What is Metabolic Adaptation?

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of metabolic adaption and how understanding it can be crucial for achieving long-term weight loss success. What is Metabolic Adaptation? Metabolic adaptation is an innate protective mechanism controlled by the brain, nervous system, hormones, and unconscious mind. Its primary role is to keep us safe and alive. However,…


What is Metabolic Adaptation?

In this article, we’ll explore the concept of metabolic adaption and how understanding it can be crucial for achieving long-term weight loss success.

What is Metabolic Adaptation?

Metabolic adaptation is an innate protective mechanism controlled by the brain, nervous system, hormones, and unconscious mind. Its primary role is to keep us safe and alive. However, this protective mechanism can sometimes develop a “crossed wire” and begin to work against us, leading to issues like anxiety, phobias, chronic illness, and stubborn weight problems.

How Does Metabolic Adaptation Affect Weight?

When we engage in restrictive diets for weight loss, our body perceives this as a signal of famine or scarcity and triggers a protective response. This response includes slowing down metabolic function to conserve energy and increasing appetite, especially for high-calorie, hyper-palatable foods.

This explains why, the more you diet, the harder it is to “stay on track” it also explains why so many women get trapped in an “all or nothing” cycle of binge eating and restrictive dieting.
This is not a weakness, this is not a lack of will power, this is your bodies innate intelligence trying to help you.

Why Does the Body Respond This Way?

The body doesn’t differentiate between deliberate dieting and situations of famine or scarcity. It responds to the stress of restriction by preparing for future scarcity, leading to an increased appetite, increased fat storage and a higher weight set point.

Your body does not care that you want to lose weight. Weight loss is NEVER your bodies top priority. Your body has increased the weight for a very important reason. To gain freedom from yo-yo dieting and rebound weight gain you must uncover and resolve the reason for the weight gain in the first place.

How Does Metabolic Adaptation Cause Weight Gain?

As the body slows metabolism, increases appetite, and alters hormonal balance, it becomes easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. This creates a cycle where regaining lost weight becomes more likely, often surpassing previous weight levels.

This is also why as we go through life, we discover that certain diets no longer “work” and we find ourselves having to become increasingly more strict to lose less and less weight.

Can Metabolic Adaptation Be Reversed?

Yes, but it requires a long-term approach and addressing underlying issues. Simply increasing calorie and nutrient intake can be a starting point. However, focusing on metabolically supportive foods while reducing stress and resolving hormone imbalances are also crucial steps.
Common hormone imbalances that develop as a result of restrictive dieting and metabolic adaption include: insulin resistance, estrogen dominance, low thyroid function, leptin resistance and elevated stress hormones. These may or may not show up on a blood test, however, the symptoms will be clear.

The key thing to understand is: a healthy body WANTS to be a healthy weight. Health is not achieved through weight loss in fact, most popular methods of weight loss are unhealthy.

The goal should be to heal your body first. If you struggle with sleep issues, hormone imbalance, gut health issues or nervous system dysregulation (stress, anxiety) weight loss us unlikely to be a priority for your body. Yes, you can release weight while healing these things but it should not be the primary focus.

Making Metabolic Adaptation Work for You

By consistently nourishing your body with the right foods and addressing underlying imbalances, you can teach your body to upregulate your metabolism. This leads to improved metabolic rate and eventually, food freedom and freedom from yo-yo dieting.

We must address diet and lifestyle choices to ensure what you are doing and eating is metabolically supportive and not metabolically suppressive. You may be surprised to discover that the metabolically supportive way of eating is far easier, and significantly more satisfying and enjoyable than you could have anticipated. You may be even more delighted to discover that a majority of the things you thought you HAD to do to lose the weight fall under the metabolically suppressive category and will not form part of your plan moving forward.

Lastly, we must address the underlying gut, hormone and nervous system imbalances so we can signal to the body that it is safe to release excess weight. This takes time but the juice is worth the squeeze.

Conclusion

While the process of addressing metabolic adaptation may seem daunting, it’s a step towards long-lasting health and weight management. Rather than chasing quick fixes, focus on nurturing your body and restoring balance.

If you would like support to navigate your way back to optimal health, here are 3 ways I can help: 

1. Work with me! Book a consultation in person (Evandale, SA) or AUS + NZ wide online via Zoom

2. Listen to the Holistic Weight Loss Podcast

3. Connect with me on Instagram | Pinterest | YouTube | LinkedIn | Facebook