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2 Things that Affect Metabolism that You THINK You can’t Control (but You CAN)
Written by Michele Vieux

You can throw the age-old excuse of having a “fast” or “slow” metabolism out the window if you actually want to reach your body composition goals. You are not a victim of your metabolism – how quickly you burn calories or fat can be controlled by you in many ways. You just have to know what you CAN control and how.

Over the past two weeks, we discussed two things – diet and exercise – that you have a high level of control over when it comes to affecting your metabolism. This week, let’s look at two other things you might not think you have any control over, but actually have some (or at least control of their side effects).

#1 – Genetics: Level of Controllability = Slight (but on the rise)
You have no control over what genes your parents gave you. But we are learning more everyday about how to manage your lifestyle to control – or even turn on and off – genes that you do have. It’s called epigenetics and if you’ve had any kind of genetic testing done like 23andMe or AncestryDNA and have seen the results, you’ve had an introduction on how you can start to manipulate your genes with what you consume, how you exercise, and more.

If you haven’t had a genetic test done, I highly recommend it as provides both “ah-ha” moments about why your body reacts to things in a certain way but can also give you detailed and individualized guidance on what to eat, what not to eat, what supplements you should be taking, what time of night to go to bed and how many hours to sleep, and much more that can control your metabolism and more. There is a whole industry of healthcare providers out there focusing in this area and there is surely one where you live. If not, many of these consultations can be done online.

#2 – Age: Level of Controllability = Slight (control of aging side effects)
It is true that we do not have control of our chronological age, however we do have some control over things that happen to us as we age if we are aware and taking measures to combat them.

Metabolism usually decreases as age increases. Unless you are what we refer to as a “hard gainer” – someone who struggles to keep on bodyweight – this is a sad fact for most people. Most of us notice that once we reach our mid-20’s, we can’t eat the same way we used to without piling on the pounds.

Metabolism typically decreases during and after menopause in women because of the decrease in estrogen levels. This decrease in estrogen also causes our bodies not to process sugar and starches as effectively which can lead to storage of the “extras” as fat.

What we CAN do to combat these things is to focus on the other three things discussed in the past two weeks and make adjustments to compensate there – nutrition, exercise, and eating for our personal genetic codes. This means that as we age, we need to pay even MORE attention to food quality, eliminate processed foods from our diets, and eat a little less than we did the year before. Those women experiencing metabolism-related side effects from menopause have the option to talk to their healthcare providers about hormone replacement therapy or other methods to combat these undesirable side effects.

So you see, there are ways to hack your metabolism to get what you want, even if they aren’t initially obvious. If you have specific questions, have a personal experience to share, or want to chat more about anything your read in this series, please do not hesitate to reach out by posting to the comments section.

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