You might be feeling tired, cold or that you’ve gained gained weight or just a general feeling of sluggishness.
You may be positive that your metabolism is slow.
But why does this happen? Why do peoples metabolic rate slow down?
What can slow my metabolism?
Metabolism comprises of all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy. There are heaps of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).
Don’t fret- we know that metabolic rate is way more complicated than just ‘calories in, calories out’. It’s so complicated that I’m only going to list a few of the common reasons that can slow it down otherwise we would be here all day!
Here are some common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:
- low thyroid hormone
- your size and body composition
- your activity level
- lack of sleep
- your history of dieting
Below we will touch briefly on each of these and I promise I’ll give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”.
Low thyroid hormones
Your thyroid is the master puppeteer of your metabolism. When your thyroid produces less hormones your metabolism slows down with it. The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to become more metabolically active and when to use more energy. In an ideal world it should work to keep your metabolism just right. But, there are a few things that can affect it and derail it off track. Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example.
Tip: Chat with your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.
Your size and body composition
Commonly, larger people have a faster metabolic rate. This is because, not surprisingly, it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.
That being said, putting on weight is really not the best strategy for increasing your metabolism!
Muscles that actively move and do work need energy. Even at rest muscles burn more calories than fat. So what this means is that the amount of energy your body uses depends on the amount of lean muscle mass that you have.
Tip: To increase your muscle mass add some weight training into your exercise routine.
This leads us to…
Your activity level
Any aerobic increases your metabolic rate temporarily. By moving and ‘working’ your muscles use fuel. You can tell this is happening because you get hotter!
All the little things add up! Parking further and walking further than usual to work, getting a standing desk instead of sitting all day, choosing the stairs instead of an elevator, going for a walk with a friend instead or dinner..these all contribute to you having more activity in your day.
Tip: Incorporate movement into your day on top of regular exercise.
Lack of sleep
As discussed previously there is a lot of research that shows how much of an influence sleep (or lack of it!) has on your metabolic rate. The general recommendation is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
Tip: Create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night and stick to it.
Your history of dieting
Often when people lose weight their metabolic rate also slows down. This is because the body senses that it’s not getting as much food and it adapts to this by trying to continue all its usual functions but with less food.
Yes dieting usually leads to a reduction in fat this unfortunately means it usually leads to a reduction in muscle also. As you know from previous blogs more muscle = faster resting metabolic rate.
Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough food (and the right kinds) to fuel your body without overdoing it, if you are struggling with this contact us and we can help you out!
Recipe (Selenium-rich): 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 & Enjoy!
Tip: Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.