Signs Your Metabolism May be Slow
When your metabolism is slow, underlying medical issues such as hormonal imbalances such as hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid) may be to blame. Other things that influence metabolism include your age, body weight, gender and genes. In many cases, poor dietary habits, inadequate sleep and being sedentary are the cause. Here are signs that suggest a sluggish metabolism:
- Difficulty losing weight or gaining weight easily, despite eating a heathy diet and exercising regularly.
- Getting adequate sleep and still feeling fatigued the next day.
- Dry hair and skin caused by inadequate vital nutrients reaching your skin and hair.
- Frequent headaches.
- Depressive symptoms are more common in people with thyroid disorders and conversely, depression may cause minor thyroid abnormalities.
- Cravings for sugary or fatty foods related to a drop in blood sugar from skipping meals. This results in burning muscle instead of fat and a slow metabolism.
- Constipation and heartburn related to slow digestion.
How Does Metabolism Impact Weight Loss
Metabolic rate is the number of calories your body burns, which is why it impacts weight loss or weight gain. If you consume more calories than you burn, you’ll gain weight. As you get older, muscle mass decreases and fat typically increases, which slows down your metabolism. Here’s an example of how metabolism impacts weight.
A 40-year-old, 5-foot-5-inch tall woman weighs 140 pounds, is moderately active and has an average metabolism. She burns 2,354 calories a day versus 2,119 calories for a woman with the exact same stats with a slow metabolism. To lose one pound a week, the first woman would need to consume 500 calories less per day. If the second woman reduced her calories by the same amount, it would take her twice as long to lose the same amount of weight.
Ways to Kick Your Metabolism Into Higher Gear
If you suspect you have a slow metabolism, the following tips will help boost your metabolism naturally and likely make it easier for you to lose weight:
- Eating foods rich in protein increases your metabolic rate by 15-30% and the number of calories you burn. This is due to protein’s higher thermic effect of food (TEF), the increase in your metabolic rate after you eat food.
- Lifting weights helps you retain muscle and counteract the decrease in metabolism associated with weight loss. Bursts of high-intensity cardio help boost your metabolic rate and burn fat.
- Studies indicate drinking 17 ounces of water increases resting metabolism by 10–30% for about an hour and cold water is more effective.
- Metabolism booster vitamins are essential for proper metabolic function. B vitamins help your body metabolize carbohydrates, proteins and fats and use stored energy in food. Other key vitamins for your metabolism include vitamin D, iron, calcium and magnesium. A 2015 study found that Omega-3 fatty acid supplementation significantly increased resting metabolic rate in older women.
- Supplements or wellness shots with the above vitamins and a capsaicin supplement, like Capsio-Lin+, can increase energy expenditure and fat oxidation.
- Eating a healthy small snack (e.g. carrots, celery, apple, protein bars, nuts) can help stave off hunger between meals and provide small bursts of energy.
- According to a recent study, green tea or coffee may help stimulate brown fat reserves, which play a key role in how quickly you burn calories. Green tea helps convert a percentage of stored fat in your body into free fatty acids, which may increase fat burning and metabolic rate.
- Getting 7-8 hours of sleep a day is vital to speeding up your metabolism. Insomnia can decrease the number of calories burned, change the way you process sugar, decrease the appetite-suppressing hormone leptin and increase the hunger hormone ghrelin.