Four Reasons For A Slow Metabolism

October 8, 2022

“I am not losing weight fast enough!” “ I feel better and have more energy, but the scale doesn’t budge.” “Should I cut down how much I am eating?” These are some common concerns we hear in clinic with folks who are starting out their wellness journey and today we will dig into at least four common reasons for slow weight loss. We will look at the possible underlying issues, how that challenged your metabolism, and what may be a solution to get your metabolism working again from a real food healing plan.

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LEAH: Welcome to Dishing Up Nutrition, brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. My name is Leah Kleinschrodt. I'm a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. I wear a variety of hats in my personal life as many of us do. My favorite being a wife and being a mom to my two kiddos. But I also wear a variety of hats here at Nutritional Weight and Wellness. I see many clients individually in the counseling room. I teach classes. I write blog articles, and like every couple of Saturdays, Saturday morning, I am cohost of our Dishing Up Nutrition show.

Now, often in class or when I'm working individually with clients, I will hear this particular question or some version of this question or this statement: “I am not losing weight fast enough”. Clients tell me that they feel better, they have more energy, their heartburn is gone, their cravings are gone, but the numbers on the scale are not going down fast enough.

Then inevitably, the next question that tends to roll in is, “Should I start cutting down on how much I'm eating? Or maybe I am eating too much, and that's causing me to hang onto some of this extra weight.” So today we will discuss reasons for slow weight loss and how to get your metabolism working again, and I'm going to give listeners a little sneak peek and say, it's not because you are eating too much, at least from a real food perspective. The Weight and Wellness plan is not a low-calorie starvation plan. It is a healing plan that works from the inside out.

BRANDY: Leah, I have to pause you for just a second.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: Because I think what you just said is so important for our listeners to hear again and really understand what you mean by a healing plan. What does that mean?

The importance of healing the body in order to lose weight


LEAH: Mm-Hmm. That's a really great question. Yeah. When I say healing plan, you know, and when I say, you know, we, this healing plan works from the inside out. I'll explain this to clients, you know, when we have our clients, or when we have our students focus on real whole foods and eat in a way that keeps their blood sugar happy, it keeps their gut happy, it keeps their hormones happy, then clients start to lose that fat in their cells.

So then their body does have more energy. Their brain becomes so much more nourished, and then their moods are much more stable. Now, this is a plan that takes time because depending on the person, it takes time for those cells to let go of some of that fat and the extra fluid that they are holding onto. And for some clients, it has been years, even decades, of eating too much of those high sugar foods, those processed carbohydrates that are the things that create more fat in those cells or keep that extra fluid on our bodies.

So again, for some people, they do notice that scale moving a little more quickly, especially in the beginning. But for some of our clients, and I would even argue to say like a fair number of our clients, this is a process that takes some time. It takes some patience. It takes some diligence. But we do get there. And if you've taken any of our classes or worked individually with one of our nutritionists or dietitians before you, you may think that your scale is stuck.

But let me assure you that as your body heals, the scale will catch up with the progress that your body is making. So I liken this sometimes to, you know, a duck floating on the lake or a duck floating on the water. They look calm and assuming on the surface, but you know that underneath the water they're paddling like mad under the surface to get where they're going. And the same type of thing is happening in our bodies when we change our eating plan over to this more healing plan. Our bodies have just, it might not look like there's a whole lot going on on the surface, at least at first, but our cells and our systems and our organs are paddling like mad to do all the healing that they've wanted to do for so long.

BRANDY: That's a great analogy. I love that.

There are many reasons a person may have a slow metabolism


LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. And so in reality, there's many, many different reasons for a slow metabolism or slow weight loss. One of our recent dietitian and nutritionist meetings, we kind of compiled a whole list of reasons why in our experience we've seen clients struggle with their weight, and at last count we had at least 50 different reasons. So that's five, zero, not one, five, but five, zero different reasons: 50 different reasons.

