Can a slow metabolism be fixed? And is the problem really your metabolism? I ran across a great post, 8 Things that Slow Down Your Metabolism, by ACE Fitness today. It’s informative yet not overwhelming, and I’d like to share the highlights here.
Stress increases the production of cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite and makes us reach for comfort foods. It can decrease our desire for exercise, slow digestion, and impact both the quality of sleep and number hours we sleep. Speaking of which…
2. Getting Too Little Sleep
Aim for 7.5 to 9 hours of sleep each night. When we do not get enough sleep, hunger hormones go haywire. Excess cortisol increases cravings for starchy, sugary and fatty foods. Adding insult to injury, the calories you eat are burned less efficiently.
3. Not Enough Water / Too Much Alcohol
All your body’s functions require water, so sip it often. Aim for at least 2 liters of water a day. Not drinking enough water leads to dehydration, which causes you to burn fewer calories. On the other hand, too much alcohol lowers your metabolism because your liver focuses on breaking down alcohol molecules instead of burning fat. Plus, the calories are no joke – especially from mixed drinks – and weight gain can creep up slowly and steadily.
4. Sitting Too Much
If you exercise an hour a day, but spend the other 23 hours sitting or lying down, your metabolism will slow down. Sitting for longer than 20 minutes can put your body into a more relaxed, non-energy-burning state. If your job keeps you chained to a desk or behind the wheel, get up once an hour to move around for a few minutes. Periodically moving helps cause a small spike in metabolism.
5. Not Eating Enough
If you are “dieting” to lose weight, eating too few calories can actually backfire and keep you from achieving your goal. Yes, creating a calorie deficit will help you lose weight, but there is a point in each individual that cutting calories too low will put the body into starvation mode and slow down metabolism to keep you alive. Make sure you get enough calories and a balance of macronutrients (protein, carbohydrates and fats) to keep your metabolism from crashing.
6. Skipping Out on Strength Training
Most people make the mistake of only doing cardio (aerobic) exercise because it burns a good amount of calories while it’s being done. But after the exercise is over, calorie burn returns to resting levels. Strength training is key for increasing metabolism because the more active muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate.
7. Inconsistent Meal Times
When your meals times come at regularly spaced intervals, your body uses up the calories for fuel and burns more calories in between meals. If your eating pattern is erratic, your body gets confused and isn’t quite sure when the next meal is coming, so it goes into conservation mode. Calorie burn is reduced and more food is put into fat cells for storage .
8. Needing More Calcium
The mineral best known for building strong bones plays a key role in fat metabolism, which determines whether you burn calories or store them as fat. Have your doctor check your bloodwork to determine if you are calcium-deficient.