Metabolism 101- Understanding the basics (part-1)
Talk to anyone about weight loss, weight gain, health or exercise and then hold your breath until you hear the word metabolism.
Don’t worry, you won’t be holding your breath for too long.
Before you can say “bad and boujee”, you will hear about speeding it up, slowing it down, revving it up and then finally crashing it, as if your metabolism was some type of sports car.
However, your metabolism is not a sports car, nor does it function like one, but talking about it as if it were a sports car, can lead you down the heavily commuted road of “hustling backwards”.
So in order to help you achieve your health goals, it is essential that we cover the basics. Many times we unknowingly work to create our structure for health on a shaky foundation of popular terms like macros, starvation mode, metabolic window, meal frequency, alkaline, parasites and so on and so forth. Regardless of which direction those terms take you, without having a grasp on the basics, everything else will only serve as a tool to confuse you.
Having a foundation built on the basics, will protect us from common hustles and sensationalization, while keeping us in the reality realm once we start hearing terms like “revving” and “crashing”. Staying in the reality realm is vital if you want avoid “hustling backwards”.
So what is it?
Metabolism is essentially a word to describe a series of naturally occurring process in the human body, to not only keep you alive, but working towards striving and thriving as well.
These processes range from:
- Activities you can control (e.g. physical activity, standing, walking, jumping, sitting up etc.).
- Activities you don’t directly control (e.g. temperature, heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients, hormone production, sleep cycles & toxins etc.)..
If it plays a role in keeping you alive, reproducing and feeling well, it is incorporated in this wholelistic system we call metabolism. Within this wholelistic system, there are multiple parts, that also have parts, that vary from individual to individual, making it a complex network that can’t be placed in a box or black and white terms and ideologies.
However, there’s levels to this. Meaning that not everyone’s metabolism is functioning the same way. In fact your metabolism could be functioning very differently than it was last month, based on adaptations that it felt was necessary for survival and efficiency.
This is a very important part to make note of. Your metabolism is constantly working towards efficient survival, followed by reproduction and happiness, or the feeling of wellness. Thus, your metabolism is constantly adapting to conditions you are exposed to and any information you are consuming, in order to keep you alive.
I say all that to say this, “your metabolism is at, where it’s at, because that’s where it’s supposed to be at”.
This is key to understand! Your metabolism is actually making adaptations moment by moment, to keep you alive, all while most of us are being lead to believe that it’s working against you and your goals.
This idea that your metabolism is working against you, couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, many of our actions could be seen as working against our metabolism. The truth is, your metabolism is your homie, your ace, your ride or die and the bonnie to your clyde, and we should be very careful how we allow others to frame our perspective about it and it’s role.
While we focus on the fantasy of fat loss and health improvement, your metabolism focuses on the actual information that is being consumed, to create a reality, that may or may not be real. Your metabolism will now make adjustments based on that reality it is responding to. It is here where the conflict lies between the metabolism and conscious individual lives.
If you are constantly experiencing certain stressors, this as well requires your metabolism to adapt. Stress should not be limited to an arrogant co-worker or being cut off in traffic, nor should it be limited to things that are done to us. In fact, some of the most effective stressors are the ones that are self imposed, such as constantly thumb swiping up and taking in a newsfeed of pure ratchetness, while unknowingly taking it in as our own, only to feel drained afterwards.
Certain stressors may require that your blood pressure and blood sugar be increased, while other stressor may make digestion and reproduction less of a priority. In addition, certain stressor may require that your body hold of to fat, rather than decrease it, no matter how little you eat or how much you workout.
As you can see thus far, very little has been mentioned about calories. This is not to say that it is not important, but it’s definitely not the main star of the show. The main star of the show is you, in your entirety, as a whole.
In addition, there has not been any mention of this magical equation that will take your height, weight and age, to tell you how much calories you should be eating to lose weight.
So when people talk about fast and slow metabolism, I do understand the message that is trying to be conveyed, but I need for us all to understand the actual reality.
Your metabolism is not fast or slow, rather it is right where it needs to be to function at that time, based on the conditions it is experiencing. If your metabolism does not do what it does, not only would you die, the process would be a rather tortuous one.
In other words, “your metabolism is at, where it’s at, because that’s where it’s supposed to be at”.
Getting the results many of us are looking for requires a basic understanding of the body, that I know will feel very intuitive to many, as well as non confusing.
In part 2 of this series, we will start to go into how our metabolism adapts, which in turn causes many to start using terms like “revving” and “crashing”, but for now this will suffice as an opener.
In the mean time, be sure to download our free ebook, “The Nutrition Manifesto”.
In closing, if you only take one thing from this message, regardless of the grammar used, let it be this, “your metabolism is at, where it’s at, because that’s where it’s supposed to be at”.
Edward C.A.S.H. Williams