Thursday, May 21, 2009

Our Metabolisms...

I’m posting about something a bit different today. Hope that’s alright with ya’ll! Instead of beating you over the head about working out (which I will most likely resume again next week) I am going to talk about our lovely metabolisms and some things that can effect them.

Well the fact that we are women is already one strike against us. Men naturally have higher metabolisms which is why they can just think about losing weight and drop 10 lbs! Well, my husband can anyway.

Age can also work against us. All throughout my weight loss journey I have compared myself to what I was in high school or in college. All while not taking into consideration that back then I played sports year around: competitive softball and basketball, and then the major facts that I have given birth to two of the most amazing children! So why again can’t I look like I did when I was 18??? Because not only does everything start to gravitate down, it also slows down!

My metabolism right now at the age of 29 is not what it was 10 years ago, nor will it be the same 10 years from now. There are SO many people out there (my very parents are some of them) that don’t understand why they can’t eat the way they used to. I tend to get the, “I have been eating this way my whole life and now I’m just packing on the weight. What on earth can I do?” Well, stop eating that way is one thing they can do! They can start cutting portions in half, OR try eating the same way with added exercise. Now by doing this they will only “maintain”, in order to lose weight they will need to cut portion sizes, choose healthier options, and add exercise. It’s all about the calories taken in Versus the calories going out!

It just so happened that when I was thinking about posting on metabolism I got an email from Jillian Michaels’ Newsletter which I signed up for a while back. Here is what she had to say about how Stress affects the metabolism:

Stress Got Your Metabolism Down?

I'm sure you've heard of the fight-or-flight response, and you probably know that it's the way your body reacts to danger or stress. But do you know what the fight-or-flight response is? You guessed it: It has to do with hormones.

When you're faced with a danger, your adrenal glands release three hormones: norepinephrine, epinephrine (also known as adrenaline), and cortisol. Norepinephrine and epinephrine cause several changes to help you survive the danger, including a pause in insulin release so you have lots of blood sugar available for energy, an increase in heart rate and blood pressure, and a suspension of your appetite. After the danger has passed, cortisol tells the body to stop producing norepinephrine and epinephrine and stimulates your appetite again.

This response evolved to help people deal with short-term survival situations, like an attack by a predator. The trouble is, it occurs in response to all stressors, including the deadlines pummeling you at work and the traffic that drives you crazy. When stress is always present, your body can't get rid of the excess cortisol built up in the blood. That cortisol just hangs around, causing lots of trouble: It turns young fat cells into mature fat cells that stick with you forever, and increases your cravings for high-fat, high-carb foods.

When you give in to those cravings, your body releases a cascade of rewarding brain chemicals that can set up an addictive relationship with food — you stress, you eat. If you don't consciously control the pattern, you can become physically and psychologically dependent on that release to manage stress. In fact, people who self-medicate with food tend have hair-trigger epinephrine reactions and chronic high levels of cortisol.

You can help yourself keep cortisol in check by limiting caffeine intake to 200 milligrams a day; avoiding simple carbs, processed foods, and refined grains; and getting plenty of high-quality protein. It's also crucial that you find stress-relief techniques that work for you. If you can tame your stress response and lower cortisol levels, you'll have a much easier time losing weight.

(Michaels 2009)

A factor on metabolism that I have had to personally deal with has been my Thyroid. Hypothyroidism (and under active thyroid) is very common among women, especially as we get older. I started having problems after the birth of my son. I struggled to lose weight even with running 4 miles a day, and then just gave up because when he was 12 months old I got pregnant with my daughter. I was put on Synthroid (75mg) throughout my whole pregnancy. It wasn’t until my daughter was about 2 months old that they slowly had to start increasing the dosage. I stayed at the same dosage of 125 mg for about 6 months and this is when I started really working out hard (June of 2008), then jumped up to 150 mg. It wasn’t until 2 weeks ago that I started feeling flat out exhausted and irritable. I even feel asleep for an hour with my kids unsupervised which scares the living daylights out of me (and I only woke up because my son started playing his drums in the basement). So, I went to have my thyroid rechecked.

For those of you who don’t know much about thyroid ranges, they are backwards. The ranges are .3 to 5 (.3 meaning you have an OVER active thyroid and 5 meaning you have an UNDER active thyroid). They have recently been wanting to change these ranges to .3 to 3. With this being said, my came back a whopping 9 – which explained why I have been feeling so stinking dreadful! I am now on 200 mg of Synthroid and praying that it takes effect soon! This is the highest dose that I have ever had to take.

With hypothyroidism there are many different symptoms. Click
HERE to go to a website to view all symptoms. They symptoms that I have had have been fatigue, weakness, sensitivity to cold, difficulty losing weight, joint pain, and brittle fingernails.

Now back to the stress thing… I personally feel that either my Thyroid is slowly going kaput or the stress that I’ve been under lately with selling our house is beginning to get to me (I get stressed out pretty easily). Of course everything that I’ve been reading has been saying, “In order to distress try exercising.” – CHECK! “Try eating healthy.” – CHECK! “Try getting more sleep.” Well, can I technically say CHECK when I’m sleeping for an hour while my 3 ½ year old and 20 month old are running loose around my house??? And finally “Eliminate the stress.” - Well shoot… if I could only sell my house it would be eliminated!!!

Our metabolisms are being hit at all different angles. The best way to keep it revved up is by fueling it with the proper nutrition and by staying active with exercise!

I am planning on reading Jillian Michaels’ Master Your Metabolism over my summer vacation. As you all probably know by now I’m a HUGE fan of hers. Sandy over at God Speak’s Today is currently reading it and has only had good things to say.

Speaking of Sandy, hop on over to read her Fitness Friday post. She is now having anyone join who wants to right about health and fitness through using Mr. Linking. I KNOW… It’s just great!


Michele Williams said...

Great information! I guess it has been stess that has caused my weight loss stand still! This past month my step father passed away and it was very stessful on the family... also I am preparing to go to Pennsylvania on Sunday via motorhome across country for 2 months. I will visit my mom and family. Some good ideas you have... with all my health problems that is why the doctors say I can't loose weight! But I will and I can!!! Nothing is impossible with God!!

Sandy at God Speaks Today said...

Great info, Sarah! I was thinking about posting about metabolism too this week, but I didn't have the energy to research it....sort of ironic, eh? Yes, you will love Master Your Metabolism. I'm still reading it and I'm still loving it.

Over the last 25 years, I've had to cut what I've eaten every few years to maintain this same weight. I've also had to increase exercise. It's a big eye-opener, for sure.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Dani Joy said...

so this is about you? Michaels 2009? what did that mean. It must be so tough to have a thyroid prob. I will definitely keep it in mind just in case.
I hope you can sell your house soon! Another way to get rid of stress and I know it´s easier said than done..
"Turn your eyes upon Jesus. Look full in his wonderful face, and the things of Earth will seem strangely dim in the light of His Glory and Grace!"

Heleen said...

Hi Sarah
I love your blog! and the info on this post is just great! I am slowly discovering the "world of blogs" that you guys are all part of, and loving it!