When I am working individually with a client, I know I'm asking a lot of different questions, and I know all of our counselors do this. We, we really have to ask a lot of questions and be those detectives to help, help our clients figure out why they may have a slow metabolism. One of the first things I like to ask or dive into is try to find that timeline of when people started to gain weight.

So, we'll, we might start with a question of when did you start gaining weight? Was it at puberty? Was it when you started college? Was it after you had one kid, two kids, six kids? Was it when you started in menopause or perimenopause even?


LEAH: Brandy, what do you like to ask?

BRANDY: Yeah. There are a few questions that I like to always cover my bases, and they don't always seem related to weight, but two big ones for me are what's your stress level? How much stress is in your life?

LEAH: Yes. 

BRANDY: I also want to know about your sleep. Are you getting enough sleep? What's your quality of sleep like?

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

BRANDY: I'll also kind of dive into not only what their current meal plan is like, but what are they drinking? Are they drinking enough water? Do you have a couple night caps at the end of the day?

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

BRANDY: Do you have, how much coffee are you drinking? So all of those things contribute to your metabolism.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. And all those little details, even in things that we may not even assign real importance to, we want to know those details still. So today we will dig into at least four of the common reasons for slow weight loss. We look at, we will look at the reasons how those things challenge your metabolism and what the solution may be. And as we mentioned, each person's metabolism is unique and the solution has to be individualized.

And correcting a slow metabolism doesn't happen overnight for most people. But with patience and with guidance, you can overcome that slow metabolism and start losing the weight. All right. Listeners, so you've heard, I introduced myself earlier. You've heard her voice now a few times, but I want to introduce my cohost this morning. Her name is Brandy Buro. She is also a Registered and Licensed Dietitian. And Brandy has a really lovely story to share. She understands both the weight gain and the weight loss process on a personal level.

As a teenager, Brandy gained weight because her diet consisted of a lot of those junk foods, things like the chips, candy, cereal, soda. So Brandy, welcome this morning to the show and I'd love to get us started off with just telling us a little more about your story.

Brandy’s health and weight loss story


BRANDY: Sure. Well, I'm really happy to be here cause like you said, I have a lot of personal experience with this topic with slow metabolism and weight gain. And you kind of summed it up. I started gaining a lot of weight as a teen because my diet consisted of a lot of processed foods. You know, and in that preteen, teen stage of my life, I spent a lot of time at home. I didn't need a babysitter. My, both of my parents worked. So I kind of fended for myself for a lot of my meals.

And the easiest thing for me, and the most delicious thing for me were those processed foods; start my day with a lot of cereal, maybe a box of macaroni and cheese for lunch, or a microwavable dinner. And I had no problem with that. It was a dream.

LEAH: Yeah. It was tasty.

BRANDY: You know, but after a few years of that pattern, I started gaining weight really quickly. And it came to a point where it was starting to get hard to find clothes that fit me. I was shopping in the plus size women's section, which is kind of awkward for someone in their teens. It's, it's not really where you want to be.

LEAH: Yeah. Absolutely.

BRANDY: And that was the point where I decided something needs to change, you know, what do I do about this? And up until that point, I didn't really understand the connection between what I was eating and how I felt, or my weight.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

BRANDY: But I started reading a little bit about nutrition and I, I came to understand that a lot of the foods I was eating were not very nutritious. They were empty calories, so to speak. So I slowly started to learn what foods did support my health and what foods did provide me the nutrients I needed. And there's a lot more to this story. And I think that we will revisit this topic a little more when we come back from our first break.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. Yes. I think the listeners will want to hear the rest of that and just kind of what your path has been to up until this point. But first break; you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition brought to you by Nutritional Weight and Wellness. Starting the week of October 17th, we will be offering a new series of support classes, both in person at all six of our locations here in the Twin Cities, plus two virtual classes for those of you that may be outside the greater twin cities area. You have requested ongoing support. So now we have available to you 24 new support and education classes. If you want more details, check out our website or call us at (651) 699-3438 and we'll be right back.


