Metabolic health is so much more than the commercialized concept of ‘skinny’ that’s used to shame us into buying whatever diet regimen or workout plan. Which is why we’re busting this myth.
Metabolic health is balance
Yes, being severely overweight or obese is often a sign of metabolic imbalance. But metabolic health is not merely the absence of fat. If it were, then no thin person would ever be diagnosed with diabetes or pre-diabetes.
Here’s a better picture of metabolic health:
- having sustained energy
- a positive mood
- solid sleep
- vitality enough to do your favorite sports and activities
- the reasonable enjoyment of delicious foods and drinks
And far from being ‘skinny’, metabolic health is having enough muscle to increase your metabolic rate and absorb glucose after a meal.
You don’t achieve balance by shooting for ‘skinny’
A person could be metabolically healthy with a great quality of life, while carrying an ‘extra’ thirty pounds. Another person could be insulin resistant with high blood pressure while receiving compliments about how ‘skinny’ they are. You don’t know until you’ve seen the inner workings of that person.
A better indicator of metabolic health is how much muscle you have and how much you move on a regular basis.
So many of the things we do to achieve ‘skinny’ are actually harmful to our metabolic health
Did you know that extended calorie reduction actually decreases your metabolic rate?
And this happens with a concurrent increase in hunger hormones like ghrelin, which is why most dieters will regain their lost weight (and then some).
Extreme exercise does the same thing. It increases your calorie needs, usually with the assumption that you won’t eat enough to meet that need. So you lose weight for a time until your metabolic rate decreases so that your body is forced to regain what you’ve lost once your raging hunger hormones overpower your will.
Oh, and nobody’s happy when they’re not eating enough. Happiness is a huge part of health—and stress kills, metabolically speaking.
There’s also the sleep aspect, too—you can’t sleep well when you feel underfed. (Sleep being the ultimate metabolic health hack.)
Metabolic health is striking a balance between exercising and relaxing, between eating and fasting.
It’s ensuring that your blood glucose is stable by eating foods that are uniquely healthy for you—and simultaneously indulging here and there.
It’s caring about your body without obsessing over it. It’s prioritizing sleep so that your cells are primed to burn energy rather than store it.