Published on March 7, 2024

7 Mistakes that Slow Down Your Metabolism

Having a fast metabolism can seem like winning the genetic lottery. Someone with a higher metabolic rate can eat whatever they want without gaining weight. Meanwhile, the rest of us have to carefully watch what we eat to maintain a healthy weight. It’s easy to blame a slow metabolism for our struggles to shed pounds, but the truth is that lifestyle choices and habits have more influence than we realize.

Did you know that there are common mistakes many of us make each day that put the brakes on our metabolism? Things like skipping breakfast, not getting enough sleep, and excessive stress can quietly slow the rate at which we burn calories. The good news is that just as poor habits can hamper your metabolic rate, making simple tweaks to your daily routine can give your metabolism the jumpstart it needs to get back on fat-burning duty.

In this article, we’ll discuss the most common mistakes that slow down our metabolism. We’ll also explore simple, actionable ways to boost metabolic rate for faster weight loss. So if you feel like you’re doing everything right with exercise and diet but still not seeing the results, this article is for you. Let’s get started!

What’s the connection between your lifestyle and your metabolism?

Your metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. It’s like the engine that keeps your body going. The speed of your metabolism determines how quickly or slowly you burn calories.

Your lifestyle choices have a big impact on how fast or slow your metabolism runs. Things like what you eat, how much you exercise, how much you sleep, and your stress levels can all affect your metabolic rate.

For example, if you don’t get enough sleep, your metabolism slows down. When you’re stressed, your body produces more of the hormone cortisol which can cause your metabolism to slow. On the flip side, eating spicy foods, building muscle through strength training, and getting enough protein can rev up your metabolic rate.

Related: Sluggish Metabolism Getting in Your Way? Fix it The Easy Ways

So your day-to-day habits directly impact how many calories you burn at rest. Healthy lifestyle choices keep your metabolism humming along, while unhealthy ones cause it to slow down. That’s why adopting habits like eating whole foods, moving your body regularly, managing stress, and getting enough sleep are key for weight management and overall health.

In short, your lifestyle and metabolism have a very close, direct connection. Keeping your lifestyle in check is essential for maintaining a robust metabolism.

7 Mistakes That Slow Down Your Metabolism

Here’s the most common lifestyle mistakes that may slow down your metabolism.

1. Eating too little

Eating too little can slow down how fast your body burns calories, making it harder to lose weight. While cutting calories can help, going too low prompts your body to conserve energy by slowing down your metabolism. Studies show that eating less than 1,000 calories a day can notably affect how your body burns calories, especially when at rest. Even moderate calorie cuts can impact metabolism.

For example, in a study, obese women ate only 420 calories a day for a few months, and their metabolism slowed down a lot. When they ate more again, their calorie burn stayed low. Another study found that overweight people eat only 890 calories a day for three months, reducing their daily calorie burn by 633 calories.

Related: Supercharge Your Fitness Journey: How Metabolic Testing Ignites Effective Weight Loss

To avoid extreme calorie cuts, use a TDEE calorie calculator to estimate your total daily energy expenditure. This gives you an approximation of how many calories your body burns per day. Then you can create a moderate calorie deficit to lose weight without slowing your metabolism too much.

So, if you’re trying to lose weight by eating less, it’s crucial not to cut calories too much or for too long. Extreme calorie reduction can work against your goals by slowing down your metabolism. Aim for a balanced and sustainable approach to achieve effective and lasting weight loss.

2. Skimping on protein

Not eating enough protein is a big mistake that can slow down your metabolism. Protein helps your body do important things like digesting and using nutrients. Studies show that protein has a bigger impact on burning calories compared to fats and carbs.

When you don’t get enough protein, your body might not have what it needs to work efficiently. Protein is like the building blocks your body uses to do its job. It also helps keep your muscles strong.

Having more muscle is good for your metabolism because it burns more calories than fat. If you don’t eat enough protein, you might lose muscle, and that can make your metabolism slower.

Research even proves that not getting enough protein can make your metabolism slower. This means your body won’t burn calories as well as it should.

To keep your metabolism healthy, make sure to eat foods with enough protein. These can be things like meat, fish, eggs, dairy, beans, and plant-based proteins. Doing this can help your body work better and keep you on track toward your health goals.

