Though I appeared fit and healthy, I’d actually destroyed my metabolism. By slingshotting my body into a cycle of stress-and-starvation, I had committed metabolic suicide. Due to regularly over-exercising and under-nourishing, my body was releasing a hormone called cortisol (the “fight or flight” response to prolonged stress), which prompts the body to store fat and triggers a drop in metabolism.
Not only was maintaining a healthy weight next to impossible, the scale was reading higher and higher numbers, my knees were aching, and I could feel my panic level rising. I’d also set myself up for low energy, a lowered immune system, crazy food cravings, and very confused hormones.
Healing my metabolism by re-wiring my brain and my body has been a long, challenging process. Simply eating quality, nutritious foods wasn’t enough.
Here are few key things I’ve learned along the way that have helped me emerge from a very deep metabolic rut:
Count nutrients, not calories! The first thing I used to do when looking at a packaged sports drink, energy bar or diet food was zoom in on the calorie content. I’ve since learned that the ingredient list offers much more valuable information. Though calories are important, athletes need to shift their focus to the nutrient density of the foods they’re consuming. In fact, it’s a good idea to move away from packaged sports nutrition products altogether! There are so many amazing whole food options out there.
Enjoy healthy fats. I used to suffer from what I call fat phobia. Fat in foods meant fat on my body, or so I thought. It’s now fairly common knowledge that this isn’t necessarily the case! Particularly for athletes, healthy fats are not only essential for a healthy metabolism, they’re also vital to reducing inflammation, keeping energy levels high, balancing hormones, and more. I’ve had to re-wire my thinking around fats and I’m glad that I did! My favorites include avocado, coconut oil, nuts, and seeds
This article was republished with permission from: MindBodyGreen. Please do not republish without permission.
A quick note from our founder-
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