It’s a hot topic in the fitness and nutrition world these days.
It’s something people hate you for without even knowing you.
But is it THE REASON you’re not losing weight?
Short answer: NO.
Yet gyms, coaches, and supplement companies are still plastering ads everywhere you look to tell you that they’re the solution to your damaged metabolism.
Supplements don’t fix your metabolism.
They can support it but not FIX.
Coaches, programs, and gyms cannot fix your metabolism.
They can give you strategies, protocols, or tools to help, but not FIX.
There’s only one person who can truly impact your metabolism.
Any guesses who that is?
Your actions, habits, and even beliefs impact your metabolism, so let’s take a look at what you might be doing that’s HURTING your metabolism with some recommendations to fix it!
#1 Skipping Meals
For a society struggling so much with obesity and weight, it’s amazing that we have a MAJOR problem with undereating.
But when you look at it, it’s not THAT surprising.
You binge then tell yourself the best way to recover from that is starvation.
Your day is packed and you’re moving from place-to-place, you don’t have a moment to FEEL hungry let alone stop to eat.
But skipping meals and undereating might be the most damaging thing to your metabolism.
In the absence of food, your body sends a message to converse rather than burn calories, which as we all know is TERRIBLE for fat loss!
When the body is provided an appropriate number of calories, the body is free to burn calories and work throughout the day.
Think of your metabolism as a wood-burning fire.
You can light the fire, but if you’re not regularly putting wood on the fire, the fire burns out.
#2 Eating the Wrong Meals
Look, eating enough calories is a big deal, but it’s not to say the quality of food doesn’t matter.
Sugary and highly processed foods set you up for a big-time crash later in the day.
High quality and minimally processed foods burn slow and provide long-term energy.
#3 Sitting Too Much
While undereating is a big problem, so is the sedentary lifestyle so many Americans live.
Since the pandemic began, are you sitting more or less?
For most, it’s MORE from their already sedentary lifestyle because everything is within a few feet from your workspace – the kitchen, bathroom, bedroom, etc.
Have you ever wondered WHY a sedentary lifestyle is bad?
Of course sitting around burns less calories than running around, but there are actually changes in your body as well. When you sit for extended periods of time, your body shifts into energy-conservation mode thus slowing down the metabolism.
Now only does a slowed down metabolism burn fewer calories, the body also struggles to regulate blood sugar, blood pressure, and break down body fat.
#4 Not Using Resistance Training
This isn’t a NEW discovery, but one that people need to be continually reminded of.
Cardio burns a lot of calories DURING exercise, but once you’re done, calorie burn quickly returns to normal.
On the other hand, resistance training may not burn as many calories DURING a session, but calorie burn remains elevated for an extended period of time following training in order to repair muscles, redistribute nutrients, and return the body to homeostasis.
Resistance training is also directly linked to muscle mass, and the more muscle mass you have, the higher your metabolic rate.
#5 Not Enough Protein
Do you feel like I’m writing more of the same stuff?
Bear with me here.
Protein is an essential macronutrient, which means you actually need it to survive.
Protein is necessary for muscle building; therefore, eating too little decreases your ability to build or maintain muscle, which we’ve already established impacts your metabolism.
Add to this that protein is the most satiating nutrient and requires the most time to breakdown, a shortage of protein takes away a significant caloric burn that takes place during digestion.
Water fuels so many processes in the body, and those processes both directly and indirectly influence your metabolism.
Research has found that drinking water, specifically 2 cups, can spike metabolism by 30%. That spike has also been suggested to last for more than hour!
Look, if you’re struggling to drink water, try this strategy:
– 1 Cup of Water Immediately After Waking (Keep a cup in the bathroom!)
– 1 Cup 30 Minutes Prior to Breakfast
– 1 Cup Immediately Following Breakfast
– 1 Cup 30 Minutes Prior to Lunch
– 1 Cup Immediately Following Lunch
– 1 Cup 30 Minutes Prior to Dinner
– 1 Cup Immediately Following Dinner
– 1 Cup 30 Minutes Prior to Bed
That’s a simple way to get 64 ounces of water in a day!
