In the world of healthy eating, particularly weight loss, metabolism plays a primary role in how you lose or gain weight. In a nutshell, metabolism refers to how your body converts the food and drink you consume to energy. It’s a complex and necessary process that involves chemical reactions that take place within the human cells, without which the human body would not be able to sustain life. To lose weight and keep it off, you need to keep your metabolism high. However, our lifestyle usually affects our metabolism, that’s why it becomes hard to lose weight. That said, here are simple and avoidable mistakes that slow down your metabolism.
Eating Too Little
Your body needs the energy to sustain itself with the food you eat being the main source of energy. If you’re on a diet and you overdo it by consuming too little, then your body will slow down metabolism because it assumes that you’re starving. Eating too little also triggers your body to break down muscle tissue for energy. This can have a devastating effect on your body. Instead of reducing your food intake, it’s preferable to eat smaller meals throughout the day (every three to four hours) so that you’re not hungry. Although you need a calorie deficit for weight loss, if you drop your calorie intake too low, it becomes counterproductive.
Lack of Exercise
Living a sedentary life contributes to weight gain, and with it a chain of health risks. If your lifestyle involves sitting long hours at work, then your metabolism is significantly slowed down. We are always encouraged to exercise to increase the number of calories burned every day. When we speak of exercising, you don’t have to participate in major workouts. Simple things like walking, taking the stairs, doing house chores, and standing up can help increase your metabolism.
Lack of Enough Sleep
Deprived sleep has many unpleasant side effects, including weight gain, impaired glucose tolerance, increased levels of cortisol (which stores fat), and a disruption of the hormones that control your hunger and fullness. If you can’t control your hunger and fullness, you might spend most of your time eating and not knowing when you’re full. Getting too little sleep has been shown to reduce the number of calories burned or the calories get burned less efficiently. For sustainable health, strive to get between seven to nine hours of sleep each night.
Watch What You Drink
Your body’s cellular functions operate optimally because of water. Therefore, strive to keep hydrated at all times. When you drink too little water, you’re likely to suffer from dehydration. According to nutritionists, it’s advisable to start your day by rehydrating with water. A glass of water, especially, ice-cold water has been shown to boost your metabolism by a few calories because your body will be forced to heat the water to body temperature. Aim to take at least two liters of water every day and drink more when it’s hotter and humid. Additionally, opt for filtered water and avoid chlorinated and fluorinated water whenever you can. On the other hand, avoid excessive alcohol consumption as it negatively impacts your metabolism. When you take too much alcohol, your liver focuses on breaking down the alcohol molecules instead of fat.
Stress is not something you want in your life. It has major negative impacts on your body, including increasing the production of cortisol which in turn forces you to reach for comfort foods, slowing down digestion, and causing sleep deprivation to name just a few. All these factors affect your metabolism and encourage weight gain. High levels of cortisol affect the efficiency with which your body uses insulin. As a result, your metabolism is brought to a halt. Strive to steer away from stress triggers. When you feel stress creeping in, take deep breaths and stop what you are doing or turn to something that you love doing.
Inconsistent Meal Times
You must have heard the saying, ‘when you eat is as important as what you eat’. This is true, especially when it comes to metabolism. Skipping meals or changing meal times ‘confuses’ your metabolism function and is likely to cause a myriad of other side effects, including raising your risk of heart disease. When you maintain regular eating intervals, your body burns more calories because it knows when next to expect another meal. However, if you eat without a plan, the confusion forces your body to go into conservation mode, and more food is stored leading to weight gain.
It turns out, the little things that you do – and think they don’t matter – actually have a significant effect on your metabolism. Don’t focus only on eating healthy without considering things like getting good sleep, exercising, and drinking plenty of water. To keep your health and weight in check, you need to avoid the things that slow down your metabolism.
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