10 Things That Slow Down Your Metabolism to a Crawl
So much has been written and said about that catch-all word that seems to define everything about how efficiently we burn energy–metabolism.
They say that all you need to do to rev up your metabolism is to pack on more muscle, which leads to greater weight loss. Easier said than done, since there is a myriad of other things to consider, but keeping your metabolism fine-tuned is no doubt necessary for losing weight, and more importantly, keeping the weight off for good.
What Regulates Metabolism?
Simply put, the metabolism is responsible for how fast or how slow our bodies transform what we eat and drink into usable fuel for energy. The energy we use is in the form of calories.
Calories derived from both solids and liquids are combined with oxygen into energy that the body can use for activities. Even as we sleep, our bodies need energy. Actually, as long as we live and breathe, our metabolism is a biological function that we require.
There are a few given factors that will define differences in metabolic requirements. These include body size, body composition, body type, gender, and age. Furthermore, two other factors affect how many calories our bodies need each day: food processing or thermogenesis, and physical activity.
While our metabolism is a tricky thing to understand and balance, there are a few known factors that are notorious for making it sluggish. Here are a few of them:
10 Things That Slow Down Your Metabolism
1. Low Protein Intake
Consuming adequate protein is vital for sustaining a healthy weight. Research has demonstrated that besides contributing to feeling satiated, adequate protein intake can considerably raise the rate at which the body expends calories.
After digestion, metabolic rate is temporarily elevated. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). Consuming protein elevates the metabolic rate more than the consumption of fat or carbs. Junk foods tend to have a low TEF, due to their high carb, high fat, and low protein composition, thereby having an effect on the number of calories burned throughout the day.
Increasing your protein intake aids in maintaining your metabolic rate during maintenance or weight loss periods. Protein promotes the preservation of lean body mass, which further maintains and elevates metabolic rate during a weight loss diet.
2. Low Physical Activity Levels
Being inactive can no doubt result in a notable drop in your daily energy expenditure. Due to today’s sedentary lifestyles and desk-bound jobs, many people are essentially required to remain seated for prolonged periods, which can have adverse effects on the metabolism and overall health.
If you sit around all day, try getting up regularly to take short walks, stretch, or go for some stair climbing. Likewise, having a regular gym routine always helps. Being sedentary lowers the number of calories you burn every day, so endeavor to lessen your sitting time and increase your general activity level.
3. Your Calorie Intake is Too Low
Contrary to popular belief, drastically limiting your calorie intake for the sake of losing weight can create a significant decrease in metabolism rate.
While a caloric deficit is key for weight loss, it can also make your metabolism drop. This is because when one drastically lowers calories, our bodies shift to survival mode, lowering the pace at which it burns calories. It also has been observed that when calorie restriction is more moderate, it can still lower your metabolism quite a bit.
Also, some people are under the impression that skipping breakfast boosts the metabolism, but it does not make a significant difference. In fact, skipping breakfast, on top of low-calorie dieting, can even slow down your metabolism, so make sure you keep track of your overall daily caloric intake.
4. Sleep Deprivation
It cannot be said enough that sleep is vital for good health. In fact, being sleep deprived has been observed to raise the risk for a number of illnesses like diabetes, heart disease, and depression. Research has shown that sleep deprivation may also bring down your metabolic rate and conversely, raise your odds for weight gain.
There are many causes for sleep deprivation. Taking caffeine too close to bedtime, being on our phones before bed, watching T.V, and taking too many naps during the day are things to avoid if you want to get a good night’s sleep. As bedtime nears, it’s important to avoid activities that cause too much thinking.
5. Having High-Fructose Drinks
We’ve said it before: sugar-laced drinks have no health benefits. In fact, drinking an excess amount of juices and other types of beverages loaded with refined sugar have been directly linked to health issues such as insulin resistance, obesity, and even diabetes.
The vast majority of adverse effects due to sugar can be blamed on fructose. For instance, regular table sugar is made up of 50% fructose. An unhealthy, elevated appetite for beverages with high amounts of fructose has been shown to reduce metabolic rate and cause body fat to be stored in the midsection and liver.
6. Not Engaging in Resistance Training
Engaging in resistance training is one of the best ways to keep your metabolism revved up. Lifting weight has been observed by countless studies to raise metabolic rate in healthy people, and also benefits those who have heart issues or those who are overweight.
Resistance training helps in creating muscle mass, which considerably elevates the number of calories you burn even when you are sedentary.
7. Choosing the Wrong Exercises
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) can be characterized as performing at intense or fast paces for short bursts and then lowering the intensity for a longer period of time. It’s been said that real-world activities are intervals in nature.
Interval training produces better post-exercise oxygen consumption than exercising at a steady, lower intensity which translates to burning more calories even after the workout has been completed.
8. Inadequate Exposure to Sunlight
Since an ample amount of daylight is vital for metabolic health, go outdoors for a walk first thing in the morning. Individuals who get the most sunlight early in the morning have been observed to possess a lower body mass index or BMI, as opposed to those who do not get as much daily sunlight.
It appears that early morning sunlight may help control the body clock or circadian rhythm, which regulates numerous functions in the body like sleep, appetite and our metabolism—all essential components of a healthy metabolic rate.
9. Making Poor Snack Choices
Studies show that polyunsaturated fatty acids (PUFAs), particularly those found in walnuts, may boost the work of certain genes that regulate fat burning, allowing you to burn more calories throughout the day. Strive for approximately a small handful of walnuts each day when you urge for a snack.
Additionally, nuts are high in protein which helps keep you satiated throughout the day. Junk foods only further slow down the metabolism, so keep them to an absolute minimum.
10. Iodine Deficiency
Sea salt is a popular flavor enhancer, but it lacks iodine, an important substance that the thyroid glands need for proper functioning. Inadequate iodine intake may interfere with thyroid output, causing metabolism to slow down.
Other sources of iodine include sea vegetables, cranberries, eggs, fish, and dairy products.
The Final Word
Having lifestyle habits that slow down your metabolism is perfectly normal. If you’re worried that you’re on the verge of becoming unhealthy, make a mental checklist to ensure that you’re not putting yourself at a disadvantage.
In most cases, the metabolism does a stellar job of regulating your weight and energy levels. However, steering clear of the aforementioned points can provide further support to the metabolism, and may even increase metabolic rate for the long term.