While losing weight and weight management are great for your general well being, they can occasionally go wrong when taken to the extreme. Extreme changes in diet may result in metabolism damage. Metabolism damage occurs when the endocrine, immune and nervous systems lose their ability to function properly as the result of extreme dieting or weight loss measures.
Metabolism damage is characterized by hormonal, metabolic and behavioral responses as the result of the severe calorie deprivation that is common with fad diets. Since your body is unable to differentiate between starving and severe dieting; it reacts just as if you are starving. To protect the body, protective mechanisms are triggered to reduce the rate of further weight loss. All these result in lower physical activity, low energy levels, and increased appetite.
To help you understand what happens here is a perfect example. Imagine your physiology and every system within it is a see-saw that is always trying to strike the perfect balance. In the process, it keeps swinging to and fro in an orchestrated manner to find homeostasis. In Chinese traditional medicine, it is illustrated by the concept of yin and yang.
Now if something happens and upsets the search for homeostasis, the metabolism ceases to work and gets stuck to one side of the see-saw. This is similar to a 300-pound man sitting on one side of the see-saw while a small child sits on the opposite end. The metabolism is unable to find balance no matter what measures are put in place.
Apart from seeking to achieve homeostasis, your metabolism is also linked to the nervous system. When your metabolism is stuck on one side, it affects the endocrine system. Both of these impacts negatively on the digestive system which results in damaged cell membranes and compromised antioxidants defence systems. All these malfunctions further affect the nervous system which results in a vicious cycle. Basically, your metabolism work like dominoes, when one domino falls, the rest are impacted and are likely to fall.
To repair the damaged metabolic system, you have to begin where the dominoes fell in the first place. Unless you do this, you will simply keep knocking down more dominoes after putting them back up.
Use Carb Cycling
The popular burn the fat and feed the muscle approach puts you in the optimal healthy calorie deficit, but only temporarily. You should increase your calorie intake to keep your metabolism and appetite regulating hormones at the normal level. Rather than following the popular carb-phobic diets that millions of people around the world use(these suppress hormones such as leptin and thyroid) carb cycling with a high-carb re-feed every 4th day gives you a chance to eat more carbs but still keep losing fat. The benefits of using this approach are not only physical but also psychological. And the best part is that you will never get completely deprived of calories.
Increase your Calorie Intake Gradually
To kick start your metabolic repair program; increase your calorie intake gradually. If you have been consuming 1000 calories daily, you can increase your uptake to 1300 as an initial step. If your intake is 1500, the body can handle an increase of 500 more calories to without any problem. The increase should continue every 2-3 weeks with more calories coming from protein and fat until you attain normal levels.
Engage in Cardio and Weight Training but Avoid Overdoing it
Perform short bursts of intense activities. Performing short bursts of high energy activity produces an energy deficit, known as EPOC effect which is great for cranking up your metabolism. It is by far the most effective way of jumpstarting your dormant metabolism and shifting it into high gear to start burning more calories. Apart from cardio, weight training with plenty of time between sets teaches the body to exert and recover. You can also engage in complete recovery intervals.
Eat Healthy Fats
If you have been too keen on weight management may not like this idea due to the association of fats with weight gain, what you may not know is that hormones in your body are made from cholesterol. And by now you know where cholesterol comes from fat. Eating the right kind of fats together with low carb diet optimizes your hormones. The more your hormones work efficiently, the better your metabolism functions.