Since your metabolism is a process that runs silently in the background, it’s probably not something you think about all the time. But it if you have a fast metabolism, it can manifest in some interesting ways.
To put it simply, “metabolism is the process of converting food consumed into energy,” Dr. David Greuner M.D. of NYC Surgical Associates, tells Bustle. “It is occurring within all living things and is essential to survive.” It’s intertwined with and impacted by many other processes, and can have a profound impact on the way you feel. “Usually, people with fast-paced metabolisms have inherited it from genetics,” Dr. Greuner says. “Yet, there are other factors that contribute to your metabolism such as age […] muscle mass, and your physical activity.”
Your metabolism can even change throughout your life, as your lifestyle and health changes, potentially leading to all sorts of weird symptoms. It’s a complex system, and it can be tough to pinpoint what, exactly, is stemming from your metabolism, and what might be a result of something else.
The best way to figure out why you might have a fast metabolism is to speak with your doctor. They can figure out if it’s something you were born with, the result of a lifestyle change, or even a side effect of a health concern. Read on below for some weird physical signs of a fast metabolism, according to experts.
1. You Get Hot Easily
If you’re someone who gets hot and sweaty at the drop of a hat — even when everyone else around you is comfortable — it could be a sign of a fast metabolism. As Dr. Greuner says, “This is due to a higher basal body temperature, and quick metabolic reactions occurring within the body.”
2. You’re Hungry All The Time
While sweatiness may be an external sign of a fast metabolism, “internally, people [with] high metabolisms will generally feel hungry all the time from their bodies constantly burning energy,” Dr. Greuner says. So if it seems like you need to eat very often, this may be one reason why.
3. You Need More Meals
“Metabolism is simply the body breaking down and utilizing the food we eat as energy,” Emily Tills, a registered dietitian and nutrition coach, tells Bustle. So if you have a fast metabolism, you might need more meals or snacks to sate the hunger we just talked about.
4. You Poop A Lot
If you’re hungry all the time and seem to poop frequently, consider it a another sign of a super fast metabolism. “The hunger and frequent [bathroom] stops are due to how quickly your body metabolizes your food,” integrative health coach Tracee Gluhaich tells Bustle. But keep in mind there are plenty of other reasons for frequent bowel movements, including issues like irritable bowel syndrome. That’s why you may not want to chalk these symptoms up to a fast metabolism, until you double check with your doctor and see what they say.
5. You Have A Lot Of Energy
“Metabolism refers to the way our body processes and breaks down food for fuel. This is why some people are slow and sluggish, [while] others are hyperactive and always on the go,” Dr. Janette Nesheiwat M.D., a family and emergency doctor, tells Bustle. If yours is fast, you may find that you naturally have a lot of energy, Dr. Nesheiwat says.
6. You Feel Irritable
For some people, a fast metabolism can be a side effect of an underlying health issue, like hyperthyroidism, which causes the thyroid gland to produce more hormones than the body actually needs, Dr. Marra Francis M.D., executive medical director at Everlywell, tells Bustle. If that’s the case, you may notice that you experience irritability and sleep disturbances, as well as increased sweating, anxiety, and bowel changes, Dr. Francis says. For that reason, if it seems like you have a fast metabolism, and other “weird” symptoms, it’ll be a good idea to get a checkup and make sure there isn’t something more going on.
7. You Don’t Need An Afternoon Coffee Break
“People with high metabolisms tend to have consistent energy throughout the day and are able to stay focused mentally,” personal trainer and nutritionist Jamie Hickey, tells Bustle, which may explain why all your coworkers head out for coffee around 3 p.m. while you’re still going strong.
There’s nothing wrong with having a fast (or slow!) metabolism. If you’re concerned about new changes in your daily health, though, or if these side effects are making you uncomfortable, go ahead and reach out to a doctor. They’ll let you know if you have something going on, such as hyperthyroidism, or if your fast metabolism is simply due to the way your body’s made.