Why is My Metabolism Slow?

You may feel tired, cold or that you've gained weight. I know how frustrating it can be when you think you’re doing everything you can to lose weight and nothing changes. Maybe your digestion seems a bit more “sluggish”.

You may be convinced that your metabolism is slow.

Why does this happen? Why do metabolic rates slow down?

What can slow my metabolism?

Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy. There are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

But don't worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”! In fact it's so complicated I'm only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

● low thyroid hormone

● your history of dieting

● your size and body composition

● your activity level

● lack of sleep

We'll briefly touch on each one below and I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more”!

Low thyroid hormones

Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism. When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down. The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active. Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right. But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course. Things like autoimmune diseases and mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium) for example. Plant-based sources of selenium include brazil nuts. The selenium content can vary, as with all nutrients, but it tends to be quite high in brazils. A couple of day may be all you need to meet your body’s needs. You don’t want to get too much selenium either. More is not always best!

Sea vegetables are the best iodine-rich plant foods but there’s no way of knowing how much they contain. There is also a concern over contamination unless you know you are buying from a reliable source. If you are thinking of using a supplement please discuss this with a health professional. People often associate iodine with dairy milk, but this is only because animal feed is supplemented with it. Disinfectant with iodine is routinely used to clean teats and the tankers too.

Tip: If you’re concerned please talk to your doctor about having your thyroid hormones tested.

Your history of dieting

When people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down. This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food.

While dieting can lead to a reduction in the amount of fat it unfortunately can also lead to a reduction in the amount of muscle you have. As you may know more muscle means faster resting metabolic rate.

This situation is made worse if you try to lose a lot of weight too quickly. This is why I always recommend a gradual reduction in food using healthy wholefood plant-based foods. This also means you won’t feel deprived either – another reason why diets don’t work for people.

Tip: Make sure you're eating enough food to fuel your body without overdoing it.

If you’d like help achieving the body you want, without going on a diet and feeling deprived, book yourself a free call with me now. We can discuss areas you are having difficulties with and talk about how I can help you.

Your size and body composition

In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates. This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.

However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy. Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat. This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass. This will also help you to have a leaner, more toned body.

Which leads us to...

Your activity level

Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you're also getting hotter.

Even little things can add up. Walking a bit farther than you usually do; using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the lift, can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip: Incorporate movement into your day. Also, exercise regularly.

Lack of sleep

There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate. The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

Get in touch if you’d like help achieving the body you want, without going on a diet and feeling deprived. Book yourself a free call with me now. We can discuss areas you are having difficulties with and talk about how I can help you.