YOU FEEL TIRED, COLD OR YOU'VE GAINED WEIGHT. MAYBE YOUR DIGESTIONS SEEMS A BIT "SLUGGISH".
You’re convinced that your metabolism is slow AF.
How did this happen? Why do metabolic rates slow down?
What slows my metabolism?
Science alert: 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.
But don't worry – we 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:
● low thyroid hormone
● history of dieting
● size and body composition
● activity level
● lack of sleep
We'll touch on each of these and don’t worry – the answer will not be “eat less and exercise more”.
LOW THYROID HORMONE
Your thyroid is the boss babe of your metabolism. When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism responds by slowing down. The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell 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 - iodine and selenium are common ones.
Hot Tip: Talk with your doctor – or better yet – a Naturopath about having your thyroid hormones tested.
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.
Even though dieting can lead to a reduction in amount of body fat we’re storing it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have and as you know Mo’ Muscle means Mo’ Metabolic Rate (well actually higher resting metabolic rate, but that wasn’t very Notorious B.I.G. sounding)
Hot Tip: Make sure you're eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it.
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, gaining weight is probably not the best strategy for increasing your metabolism. Kind of counter intuitive for most people’s goals.
Muscles that actively move and do work need more 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.
Hot Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass. Or better yet, come visit me @ Lagree YYC ;)
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.
Even 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. Aren’t we always surprised at how winded we are from taking the stairs, lol. Hello Cardio!
Committing to an exercise program is a great way to take it further. And if you want to get that metabolic rate to STAY higher for longer do some High Intensity Interval Training (Spin and Lagree are great options).
Hot Tip: Incorporate movement into your day. Even if it is just taking the stairs or adding a 20 minute walk to your lunch break.
LACK OF SLEEP
There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate. The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
Hot Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night. Not a great sleeper? Check out last week’s blog to get some more tips on a better sleep. You can also pick up a couple natural sleep aids if you need more help. A magnesium supplement is a great natural tranquilizer. Diffuse some lavender essential oil like this one to help calm the body and induce sleep, or pick up some melatonin here for those really difficult nights.
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!
Hot Tip: Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.