How do you stack up?
If you scored 0-25, you are at a high risk of being stuck as a sugar burner, at higher risk for metabolic disease, low energy, and an inability to get through the day without eating frequently!
If you scored 26-50, your metabolism needs a bit of work. You’re likely mostly (if not entirely) stuck in sugar-burning mode making weight loss more difficult, causing symptoms like headaches and heartburn, and maybe even struggling with energy.
If you scored 51-75, you are above average and likely at least some of the time able to switch to burning fat for sustained energy, mental clarity, reduced inflammation, and much easier weight loss/maintenance.
If you scored 76-100, you are definitely able to get into fat-burning mode and you have clear metabolic flexibility! You are in the elite class of metabolic health that less than 12% of the adult population in the US have. Congratulations!
Why these 15 questions?
These questions were adapted from Dr. Cate Shanahan’s book “The Fatburn Fix”
The mitochondria are your cell’s power plants that take in fuels (glucose, fat, and/or ketones) and use them to create usable energy. If your mitochondria are inefficient at this process or your body struggles to bring adequate fuel to the cell, you will feel tired, hungry, and far less likely to be able to effectively lose or maintain weight loss.
You’ll find that you are unable to go more than a couple of hours between meals and snacks without feeling tired, shaky, irritable, nauseous, or unable to concentrate. You may also find that you need to eat a snack before bed and you are hungry first thing in the morning.
Your pulse and blood pressure are controlled by your sympathetic nervous system – which also controls your “fight or flight” responses. If your pulse and/or blood pressure are elevated at rest, you are stuck in this fight or flight mode.
“Pins and needles”, neuropathy, carpal tunnel, shaking when hungry or stressed and restless leg syndrome have all been associated with damaged mitochondria in the nerves of the arms and/or legs.
Headaches can be caused by a variety of factors, but many of them can be attributed to mitochondrial dysfunction in the brain leading to low energy production in the brain which can cause swelling of the nerves.
These questions assess how well your energy-balance hormones are functioning – specifically your sensitivity to insulin. When insulin sensitivity declines, even a small intake of sugar or carbohydrate can cause a huge spike in blood sugar and/or insulin levels.
Insulin is produced by the pancreas with many roles throughout the body. One of its primary roles is to act as a key that unlocks the door to the cell, allowing glucose (sugar) in. If the cells stop responding to this key, sugar will remain in the blood. This has two major problems – 1. sugar is toxic in the blood and will cause inflammation and damage to the blood vessels. 2. the sugar cannot be used for energy unless it can get into the cell. This is why you feel fatigued or weak even if you’re adequately fueled. This can also cause your brain and body to crave sugar – because even though you’re well-fed, you can’t access that energy source, so your body is screaming for more fuel (and sugar is the fastest-acting fuel).
Afternoon fatigue is often a sign that you have an imbalanced cortisol rhythm. Cortisol is supposed to counteract insulin, allowing you to feel energized and alert. This imbalance may be due to depleted adrenal glands (from high stress, blood sugar imbalances, inflammation, or some medications).
If you don’t lose weight easily but you do regain weight easily, this is a clear sign that your hormones are imbalanced putting you more in a fat-storage mode, rather than a fat-burning mode.
If your fasting blood sugar is over 100, you are showing signs of metabolic dysfunction that can become type 2 diabetes if you don’t take action. This is a clear indication that you are consuming far too many carbohydrates and you’ve lost some sensitivity to insulin. If you don’t know your fasting glucose, I’d be happy to order some blood work for you or you can ask your doctor to run a standard panel including blood sugar. This is a test I recommend having done at least once per year, regardless of your current health status (in addition to many other baseline markers).
Swelling and puffiness when sitting can occur in people with elevated insulin levels. Insulin causes you to retain both salt and water, which can accumulate at the low points when you sit.
If you’re experiencing cravings or hypoglycemia symptoms, you may have an imbalance in your hunger/satiety hormones, you may have cellular dysfunction not allowing fuel into the cell to be used for energy, or you’ve been a sugar-burner for so long, you’ve trained your appetite control center to drive irresistible food cravings (usually for sweets, starches and junk).
Heartburn can develop due to an imbalanced gut, the presence of H. pylori bacteria, autoimmune conditions, and a low-protein diet (protein is necessary to stimulate the production of digestive enzymes and juices). Most of the population have too little stomach acid…not too much. Acid-blocking medications in these cases will calm the symptoms, but they’re not fixing the cause (may actually make it worse).
Loss of energy when losing weight may be due to an abnormal leptin function. Leptin is the satiety hormone that should tell you that you have adequately fueled your body with the food you just ate (and plays a direct role in keeping you satiated between meals). This can be improved through dietary changes and by reducing inflammation.
Body Fat Toxicity
Being the warmest person in the room or getting hot and sweaty easily can be a sign of an imbalanced thyroid or other metabolic dysfunction. This dysfunction can be caused by the consumption of vegetable oils, trans fats, and other harmful fat sources that have changed the way your cellular membranes and hormones operate.
If you avoid physical activity or exertion, you need to evaluate why. Are you sleep-deprived? Do you have joint pain? Are you too tired? These are all signs that you need a change.
If you accumulate fat in your belly, neck or chin, these are signs that you have an unhealthy fat deposition that occurs with insulin resistance, excess body fat percentage (maxed out the capacity for body fat storage in normal locations), inflammation, and possible fat accumulation in your arteries.
Whew – that was a LOT! I’m sure you just got a lot more detail than you anticipated…that’s Ok. You don’t have to have all of this memorized.
If you fall into a category that you aren’t happy with – I want you to know a few things.
1. You are NOT alone. Over 88% of the population have been found to be metabolically UNHEALTHY (likely closer to 94% after the pandemic).
2. This is fixable! In most cases, through proper diet and lifestyle, these symptoms and problems can be completely eliminated (or at least drastically improved).
3. You’re not a failure. Most likely you have made some less-than-desirable choices – we all have. Also most likely, you’ve followed a lot of the traditional recommendations. Sadly, those haven’t served you at all. Your symptoms and disorder progression will continue to worsen if you don’t take a different approach. A personalized approach.
I don’t believe in “standard of care” models. I believe we are unique and should have protocols and plans as unique as we are. Any successful plan MUST take YOU into account.
If you’d like to learn more, schedule a complimentary Health Review Session where we can dive deeper into what brought you here and how you can get out of it!