Metabolism: Balance vs. Imbalance

Metabolism is what directs the flow of energy through your body – in some cases, producing energy, in others, using it. Depending on the balance between the two, you can swing anywhere between “I’m ready to conquer the word” to “I’m not going to lift a finger today.”

Generally speaking, here’s how your energy meter swings based on the functional energy/energies you naturally gravitate toward:

  • Light and quick: Your energy levels tend to fluctuate through the day. You may procrastinate on a task you don’t particularly enjoy but push yourself to do whatever catches your fancy. You may, however, need several pick-me-ups.
  • Slow and steady: You do not necessarily lack in energy, but you do not like to expend it frivolously. Once you find yourself interested in a task, you are able to power yourself steadily and see it to completion.
  • Intense: Your energy levels are on the higher side throughout the day, provided you eat regularly. You also have the tendency to push yourself too hard even when you are not really up for it, leaving yourself vulnerable to burnouts.

So, how do you know when your metabolism is in balance? It’s easy – you feel energetic!

In Balance

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  • You wake up refreshed
  • You don’t want to lounge around in bed any longer
  • You have a clear plan for the day ahead
  • You can climb stairs without panting
  • You do not feel a midday slump
  • You can focus on your tasks well
  • You don’t want to put off tasks for later
  • You feel motivated to take on new tasks
  • You feel like hitting the gym or exercising purposefully
  • You are able to manage some time off to do things you enjoy

Given our fast-paced lives, more often than not, this list is not the story of our lives. We tend to feel drained, exhausted, and outright dog-tired every other day. Are we then not in balance that often? Possibly.

Slight to Moderate Imbalance

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  • You wake up tired every now and then
  • You experience a shortness of breath or need to sit and rest after a relatively easy activity
  • You become exhausted by midday or evening
  • You feel unwilling to take on new tasks
  • Your reflexes become slower

Along with these, watch out for your negative tendencies being more pronounced.

  • Light and quick: You become more and more anxious and restless.
  • Slow and steady: You become lethargic and procrastinate even more.
  • Intense: You start feeling overly irritable as you push yourself to do things you don’t really have the energy to do.

When you notice these signs, act. At this stage, the damage done is still reversible with a few diet and lifestyle tweaks. For instance, you could use a quick fix like a tall glass of water or could look at a more long-term solution like a routine that gives you some downtime. Certain rejuvenating herbs could also come to your rescue.

While you figure out what works for you, factor in situational and environmental factors. For instance, women feel particularly low on energy in the week leading up to their period and those traveling to a warmer climate may struggle to adjust. Become aware of the cause and find ways to rest and refuel.

If, however, you continue to push yourself – physically, mentally, and/or emotionally – and make no attempt to correct your imbalance, you are headed toward a more severe condition of fatigue.

Severe Imbalance

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  • You sleep tired and wake up tired
  • You feel lightheaded each time you stand up from a seated position
  • You lack mental clarity and struggle to focus on the task at hand
  • You have sore and aching muscles
  • You don’t feel like eating at your regular meal times or even when you see your favorite dish
  • You have a nagging headache
  • Your vision is blurred. You may even start hallucinating
  • You find yourself forgetting things more often

If you nodded to any of these signs, it’s best you speak to your healthcare provider about it.

A low energy level may not always be a simple matter of, say, a skipped meal or a late night. A number of conditions could also be responsible for it. Some possibilities are thyroid disorders, anemia, diabetes, digestive disorders, depression, menopause, PCOS, heart disease, and chronic fatigue syndrome. So, dig deeper and find out exactly what it is.