BRANDY: As dietitians and nutritionists, we understand that changing your eating and lifestyle habits takes time. It takes practice, and you likely need a little support along the way. We are now offering 24 new Ongoing Support and Education classes to give you that time and help you make those changes. We encourage you to practice these new skills and you'll get support from not only the nutrition educator, but also from the class members. We are all here to help you achieve your health goals. You can join us for eight classes, or all 24 classes. If you want to sign up, just give us a call at (651) 699-3438.

Sign Up for Ongoing Support and Education

LEAH: Yes. 24 new classes. That was a lot of work by a lot of people to pull all those together and we're really, really excited to be able to roll these out finally. I wanted to put it out there. Again, we have both in person and virtual classes. Teresa will be leading the virtual class. She kind of kicks us off on Monday night on the virtual class. I will also be teaching on Monday night at our Woodbury office. And Brandy, you're also teaching in St. Paul, I believe, correct?

BRANDY: Yep. On Tuesdays.

LEAH: Yep. On Tuesday nights. Perfect. So, yeah, lots of great facilitators, knowledge, but also, again, I think just learning from each other, learning from the other class members, that's really what these classes are all about as well.

BRANDY: Exactly.

LEAH: Yeah. So before we went to break, Brandy, you were telling us a little bit more about your story as a teenager and how you gained some of that weight eating more of like the processed foods that tend to get us into trouble. Right?

BRANDY: Right.

LEAH: But you were starting to actually turn that around a little bit and you were telling us a little more about that piece of the journey.

More on Brandy’s health and weight loss journey


BRANDY: Right, right. So I was starting to learn about this concept of nutrient density, where some foods have a lot of nutrition to offer. Other foods have a lot of sugar and a lot of components that don't really nourish our bodies. So I slowly started incorporating more of those nutrient rich foods into my diet. One of the first things I got rid of that wasn't offering me anything was soda.

LEAH: Yes.

BRANDY: You know, I had been drinking two or three sodas a day every day.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

BRANDY: So I started drinking more water and slowly I just started replacing a lot of those processed foods with real foods. For example, instead of a few bowls of sugary cereal for breakfast, I'd have a couple of eggs cooked in butter.

LEAH: Yes.

BRANDY: And maybe an apple with some peanut butter. You know, delicious.

LEAH: Simple

BRANDY: Filling.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: Something I could make my on my own as a 12 or 13 year old.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: And it worked, you know, I slowly started to lose some of this weight. I slowly started to regain some confidence about myself, and that is the whole experience that got me interested in nutrition and ultimately led me down the path to become a dietitian.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: So that experience was really valuable to me because I understand how tempting all that processed food can be because it is very palatable. It is really difficult to resist, but I also know how much better I feel without it in my life. I understand that, you know, I'm a more productive person when I feel better. I have more energy. And when I'm at this healthy weight that is motivating to keep me away from those processed foods.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. That's, and that's a great story. I, I love that and I love that you shared that at our nutritionist meeting just a couple of days ago. And there's actually another question that came up during that time, and if you even just want to share a little bit too of a lot of, especially teenagers and teenage clients that I tend to see, sometimes we start with these healthy habits. But sometimes then it gets taken a little too far. Like a little bit is good, but more is better and then kind of we swing the other direction and maybe get into more restrictive eating or like obsessions around food.

BRANDY: Right.

LEAH: But that didn't sound like that was the case for you. Like how did, how did you not take it to, you know, those next steps?

BRANDY: Yeah, that's a really good question. And at the time, I wasn't really sure how to answer that. It never really dawned on me that I guess I kind of made it out unscathed in that way.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

BRANDY: But, you know, I grew up in a really food positive household. There were never any bad foods. All foods were good, and I never had that voice saying, “Shouldn't eat that. It's going to make you fat.”

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

BRANDY: So I think that helped a lot to kind of sway me from the extremes. And I, I love food. I appreciate good food. I think something else that helped me at the time was that the internet was not very accessible to me.

LEAH: Oh my goodness. That's huge.