It’s so bad for so many reasons INCLUDING your metabolism.
Remember how stress causes your body to produce cortisol?
Well, here are just a few things that cortisol does to the body:
- Increase Appetite
- Increase Cravings (Especially for Comfort Foods)
- Decreased Recovery
- Decreased Desire & Motivation to Exercise or Care for Yourself
- Decreased Quality of Sleep
ALL of those things negatively impact your metabolism.
Look, you can’t take away every single stressor in your life (HA! I WISH!), but you do control your strategies for maintenance.
If you’re looking to better understand stress and how to manage it, check out the FREE Applied Fat Loss Series to take a deep dive into managing your stress!
#8 Refined & Processed Carbs
Look, we all know refined and processed foods are bad, especially carbs!
Because the consumption of refined and processed carbs burn fewer calories during digestion AND leads to a greater release of ghrelin (the appetite-stimulating hormone).
Refined and highly processed carbs are quickly turned into blood sugar, but that quick transition means the body isn’t always ready to use that blood sugar. When that happens, your body takes and stores it is as fat, which is definitely what you don’t want!
#9 Swearing Off Dairy
These days it seems everyone is lactose intolerant.
BUT I’d like to challenge that and suggest you may have a lactose sensitivity and encourage you to not completely swear off dairy.
Research suggests dietary calcium improves the regulation of metabolism because it contains both protein and calcium which contribute to the building and maintenance of muscle tissue.
Now, I’m not saying go out and eat all the cheese and drink bottles of milk, but don’t completely rule it out. Find a dairy source that works for you and consume it in a moderate amount.
#10 Lack of Sleep
When I start with clients, A LOT of our focus is dedicated to sleep because quite simply, we SUCK at sleep!
You’re likely not getting enough in total OR not getting enough QUALITY sleep.
Unfortunately, I find that for more and more people, it’s both.
One poor night of sleep can decrease cognition and increase your likelihood to overeat, particularly low-quality foods.
When those nights add up, metabolism and overall hormonal balance take a serious hit.
Don’t feel like you need to all of a sudden jump up to 8 hours of sleep per night, but start by simply going to bed 15 minutes earlier or turning off electronics 30 minutes prior to getting in to bed.
#11 Fast Food
Fast food already adds a lot of extra calories, but it also slows your ability to BURN calories (AKA metabolism).
Fast food meals are packed with a higher fat content, and THAT takes much longer to digest. The slowed digestion leaves calories sitting in your digestive tract and more likely to be stored as body fat.
Add to the stress typically linked to the eating of fast food and you’re really asking for a metabolic disaster…
As you age, your metabolism naturally slows down.
You can’t STOP the aging process, but you can SLOW it.
By doing most of the things to support a healthy lifestyle:
- Eat high quality, minimally processed foods.
- Regularly exercise.
- Get adequate sleep.
- Manage your stress levels.
Don’t RUN from age but do things to support and live at your true age.
#13 Considering It to Be Damaged
Like I said, metabolism is a hot topic these days, and for whatever reason, everyone’s metabolism seems to be damaged.
Can your metabolism take a hit from any of these things?
But is it permanently damaged?
Is it the reason you’re not losing weight or seeing the changes you desire in body composition?
But the more you view your metabolism as damaged, the less likely you are to do the things that support it and keep it running strong!
View your metabolism as something that’s ever changing with life and your strategies.
About The Author
Jordan Davies is the Co-Owner of Complete Performance. Jordan has her B.S. in Exercise Science and Psychology, and her M.A. in Holistic Health Studies. She is a CSCS certified strength and conditioning coach, and a PN-1 and NCI-1 certified nutrition coach. She loves to study how the human body needs to be moved and nourished and making that fit to your unique lifestyle. Click Here Now to Apply for Coaching with Jordan