do i have a fast or slow metabolism

Well, you’re either the person who is always told by your friends that they are jealous that you can without gaining weight. Or you’re the person who is jealous of your friend who can eat whatever whenever without gaining a single pound.

Of course, everyone knows (or is) one of those people who can eat anything without worrying about weight, and everyone knows someone who struggles maintaining their weight or losing weight because of a slow metabolism. But, you may ask, what does it really mean to have a fast or slow metabolism and how do I know which one I have?

For starters, it’s important to make sure you have at least a general understanding of what your metabolism is and what it means for your body.

Metabolism 101:

In short, a metabolism refers to the body’s chemical processes which controls all of the things necessary to maintain a state of living. So your metabolism regulates your body’s most basic functions, like breathing, blood circulation, digestion, and building/repairing cells.

Of course, performing these functions requires energy, which your body gets from the calories you consume. The number of calories your body needs each day to maintain such functions is known as your basal metabolic rate – this is more or less what your metabolism is based on. Slow metabolisms burn less calories to perform the body’s functions than fast metabolisms burn, which is why people with fast metabolism don’t gain weight very easily.

Each person has a unique metabolism, but knowing whether yours is fast or slow can impact just about everything including your ideal diet, exercise routines, sleep schedules, etc. But, how are you supposed to know whether you have a fast metabolism or a slow one? Well, your metabolism depends on a few factors including the following: your age, gender, body composition, level of daily activity, and of course, your genetics. So it’s hard to know, but here are some tips:

Fast Metabolisms:

·       Teenage Diet – a major giveaway that you have a fast metabolism is that your friends always comment on how much they wish they could eat like you without gaining weight. Many people have faster metabolisms when they’re younger, and thus can eat whatever they want. Of course, metabolisms slow with age.

·       High Basal Body Temperature – because the faster metabolism requires a higher temperature to keep up with how quickly the processes occur, people with high metabolisms feel hot and sweaty a lot more than normal.

·       Body Size – While some obese people have fast metabolisms, fast metabolisms typically result in people having much lower BMIs and being underweight. They also might appear more muscular since they burn a higher proportion of their body’s fat.

·       Endless Hunger – Not only can they eat whatever without gaining weight, but people with fast metabolisms always feel hungry, even after a meal. This usually results in them snacking on food constantly throughout the day.

·       People with fast metabolisms also might experience:

o   Addictive personality traits

o   Nervousness

o   Irritability

o   High blood pressure

o   Lower calcium and magnesium levels

o   Excess sodium, potassium and phosphorus levels

o   Rapid heart rate

o   Difficulties sleeping (shorter sleep nights on average as well)

o   Mood Swings

o   Fidgeting and trembling hands

o   Frequent bowel movements

Slow Metabolisms:

·       Weight Gain – Of course, people with slow metabolisms have trouble avoiding easy weight gain if they are not careful. They also struggle quite a bit with weight loss.

·       Tiredness – People with slow metabolisms are a lot more tired a lot more often. They tend to get tired more easily during activities. They might sleep longer and still feel more tired when they wake up.

·       Sleeping Quirks – While slow metabolizers tend to fall asleep very quickly, easily, and heavily, they tend to wake up frequently throughout the night. Of course, they don’t really struggle finding their way back to bed after waking up.

·       Increased Sensitivity to Cold – Since they have reduced blood flow compared to people with faster metabolisms, slow metabolizers are more sensitive to coldness, especially in their extremities

·       People with slow metabolisms also might experience:

o   Depression (especially combined with very excessive fatigue)

o   Excessive calcium and magnesium levels, but lack potassium, sodium, and iron

o   Weight gain in areas such as hips, thighs, and upper arms

o   Cellulite in new areas on the body, especially on the front of the thighs

o   Desperation for late afternoon sugar snacks (due to blood sugar drops)

At the end of the day, each person’s metabolism is unique to them. Of course, it is important to at least have an idea of which side you lean toward as it can have significant implications for daily health routines. However, regardless of whether your metabolism is fast or slow, there are ways to do what may seem impossible, like lose weight despite a slow metabolism. Understanding how your body works is key to overcoming such things.

Of course, the only way to definitively determine your metabolism type is through a blood test, which if you truly want to you can order online. If you think your metabolism or symptoms are serious and possible dangerous, please don’t hesitate to talk to your doctor, as they will be able to provide you with the most specific advice.  

By Russell McBurnie