BRANDY: Yeah. So like social media wasn't really a thing. I wasn't exposed to all of this dieting information or a lot of those body image concerns that I think a lot of our teens have to grapple with today. And I think about that now and I understand how overwhelming and confusing all that information can be. So I really think that, you know, this time in their life, that pre-teen and teen years, it's such a crucial time to really start talking about that real food message.

LEAH: Yeah.

BRANDY: Starting to encourage a healthy relationship with food and understanding what food can do for you.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely.

BRANDY: So I think a good chance to kind of meet with a professional that has that reliable information; give you the guidance and education you need to nourish your body and succeed in life.

LEAH: Yeah. Kind of get ahead of some of that other more toxic messaging that can be out there.

BRANDY: Exactly.

LEAH: Yeah. Well, thanks for sharing, Brandy. I, I just really love your story. And those more processed foods, those are things we talk about week in and week out, and those are very common reasons for weight gain, but we see other reasons too. So why don't you kind of start sharing some of that.

Another potential cause of weight gain: restrictive dieting


BRANDY: Right. So many of our clients who come into the clinic and have problems losing weight and who have a slow metabolism, it's very common that they have that history of restrictive dieting: low calorie, low fat, weight loss diets. And they've been doing it for years and for years they haven't been eating enough to maintain energy. They haven't been eating enough to nourish their cells. And I'm sure there are many listeners out there that have experience with a lot of these weight loss plans, maybe dating even back to the sixties or the eighties.

LEAH: Yep.

BRANDY: So that was really popular. Some of those diets were restricting calories to 500 calories a day, which is…

LEAH: That hurts my heart a little.

BRANDY: It really, really does. I can't imagine that. And sure, people may have lost some weight, but that's a really difficult lifestyle to maintain. So it didn't take long. Within a few weeks or a couple of months, all that weight came back, maybe a few more pounds on top of it.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

BRANDY: One of our nutrition educators has a very similar history. Nell; you may have heard her on one of our podcasts in the past. She started her first low calorie diet when she was only 12, 12 years old, and she did lose a little bit of weight, but she gained it all back in a couple of months. And in a couple more months she tried another fad diet, lost, lost some weight, but gained it all back. So she kind of started this cycle and every time she went through one of those diets, she ended up gaining 10 or 12 more pounds.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yep. And that's a common cycle that we see. And we'll visit more of Nell's story back on the other side of our second break. So you are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Next Wednesday, October 12th, Marianne will be teaching a virtual cooking class via Zoom on all things meat; buying it, storing it, and of course demonstrating a few recipes with easy to follow cooking techniques. And Marianne just does such a great job of making us feel comfortable in the kitchen and cooking from scratch. So you don't want to miss this one, and we'll be right back.

Sign Up for a Cooking Class


BRANDY: If you are struggling with a slow metabolism and slow weight loss, let me suggest making ongoing appointments with one of the Weight and Wellness dietitians or nutritionists. We are all taking a deeper dive into each person's reason for a slow metabolism. And with that information, we help you understand what may have caused your weight gain and how we can help you get your metabolism back on track. We find that our most successful clients are meeting with us every three weeks. So an hour long appointment is ideal, so we can really get that background information that helps us make a plan that's effective. Give us a call at (651) 699-3438 or you could go online and set up a few appointments.

Schedule a Nutrition Consultation

LEAH: Yeah. Yeah. I know I, I've been seeing a lot of clients on my schedule lately that already have several of those clients or several of those appointments booked out, which I think is a really smart idea, kind of reserving that spot, but also knowing and recognizing that this is a process that takes time. And just having that plan that yep, we're going to work on things a little bit at a time is really important.

And I wanted to circle back really quickly to the cooking class that I mentioned before break too. You know, that's about the timing actually, of when we offer some of these cooking classes, you know, about once every three weeks, once every four weeks or so, we're offering just a new set of cooking classes to help reinspire people or give them some of that motivation or, or more of that support even in between the appointments that they have one on one with us.

