Last week we discussed how “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. You can read that here. It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.
Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry called ‘metabolism’, you would not be possible.
Since your metabolism is how your body takes food and oxygen and uses it to fuel all of its biochemical reactions there are a lot of things that can slow it down.
What are the signs of a Slow Metabolism?
- Unexplained Weight Gain – often the most prominent sign of sluggish metabolism is unexplained weight gain, even when you are eating well, exercising regularly. …
- Chronic Fatigue
- Dry Skin
- Hair Falling out
- Foggy Brain
- Always Cold
- Very low Sex Drive
- Constant Headaches
- Slower Pulse
- Menstrual Issues
- Sugar Cravings
Why does this happen? Why do metabolic rates slow down?
What can slow down 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 – 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.
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
We’ll briefly touch on each one below…
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.
Your history of dieting
If you have ever lost weight you will know that your metabolic rate can slow down from the weight loss. 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 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, add spices, avoid trans fats, pump up the protein, reduce the alcohol and avoid fad diets.
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… start really small…
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.
Tip: Incorporate movement into your day. Also, exercise regularly.
Lack of sleep
There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate. Research shows that sleep deprivation and sleep disorders may have profound metabolic and cardiovascular implications…
“If you get too little sleep, your metabolism slows down to conserve energy, which then triggers the release of the stress hormone cortisol,” Robbie Clark, dietitian and sports nutritionist.
The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.
Other Benefits of sleep:
- To restore our body and mind. Our bodies repair, grow and even “detoxify” our brains while we sleep.
- To improve our brain’s ability to learn and remember things, technically known as “synaptic plasticity”.
- To conserve some energy so we’re not just actively “out and about” 24-hours a day, every day.
Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
This is a delicious thyroid-loving mineral-containing recipe that you can make for breakfast or dessert…
Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding (Selenium Rich)
½ cup Brazil nuts
2 cups water
nut milk 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.
Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined. Let sit several minutes (or refrigerate overnight) until desired thickness is reached.
You can make a vanilla milk (no cacao but add vanilla) as well as a chocolate milk, make 2 different flavours and layer a breakfast glass up with layers of chia pudding and berries. Garnish with shredded coconut shavings…
Serve & Enjoy!
Tip: Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.
What do I do now?
In my wellness Coaching Practice, I help my clients realise that there is more to life than food! I call the most important parts of our lives “THE BIG 5”—these need as much love and attention as eating!
If you are tired of feeling like your life is lacking excitement and meaning and you want to find a way to feel nourished in all areas of your life, then click here now to schedule a time to talk with me today so I can help you feel more energised and alive than ever before!
To your health! Martine
Professional Coaching and Mentoring can take you to your next level quickly… learn where you sabotage yourself, what is stopping you and holding you back and how to obliterate obstacles and heal wounds… Martine has over 15 years experience helping others discover their personal power and create breakthrough and healing. Martine customises her programmes to suit each individual client so they can redesign their lives by becoming more self-aware and grow in their self-belief, self esteem and emotional and mental resilience.
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