I've Heard Of Muscle Memory, But What About Metabolism Memory?
Does the body get used to eating the same foods?
The inner workings of the human body are some of the most complex mechanisms you will ever see. The astonishing resiliency and ability to withstand the daily punishment we deliver to our bodies is something to behold. I know all those years of torture I placed on my body weighing over 400 pounds are living proof that the body can overcome just about anything for a period of time before it starts breaking down. Thankfully I made the necessary changes to lose weight in time before anything major ever happened to me.
But I've been pondering something in my mind lately that I'd love to throw out there to see what you think about it. I recently interviewed Jackie Eberstein (I'll be sharing that two-part interview on my podcast show the week of June 23, 2008) who worked with the late great Dr. Robert C. Atkins for three decades and we were talking about my 30-pound weight gain this year and the reasons why it may have happened. She brought up an interesting point I had never really thought about before and it was about my daily eating habits.
Looking at my daily menus blog, Jackie noticed that I tend to eat a lot of the same foods. This is true! I'm such a creature of habit that getting into a groove of eating similarly each day is just easier for me. I know some people like to have variety in the day-to-day, but I'm happy enough eating virtually the same meals all the time for weeks on end before switching it up. Jackie said that it is possible that despite the fact that those foods I have been eating are low-carb, perhaps my metabolism has gotten used to them.
Say WHAT?! You have GOT to be kidding me!
She went on to encourage me to change it up a little--have a steak one night, try some pork tenderloins the next night, maybe some lamb chops with broccoli or grilled chicken breasts with cauliflower on the next and so forth. The point is that perhaps your body can get used to the same foods if you never mix it up. Now, I've heard of muscle memory, but what about metabolism memory? Is it possible your body can "remember" what you've eaten before and therefore respond differently over time as it gets used to the foods? Let's explore this issue a bit.
It makes total sense in the fitness world when you talk about muscle memory. That's why ever since I started lifting weights in December 2007, I am happy to report that my personal trainer has NEVER repeated the same routine with me. EVER! That's a smart trainer because he knows if your muscles become too used to the same workouts, they'll stop responding to the stimulus you provide them. The point of resistance training is to keep the muscles guessing and growing as you become a hunka hunka burning muscle! :D
So why wouldn't this same thing apply to metabolism? Several years back, I blogged about a study that found your body's cells "remember" being fat even after weight loss and respond accordingly. I dismissed that idea as ludicrous at the time, but maybe there is a little something to it. Maybe, just maybe, at the cellular level we can become so accustomed to the same foods--even low-carb ones--over and over again that they don't have quite the same impact as they did before.
In this case, I'm talking about weight loss specifically, but maybe it can have some health implications as well. I'm not suggesting everyone stop their low-carb lifestyle or anything silly like that. But there's no denying the POSSIBILITY that sticking to the same routine day after day could possibly tell your body to stop shedding the pounds despite doing all the right things. It's a working theory and I'm all ears to hear what you think about this.
With the price of food these days getting more and more expensive, keeping your low-carb meals simple and similar is more affordable when you can stock up on key items. That's my biggest reason for eating the same way often--I see a good deal on a food and I buy a bunch of it. I've always been that kind of shopper and it would be such a shame to learn that my efforts to save some money were preventing me from experiencing the weight loss I desire.
So, what say YOU?! Do you think there's such a thing as metabolism memory? Leave your comments and tell us what you think. :)