Do you feel tired and fatigue? Does it seem as though your hands and feet are always cold? Do you have extra weight around your middle that doesn’t seem to want to go away? Do things seems not to be moving in the digestive department?
If you said yes, to any of these questions your metabolism might be sluggish.
There was a time I answered yes, to all of the above questions. I was tired and fatigue most days and needed a sugar boost about 3 p.m. Heck I needed to sugar boost every couple of hours. I also had cold hands and feet unless it was 80 outside. Actually sometimes this is still an issue. I get in bed and my husband is like why are your feet so cold? Also the pouch around my middle comes and goes depending on what I eat and my digestive system becomes sluggish when I am stress and my life is out of harmony.
So you might be asking – 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. And 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 – I 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.
Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:
- low thyroid hormone
- your history of dieting
- your size and body composition
- your activity level
- lack of sleep
I’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. Get your results interpreted by someone who uses a functional/optimal reference range. This is something I am trained to do.
I have looked at my thyroid hormones from a functional perceptive and I teeter towards hypothyroidism hence my cold hands and feet.
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 to fuel your body without overdoing it. The key is seasonal, whole foods.
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. When I had a personal trainer my metabolism was great and so was the shape of my body.
Which leads us to…
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.
I know this can be challenging for us Busy Professional, Real-Life Superwomen but vven little things can add up. Walking a bit farther than you usually do, 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. My favorite is taking a 5-10 minute dance break.
Cortisol is one of the hormones produced during a stressful situation. Cortisol taps into your energy stores, including stored forms of glucose, protein and fat, to supply your body with the energy it needs to react to a stressful situation. In the short-term this process burns calories and increases your metabolism, but chronic stress will actually break down muscle for energy, negatively impacting your immune system and slowing down your digestive system.
Tip: Do stress managing techniques daily such as deep breathing, meditation and/or yoga.
Bonus Tip: Remember your body does not know the difference between a real threat or an actual threat and will respond in the same way. So ask yourself how can you shift your mindset about things that aren’t actual threats such a traffic or challenges with a co-worker.
Shifting my mindset about situations and daily meditation has been a game changer for me. My stress has decreased as well as the girth around my middle.
Lack of sleep
I know, I know. Who has time to sleep when there are things that need to be done. However, there is plenty of research that shows the influence sleep has on your metabolic rate. The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Did you also getting enough sleep also increases the amount of growth hormone released which helps you burn fat and boost your mood.
Tip: Try to create a night time routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night. My night time routine involves reading something inspirational, saying a prayer of gratitude and rubbing Serenity or Clary Calm essential oil on the bottom of my feet and the back of my neck.
In the comment section please share a metabolism boosting tip you use or one you plan to use.
If you want support in jump start your metabolism this spring, schedule a 30 minute complimentary GET TO KNOW YOU SESSION with me. Click here to schedule.