October 16, 2022
You have likely heard people say things like, “Oh it’s just impossible for me to lose weight. I have a slow metabolism,” or “Since I hit menopause, my metabolism has slowed to a crawl. I can’t even look at pictures of food or I’ll gain weight!” Yes, it’s true that a slow metabolism can wreak havoc on your weight loss plans, so let’s take a look at that.
First of all, just what is meant by metabolism?
Metabolism is simply the sum of the body’s chemical reactions that occur in your cells to transforms what you eat and drink into energy that you use to live. So, if that process is relatively slower, that person is said to have a slow metabolism. Let’s look at five factors that can slow your metabolism and what you can do to counteract them.
One - Your Genes - The rate at which your body burns calories, whether sleeping or while awake, is partially controlled by your genes and is inheritance from your parents. Of course, you can’t choose your biological heritage, but you can do something to increase your metabolism.
One of those things is regular exercise, like brisk walking. Don’t be discouraged by articles showing the dismally low number of calories burned by walking, because regular walks can boost your metabolism long after you have finished exercising. Walking and other aerobic exercise like biking, swimming and the like can also help to build lean muscle mass, which burns calories more efficiently.
Two- Hormonal Fluctuations - One of the hormones that is critical to the control of your metabolism is thyroid hormone. Your thyroid, which is a butterfly-shaped gland located at the base of your neck below your Adam’s apple, also has effects on heart rate, blood pressure, and the temperature of your body, as well as your weight. Your doctor can do a simple blood test to determine if your thyroid is underactive (known as hypothyroidism) and there is medication that can correct the problem if this is the case.
Three - Lack of Sleep - Yes, insufficient sleep can slow your metabolism and cause you to gain weight! Going to bed and rising at the same times every night and morning, plus getting some morning sun on your face (without sunglasses) will help you get the rest you need. Keep your bedroom dark and cool and avoid electronic screens two to three hours before bedtime.
Four - Check Your Medications - Some prescription medications can slow your metabolism. These include some antidepressants and also some drugs that are used to treat schizophrenia, as well as some cardiovascular medications. If you think that you might be taking these types of medicines, check with your doctor and see what they thing and if you are, see if there is another medication that can be substituted.
Five - Night Owl Blues - Staying up till the wee hours can wreak havoc on your metabolism. Some people, such as night shift workers, really don’t have much of a choice. There are some things night shift workers can do to help them sleep when they have the opportunity. Speak with a doctor about the use of melatonin, and how to time it correctly and also the right dose; it’s important to use the minimum amount to accomplish the task of getting sufficient sleep.
Bonus Factor - Get Chronic Stress Under Control- When you are stressed your body makes an excess of the hormone cortisol. This, in turn, makes it harder for your body to use insulin and promotes fat storage. Regular meditation, breathing exercises and walking in nature are all simple but effective ways to combat stress in your life.
There you have it! Even if your metabolism is naturally slow, there are many things you can do to rev up your metabolic engine.
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