Can You Really “Damage” Your Metabolism?

There’s this term called “metabolic damage” that’s going around that people feel like they’ve done something wrong. 


The truth is, you haven’t damaged anything. 


There is nothing that you can do to cause irreparable injury to your metabolism. 


However, there is such a thing as metabolic adaptation or suppression that can and will affect a person’s ability to lose weight long-term and maintain that weight loss. It will also impact one’s success in manipulating body composition if you are not smart about how you are achieving that weight loss, to begin with.


That being said, your success in how you approach your objective all comes down to how you are affecting, growing or suppressing, and adapting to that metabolic capacity. And that can be done through manipulation of your calorie intake, energy expenditure, and basal metabolic rate. 


The Impact of Diet

Diet, by definition, is an approach or a course of action in which we restrict caloric intake to put ourselves in a deficit. That deficit can come from burning or expending more calories than we are consuming. As a result, our body is able to utilize stored energy and reduce our overall body weight.


Research suggests that we can affect the capacity or speed of our metabolism in as few as four weeks of being in a deficit. The more muscle mass to fat mass, the more optimal your body composition is and the more efficient you are metabolically.


However, the longer you keep your body in that caloric deficit, the more impact it’s going to have on several functions. 


When Metabolism Adapts to Your Needs

Your metabolism adapts to its needs. Because your body is smart, it’s not going to work harder than it needs to survive. 


It’s about conservation and survival. 


And so, if it sees that it doesn’t have to expend as many calories to do the same daily functions as you were doing at bigger body weight, then it will adapt down to that. 


Then you are essentially living off of less. 


The Concept of Reverse Dieting


You can increase the capacity of your metabolism through reverse dieting.


Reversed dieting is simply a metabolic adaptation in the other direction. You don’t need to diet forever. No one can at these aggressive levels. In that case, you can slowly add food back in and slowly adjust and reduce the intensity or duration, or frequency of your exercise – whatever you feel is sustainable.


Ultimately, you have to really think about the cost-benefit of the quick results, the drastic cutthroat diet, and the long-term risks – because really, it all boils down to sustainability. And that’s the keyword!

If you want to learn more about metabolic “damage,” check out

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