The word metabolism is something that elicits a strong emotional response from just about everyone, and the prevailing wisdom is that you “either have it or you don’t,” meaning some people are presumably blessed while others are “cursed” when it comes to avoiding unhealthy body fat deposits.
But there are many things people don’t realize about metabolism, starting with its definition: it has to do with much more than just weight management, calorie-burning and other simplistic perceptions, and includes a body’s entirety of biochemical functions.
Improving your metabolism can result in better weight management and much more, as Dr. Corey Shuler of the Metabolic Treatment Center in Bloomington, Minnesota explains in this interview with AltHealthWORKS.com.
Dr. Shuler is a locally and nationally-recognized authority in the fields of natural health and more specifically metabolism who has been a guest on many national radio shows and in magazines.
The following is our interview with Dr. Shuler on important topics involving metabolism and more:
AHW: It seems like the word metabolism is often discussed but rarely fully understood. What is the most common misconception out there about our metabolism and the true definition of the term?
Dr. Corey Schuler: Metabolism is the entirety of all chemical functions in our body and that means essentially nothing to the practical person. Most people believe it has to do with weight loss or energy status. At Metabolic Treatment Center, we consider the biochemical definition. We are essentially looking for “glitches” in a person’s physiology that lead to problems that reduce quality of life. Sometimes it is weight loss or energy status, but it doesn’t have to be.
AHW: Many people, especially those who have issues with excess fat/weight gain, tend to believe their metabolism is a fixed variable, something they were born with that’s either “good” or “bad.” What’s your take on this, and is it indeed possible to shift your metabolism from “bad” to “good?”
CS: Basal metabolic rate or the efficiency of how you burn calories is held in fairly tight balance. This can be referred to as a set point when it comes to weight and the reason there is so much tendency to return to a previous weight. However, this can be changed, especially when there is an obstacle such as a food sensitivity, chronic stress, digestive dysfunction, or a catabolic process that keeps the set point where it is. So it isn’t fixed, but it also isn’t easily changed.
AHW: What do you feel about the basic “calories in, calories out” equals healthy weight loss belief system? Do many of your clients follow this, and what are your thoughts on its efficacy (or lack of efficacy) for healthy weight loss?
CS: The first thing we teach about calories in, calories out is that it should be forgotten. Food quality, nutrient density, and myriad other processes such as hormone balance, blood sugar regulation, and cell membrane integrity all trump calories in/out.
AHW: What would you say is the number one hidden trigger for sustained weight management that most people don’t know about?
CS: Treats. People love to treat themselves to special occasions but special occasions come about WAY too often for most people. It’s Thursday, that means it’s almost Friday, which means it’s almost the weekend, let’s take a break from this pesky food plan. There is a saying that goes, “you are not a dog, you don’t need to reward yourself with food.”
AHW: How come there is such little attention given to the big role that hormones play in weight management/healthy weight maintenance? Is the system as complicated as many people think?
CS: Physiology is fairly complex. Health is not. Blood sugar hormones, thyroid hormones, stress hormones, and sex hormones, and even digestive hormones all have a common pattern. Most people who really want their problems to be “hormone problems” only look at one aspect of this. Usually it is three or more contributors.
AHW: If you had one piece of advice for all the New Year’s dieters out there what would it be?
CS: Test. Don’t guess. If the changes you set out to do aren’t providing the progress you expected, it may be a simple tweak to your food or supplement program that is necessary. Trial and error is exhausting. For a small amount of money, you can save yourself time, energy, and frustration.
AHW: Talk a little bit about the Metabolic Treatment Center, what types of protocols do you typically recommend? Supplements, dietary switches etc…
CS: At Metabolic Treatment Center, food is first. While Lucretius said one man’s food is another man’s poison, we consider that to be the basis of biochemical individuality. First, let’s figure out the food plan that will nourish and support all of your critical systems. Then, we can determine any needs that are in excess that can be supported using functional laboratory evaluations and evidence-based dietary supplements.
Finally, for long-term support, we coach people on lifestyle changes with tips, tricks, and strategies that are fully customized to their life, work, family, and social environment. We expect people to be independently healthy and not need us long term. We get them on track and teach them how to stay there and make their own changes to their plan. The lifestyle medicine we practice is the most exciting form of managing health.
AHW: Thanks for joining us, Dr. Shuler.
P.S. Readers can check out the Metabolic Treatment Center (and get help from anywhere in the country) on their website at www.metabolictreatmentcenter.com.