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?
The Institute for the Psychology of Eating
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