Everyone hears that metabolism starts to shift once you reach 40, but it doesn’t seem like such a big deal until you start to experience it. Am I right ladies? And if you’re a mom like me, you end up spending much of your metabolism boosting time (working out, meal prepping) on your littles (which is super awesome, because they deserve it!).
However, that said, we also deserve to feel good and fit. So I’m here today to share some tips that I have found to be crucial when evaluating metabolism. As an integrative physician, it is a concern we see often in women. Please reach out to us if you need help navigating a plan, ordering the recommended labs, or just need some well-deserved encouragement!
1. Optimizing Your Thyroid: I know what you’re going to tell me. You’ve checked your thyroid and everything was normal. Have you ever evaluated your thyroid levels with a naturopathic/functional medicine doctor? We view those ranges differently, and are set on optimizing your thyroid levels. I like to see your thyroid levels ideally close to this:
- TSH – close to 1.0
- Free T4 – above 1.0
- Free T3 – above 3.0
- Evaluate for TPO and TG Antibodies
- Iodine levels within healthy normal limits
Some places to begin are adding at least 300mcg of iodine to your regimen, and other thyroid supportive nutrients (selenium, zinc, tyrosine). But ideally you have these measured so you can track your progress.
2. Intermittent Fasting (IF): Intermittent fasting is establishing a determined eating window, leaving a period of time where you ‘fast’ or do not eat or drink anything with calories. I will tell you this is probably one of my favorite approaches for women as it is surprisingly easy to integrate, and you get results. When you stop eating, it allows your body to spend energy away from digestion, and towards repairing your cells, initiating detoxing and shoring up metabolic activity in the mitochondria. I would begin with a 12 hour eating window (eg, 7am to 7pm); however, if you’re feeling adventurous, I would start with 14. (eg, 9am to 7pm). Research finds that our metabolism tends to slow after 7pm, so this is a good stop time. However, if you need to eat later due to your schedule, you can definitely still find benefits for your metabolism. The shorter your eating window, the more benefits there are to be gained. To download a free cheatsheet on Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss, visit our website at sagemedclinic.com.
- Case study: I have a 68 year old woman who has been steadily gaining weight over the last 12 years and is now maintaining at 60 lbs over her goal weight. She has tried many types of diets – keto, Whole 30, weight watchers and in the last 5 years has not been able to budge her weight. She is now on an 8 hour eating window, with her last meal being at 4-5pm. Since beginning this 3 weeks ago, she has lost 8 lbs. The foods she is consuming is basically the same as her pre-IF diet.
3. Alternating low-carb Whole 30 or Keto with Carb cycling: Unfortunately it is true that carbs readily turn into fat, but not all carbs are created equally, nor should they be completely avoided. I do see weight loss and metabolism-boosting success with approaches such as Whole 30 and Keto. But the trick long-term is to do intermittent carb cycling. This might look like: every weekend you have a lentil pasta rich meal that is lower fat. This will spike leptins, which will actually allow a boost in metabolism and a release of fat. There is also research that shows GMO (genetically modified) foods also drive inflammation, make people hold onto weight, and store more fat.
- Takeaways: Consider integrating a Whole 30 or Keto approach, with intermittent carbohydrate/lower-fat meals once per week. Focus on eliminating GMO foods, and high allergen food groups (soy, corn, wheat, and dairy).
4. Add at least 10 minutes of high-intensity exercise, with weights if possible: Any exercise is fantastic, but if we really want to boost metabolism, we have to challenge our body. Which can be highly discouraging to a busy, overworked mom. But I’m here to tell you that it can actually be simple to add it into your routine. Anyone can find 10 minutes. So it might look like this: 1) During your normal 30 minute walk, you put in 5 two-minute sprints or fast-walk up the hill in your neighborhood, or 2) You incorporate a 10-minute HITT workout into your day with weights (I absolutely love the NOURISHMOVELOVE channel on youtube – she is badass and super motivating!). Like intermittent fasting, adding this is a game changer. Our body will always adapt to spend less energy, it is called survival. It will not ramp up the metabolic fire as much until we demand that it do so. And adding a little muscle to burn fat never hurts too!
- Case study: A patient who is a 50 year old woman lost 35 lbs with the HCG diet, and then stalled when she was back on normal calories. When she added a short window of intensive exercise (20 minutes), her weight started to drop again. This is something I have seen over and over!
5. Check for Adrenal deficiency: Most women over 40 are adrenal deficient. Do not listen to the hype about cortisol belly. It is not your adrenals, it is just the overall slowdown in metabolism, and becoming more androgen dominant that moves fat into the belly. If you’re tired, especially if you’re tired even after a normal amount of sleep, you have some level of adrenal/cortisol insufficiency. Firstly, you want to test those levels. We can either order a blood total cortisol, or/and a salivary timed cortisol through the day. This is important because I have seen women whose levels are so low, we have actually needed to start with prescription natural adrenal medication. When you’re adrenal deficient, cellular metabolism becomes more difficult. You feel tired, and your cells are tired. After measuring levels, we love also recommending great herbal adrenal combinations, such as rhodiola, bacopa, gotu kola, eleuthro, and ashwaganda, to name a few. We also support B-vitamins and minerals, as these will help with energy production.
We know that when you’re feeling tired or sluggish, it can be difficult to think about making change. We would love to be a part of your health team to help you navigate the best place for you to begin. Many times there are things we can identify and begin in the first couple of visits to help give you the energy you need to start getting your energy back and boosting your metabolism.
We believe in community, and would love to be a part of yours.
Please reach out if you have questions or want to share your story!
In love, health and light,
Dr. Angila Jaeggli, ND
Phone: (425) 835-0359
Sage Integrative Medicine Clinic, PLLC
110 James Street, Suite 103
Edmonds, WA 98020
Youtube: Sage Health TV