Chances are that either yourself or someone you know is among the ranks of millions upon millions of people across the globe who could go for “losing a few pounds.” In some instances, this desire is one that stems from vanity, while in others, it could be a recommendation from a medical professional to improve one’s health. However, regardless of the reasoning behind it, all too often, whether accurate or not, many people will blame their weight on a slow metabolism – an excuse we have all likely heard before. The question is how accurate is this diagnosis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex biochemical process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.
Even when you’re at rest, your body needs energy for all its “hidden” functions, such as breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells. The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate — what you might call metabolism. Several factors determine your individual basal metabolic rate, including:
Your body size and composition: The bodies of people who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.
Your sex: Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, burning more calories.
Your Age: As you get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.
So how would you know that you have a slow metabolism? Well, for starters you may notice that it is a lot easier for you to gain weight then it is to lose it; regardless of what you eat or how much you exercise. You may also notice that you have fat reserves in places you didn’t notice them before, and the same can be said for cellulite.
Many people with slow metabolism also report having cracked and dry skin – especially the heel – which is a strong indicator that your thyroid isn’t working as it should. And in some people (women especially) a loss of hair on the crown of their heads can also point to a hormonal imbalance as the culprit. However, the reason behind your slow metabolism isn’t always outside of your control, for there are likely things that you are doing every single day that is the throwing a wrench in the gears of your metabolism. Fortunately, we are here today to tell you what those practices and why they should be avoided.
We know that this one sounds a little counter-productive, but just hang on with us for a moment. When a person does not sufficiently fuel their body, it can switch over to “starvation mode.” What this means is that in effect, your metabolic rate will slow down to a crawl and your body will hold on for dear life to whatever remaining fuel there is. Why do our bodies do that you ask? Well, we have our ancient ancestors to thank for that.
Long before mankind switches to agriculture for its food source, the food was often quite scarce, and in turn, the body had to adapt in order to conserve fuel. So if your goal is to lose weight then your best move is to not only cut calories and create a deficit but to also eat often and in such a way that enables you to stay active without getting exhausted.