Last week, I had the opportunity to have a lecture at the Festival of Health, in Sofia, Bulgaria. The topic I spoke about – the indications we could track, in order to find out the state of our metabolism and of course what we could do in order to make our metabolism faster. In this post, I will share with you two signals of the body that you could easily track. Thus, you can understand what the state of your body is and you could observe how changing your nutrition and your activity levels, influences these signals.
Many people say that they have slow metabolism, and they understand the word metabolism, just by how quickly a person is able to lose weight and how much unwanted fat he carries. In reality, metabolism is the sum of all processes which sustain life. From this, we could derive the idea that ow quickly we lose weight and how we look is a result of how well our body functions and how smoothly different processes happen. If we follow this logic, this means that if we want to lose weight, we need to take care of our body so it can receive the building blocks, which will help it function well, so we do not compromise certain processes.
More often than not, the shortest way to slow our metabolism is through inadequate diets and inadequate amount of physical activity. This is true for most women. Usually, the diets we follow, harm our body and it always alarms us with some symptoms. In the next couple paragraphs, you will understand what I am talking about.
1.Body temperature as an indication for slow metabolism
Body temperature, obeys a particular 24 hour rhythm. Usually, our temperature is lowest during the night. In the morning, if we have an appropriate breakfast, this should help to increase our body temperature and in the late afternoon it should reach its peak.
It is no coincidence that there are some guiding numbers for our basal body temperature. This is the temperature that allows all processes in the body to happen with ease.
Decreased body temperature is an indication for slow metabolism. The first couple times, when I encountered this information, I was reading the books of Broda Barnes. I sincerely recommend them. I also follow the work of Matt Stone and Ray Peat.
You know how when we are sick, our temperature increases. This stimulates the immune system to work even more actively, so it can cope with the intruders.
When the body temperature decreases, this weakens the immune system. For every degree that the temperature decreases, the immune system weakens with about 30%. Now let’s get back to metabolism and diets.
Most women, think that it is normal to have cold extremities. In reality, this is one of the main indications for problems with metabolism and too much stress in the body. When the body is in a state of stress, it concentrates its functions around the organs and the systems that are focused in the middle (said simply) and it compromises the systems in the periphery. This is why the bloodstream is concentrated towards functions that have priority and in this manner the extremities are left cold.
Body temperature between 35.5 and 35.6 degrees Celsius is a common condition and sometimes it is considered normal. I used to be one of the people who had a temperature of 35.6, when I was dieting pretty hard and in an unhealthy manner. I had problems with cold feet and hands, and even my fingers got white when I was walking outside, in winter. I used to fool myself that this is normal, but today I know it is not.
This is why you can start measuring your body temperature (do it throughout the same period of the day) and track how it changes, depending on what you eat and the amount of physical activity you perform, as well as the amount of sleep you get.
If you have a history of a lot of dieting, then you need to increase your food intake. Make sure that you do not skip the breakfast, because it is one way to decrease the cortisol, which is at its peak in the morning and increase the body temperature, which is an indication that your metabolism is faster.
Besides that, make sure that you have enough starchy carbs (it might be once a day, but do not skip them) and combination of salt and fat. This is like a magical formula to return the homeostasis of your body.
2.The sleepiness and tiredness after you had a meal
This is something, which people often share: “I had lunch and then I suddenly felt like sleeping.” Now, I will explain you what happens in the body and how feeling chill and calm after a meals is normal and when it might be an indication for too much stress and slow metabolism.
One of the roles of food is to decrease the levels of stress in the body – as I explained, in the morning, cortisol is higher and when we eat, this decreases cortisol. The same is true for in between meals and there is nothing wrong with higher cortisol up to a certain level. When we eat, the stress in the body decreases and in the absence of stress, the body becomes calm. Let’s take lunch for an example. When we eat, insulin increases. When insulin increases, cortisol and the activity of the sympathetic nervous system, as a whole, decreases, which makes us feel relaxed. When is this beyond normal?
When just a little bit after a meal, you have a strong desire to sleep and you have really low energy levels. It happens like that, because the more stress there is in the body, prior to eating, the more extreme will be the change in the body and the shutting of the levels of stress. If you have read my post about Anna and the hypothalamic amenorrhea, you already know how through her recovery, Anna had the same “food coma”, as Matt Stone calls it. Usually, it happened after lunch and even though she was already eating more, through the first couple months, she constantly felt like sleeping and she had low energy levels. When you are more conscious about your body, and when you know you have already made the steps to recovery, you just need more patience, in order for this feeling to go back in the frames of the normal.
If you are going through something similar, this is an indication for too much stress in the body and you need to identify the roots of it. Probably it is not enough sleep? Not enough food or too much activity that doesn’t match your energy intake? Or probably it is a combination of everything.