With the high rates of obesity in the United States, there is a great deal of interest in losing weight, and this often means speeding up a slow metabolism. Even so, some people struggle with gaining weight and seek to slow metabolism intentionally to do so. Whichever camp you’re in, whether you want to learn how to slow down your metabolism or reasons why your metabolism may be slow, we’ve gathered the ten things most likely to slow metabolism.
Genetics – The first factor in a slow metabolism is largely something you cannot control. Some people inherit genetic traits that make them more likely to have a slow metabolism, especially while at rest. Other factors that slow metabolism are your gender, with females having a naturally slower metabolism and less muscle mass, and your age, since the metabolism slows as you age.
Chronic conditions – Thyroid disorders, diabetes and other chronic conditions can put your hormones into a tailspin, which can slow your metabolism down and lead to weight gain. For this reason, it’s important to manage any chronic conditions with help from your doctor.
Medications – Managing chronic conditions often means taking medications, which is important to your overall health. Unfortunately, however, some medications do tend to slow metabolism – such as medications for some cardiovascular conditions, depression and other mood or psychiatric disorders. Typically, medications don’t slow your metabolism enough to cause dramatic weight gain, but if you do have undesired weight gain, speak to your doctor about whether alternative medications may help.
Stress – Just as chronic conditions can throw your hormones off balance, so can chronic stress. Cortisol, one of the primary stress hormones, activates to tell your body to go into survival mode, which makes your body hold on to excess fat. By managing stress, you can combat slow metabolism and reduce your risk for obesity.
Your sleep habits – You may think that because being awake burns more calories than sleeping that staying up late at night may help you lose weight – but the opposite can happen. Lack of sleep can actually slow your metabolism and make you maintain extra weight because, again, without the sleep it needs, your body can’t work as efficiently. Staying up late and waking up late can also interfere with your natural body clock. To help, try to maintain a regular sleep schedule and routine.
An overly strict diet – If you’re restricting caloric intake in hopes of launching yourself into a phase of rapid weight loss, you’re likely to be disappointed. In this scenario, your body, again, puts itself into survival mode and slows the metabolism to hold on to energy resources. Skipping dairy can also slow the metabolism – as can cutting carbs, which are needed to produce insulin naturally. Cutting out salt completely will also deprive your body of much-needed iodine, which helps your thyroid manage your metabolism. Watch portion sizes without being overly restrictive with caloric intake, and be sure to include low-fat dairy foods as well as carbohydrates into your diet. Whole grains and even fruits and vegetables are excellent sources of carbohydrates.
A diet that’s not strict enough – A diet that’s high in fat is a sure way to slow your metabolism. If you’re looking for foods to slow down metabolism and help you put on some weight, be sure to choose higher-fat foods wisely. For healthier weight gain, increase fat and caloric intake with healthy whole grains instead of foods that are high in saturated fats. Put on additional pounds with high-calorie protein shakes, nut butters, and olive oil.
Lack of hydration – Not drinking enough water can cause your metabolism to falter because when it is dehydrated, your body can’t burn energy as well as it should. Drinking water can also help you feel full and avoid mindless eating when you aren’t truly hungry. Drinking caffeinated beverages can also kick your metabolism into high gear! Just be careful to limit coffee if you have diabetes or are prediabetic.
Being too warm – Warmer temperatures both inside and outside tell your body to slow down. That means anything from 75 degrees and up. To slow your metabolism, increase the temperature – and to raise your metabolism, decrease the temperature on your thermostat.
Lack of exercise – Unsurprisingly, not getting enough exercise can cause your metabolism to slow. If you want to speed metabolism, be sure to get at least 150 minutes of moderate activity each week. However, if you want to gain weight, don’t forgo your exercise routine. Instead, incorporate weightlifting and resistance exercises to gain muscle mass. Exercise can also boost appetite, which can make it easier to increase caloric intake and gain weight.
Whether you are wanting to raise your metabolism or learn how to slow down your metabolism, be sure to do it safely. Even weight loss can be dangerous if achieved too quickly and without the guidance of a physician. Likewise, weight gain, even when intentional, can eventually spiral out of control and lead to obesity and life-threatening conditions. Either way, we at Laredo Emergency Room want you and your metabolism to be healthy, so proceed with caution and with the help of your medical professional.
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