BRANDY: Yeah. Yeah. It's a really good way to stay engaged.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. And again, Marianne is such a skilled and passionate teacher, and the nice thing about these cooking classes too that I wanted to mention is even if you can't make it the night of the class, so again, like next Wednesday the 12th Marianne's doing a meat cooking class. Even if you can't make it on that night, you can still sign up for the class and the class will be recorded. And the class, if you sign up, you will get a link to that recording that's live for three days after the class. So, again, even if, you know, sometimes we have the best of plans, the best laid plans, and they don't work out, or if you know that's just not a good time for you, but you still want that material or still want to learn, you still have a couple of days afterwards to, to learn and to get that class link. So that's really nice to have some flexibility too. Yeah.

BRANDY: Mm-hmm.

Nell’s health and weight loss story


LEAH: Okay. So bringing us back into our topic, Brandy was just, she was telling us a little bit about Nell's story, and Nell's been on Dishing Up Nutrition several times before in the past. She's one of our, she started off as a client with us, but now she teaches some of our classes and she has this long history of going on really low calorie or more of those starvation types of plans. But then once you start kind of eating normally again, gaining that weight back plus some and eventually for Nell it ended up at some point she was 90 to a hundred pounds overweight.


LEAH: So then one Saturday morning, probably a Saturday morning just like this, she was driving to a meeting and she heard Dishing Up Nutrition. She decided to take a chance and say, I like what I heard. I'm going to sign up, get an appointment.

And she got an appointment with Kara. And again, Kara, wonderful nutritionist. She's on Dishing Up Nutrition all the time. This was 14, 15, somewhere in that range, 14 to 15 years ago. Kara got her eating real food, good animal protein, some beneficial fats, lots of vegetables. And Kara actually had Nell eating more food than what Nell was already doing, more food over time to lose that weight. The long story short was she, Nell ended up losing 90 pounds and has maintained that weight loss for over 10 years now.


LEAH: Yeah, it's, it's a really wonderful story. And actually one of my favorite parts about her story too is, and she shared this before that she lost that 90 pounds over the course of about three years. But I believe it was in that first year, she didn't even lose any weight.

BRANDY: Right. Right.

LEAH: Because she had a lot of insulin resistance and kind of what we talked about before, just her cells had a lot of healing to do from just all that burden that got put on them since she was 10 or 12 years old. So it took some time to undo some of that damage and to help that body heal. But then once that body was able, when she felt kind of, once her body felt safe and nourished, it was like, okay, I can relax and let go of some of this extra weight now.

BRANDY: Yeah. I think that's such a powerful story for so many of our clients that feel frustrated.

LEAH: Yes.

BRANDY: That while it's been a couple of months, I should maybe be seeing something by now.

LEAH: Right.

BRANDY: But yeah, think back to Nell's story; great example of what success can look like.

LEAH: Yes, absolutely. And so eating more to lose weight, you know, this concept, it's, it's hard. It doesn't totally make a whole lot of logical sense in our brain sometimes. But it really does work.

BRANDY: That's true. And there are a lot of research studies out now that report that those low calorie diets actually decrease a person's ability to burn fat up to 23%. So after being on a low calorie, low fat diet, we find that our clients are so malnourished that sometimes it does take a couple of months or maybe even a couple of years to get their metabolism back on track and functioning normally again.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yeah. And it unfortunately, we want what we want, and we want it right now. We want that when we have that goal of weight loss, we want that quick weight loss. And that quick weight loss does tend to come if you are eating 500 or 800 calories a day, but long term, if you have your eyes on the prize long term, those types of approaches tend to backfire and end up having, you know, setting you up for a slower metabolism and then more of that lifelong struggle with weight.


LEAH: And it can be overcome with a consistent real food eating plan. But if we can get started with that real food eating plan sooner rather than later, that's less that we have to try to kind of bring ourselves back from the edge from.


LEAH: So it's simple, just not always the easiest to do or the easiest to stick to. It's real animal protein, you know, at least three times; usually I encourage my clients four times a day. For better weight loss it takes several ounces of protein, three to four ounces of protein several times a day, one or two cups of vegetables with each meal, and at least a tablespoon of beneficial fat at least four times a day. And really even seven times a day for those beneficial fats. I think that typically helps people even more, kind of results in better weight loss.

