Are You Slowing Down Your Metabolism?
With so many contributing factors, including what you’re eating and when, how you’re exercising, and even the time of year, it’s all about balance when it comes to your metabolism. Sometimes even the well-intentioned will find themselves sacrificing optimum burn-rate if they spend too much time on the treadmill and not enough time outside, getting a dose of vitamin D. These five tips will keep you focused, and good news—regular meals are recommended!
1. Too Much Dieting
When your body isn’t getting the proper nutrition, the results can have a detrimental effect on your metabolic rate. A small deficit in calorie intake can be healthy and effective for weight management every now and then, but a consistent extreme low calorie intake can cause your metabolism to flip upside down. By taking in significantly less calories than needed, your body makes up for the loss by slowing your system down—also known as a sluggish metabolism. Preventative measures can be taken by keeping an eye on your calorie intake to make sure it never drops too low.
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Sometimes we get so caught up in our day that we forget the most basic rule of thumb: drinking plenty of fluids, especially water. It’s even easier to get dehydrated when we’re doing things like working out, which causes us to lose water faster through sweating. Since we’re made of mostly water, our bodies need to keep hydrated at all times in order to maintain daily functions—like a regular metabolism. When we are dehydrated, we don’t burn calories as easily and efficiently as we would if we were adequately hydrated.
3. All Cardio, No Weights
When you spend the majority of your workouts breaking a sweat on the treadmill, you’re not getting as much out of it as you think. While cardio is great for your heart, without a combination of other muscular stimulation, it’s bound to make your metabolic rate suffer. Metabolism is highly affiliated with muscular mass, so the less strength training you involve in your workouts the less lean muscle mass you build, causing your metabolism to slow down and burn less calories.
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4. Skipping Meals
Like most things, your metabolism requires a schedule to function correctly. When you skip out on a meal you’re withholding the energy your body is craving, thus allowing it to be sluggish. Think of your body as a fire: when you don’t feed the fire the fuel it needs to continue burning, the flame goes down. Maintaining a regular eating schedule gives your metabolism the sustenance to keep burning…calories!
5. Vitamin D Deficiency
Vitamin D is responsible for many things, including a hormone that controls hunger called ghrelin. Because much of our vitamin D comes from the sun, our levels tend to drop in times like winter when there is less sun exposure around. Aside from hunger control, which plays a large role in itself, vitamin D also plays a role in the rate of our metabolism. The higher our vitamin D deficiency, the lower our metabolism. Some methods to improve vitamin D levels can be as simple as spending more time outside, or even taking natural supplements to replenish your body’s need for the vital vitamin.
WORDS: Kelly Rybak for Aloha