When we think of metabolism, most of us imagine a lightning-fast reaction that turns food into energy and helps us lose weight.
Fast, constant metabolism is indeed beneficial for burning fat. But what happens when your metabolism slows down?
A slow metabolism is usually a sign that something is going wrong and signals a state called “hypothyroidism,” or low thyroid function.
Your thyroid is a small butterfly-shaped gland in your neck that is vital in regulating the body’s thermoregulation.
When you have a sluggish metabolism, you always feel tired, cold, and hungry; you also experience dry skin and hair and struggle with foggy thinking and memory lapses.
However, sometimes you may need to slow down your metabolism for various reasons, and in this article, we look at a few ways you can successfully do so.
What is Slow Metabolism?
Metabolism is a process by which the body uses energy (calories) and breaks down nutrients from food.
When metabolism becomes slow, the body uses less energy than usual, and you begin gaining weight.
A slow metabolism can happen when you’re significantly overweight or at a normal weight.
Some people are naturally endomorphs, which means they store fat and gain weight more easily and have a naturally slower metabolism.
Others, like ectomorphs and endomorphs, may have a slower metabolism for other reasons, such as hormonal imbalances.
Slow metabolism is more common in women, especially as they get older, and in overweight people.
This slowed metabolism can cause a person to feel tired and cold all the time. Some people may even feel hungrier, despite eating more calories.
Needless to say that this can be frustrating, especially since losing weight becomes harder when your metabolism is slow.
Suppose you have not intentionally slow down your metabolism.
In that case, you can do a few things to improve your metabolism, including eating healthy foods, getting enough exercise, and reducing stress.
How does your Body get Energy?
The body gets energy through the digestion of food, and its metabolism is the speed at which this process happens.
Metabolism is a chemical process in which the body breaks down nutrients from food and uses them to produce energy.
Your metabolic rate is the speed at which your body burns calories.
When you have a slower metabolism, you burn fewer calories, which means it’s harder for you to burn calories.
Although these signs can indicate more severe health issues, many of them can be remedied by eating healthier and exercising more often.
A diet with a high intake of vitamins, minerals, and essential fats and low in sugars, processed foods, and trans fats can help to speed up your metabolism.
Exercising regularly can help to speed up your metabolism even further; even as little as 10-15 minutes of daily cardio can make a significant difference in your metabolism and, eventually, your body weight.
10 Ways to Slow Down your Metabolism
1) Sleep Less
Lack of sleep is closely linked to hormonal imbalances that can slow your metabolism.
Not only does sleep improve your metabolism, but it is also essential for maintaining your immune system.
However, it’s important to remember that you should get at least 7 hours of sleep per night to function efficiently throughout the day.
2) Eat a Little Less
A consistent diet of low-calorie foods can slow down your metabolic rate.
This is especially true for people with a genetic predisposition towards slow metabolic rates.
The best thing for these folks is to increase caloric intake to help their metabolism speed up again.
Eat three small, healthy meals with snacks to keep your metabolism consistently low.
But it is important to remember that starving yourself is not healthy.
If you want to use this method to slow your metabolism, it’s best to consult with your healthcare provider first.
Also, never skip meals.
The diet world is not to be taken lightly, especially when drastically reducing your calorie intake.
3) Work More
We all know that too much work can slow us down, but did you know it can also slow your metabolism by affecting your thyroid gland?
Be careful, though, because a heavy workload can cause stress. A high level of stress is never a good thing.
If you feel too overworked, take some time each day to de-stress and do things that make you happy.
4) Eat a Little Less Protein
Eating less protein can significantly reduce your metabolic rate.
This is especially true for vegetarians who eat very little protein. If you gradually reduce your protein intake, you may also reduce your metabolic rate.
Remember that protein increases muscle mass and is necessary to improve the body’s ability to heal and generate new tissues.
5) Do A Lot of Exercise
While exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy metabolism, if you exercise a lot, you can certainly slow down your metabolism.
Doing a lot of physical activity helps burn calories, lose weight, and build more muscles.
Just try not to exercise too much and ensure you get enough calories to stay healthy.
6) Eat Too Little Fat
Eating too few fatty foods can slow down your metabolic rate.
This is not always a good thing because your body needs healthy fat.
So, ensure you’re getting enough healthy fats in your diet to avoid slowing down your metabolic rate.
How to Know if your Metabolism is Slowing Down Too Much?
A variety of signs usually accompanies a slowed metabolism. When your metabolism is too low, there are typically many other health issues, such as fatigue, weight gain, and significantly reduced energy levels.
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to get checked out by a doctor.
The doctor can take a look at your blood test results, as well as your thyroid gland, to see if everything is normal.
If not, they will be able to prescribe medication to fix the issue and have you operating at a normal metabolic rate once more, or maybe a bit below normal.
7 Reasons For A Slowing Metabolic Rate
If you aren’t intentionally trying to slow down your metabolism, something could be wrong.
Here are the most common reasons why your metabolic rate is slowing down:
Metabolic rates naturally slow down in later life, making it much harder to accomplish any significant amount of weight loss. You may start gaining weight.
The metabolic rate does not remain at the same level throughout your life.
It changes depending on your age, gender, lifestyle, and many other factors, including your environment, genetics, and health.
2) Being Overweight
Your body composition, such as carrying excess weight, causes your body to work much harder than normal.
This is why many people with a few extra pounds consume more food than they need.
Fat will slow down your metabolism, making it even easier to gain weight.
3) Hormonal Imbalances
Hormonal imbalances can make it much harder to achieve weight loss.
They can even cause weight gain.
A slowed thyroid, low cortisol, and high insulin levels make losing weight harder.
4) Lack of Exercise
One of the most common reasons for a slowed metabolic rate is a lack of exercise.
Regular exercise helps your body speed up your metabolism, so your metabolic rate will decrease if you don’t get enough exercise.
Also, it may improve your resting metabolic rate.
Chronic stress can slow down your metabolic rate.
This is because when you are stressed, your body releases cortisol. Cortisol slows down your metabolic processes, making losing weight much harder.
5) High Fructose Corn Syrup
High fructose corn syrup is an artificial sugar made from corn syrup, and many drinks are sweetened with it.
Having lots of food and drinks containing this sweetener will slow down your metabolism since your body cannot convert it into direct energy, like glucose.
For some, calorie burning is challenging; for others, it’s the opposite.
As such, some struggle to slow down their metabolism while others work toward a fast metabolism.
Quite often, a slow metabolism means something is going wrong with your body; however, a speedy metabolism can also mean the same.
Therefore, it’s only natural that some people seek ways to slow their metabolic rate.
Thankfully, some healthy ways to accomplish that include exercising more and eating a bit less.
A slowed metabolic rate makes it much harder to lose weight for those who struggle with healthy weight gain.
Some other methods often used to slow down metabolism may not be as safe, so it’s best to speak with a doctor before using them.