3. Lack of regular exercise

If you want to stay healthy and manage your weight, exercise is super important. But if you’re not moving around enough, it can mess with your metabolism – that’s how your body turns food into energy.

Studies show that when people don’t exercise regularly, their metabolism takes a hit. Metabolism is linked to how much muscle you have and how active you are.

One big thing is the resting metabolic rate (RMR) – it’s like the calories your body burns when you’re just chilling. People who don’t get enough exercise tend to have a lower RMR. This means their bodies aren’t as good at burning calories even when they’re not doing anything.

Related: Does Excessive Calorie Counting Result in Eating Disorders?

In a study with people of different weights, it was found that not exercising enough can make your 24-hour energy expenditure drop. That’s how many calories you burn in a day, including when you’re resting and when you’re active. So, not moving around much not only affects how many calories you burn during a workout but also messes with your overall ability to use energy well.

Imagine a study where people didn’t exercise for a while. The results showed a clear drop in their metabolic rate. Their bodies just weren’t as good at burning calories efficiently. This tells us that exercise is like a superhero for your metabolism—it helps keep things running smoothly.

4. Not getting enough high-quality sleep

Getting enough good sleep is super important for your body’s metabolism. When you don’t sleep well, it messes with your hormones and how your body uses energy.

Studies show that not sleeping enough can make a hormone called leptin go down. Leptin tells your brain you’re full, so without enough of it, you might eat too much. On the other hand, another hormone called ghrelin, which makes you feel hungry, goes up when you’re sleep-deprived, making you more likely to snack on unhealthy stuff.

Bad sleep is also linked to problems with insulin, a hormone that controls your blood sugar. If your body doesn’t respond well to insulin, it can lead to health issues like Type 2 diabetes.

Besides messing with hormones, not sleeping enough can make you tired and less active during the day. This means you burn fewer calories. So, if you want to keep your metabolism in good shape and help with weight management, make sure you get 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Create a bedtime routine and stick to it for a healthier, more active you

5. Dehydration

Not drinking enough water can slow down how your body burns calories. When you’re even a little dehydrated, your metabolism can drop. Studies show that being just 1-2% dehydrated can make your body burn fewer calories. Dehydration can also make you feel tired during exercise, so you burn fewer calories when working out. Water is essential for the body to generate heat and burn calories at rest.

Drinking water has been shown to temporarily boost metabolism. In one study, people who drank water burned more calories for a short time compared to those who stayed dehydrated.

To keep your metabolism healthy, make sure to drink enough water each day. Experts suggest at least eight glasses (64 ounces), but individual needs may vary. Staying well-hydrated is not only good for your overall health but also helps your body burn calories efficiently, supporting your weight and wellness goals.

6. Sitting all the day

When we sit a lot during the day, like at work or watching TV, it can make our bodies slow down. This is because sitting too much tells our body it doesn’t need to use a lot of energy. This slowing down of our metabolism can affect our health.

Research shows that sitting for a long time not only makes us burn fewer calories when we’re sitting but also lowers our overall daily calorie burn. This can lead to problems like gaining weight and facing health issues.

To avoid these problems, it’s important to take breaks from sitting. Simple activities like stretching, walking, or standing up can help kickstart our metabolism and keep our bodies healthy. So, if you want to stay fit and healthy, try not to sit too much!

7. High stress levels

High-stress levels can significantly slow down your metabolism. Chronic stress triggers the release of cortisol, promoting overeating, especially of unhealthy foods. Stress also encourages fat storage, particularly around the abdomen, increasing the risk of metabolic and cardiovascular issues.

Unhealthy coping mechanisms like emotional eating and a lack of exercise further contribute to metabolic slowdown. To support a healthy metabolism, incorporate stress management techniques into your routine, such as meditation, deep breathing, regular exercise, and sufficient sleep.

Final Thoughts

It’s important to know how our daily habits can affect how our bodies burn calories. The article talks about seven common mistakes that can slow down our metabolism, like not eating enough, skipping protein, not exercising, not getting good sleep, not drinking enough water, sitting too much, and having high stress.

The good news is that we can make simple changes to fix these mistakes. Eating enough, getting protein, moving our bodies regularly, sleeping well, drinking water, avoiding too much sitting, and managing stress can help boost your metabolism. By doing these things, we can support our body in burning calories efficiently, which is crucial for staying healthy and managing our weight.


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