly drinking.
Even if you don't go cold turkey, try to reduce your weekly consumption. Your body (and liver) will thank you.
These 5 strategies for supercharging your metabolism are just the beginning. There are several other steps you can take to make a difference, not only in your metabolism, but your overall health.
Consulting with a functional medicine doctor can help put you on the road to greater health. Visit MODRNmed.com/services to see how we can help.
Want more information on increasing your metabolism? Schedule a free consultation with a doctor to learn about what we can offer.