Do You Have a “Sluggish Metabolism”?

Does it seem to take a LOT of work for you to reach your ideal weight?

In my experience with clients, I have found that usually there are two scenarios where this happens.

Woman with sluggish metabolism

One is that the person has a sluggish metabolism.

The other is that the person is yo-yo dieting or just unable to stick to a set of consistent habits that bring about the desired weight loss permanently.

It is very important to identify which one applies to you because it will determine your course of action.

When I meet with prospective clients I ask a series of questions to try to identify this distinction.

I’m going to provide you with some questions to ponder here.

If you answer yes to ANY of the following questions, it means that you MIGHT have a sluggish metabolism.

  1. Do you eat less than 800-900 calories per day and still struggle to lose or maintain your weight?
  2. Do you exercise for over an hour every day and still struggle to lose or maintain your weight?
  3. Does eating out or “cheating” on a diet just once cause you to gain two or more pounds?
  4. Do you notice that it is very easy for you to gain weight and very hard to lose weight compared to others?
  5. Do you have a high level of chronic stress?
  6. Do you have poor sleep habits or insomnia?
  7. Are you sensitive to many foods or have a lot of inflammation in your body?
  8. Do you have elevated blood sugar, insulin resistance, or type 2 diabetes?
  9. Do you take a medication that is known to cause weight gain?
  10. Do you suffer from moderate to severe hormonal imbalances?

On the other hand, here are some questions to get an idea if it is more about finding the right consistent habits.

  1. Are you someone who loses weight when you stick to something consistently?
  2. Have you lost weight successfully in the past when you followed a specific diet that wasn’t super strict?
  3. Do you watch your eating but are not exercising consistently and regularly?
  4. Do you exercise but don’t watch your diet?
  5. Do you drink more than 2 alcoholic beverages per week?
  6. Have you been unsuccessful in losing weight by just “being careful” or “eating fewer carbs” but you haven’t actually tracked what you are eating?

Based on this knowledge about yourself, I would recommend the following different approaches.

For a sluggish metabolism:

  1. Focus on your health rather than the scale. Improved health = improved metabolism. This may take a long time so make sure you are focusing on doing it for your health, not to lose weight. And be sure to love the practices you are doing. If you are suffering during your workouts and eating low-carb even though you hate it…you are only making yourself miserable. This is NOT holistic health-building and certainly not sustainable.
  2. Do NOT approach the problem with extreme measures such as over-exercising or starving yourself. This will only make the problem worse!
  3. Acceptance is key. The fact is that you cannot control your weight. You can only control your attitude and your actions. Taking action is much easier if you accept the reality of having a sluggish metabolism. Perhaps the best action is to do daily meditations of self-love and compassion rather than blaming yourself for something you cannot control. This could be a path of self-discovery and personal growth for you.
  4. Addressing a sluggish metabolim needs to be a multi-faceted approach. Combining medical treatments with lifestyle and mindset changes may move the dial.
  5. For numbers 9-10 above, I highly recommend speaking to a healthcare professional about addressing these issues. For example, if you are taking a medication that is known to cause weight gain, perhaps there is an alternative. Ask your doctor. Another example is if you have hormonal imbalances, you may benefit from hormone therapy. Ask your doctor.

For finding the consistent habits that work for you:

  1. Make a commitment to focus on your health. If that includes losing weight for you then that is fine. But health comes first, okay?
  2. Once you make that commitment find one thing you can do, one small action you can ADD to your lifestyle today to move the dial in the right direction. It could be committing to eating 2 additional servings of veggies/day. It could be committing to increasing your physical activity by 5 minutes or switching up your workouts to be a little more challenging.
  3. Find an accountability buddy. This could be a friend or a professional. If you have had trouble with yo-yo dieting in the past then you know that accountability is key for success.
  4. Make sure that you create habits gradually and with things that you truly enjoy doing. There is no point in doing another crash diet. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results, right? Try something different. Try taking pure pleasure in all of your health-building endeavors.

I hope these questions and suggestions are helpful for you.

If you are committed to improving your health and you would like some guidance on this, I invite you to get on a free clarity call with me. We can explore if either of these scenarios applies to you and what your next best steps might be.

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