You may feel tired or cold. Maybe you've gained weight or your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”. You may be convinced that your metabolism is slow.
Why does this happen? Why do metabolic rates slow down?
What can slow my metabolism?
Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy. There are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).
But don't worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”! In fact it's so complicated I'm only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.
- low thyroid hormone
- your history of dieting
- your size and body composition
- your activity level
- lack of sleep
We'll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.
Low Thyroid Hormones
Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism. When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down. The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active. Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right. But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course. Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.
Tip: Talk with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.
Your History of Dieting
When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down. This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.
While dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of fat, it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have. As you know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.
Tip: Make sure you're eating enough food such as healthy fat, lean proteins, fruits & veggies, and whole grains to fuel your body without overdoing it.
Your Size and Body Composition
In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates. This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.
However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.
Muscles that actively move and do work need energy. Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat. This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.
Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass. Make sure you are eating enough protein though so you can make sure to build as much muscle as possible. Your body needs protein to rebuild / grow your muscles especially after weight training.
Your Activity Level
Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you're also getting hotter.
Even little things can add up. Walking a bit farther than you usually do, parking further away from the entrance to the store, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.
Tip: Incorporate movement into your day. Also, exercise regularly.
Lack of Sleep
There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate. The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding
½ cup Brazil nuts
2 cups water
nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)
½ cup chia seeds
¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon sea salt
1 tablespoon maple syrup
Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth, creamy milk. If desired, strain it with a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.
Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined. Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.
Serve and enjoy!
Tip: Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.
What are you waiting for? Life is too short to continue holding yourself back any longer. Take a small step today to change your life.
I would love to guide and support you on your journey! Schedule your free Transformation Discovery consultation now! You are capable of much more than you realize. You can have the life you've always dreamed of and this can be accomplished by committing to yourself and taking small baby steps every day.
Disclaimer: This blog is not intended to diagnose, treat, prevent or cure any illness or disease.
The information provided in this blog is for general educational purposes, has not been reviewed nor approved by the FDA and is not intended to take the place of advice from your medical professional, licensed dietitian or nutritionist.
You are solely responsible for your health care and activity choices. Participation in this blog does not constitute a client-coach relationship.