Are you feeling run down and tired all the time?
Do you feel like your metabolism is stuck in low gear? Are you struggling to lose weight, even though you’re eating healthy and exercising? Don’t worry — you’re not alone. A sluggish metabolism is one of the most common health problems people face today. Your metabolism governs how your body burns calories and stores energy. When it’s functioning optimally, you can eat whatever you want without gaining weight. However, if your metabolism is sluggish, even eating healthy foods can cause you to pack on the pounds. Fortunately, there are several things you can do to boost your metabolic rate and improve your health.
My guest today has dedicated a large part of her career to answering questions about metabolism. Her name is Dr. Casey Means, and I’m so excited to have her here at The School of Greatness. In this episode, Dr. Casey tells us how the mind can have a huge impact on your metabolism, the life hacks to boost your metabolism, how to achieve metabolic flexibility, and so much more! This is an exciting conversation about metabolic health, so get ready with your notes, buckle up, and let the class begin.
Dr. Casey Means has a mission of maximizing human potential and reversing the epidemic of preventable chronic disease by empowering people with tech-enabled tools that can inform sustainable, smart, and personalized lifestyle and dietary choices. She’s also the co-founder and Chief Medical Officer of Levels, a metabolic health company.
Her perspectives on metabolic health have been featured in the Wall Street Journal, Men’s Health, Forbes, the New Yorker, Entrepreneur Magazine, New York Times, Techcrunch, Business Insider, Endocrine Today, Metabolism, The Hill, and so much more. She went from being a doctor to helping people find a holistic approach to preventing chronic illness and disease, and she shares more about metabolic health, including life hacks to improve your metabolism during our conversation.
In today’s world, it feels like we are constantly on the go. We are always trying to squeeze in more work, more time with our friends and family, and more activities. While this can be a lot of fun, it can also take a toll on our bodies. Luckily, there are some simple life hacks that we can use to improve our overall metabolism and help us feel our best.
“Metabolism is fundamentally the way that we make energy in the body. So we eat food, and you know, food has fat and glucose in it, either fat or glucose. Sugar can be used to convert into a type of energy that our cells can use, which is called ATP. So we take in this substrate, but we have to convert it through our mitochondria in our cells to a form of energy we can use. The currency that our body understands and can use in that process of conversion is metabolism, and this is happening in every single one of the 37 trillion cells in our body, and it has to work properly.” – Dr. Casey Means
Metabolism is the process of turning the food we eat into energy. This process happens in all of our cells and is necessary for us to function. Certain foods speed up or slow down our metabolism, which can influence how easily we lose or gain weight. By understanding how metabolism works, we can make better choices about what to eat and how to stay healthy.
“Well, I think the way to think about it is to really focus on the mitochondria. This is the energy factory of the cell. This is the powerhouse of the cell. And the thing that people really need to understand is our diet and our lifestyle in the modern western world. … So for instance, when we eat too much sugar. … It’s like there’s a massive overload of this substrate. What does it cause? Stress on the mitochondria and its damage.” – Dr. Casey Means
We all know that sugar isn’t good for us, but most of us don’t realize just how bad it can be. Excessive sugar intake can cause stress and damage to the mitochondria — the powerhouse of our cells. This can lead to a wide variety of health problems including obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. So if you’re looking to improve your health, cutting back on added sugars is a great place to start.
When we think about our metabolism, most of us probably just think about how quickly or slowly our bodies burn calories. But what if there was more to it than that? What if our minds could actually control our metabolism — for better or for worse? Believe it or not, there could be some truth to this, and Dr. Casey shares her thoughts with us.
