12 ways you're unknowingly slowing down your metabolism
Your body is smart. When it knows when to expect food, it sends the message to burn up energy because it knows that more fuel will be coming in. But if your meal schedule is irregular and you go hours without eating, your body will conserve instead of burn energy, because it doesn’t know when it will get more food. Keeping a regular meal schedule and eating every three to four hours helps keep your metabolism running at a steady rate.
Adequate hydration keeps all of your body’s cellular processes, including your metabolism, preforming at their highest capacity. When you’re dehydrated, you burn up to two percent fewer calories, so drink up! If you’re just not a big water drinker, try tea—caffeinated teas like green tea help boost calorie burn for up to three hours. (Coffee will do the same, but without the hydration benefit.)
Dairy contains a number of nutrients that play crucial roles in fat burning and muscle building, namely conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA), whey, casein, and calcium. Calcium also plays a big part in regulating your at metabolism. The more calcium there is in a fat cell, the more fat it will burn.
Strength training boosts your metabolism for up to 48 hours after you complete the workout, and builds lean muscle mass in the long term, which contributes to a higher resting metabolism. Already lifting and pressing? Don’t rush the reps, specifically the lowering portion. Lowering a weight takes more of a toll on your muscles compared to lifting weights. The result? Your body has to work harder to repair the muscles—which means more calories being torched. Focus on lowering your weights to increase your burn.
Shunning the sun in morning does a disservice to your metabolism. Getting early morning sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which controls numerous functions in your body. In addition to regulating your sleep, your circadian rhythm also contributes to how much food you eat and how much energy you burn—all essential pieces of maintaining a strong metabolic rate. Try to soak up some vitamin D first thing in the a.m. to kick-start your metabolism.
Taking your low-carb diet to the extreme could backfire on you. When you exercise, your muscles need glycogen from carbohydrate stores in your body. Not consuming carbs means you’ll have low glycogen levels and low energy. Without adequate glycogen levels, you won’t have the energy to workout to your full potential, which means you’ll burn fewer calories during your workout and after.
If you consider foods like crackers, pretzels, and sugar-spiked yogurts snacks, then you may want to rethink your between-meal eating habits. Ditch thesugar and carbs (which don’t fill you up) in favor of fat—polyunsaturated fatty acids, to be specific. Polyunsaturated fatty acids in nuts like walnuts enhance the activity of certain genes that control fat burning. Eat one ounce (that’s about a small handful) of nuts a day to torch more calories throughout your day.
Your body requires energy to warm itself to comfortable temperature. That’s not to say you need to spend all winter with your windows open, but consider turning down the heat while you sleep. Keeping your bedroom at a cool 64 to 66 degrees Fahrenheit increases and activates brown adipose tissue (aka brown fat), the kind that’s responsible for burning (not storing) calories. The more active brown fat you have, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day.
Sea salt may be trendier and tastier than regular old iodized salt, but its lack of iodine is exactly what’s negatively impacting your metabolism. Your thyroid gland controls your metabolism. And what stimulates your thyroid? Iodine. Without adequate iodine your metabolism takes a hit. Switching to iodized salt can help, as well as eating iodine-rich foods like seaweed, eggs, shrimp, and cod.
Organochlorines (chemicals in pesticides) interfere with your body’s energy-burning process. Ingesting high levels of these toxins generates a dip in your metabolism. Opt for organic produce whenever possible to keep your metabolism running smoothly. And if you can’t go organic for every item on your list, just make the fruits and veggies with skin that you eat (apples, cucumbers, bell peppers etc.) the top priorities.
Iron carries oxygen to your muscles. Without it, your muscles don’t get the necessary oxygen they need and your energy nosedives, taking your metabolism down with it. Women also lose substantial amounts of iron during their periods. Be sure to fill your grocery basket with iron-fortified cereals, beans, and dark leafy greens like bok choy, spinach, and broccoli, especially during your time of the month.
Nothing, not even your metabolism, is safe from stress. Stressed out women burn over 100 fewer calories compared to their calmer counterparts. Add in the fact that you crave junk food (aka the opposite of metabolism-boosting foods) when you’re stressed and it’s pretty easy to see why making time for yoga (or your de-stressor of choice) is important.
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You already know that skipping breakfast and not getting enough sleep will slow down your metabolism, and you also probably make an effort to workout and avoid sitting for too long in the name of keeping your metabolism firing. While these healthy metabolism tips are fairly obvious, there's a lot more that could be messing with your with your calorie burn rate.
Scroll through to find out 12 ways you may be doing a disservice to your metabolism.