Cindy was convinced there was something wrong with her.
In her career as an Administrative Manager at a law firm, she excelled. She had successfully raised three beautiful kids into tax-paying adults and enjoyed spending her weekends with her fit and trim husband.
But as she got dressed each day, she was plagued with the nagging shame that something was wrong with her.
Cindy had steadily gained over 30 lbs in the last ten years, especially after menopause, and she couldn't figure out how to get it off.
When she was younger she could lose some weight by watching her portions and showing up to an extra exercise class or two a week.
But that wasn't working now.
And there were signs that things were getting worse.
She went to have her thyroid checked and she learned that her fasting blood sugar was high and her good cholesterol was low... but her thyroid was normal.
She needed more sleep than she used to and woke up groggy every day. Her coffee intake was steadily increasing by necessity just to stay awake through late afternoon meetings.
She had to buy new pants as her waist continued to grow. She felt like if she even looked at a brownie, she gained weight.
Cindy felt like her metabolism had just shut down completely.
But was that even real?
How could she find out if her weight and health issues were due to a broken metabolism?
Technically, your metabolism is the sum of all the energy or calories that you burn daily. This includes the calories to just stay alive (basal metabolic rate), the calories needed to digest and absorb your food (thermogenic effect of food), and the calories needed for activity and exercise (activity factor).
Even more technically, the metabolic rate of the body is the overall rate of tissue oxidation of fuels by all the body's organs. This means, how much sugar (glucose) or fat (fatty acids) that our mitochondria (the little powerhouse's of our cells) can churn into units of energy we call ATP or adenosine triphosphate.
How efficiently your body can use sugar and fat for ATP energy is your metabolic rate.
It's the ATP energy that keeps you alive, breathing, thinking, and moving.
Your metabolism is the string of things that happen to take the calories you eat in an apple and turn them into ATP.
ATP for your brain cells to fire so you can think.
ATP for your muscles to contract so you can brush your hair.
ATP for your daily morning walk.
Metabolic damage is an umbrella term that covers any breakdown along the line from when you eat the apple to making the most ATP possible and then how to make ATP when you're not eating.
And, no, you can't really "break" your metabolism, but you can certainly damage it.
It can be broken or damaged like a vase is broken when it is cracked but is still a vase, but not in the sense the vase is broken because it's shattered.
In the simplest of terms, a broken or damaged metabolism is when your body's system for making energy isn't functioning at full capacity. It's unable to take the food you eat and burn or store it correctly, or take it out of storage for use.
In the Freese Method, it means that you are suffering from stubborn, excess body weight due primarily to a metabolic phenomenon called insulin resistance.
Just like you can see the crack in the vase, you can see the signs and symptoms of a damaged metabolism by looking at how your body looks, how your labs look, your relationship with food and hunger, and your energy levels.
Let's go through the most common signs and symptoms that you may have metabolic damage due to insulin resistance.
You may have one, many, or all of these symptoms of metabolic damage.
The more symptoms you have, the more severe your insulin resistance and metabolic damage.
1. STUBBORN, EXCESS BODY FAT
The hallmark symptom of a damaged metabolism due to insulin resistance is stubborn excess body fat that is harder and harder to get off as we age. [2,3]
a. Do you have excess belly fat or have an "apple shape?"
b. Are you struggling with stubborn excess weight that won't budge?
c. Do you regain weight after diets or have large changes in your weight?
2. ABNORMAL LABS
There are diagnostic criteria that can also point to a damaged metabolism due to insulin resistance such as having abnormal lab results. [2,3]
a. Do you have a fasting blood sugar over 89?
b. Do you have high triglycerides?
c. Do you have low HDL cholesterol?
d. Do you have high blood pressure?
3. INTENSE HUNGER, CRAVINGS, OR THIRST
One of the main reasons that your body will crave sugars or starches like dessert, sweets, pasta, bread, or potatoes, is that your body has trouble maintaining a stable blood sugar to constantly keep the right amount of sugar or glucose in your bloodstream and the inability to use your fat stores for energy when you need it. This is due to the metabolic damage known as insulin resistance. 
a. Do you have strong food cravings?
b. Do you have a "sweet tooth?"
c. Are you "hangry" when you don't eat often?
d. Do you find yourself always hungry, even after you may have just eaten?
4. LACK OF ENERGY AND VITALITY
Getting the right amount of sugar into your cells for energy requires balance and a healthy metabolism. It also requires you to be able to use your body fat stores for energy. Metabolic damage blocks your body from using your fat stores for energy (hence the stubborn weight!), so your energy levels are dependent on having stable blood sugar levels from the food you eat. And if you have metabolic damage, the food you eat leaves you with anything but stable blood sugars.
a. Does your energy and focus take a nosedive between 2-5 pm?
b. Do you need coffee, like neeeed coffee to function?
If you found yourself nodding your head yes for the last 10 minutes as you read through any of these symptoms, you, my friend are suffering, yes suffering, with a damaged metabolism due to insulin resistance.
You don't need to say yes to all of them.
If you have stubborn excess body fat but your labs are fine, that's enough to diagnose metabolic damage.
If you've thought for years that something was deeply wrong with your metabolism because you couldn't lose weight and could gain 5 lbs just by looking at a brownie, you were right.
I want you to see that your failed past diets, your lack of progress from the hours at the gym, the real hunger that drives you to the pantry to nibble, is not due to your lack of self-control, it's due to your damaged metabolism.
And that is great news because we have the know-how, the tools, and the confidence to help you repair that damage, no matter how many trips around the sun you've taken.
This is what we do every day in the Freese Method Online Group Coaching Weight Loss Program.
We consistently take small and powerful steps to repair our broken metabolism by reversing our insulin resistance and becoming more insulin sensitive so that we can lose weight, achieve glowing health (bye-bye cholesterol meds!) and put an end to dieting forever.
You can control your weight and prevent weight regain because you've addressed and corrected the root problem: your damaged metabolism.