“Our mind has huge control over our metabolism. … You can think your way into metabolic dysfunction. I think … in some ways, you can [think your way out of it, too,] and it should be a part of your strategy for optimal metabolic health. So the way it works is that these stress hormones travel throughout the body, and they actually tell the liver, ‘We’ve got a threat. … We need to run. We need to have fuel for our muscles so that we can flee. It’s fight or flight.’ So the liver actually stores about two hours of really quickly accessible glucose in the form of something called glycogen. It’s ready to go, but only for a couple of hours. So you’ve got your … stored glucose. …. flooding the bloodstream with blood sugar to feed the muscles.” – Dr. Casey Means
We’ve all been there. That feeling of being so stressed out that we just can’t think straight. Well, it turns out there’s a good reason for that — when we’re stressed, our hormones release stored glucose to feed the muscles. This helps us deal with the stress and gives us the energy we need to survive.
“If you are doing a high-intensity interval training workout, … your body’s actually … gonna see that rapid spike [in glucose]. … Glucose is going up and it can look like a big food spike, but the muscles are there using it. … But if you’re not moving, you’re not using those muscles, it’s just sitting there causing damage, and … we’re doing this probably a hundred times a day in our regular life.” – Dr. Casey Means
Stress is a part of life. Unfortunately, it can also have a negative impact on our health if left unchecked. One way to help minimize the damage stress can cause is by incorporating regular exercise into our routine. Believe it or not, this one strategy can help us burn the spike of glucose that often comes with stress and keep our bodies healthy and balanced. So, the next time you feel stressed out, be sure to get up and move! You’ll feel better both mentally and physically. However, it’s also important to know how to achieve metabolic flexibility to properly manage the spike of glucose.
If you’re like most people, you probably want to be lean and healthy but find it difficult to stick to a specific diet plan. You may have even tried several different diets only to give up in frustration because they were too restrictive. Diets that require you to follow a very specific set of rules can be hard to stick with for the long haul. If this is your experience, then you’ll be happy to know that there’s a better way — metabolic flexibility. It allows your body to adapt easily to different types of food so you can enjoy your food without feeling restricted.
“The average person is not metabolically flexible, and the reason is because they’ve been on the glucose roller coaster — their body is so used to seeing glucose that those pathways are super active. … Glucose is the preferential fuel the body will use. … It will never go and burn fat if there’s glucose. So something that we can do to essentially train our bodies is to give it opportunities to burn fat. This is where you start thinking about things like time-restricted feeding, or fasting, or potentially doing a fasted workout, where you’re actually kind of intentionally keeping your blood sugar levels in the low normal range. … The downstream effect of that is that insulin will be low. … Now your body’s like, ‘Cool, insulin’s low, glucose is low. I’m gonna tap into my fat stores.” – Dr. Casey Means
Metabolic flexibility refers to your body’s ability to switch between burning carbs and burning fat. This is important because it means that your body can use the energy sources available to it in the most efficient way possible. Having good metabolic flexibility can help you lose weight, maintain a healthy weight, and even improve your overall health.
Guys, this interview is something you shouldn’t miss, especially if you are yearning for improving your metabolic health. It is packed with so many words of wisdom from my special guest, Dr. Casey Means. Listen to the full episode for more, and don’t forget to share the episode with someone who needs to hear it.
Follow Casey on social media. She’s on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook. If you visit her website, you can request access to her newsletter that unlocks your metabolic health. So go ahead and check it out! But before you do — her definition of greatness is definitely something that should go down the memory lane.
“My definition of greatness is being able to achieve and embody sort of thriving in this world and to be able to enact your purpose and fundamentally be able to go out there and really live your purpose and shine your personal light. That really requires us to be healthy. … [So] greatness is being able to shine our light and embody our purpose.” – Dr. Casey Means
We all have greatness within us. It’s what makes us shine in the face of adversity and be true to our purpose in life. No matter what anyone else says or does, we can always find ways to bring out the best in ourselves. By staying true to our own path, we can achieve great things. So don’t let anyone stand in your way — focus on becoming the best version of yourself, and shine your light brightly for all to see. You were born for a reason! And if no one’s told you lately, let me remind you that you are loved, you are worthy, and you matter. Now, it’s time to go out there and do something great.