Have you been trying everything under the sun in order to lose weight but feel like nothing is working? Maybe it works for a little but then you quickly plateau and are left scratching your head? Well, your lack of results could actually be due to a few things you’re not paying attention to that are killing your metabolism. The good news is that many of them are easily fixable. What’s even better is that none of the things mentioned in this article will take you a long time to correct. It’s a matter of identifying where you’re making mistakes and then working towards a solution.
Take a look at the list below and see which of these you are not doing that could be killing your metabolism.
1. Not Hitting the Weight Room
Did you ever read or hear someone say, “Muscle burns more calories than fat…”? Well, they’re not wrong. Not focusing on building quality lean muscle mass (regardless if you are a male or female) could be killing your metabolism. When it comes down to it, muscle demands energy pretty much 24 hours a day to function properly and to repair itself. Fat, well, doesn’t require any energy at all.
Hitting the weight room will help build muscle and keep your metabolism revving all day and all night. Don’t shy away from the weight room or think that there aren’t any benefits that can be had from moving around some heavy weights. It even doubles as a great stress reliever.
2. Not Consuming Enough Protein
There’s something called the thermic effect of food (TEF). Essentially, it takes a certain amount of energy for food to be broken down into a usable form by the body. Protein just happens to have the highest thermic effect. Your body takes longer to digest protein sources and requires more energy through the digestive process.
Instead of killing your metabolism by consuming a bunch of carbohydrates and fats in your diet, make sure you're consuming adequate amounts of protein per day to not only help build lean muscle (like what was mentioned in #1) but to also give your metabolism a swift kick in the butt.
3. Not Consuming Enough Calories
Your body is the best computer and computer software ever invented. Without even thinking about it, your body is processing information, making changes and adjustments, pumping out blood, shuttling nutrients, working on cellular repair, digesting food, flooding oxygen into the blood, removing waste and toxins, fighting free radicals, the list goes on and on.
When you aren’t eating enough calories, your body feels as if you’re starving yourself and it goes into self-preservation mode where it’s going to slow everything down. Therefore, you aren’t using as much energy and are essentially killing your metabolism to preserve every calorie you take in. It also focuses on preserving body fat rather than using it as a fuel source. If you want to lose weight, focus on eliminating calories little by little from your maintenance. Dropping them too quickly will cause the self-preservation reaction to occur which is counterproductive.
4. Not Getting Enough Quality Sleep Each Night
Are you the type of person who burns the candle from both ends? Do you stay up late getting work done and only catch a few hours of sleep a night? That could be killing your metabolism. Lack of sleep can raise your cortisol levels and when they are elevated, it can destroy your metabolism and cause you to store unwanted body fat. Ghrelin (a hunger hormone) levels also increase which causes you to feel hungry more often.
Not only does lack of sleep crush your metabolism but your energy level as well, so you wake up the next day working off of a partially empty tank. Focus on getting a solid seven hours of sleep each night. Doing so will help keep the stress hormone, cortisol, managed while keeping you energized and your metabolism healthy.
5. Not Taking Time to Destress Daily
Just like with lack of sleep, stress can cause a rise in cortisol. If you aren’t able to properly manage your stress levels, you’re slowly killing your metabolism and may find the number on your scale is going up fairly quickly. Unless you can manage your stress, that number will keep going up while your metabolism remains somewhat dormant.
Find ways to destress on a daily basis. This can be sitting in a quiet room reading a good book or simply sitting in silence while focusing on your breathing. A great time to do this is right before bed. Some people even exercise to combat stress – another great outlet. The key is to put aside the time and make it a priority so you can unwind from the daily stress we are all faced with.
6. Not Getting Up and Moving Throughout the Day
Unfortunately, this could be easier said than done depending on if you are in school and where you work. Clearly, students are sitting in classrooms all day long. And some employees are stuck behind a desk all day where company policies don’t allow them the ability to get up and move freely. There needs to be a little give and take here along with some compromise for the sake of your health.
Not getting up and moving throughout the day is killing your metabolism. When you are not active, your metabolism slows down because there is no demand for it to burn calories to be used as energy. A sedentary lifestyle (including sitting and watching television all night) is not cohesive to your goal of living a healthy lifestyle and decreasing the amount of body fat you walk around with. Make time throughout the day to get up and move even if that means stretching in your office, walking across campus to class rather than driving, etc. Simply put… move MORE, sit LESS.
7. Not Drinking Enough Water
Water is necessary for all bodily functions. Your body is made up of primarily water and for that reason alone is incredibly important. That being said, if you are not drinking enough water throughout the day, you are essentially killing your metabolism. Drinking cold water alone has the ability to increase your resting metabolic rate throughout the day.
When you consume cold water, your body needs to warm it up to body temperature. In order to do that, it needs to create energy. When this happens, your metabolism gets a nice boost. And one thing we cannot forget is that water contains ZERO calories. Think about how many things you drink daily and add up those calories. Coffee with cream and sugar, energy drinks, soda, tea, juice, etc. They add up quickly! Switch over to water throughout the day and give up those sugary beverages that are full of useless calories.
8. Not Putting the Bottle of Alcohol Down
This should come as no surprise by consuming alcohol regularly and in excess is killing your metabolism. Sure, some research suggests some health benefits of one to two glasses of wine a day is ok, but it would be recommended that you bypass the bottle altogether if you really want to focus on your weight and metabolism. After all, alcohol contains a bunch of empty calories that add up quickly the more you pour.
Consuming alcohol can also decrease your body's ability to effectively burn body fat. The fact that you're reading this article should say something and if you want to keep your metabolism healthy and active, push aside the bottle and grab yourself a glass of water.