When health markers are not within the normal range, it is your body’s way of communicating. It is begging for your attention. Your heart, pancreas, thyroid and other organs cannot speak to you directly but they can send you signals that should grab your attention.
Do you feel tired all the time?
Do you wake frequently at night?
Do you feel hungry between meals, even if you’ve just eaten?
Do you crave candy, soda, coffee or any stimulant especially in the mid afternoon?
If you answered yes to at least one of these questions, you have some of the classic symptoms of a metabolic disadvantage. An underlying medical condition is likely blocking your every attempt to lose weight, improve energy levels or health.
Metabolic overdrive (MO) is the result of environmental stress and its impact on revving up metabolism. There are many different ways this happens. MO occurs: when you are stressed, after tossing back a triple shot espresso, with excess exercise, with eating from a toxic food supply containing refined/processed foods or with a lack of sleep. Being exposed to one or more of these metabolic stresses for long periods of time causes burn out to organs that work to achieve balance by counteracting these metabolic stressors. Most people assume the goal is to speed up their metabolism. Yet, this is not true and can make MO worse.
Stress and lack of sleep, for example, cause the adrenal glands to overproduce the stress hormone cortisol and keep levels elevated. Cortisol is released as part of the fight or flight response to a perceived threat to survival. When cortisol increases, so does blood glucose, in order to provide your muscles with fuel to fight or flee. The problem is that your muscle cells don’t need the glucose when you are responding to emotional stress or lack of sleep, so the hormone insulin increases to shuttle the excess glucose into your fat cells—usually the ones in your abdomen. In an overspent state, insulin does this very efficiently. Too much insulin causes blood glucose to drop too quickly. You crave the one thing that can quickly raise blood glucose: sugar. If you turn to sugar – as most people under stress do–glucose rises, insulin rises, glucose falls. You’re hungry again. You’re like a gambler with a huge wad of cash in your pocket. Sometimes you win and sometimes you lose, but you generally lose more than you win, and the cash starts to dwindle.
Overdrive can also result from eating a lot of sugar, HFCS, and refined foods. In this case, blood sugar rapidly rises and falls, and so does insulin. To compensate for the volatility of rapid rises and falls in sugar and hormones, the metabolism runs fast. In fact, many people who have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) are fairly slender. It’s not until they progress to the “metabolic resistance stage” that they start to gain weight.
MO can impact all of these metabolic systems: thyroid, adrenal, pancreas, sex hormones and the gut. Find out how next week.