Metabolism Lessons from the Sea Turtle

It often amazes how many people I meet who say they want a faster metabolism. The promise seems to be that the faster one’s metabolism is, the more you’ll be a lean, mean, calorie-burning machine with the ability to conquer the world with an abundance of energy and a hot body. Over the years, this is the number one complaint I hear from clients – “my metabolism is too slow.” Well, when I was in Hawaii this summer, I spent a little time with someone who is scientifically documented as having the slowest metabolism on planet Earth.

The sea turtle.

What’s fascinating is that by virtue of having the slowest metabolism, the turtle lives longer than any other creature. And it stays pretty healthy too. Sounds like a great benefit of being a slow metabolizer. Compare the turtle to the organisms with the fastest metabolism documented – shrews, and other tiny rodents – and you’ll see that the highest metabolizers have the tiniest life spans. And they’re annoying and they eat a lot.

My point is this:

Throw out what you think you know about metabolism and the weight and health benefits you expect from having a high speed chemistry.

Many people mistake “high stress” for “high metabolism.” We think that “the more I push myself, the busier I am, the harder I exercise, the more I am running on adrenaline, the greater my calorie-burning metabolism.” And nothing could be further from the scientific truth.

Calorie burning metabolism, or thermic efficiency, is a function of many different factors when it comes to the human animal. And strangely enough, the more stress the human organism is under, the greater the chance of weight gain, or inability to lose weight. Cortisol and insulin, two of our primary stress hormones, play a large role in this propensity for weight gain to follow stress. So the bottom line is this:


By slowing down, by not moving so fast, pushing so hard, and driving yourself with anxiety and fear – you actually increase your calorie burning metabolism. High- speed living has created a nation of stressed souls who can’t understand why their metabolism isn’t right. Well, how could our metabolism be at it’s fullest potential if we aren’t operating at our fullest human potential?

So, don’t be like a rodent. Be like a sea turtle. Go slower, check things out, watch, listen, make each movement count, cruise through the waters of life, and don’t be in such a rush to have a speedy metabolism…

How would you describe the speed and efficiency of your metabolism? How might more “slow” be a good thing in your life?

Warm Regards,

Marc David
The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
© Institute For The Psychology of Eating, All Rights Reserved, 2014


The Slow Down Diet: Eating for Pleasure, Energy, and Weight Loss

Get My Book!

Get Your FREE Video Series

New Insights to Forever Transform Your Relationship with Food

P.S. If you haven’t had a chance to check out our FREE information-packed video series, The Dynamic Eating Psychology Breakthrough, you can sign up for it HERE. It’s a great way to get a better sense of the work we do here at the Institute for the Psychology of Eating. If you’re inspired by this work and want to learn about how you can become certified as an Eating Psychology Coach, please go HERE to learn more. And if you’re interested in working on your own personal relationship with food, check out our breakthrough 8-week program designed for the public, Transform Your Relationship with Food, HERE.

About The Author
Marc David

Marc David is the Founder of the Institute for the Psychology of Eating, a leading visionary, teacher and consultant in Nutritional Psychology, and the author of the classic and best-selling works Nourishing Wisdom and The Slow Down Diet. His work has been featured on CNN, NBC and numerous media outlets. His books have been translated into over 10 languages, and his approach appeals to a wide audience of eaters who are looking for fresh, inspiring and innovative messages about food, body and soul. He lectures internationally, and has held senior consulting positions at Canyon Ranch Resorts, the Kripalu Center for Yoga and Health, the Johnson & Johnson Corporation, and the Disney Company. Marc is also the co-founder of the Institute for Conscious Sexuality and Relationship.