So what is metabolic flexibility?
It’s your capacity to adapt to different fuels. So, if you’re on a low-carb diet, you can switch to a high-carb diet, and your body will adjust. and your metabolism is fairly good.
Now the first thing I want to mention is that there are very few people that have metabolic flexibility; most people have metabolic inflexibility.
So they start going from high carb to low carb and then from high carb to low carb, and every time they do that, they have a harder and harder time getting into ketosis and adapting.
Furthermore, when they go back and forth because they’re having a cheat day or can’t seem to be consistent, they actually slow their metabolism over time.
What causes metabolic inflexibility?
The question is, how did they become metabolically inflexible in the first place? a history of insulin elevation over time
This little hormone, insulin, is the gatekeeper; it is the main thing that determines what type of fuel you’re going to burn. If the insulin goes up, you’re not going to burn fat; you’re going to burn sugar. If the insulin goes down, you will burn fat. but this hormone gets damaged as you stimulate it over time by consuming a lot of carbs. and also by eating frequently. and you start developing insulin resistance. And this is the true cause of a sluggish metabolism. a “stuck setpoint,” in which you can’t seem to get below a certain weight no matter what you do.
and that comes from:
- Yo-yo dieting is especially dangerous if you follow a low-calorie, high-carb, low-fat diet, as many people do.
- Also, stress will ruin this insulin resistance system.
- Pregnancy puts a lot of stress on that system. and many women who become pregnant and have the baby find that that’s the point where the metabolism has slowed down.
- Lack of sleep—let’s say, for example, you’ve been working third shift for many, many years—can greatly affect your metabolism.
- overtraining I remember working on a patient who was exercising six hours a day, okay, seven days a week; that’s overtraining, and she couldn’t lose weight; there’s no way she could recover from that.
- Inflammation: if you have inflammation in the body, that can create insulin resistance.
So if you’re lucky enough not to have to go through a lot of these stressors, you may have metabolic flexibility. and you can pretty much get away with going back and forth.
The best way to get metabolic flexibility
If you’re like most people and have metabolic inflexibility, including myself, you’re going to have to try a different approach. You’re not going to be able to get away with a cheat day; you’re going to have to be consistent. consistently keeping the insulin levels normalized through healthy keto and intermittent fasting. Exercise consistently and make sure that your nutrients are at a high level. and it does take some time to really correct this. I’m talking about months, possibly even a few years. because I don’t want to give anyone the idea that in three or four weeks their metabolism is going to be corrected. and you can go back to your normal foods because now you have a fast metabolism.