If you’ve been struggling to lose weight or are frustrated at your body’s ability to pack on muscle, don’t despair. It could be that your metabolism is to blame – and if that’s the case, there are steps you can take to remedy this. Stress, poor sleep, bad eating and overtraining can all inhibit your metabolism, making it harder to shed pounds. On top of that, you may feel tired and lethargic. But what exactly is your metabolism and which habits can negatively affect it?
Most people are familiar with the term ‘metabolic rate’, but few seem to know what it truly means. Your metabolism is like the engine in your car. It’s responsible for breaking down the molecules in your body to provide energy. Like a car, your metabolic rate can be revved up, or it can be slowed down. If it’s the latter, avoid the following pitfalls to boost your metabolic rate and keep your body ticking over like a finely tuned engine.
Not drinking enough water is a sure fire way to slow down your metabolism. Proper hydration keeps your metabolism up and helps eliminate toxins. Studies have found that drinking water can increase resting metabolic rate, improves your body’s ability to burn fat, fuels your muscles and ensures optimum performance.
Performing too much cardio or lifting weights for too long can lead to overtraining, which results in a slower metabolism. Excessive cardio decreases your metabolic rate and burns muscle, making it harder to lose fat. It also elevates levels of the stress hormone cortisol, which further affects your metabolism. Listen to your body and train smart. Unless you’re training for an endurance event, limit your cardio sessions to 45 minutes to prevent catabolism (muscle loss), and unless you’re a pro athlete, your strength workouts shouldn’t last more than an hour.
Extreme diets are notorious for their tendency to decrease metabolic rate. Many of the weight-loss plans touted by the media provide less than 1,000 calories a day, which is disastrous. Not only will this drastic calorie reduction leave your system out of whack, but you’re setting yourself up for subsequent weight gain, hormonal imbalances and a host of health issues. If you genuinely want to lose weight, change your eating habits over the long term rather than resorting to quick fixes. Cleaning up your diet and making better food choices will boost your overall health and facilitate weight-loss for the long term.
Skipping meals is a tempting shortcut to weight loss, but it’s more likely to have the opposite effect. This practice can cause your body to enter starvation mode and store calories for later use. In effect, it lowers your metabolic rate, slows down weight loss and is linked to an increase in belly fat. To keep your metabolism up, eat little and often.
Lack Of Sleep
Sleep and metabolism are strongly connected. Research shows that people who don’t get enough rest tend to weigh more than those sleeping at least eight hours per night. Poor sleep doesn’t just leave you tired it also slows your metabolism, causes muscle loss and lowers post-exercise recovery. It can also interfere with your hormone levels, leading to decreased testosterone production, insulin resistance, and adrenal disorders which are a complete recipe for disaster.
Protein takes longer to digest than fats/carbs. For this reason, it requires more energy. A high protein intake equals more kcals burned and a faster metabolism. People who work out regularly require even more protein in their diet. Be sure to eat plenty of pulses, fish, poultry, lean meat and eggs. Supplementing your diet with a quality protein such as Pea Protein is an easy way to help you meet your daily protein needs.
By eliminating these bad habits, you will fire up your metabolism and turn your body into a highly efficient fat-burning furnace.
Now I’d like to hear from you. Are you guilty of any of these habits? What are you going to do differently going forwards? Email me and let me know.
Love Gaynor x