Can you repair a slow metabolism?

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I put this in my newsletter in March 2015 and had several people email me saying it really made sense to them, so I decided to put it on my website so it’s permanently there for others!

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Is your metabolism slow?

I hear all the time from people that they have a slow metabolism so they have to eat less and workout more to lose weight.  I was one of them!  However, what most people don’t realize is, if you are eating too little, you could be further damaging your metabolism.  There are ways to speed it up and you may be surprised about how to go about it!

Do you have a Slow Metabolism?

You may have a slow metabolism if you answer yes to any of the following:

  • you workout and eat healthy but aren’t losing weight
  • you have yo-yo dieted a lot
  • you have done fad diets that restrict calories
  • you have done diets that eliminate whole food groups (e.g. a no carb diet)
  • you skip breakfast
  • you often only eat 2-3 times per day
  • you are extremely tired
  • you do not do weight training
  • you don’t sleep well
  • you don’t drink enough water (64 oz minimum per day)
  • you have a sedentary job
  • you eat 1200 calories or less per day
  • you have a high level of stress
  • you eat or have eaten a lot of processed foods

There are many more reasons for and signs of a slow metabolism, but these are the ones that I feel are most common.  The good news is, you CAN speed up your metabolism!  Here are some tips to do so.

Tips to speed up your metabolism

  1. Exercise!  5 days a week, 30 minutes a day.   Your exercise routine should include 2-3 days of strength training.  Strength training builds muscle, which uses more energy than fat and speeds up metabolism.  So even if you are already working out but mostly doing cardio, strength training could be that missing link!
  2. Eat every 2-3 hours.  When you eat frequent, small meals, your body doesn’t think it’s starving between meals.
  3. Eat breakfast.  When you skip breakfast, your body hasn’t eaten in several hours and has turned to muscle to create energy.  When you lose muscle, you burn less calories.
  4. Cut out the processed foods.  Processed foods contain additives, chemicals, etc that can have a reaction in the body.  It’s best to just cut it out and stick to whole, clean foods that your body knows how to handle.
  5. Eat healthy carbs.  Many diets over the years have made carbs the bad guy and recommend cutting them out, even the healthy ones.  However, when your body doesn’t get enough carbs, it has to turn to breaking down muscle for energy.  When you lose muscle, you slow down your metabolism, among other negative things.  So, choose healthy carbs as part of your meal plan.
  6. Eat enough calories.  1200 calories and under puts you into starvation mode, which will decrease your metabolism speed and make you hold onto weight.  There are a lot of calculators our there for how much to eat.  They may even underestimate your calorie intake but you should never eat less than what your body requires.  
  7. Address issues in your life that cause severe stress.  When you are highly stressed, your body releases hormones that can cause weight gain and in turn, slow down your metabolism.  Practice stress reduction techniques.
  8. Get sleep!  It’s a hard one for most of us, but really make an effort to get 7-8 hours of sleep a night so that your body has a chance to fully rest overnight for efficient running the next day.  

There are other things that can affect your metabolism, and could even be affected by medical conditions like metabolic syndrome, insulin-resistance, thyroid issues, etc.  You may need to see a doctor if nothing else is working.  In addition, remember that it can take time to speed up your metabolism after years of things that may have damaged it.  Have patience and have faith!

Lastly, it’s very hard to calculate how many calories and carbs, etc are right for YOU.  Calculators online tend to generalize and a lot of times underestimate how much you should be eating.  As a health coach and now nutrition specialist, I can determine this for you and put together a meal plan for you.  If you are interested in a free consult for this, please contact me to schedule one!