My life goal is to help women achieve flexibility of the body, mind, and metabolism. Consequently, I wanted to write a post devoted to explaining what is metabolic flexibility.
All About Metabolic Flexibility
I discovered metabolic flexibility in my forties! Seriously! Before that, I was everything but! Metabolic Flexibility has changed my life!
What Is Metabolic Flexibility
Fundamentally, metabolic flexibility defines your body’s ability to switch from glucose to ketones for energy with ease. We will go into more detail as we address what leads to metabolic inflexibility, the benefits of metabolic flexibility, and how you can become metabolically flexible.
Furthermore, to get a more in-depth overview of what metabolic flexibility means, read Metabolic flexibility in health and disease.
What Leads to Metabolic Inflexibility
The root cause of metabolic inflexibility is years of overeating and poor food choices. Wait a minute, you say! What if I have been making excellent food choices and only eating to satiety, then, I can’t be metabolically inflexible? Well, it’s not quite true! If you feel “angry” when you are hungry or crave sugar after meals, you are showing signs of metabolic inflexibility. The bottom line is that over the years, insulin resistance will induce metabolic inflexibility.
Preventing Insulin Resistance
Did you know that to improve your health and longevity, you should be eating to only 80 percent full? Continuous calorie restriction is key to increasing health and longevity. It is also a tool to prevent insulin resistance.
The problem is: calorie restriction is hard! Almost impossible to sustain long term! That’s why alternatives like intermittent fasting and modified fasting are extremely helpful.
How You Can Become Metabolically Flexible
I already mentioned that continuous calorie restriction is a way you can achieve metabolic flexibility. Since calorie restriction is difficult to sustain long term (and even more so when one is insulin resistant), what are our other options? Intermittent fasting and modified fasting.
I wanted to start with modified fasting because modified fasting is an alternative to calorie restriction devised by Dr. Valter Longe. Essentially, Dr. Valter Long had been studying calorie restriction for health and longevity. He wanted to induce the health benefits through a fasting method that would be doable for the average person. That’s how he designed his Fasting Mimicking Diet.
Two key elements of modified fasting are severe calorie restriction and low protein intake. Here we go again! Calorie restriction encourages fatty acid oxidation (a fancy term that means that your body is using fat to produce ketones – or switching to fat-burning mode). In this case, though, we are sustaining the calorie restriction for a total of 5 days. Dr. Valter Longo recommends 2-3 modified fasts a year.
For more information about modified fasting and to see my free meal plans, read Modified Fasting: How You Can Benefit From Fasting Without Starving.
Intermittent fasting is my method of choice. Although I am a big fan of modified fasting, now that I have reached my weight loss goal, I can’t seem to muster up the motivation to stick to the whole 5-day fast. I did it twice when I was losing weight, but now I feel too hungry and wonder why I am doing this! lol
With intermittent fasting, there are so many approaches, you are sure to find one that works for you.
My Favorite Intermittent Fasting Methods
If you are familiar with my content, you know that the Warrior Diet (or the 20:4 method) has become my favorite intermittent fasting method. I like that it is long enough to help most women achieve optimal weight loss ketosis and stay there for 2-3 hours while short enough to be very doable. There are a some other methods that I have been finding quite effective:
- The Eat-Stop-Eat Method (one or two 24 hour fasts a week)
- The 5:2 Method (two 500 calorie days)
- OMAD (a one hour eating window)
The key here is to stay open to switching intermittent fasting method as needed while persistent enough to see results.
Read 7 Rules of Intermittent Fasting for Weight Loss for more info.
How to Know Your Body Switched To Ketones for Energy
Now, if you want to become metabolically flexible, you need to ensure your body is switching from glucose to ketones for energy a few times a week. To achieve this, you will make sure you fast long enough to for your body to produce enough ketones. Usually, that means anywhere from 1.0 to 3.0 mmol/L.
The most accurate to experiment and check your ketone level is by using a ketone monitor.
I use the Keto Mojo, get 15 percent off with my affiliate link.
However, you will know without a ketone monitor when the metabolic switch happens. You will feel it! Your hunger will feel different, like just a sensation in your stomach that doesn’t make you want to eat the first thing that you see. You will feel clear minded and energetic! Then, you will know, your body is producing enough ketones and you are metabolically flexible.
Benefits of Metabolic Flexibility
Aside from improving your health and longevity, metabolic flexibility has many practical health benefits that you will feel daily:
- Fewer food cravings
- Decreased appetite
- Weight loss
- Ability to fast longer
- Increased energy
- Better focus
- Better mood
- Improved sleep
- Decreased inflammation
That’s what happens when you are free from blood sugar ups and downs, baby!
Now that you know what is metabolic flexibility, I bet you want to give it a try! I encourage you to do so, you will not regret it. I would say it is one of the keys to health and longevity, it has changed my life. If you would like some more guidance, I offer coaching and a digital program to support you along the way.