BRANDY: Absolutely. So establishing that solid foundation of eating enough real food is kind of always step one when we're trying to boost someone's metabolism. And I found that working with clients that I would say like the second most common reason for slow metabolism is poor sleep.

Poor sleep can contribute to poor metabolism


LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

BRANDY: And there's a lot of research out there about why sleep is so important and how it connects to our metabolism. And we're learning that people that sleep less than seven and a half hours most nights out of the week are sort of primed to be in this chronic state of stress.

LEAH: Yes.

BRANDY: And when our body is in a chronic state of stress, that stress hormone called cortisol is elevated.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

BRANDY: And that is something that can lead to weight gain. And this is a really big topic we talk about in our Nutrition for Weight Loss classes. We try to show our class participants that just by going to sleep and getting enough sleep is one way they can boost their metabolism and lose weight.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

BRANDY: So getting at least seven and a half hours of sleep most nights tends to be that missing link to weight loss for many of our clients.

LEAH: Yeah, absolutely. Sleep, sleep is so huge. And listeners, maybe check in with yourself really quick. I know here we're 8:00 AM Saturday morning. Some of us are up and rearing to go already. Some of us still might be lingering in bed, but if you didn't get maybe that seven and a half hours of sleep last night, what was interfering with that sleep? For some of us, maybe it's a pet that wakes you up at 4:00 AM. Maybe for some of us it's hard to put down the iPad or the phone or the Kindle or whatever the case may be. Just those screens at night.

For some of us, we might even have too much anxiety at night. You know, sometimes I'll like to describe this for my clients as like, your brain is on the hamster wheel and it's hard to get that hamster off the wheel when you have too much anxiety. And when your brain is spinning, it's hard to shut down both your brain and your body to be able to sleep.

BRANDY: Right.

LEAH: And so maybe some of these things are happening and you didn't realize how important that sleep was to maintain a normal weight.

General guidelines to help with sleep


BRANDY: Right. And, and we do have some general guidelines to help people fall into a routine that works for them. But as with anything, every person is different and every person has a unique reason for not being able to sleep. So really think about what your reason is. If you're one of those people that are getting five, six hours of sleep at night. As a dietitian, it's my job to ask you the questions that lead you to that answer. So it's different for every person. Some people it's, they have a low blood sugar in the middle of the night.

LEAH: Yep.

BRANDY: Maybe they go to bed hungry and then they pop awake at two or 3:00 AM. A good solution for that: a little bedtime snack with a little bit of carbohydrate and a little bit of fat to keep that blood sugar stable through the evening.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

BRANDY: For some people it may be that anxiety that you mentioned. They can't relax at night. So a little Magnesium Glycinate or maybe some GABA can help sort of calm the nerves, get you into a more relaxed state. So again, it's my job to help you figure out what that reason for your lack of sleep is, help explain why sleep is so important to your weight loss, and then find a solution that you're willing to do.

LEAH: Yes. Absolutely. It's, again, for us it means asking a lot of those questions and getting to the root of what is getting in the way of that sleep, or when did some of those habits start, and how can we help to unwind some of those habits? And, and I think what you said, Brandy, was really great about finding a way that it makes sense for that person and it's something that they're willing to do and kind of on board with.


LEAH: And sometimes for some of my clients, it is even giving up sugar during the day and certainly making sure that we're not getting in some of those higher sugar foods at night before bed. Again, that's another thing that'll just jazz up the body and the brain. And I will often talk to my clients about how a good night's sleep starts with what you do when you wake up or what you do even earlier in the day. Just some of those habits that we have early in the day can still have a knock on effect on what we're doing in the evening or at night.

BRANDY: Exactly.

LEAH: Yes. So we do have to take our third break of the morning. You are listening to Dishing Up Nutrition. Many of our clients love our Bifido Balance probiotic to reduce sugar cravings, have better moods, keep digestive tract healthy. And this month all of our Nutrikey probiotics are 15% off. So this is the Bifido, but also some of the fan favorites: Acidophilus, Biotic 7 and Biotic Duo. Probiotics are also really key for supporting your immune system. And this is top of everyone's mind as we're kind of heading into the darker and colder months. So perhaps this is a great time to stock up. We'll be right back.


