Apply these simple tips to speed up your metabolic rate.
Do you frequently feel tired? Are you noticing that your weight is slowly creeping up? Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish.”
These are all signs that your metabolism could be slowing. Why does this happen? Why do metabolic rates slow down? What is metabolism anyway? (read here)
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.
Your 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.
Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:
- low thyroid hormone
- your history of dieting
- 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.
I was unexpectedly diagnosed with hypothyroidism about 4 years ago. I wasn’t “overweight” (although I definitely had plenty of fat to lose for sure) and suffered from fatigue. Although treating it did not cause a sudden and significant drop in weight, what it did do was give me an overall increase of energy which allowed my activity level to increase. This overtime allowed me to have the energy to put in the work to get much closer to my fitness goals.
So to be clear, this can be a common cause of a slower metabolism but is not a magic bullet. You have to put in the work!
Tip: Talk to your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested. Ask for a FULL thyroid panel, not just your TSH as it doesn’t always tell the whole story.
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 fat, it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in muscle. As you probably already know, more muscle mass equals a faster resting metabolic rate (how many calories you burn at rest). Read other ways to speed your metabolism with food here. In my experience with clients who have come to me after years of yo-yo dieting, the fat loss will be temporary before the body slams on the breaks to hold onto what is left. This is the miracle of our wiring for survival.
Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it. Listen to your hunger hormones and eat whole foods whenever you are hungry.
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 your body warms up and starts to sweat.
Even little things can add up. Parking further out in parking lots, 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. Read more about the effects that the lack of sleep has on weight loss here. Don’t underestimate the importance of sleep!!
Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
If you feel like you are spinning your wheels and getting nowhere with your weight loss goals, look into one or all of these components!
Recipe (Selenium-rich): Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding Serves 4
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 through 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 & Enjoy!
Tip: Makes a simply delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.
Until next time…
Changing Lives Through Education, Accountability, and Support!
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If you would like to discover my program that has helped women break their yo-yo dieting cycle, you can learn more here.