Whether you’ve been packing on the pounds or can’t seem to gain an ounce, you might assume your metabolism is to blame. The question, then, is how to read the signs of a fast metabolism versus a slow one.
The primary signs of fast metabolism can include a greater appetite and excessive energy, meaning you’ll have to stay active while eating more to maintain your normal weight. You should also watch for potentially negative signs such as sleep disruptions, heavy perspiration, anxiety, and loss of temper.
Clearly, a fast metabolism isn’t the superpowered weight loss tool we once thought. But don’t get discouraged just yet! Let’s go through the signs in detail, as well as how to bypass the less fortunate symptoms of a fast metabolism so you can keep your health in tiptop shape.
Common Signs of Fast Metabolism
Generally speaking, the most common signs of fast metabolism will be limited to your energy levels and the number of calories your body appears to burn while at rest. The more negative symptoms discussed above present themselves when your metabolism is sped up by a condition known as hyperthyroidism.
Never ignore the signs of an overactive thyroid. Weight loss may seem like a positive thing, but in this case, the cons of leaving a thyroid condition untreated far outweigh the pros. Aside from those already discussed, signs to watch out for include:
- Increased frequency of bowel movements
- Increased heart rate
- Thin skin
- Brittle hair
- Bulging eyes
- Glandular swelling
- Light or infrequent menstrual flow
It may seem strange to see the fatigue on the list when increased metabolism typically raises your energy levels. According to the American Thyroid Association, this occurs when hyperthyroidism begins to break your body down. Even in normal cases of fast metabolism, however, fatigue may set in if you don’t take proper care of your body’s needs.
Feeding Your Metabolic Rates
If you want to maintain a healthy metabolism, you’ll need to feed yourself with a nice variety of high-fiber, nutrient-rich foods. Don’t skimp on the produce, and try to balance your meals as well as possible.
As noted by Livestrong, the best way to do this is to eat several smaller meals or snacks throughout the day. If you try and load all of your calories into one meal, you’ll feel that fatigue kicking in before long. You’ll also start to feel sluggish and low on energy if you eat a lot of processed foods or unhealthy preservatives.
Note that every single thing you eat doesn’t have to be insanely high in nutrients, provided you’re eating a wide range. Many fruits and vegetables contain specific vitamins and minerals associated with their pigments, so you can boost your nutrient intake simply by eating fruits and veggies of different colors!
You’ll want to keep exercising in addition to your healthy diet. A fast metabolism is unfortunately like so many other gifts–fail to take care of it properly, and you just might wind up losing it.
Metabolism Isn’t Set in Stone
One of the more interesting facts about people with fast metabolism is that they tend to be more active, even when it looks like they’re doing nothing at all. According to Harvard, this is because they’ll fidget or shift around in ways practically unnoticeable to an average observer, yet sufficient enough to expend some of their excess energy.
What happens when these typically active people stop exerting themselves? Naturally, their metabolism slows. This can also happen due to poor diet, especially when consuming excessive amounts of junk food. Other natural causes of slower metabolic rates include aging and a variety of various health problems.
The good news is that this works in reverse as well. Improve your diet and start exercising more often, and over time you’ll experience a shift toward higher metabolism. You can also speed up your metabolism temporarily by drinking caffeine, although you shouldn’t overdo it. Drink too much and you’ll head toward a crash, making your energy even harder to maintain.
If you are trying to raise your metabolism through exercise, don’t worry about spending long hours at the gym. You can actually take the exact same approach that you take to dieting. That is, try multiple workouts in small chunks throughout the day. Even working out in small, 10-minute intervals just three times per day can make a huge difference.
Fast Metabolism Doesn’t Guarantee Weight Loss
Those who are only interested in raising their metabolism for the sake of losing weight might find themselves disappointed at the results. According to the Mayo Clinic, most weight gain doesn’t actually stem from a slow metabolism. This means that speeding up your body’s calorie consumption will not immediately promise you a slimmer figure.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t try at all. Since exercise already constitutes a key component in raising your metabolism, you can focus your goals toward losing weight in the process. Do this by ensuring you get at least thirty total minutes of aerobic exercise per day, along with at least a few sessions of strength training throughout the week.
At the end of the day, the primary goal in weight loss revolves around a very simple directive–try to eat fewer calories than you’re burning off. Even a person with a slower than average metabolism can do this, even if it might not always be easy. By contrast, someone with a typically high metabolism may still gain weight if they eat poorly or don’t put their body to work.
A Warning Against Taking Shortcuts
Whatever your interest in raising your metabolism, it might be tempting to try and find an easier, softer way. Eating healthy isn’t always cost-effective for some people, and those who work all day at sedentary jobs might not know how to fit additional exercise into their day. For this reason, you might consider turning to dietary supplements such as ephedrine.
Now that you’ve considered it, go ahead and reconsider it.
While it’s true that substances such as ephedrine can boost metabolism while aiding the body’s energy production and weight loss–especially when mixed with caffeine–not all side effects of these substances are beneficial. Some users report negative effects such as heart attacks or psychotic episodes. In the United States, ephedrine was banned in 2004 for this very reason.
Similar dietary supplements pose much the same problem. For instance, Healthline notes a study on two dozen different supplements, all containing the stimulant higenamine, which pose the exact same cardiovascular risks as ephedrine. This doesn’t mean there are any harmless supplements whatsoever; however, your life and body just aren’t worth the risk. You’re much better off discussing any concerns you might have with your doctor first – they can also advise you for or against certain supplements that you might be considering.
If you’re more energetic than most people and need more fuel to keep yourself going, then you’ve shown the key signs of a fast metabolism. But if you’re trying to lose weight, don’t think your body will do all the work for you. Playing an active role in your own health is the only true way to keep yourself feeling at your best.