BRANDY: Welcome back to Dishing Up Nutrition. We invite you to listen next week as Carolyn and Monica discuss reasons and solutions for teenage and adult acne. If you have a special topic like this that you'd like us to discuss from a nutrition standpoint, just let us know and we will get it on our list. One way to do this is to join our private Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook group. Just search Dishing Up Nutrition in Facebook and click join.

Join the Dishing Up Nutrition Facebook Group

LEAH: Yep. Yeah. I'm part of that group and I've, I dip my toe in every now and again and there's always really lots of great conversation in there. So not only can you suggest some of those topics, but people leave just kind of feedback on the shows or ask some questions. And there are some of us dietitians pop in there and there are moderators. So there's all lots of good discussion in that group as well.


LEAH: Yes. So let's, let's circle us back into our topic about reasons for slow weight loss and Brandy, you kind of introduced that topic of sleep. We, we talked about that a little bit of if you're not having, if you're not sleeping enough or having good quality sleep, that's one thing that can just really grind that metabolism to a halt.


LEAH: And as I think as we think about changing habits, changing our routines, changing some of our usual things that we do, some things that we talk to our clients about is starting to engage our brains, engage our intellect to override some of those more primitive urges or Brandy, you said it really well, like a lot of times we like to take that path of least resistance.

BRANDY: Right.

LEAH: But if that path isn't serving us, sometimes we need to actually kind of use that adult part of our brain to start course correcting a little bit more, and to start to control some of those unhealthy habits and start to unwind some of those healthy habits that may have been with us for months, years, decades even.

Activating our “adult brain”


And if Teresa doesn't mind, I'm going to borrow her little analogy. I just, I love it and I think it just adds a little sense of humor. Teresa will often talk about the toddler brain versus our adult brain. And that toddler brain is that part that we want what we want, and we want it right now and, you know, forgoing whatever the consequences may be.


LEAH: And so when we are letting that toddler brain do most of the deciding for us, the toddler brain wants to eat all the sugar, They want to stay up past bedtime and they want to sit on the couch and just binge watch PAW Patrol all day long. Can you tell what stage of life I'm in right now? So we, over time, eventually most of us learn to start engaging that adult brain a little bit more. And, and that is something that we can use to override those more toddler urges. We want to engage that adult brain and stay away from the foods that we know will not serve us well.

We need to, some of us need to stay with that strict bedtime and some of us know, okay, I need to turn off the TV and go for a walk. And that's starting to engage that adult brain. And the nice thing about this is that these are skills that can be learned. And this is very empowering too because this means that a lot of these behaviors and a lot of these habits that we have, we do have control over them. It just takes a little effort on the front end and some due diligence and maybe even meeting with a professional or getting some guidance along the way to help us kind of course correct. And steer us in the right direction.

BRANDY: Yep. Really understanding the how to do that.

LEAH: Mm-hmm.

BRANDY: Yep. Yeah, exactly. And we don't always have all the answers right away, but even brainstorming with one of us or with one of those professionals can really be very, very helpful.


Gestational diabetes: a potential slower metabolism connection 


LEAH: Yes. So as we, you know, as a team of dietitians and nutritionists at Nutritional Weight and Wellness, we came up with at least 50 reasons why we could have a slow metabolism or why some of our clients just really see that slow weight loss. One of those reasons, another one that we haven't touched on quite yet is gestational diabetes, and specifically if the client's mother had gestational diabetes. So Brandy, why you just do a quick little explanation about that.

BRANDY: Yeah. So if you're not familiar with what gestational diabetes is, it's a condition you can develop during pregnancy where it's really difficult to metabolize or manage your blood sugar. So with a high carb meal, your blood sugar will spike and your blood sugar will remain elevated for quite some time. So this can impact the baby pretty dramatically. So while the mother's blood sugar is high, so is the baby’s.

LEAH: Yep.

BRANDY: So the baby now needs to manage their blood sugar by releasing a lot of insulin, which can result in more weight gain for that baby.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm.

BRANDY: So you could turn out with a, a larger baby, which could lead to some complications during birth, but it can also lead to insulin resistance and higher risk of developing diabetes as an adult for that baby.

LEAH: Mm-Hmm. Yep. Absolutely. And yeah, it's kind of almost like for that developing baby in the womb, setting the stage for them to deal with more insulin resistance to gain weight more easily to be at higher risk for diabetes, like you said.

BRANDY: Right.

LEAH: Yep, absolutely. And so that is, it's important to know, and that is one question that we ask. Not all of our clients know if their mom had gestational diabetes or not. But it's a question that we can ask. And the thing is, with gestational diabetes, you can control your blood sugar just by changing how you eat, adjusting your physical activity. So it's not always a determined sentence after that. There are things you can do. And that's why today, especially, and I know this from personal experience, that when you have gestational diabetes, you are monitored very closely and, and they recommend those lifestyle changes. And if you need it, like even having a little bit of insulin on board just to make sure those blood sugars aren't running too high.

BRANDY: Mm-Hmm. Yeah. So the good news is you know, some of those risks can be prevented if you are doing all you can to manage it in the moment.

LEAH: Yes.

Autoimmune conditions can contribute to a slower metabolism


Yeah, exactly. So, and one of the last reasons we did want to touch on in the show for having a slow metabolism is having an autoimmune condition. Since, for example, some of the more common ones that we tend to see are Hashimoto’s. So that's a low thyroid because the body is attacking the thyroid.

But we also see things like psoriasis, celiac disease, Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis. All of these are autoimmune conditions where the body is mounting an inflammatory response against your own tissues. So while that is happening, we've got a lot of inflammation going on in the body, and sometimes we do need those medications to help control some of that runaway inflammation, but those medications have their own side effects. And typically these medications look like, you know, some kind of steroid like prednisone. That's very common or like an immune suppressing medication.

And unfortunately, some of the side effects of, as I mentioned, some of these medications, especially the prednisone, is usually weight gain, higher blood sugars, more cravings, things like that. Many medications in general cause weight gain. So as a, as dietitians we like to help our clients, we can, we go through that medication list. There is a section on our health questionnaire to go through those medications and to understand what the effects of those medications are. And sometimes we need to go a little bit stricter with our food plan if we need to counteract some of the effects of those medications.

BRANDY: That's right. Yeah. And when we're working individually with clients, we do ask a lot of questions to get to the bottom of why their metabolism is running a little slow, why they're gaining weight. So that first appointment you might feel like, I don't get how this is related but we will ask you how many hours do you sleep? What medications are you taking? How long have you been taking them? How much soda or alcohol do you drink?

Let's go further back in time. How often were you sick as a child? Did you have ear infections? Were you taking antibiotics? So we really need to dig deep to understand what is contributing to your slow metabolism, identify the root cause to come up with an effective plan. Because if we don't know what's going on, we don't know what needs to be changed. It is not as simple as calories in, calories out. If that were the case, 75% of adults would not be overweight today.

Yep. Yeah. It unfortunately, our metabolisms are not a simple math problem, like you said, calories in, calories out. It, it doesn't quite work that way. And I love what you said too, of that very first appointment, it is a lot of asking questions, but also letting the clients tell us their story and picking out those important bits and having the client elaborate on them. And I love what you said too about going back in time where things that might not even have felt relevant or not even thought about, it actually does make an impact on in time on your metabolism.

How many, you know, were you sick often as a child? Or even back to gestational diabetes like we mentioned before. Yes. So it is a puzzle, but it is with us on your side. As detectives, we can absolutely work through some of those challenges. So our goal at Nutritional Weight and Wellness is to help each and every person experience better health through eating real food. It's a simple yet powerful message that eating real food is life changing. Thank you for joining us today and have a wonderful morning.

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