While it’s good to know the ways you can speed up your metabolism, sometimes it’s also good to know how you can slow it down so you know the habits you should probably avoid having. Learning the wrong things to do can help you work backwards and allow you to live the way you feel most comfortable without having to worry about doing the “right” thing. Today, I will talk about six ways you can slow down your metabolism.
1. Eating Too Few Calories
While being in a calorie deficit is important for losing any weight, lowering your calorie intake too much can greatly impact your metabolism negatively.
“When you dramatically lower your calorie intake, your body senses that food is scarce and lowers the rate at which it burns calories” (Spritzler). Your body is constantly trying to be at homeostasis, so when your daily calorie intake lowers from the usual range, your body reacts to the change and begins to slow down your metabolism in order to assure you continue to receive a sustainable amount of energy for basic function without needing as much food.
When trying to be at a deficit, it is commonly advised to lower your calorie intake by a small amount; slowly decreasing it overtime. This not only makes the deficit a lot more sustainable, but it also prevents you from potentially slowing down your metabolism and instead gain weight as you eat less.
As a good rule of thumb when cutting calories, lowering your calories by ~200-150Kcal from your maintenance and slowly lowering the amount every week until you reach a 500Kcal deficit over the span of at most 8 weeks is ideal. However, you want to make sure you build healthy eating habits in order to make sure you don’t just gain back the weight you lost during your 8 week cut and sustain your new weight.
2. Not Eating Enough Protein
Protein is an essential macronutrient that shouldn’t be left out on. It’s important you’re eating enough of it as it is one of the building blocks of body tissue; builds and repairs tissue in your body.
Protein has been proved to “significantly increase the rate at which your body burns calories” due to its high thermic effect. In fact, “studies indicate that eating protein temporarily increases metabolism by about 20–30% compared to 5–10% for carbs and 3% or less for fat” (Spritzler). It takes our body more work to break down protein than carbs or fat, so if you eat more of it, the faster you can make your metabolism.
Although metabolism slows down during weight loss inevitably, eating a high-protein diet can help minimize the decrease during your cut.
There is no magic number of g/lbs of protein you should be eating, however, you can assure you’re eating enough by trying to eat about 0.5g/lbs (1.2g/kg).
3. Living A Sedentary Life
Living a sedentary life can greatly impact the rate of your metabolism and your overall health. Notably, many people are involved in work that requires a lot of sitting and being sedentary for hours.
Although getting physical activity from exercising and doing sports has a major impact on your metabolism, basic physical activity (walking, cleaning, standing, etc) also plays a big role. This type of activity is called Non-exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT), in other words, the basic things you do throughout your day.
Check out my other blog on how your body burns calories to see more information about NEAT.
So, if you live a sedentary life, meaning you don’t move a lot throughout your day, making little changes to your day like taking the stairs or standing every now and then can potentially increase your metabolism in the long run. It might seem like nothing, but it adds up!
4. Not Getting Enough Quality Sleep
Sleep is essential for overall good health and weight. Several studies have now proven that “inadequate sleep may also lower your metabolic rate and increase your likelihood of weight gain“ (Spritzler).
As Dr. Michael Breus, PhD, says, lack of adequate sleep causes “changes to hormones that regulate hunger and appetite. The hormone leptin suppresses appetite and encourages the body to expend energy. Sleep deprivation reduces leptin. The hormone ghrelin, on the other hand, triggers feelings of hunger—and ghrelin goes up when you’re short on sleep.” Essentially, lack of sleep contributes to low energy and increase appetite throughout the day.
In addition, “Lack of sleep is made worse by sleeping during the day instead of at night. This sleep pattern disrupts your body’s circadian rhythms, or internal clock (Spritzler).
Try to get about seven to eight hours of quality sleep every night, and if you find yourself not being able to sleep one night, don’t get your sleep during the day. Instead, take a quick nap and go throughout your day.
5. Drinking Sugary Beverages
Drinking too many sugary beverages can be very bad for your health, but I’m sure you knew that already.
“High consumption is linked to various ailments, including insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity“ as mentioned in an evidence-based article on what slows down your metabolism.
A high intake of sugary beverages may reduce metabolic rate and promote fat storage in your belly and liver, so try to reduce your daily intake if you find yourself drinking a lot of sugary drinks.
6. Lack of Strength Training
A lack in strength training can significantly slow down your metabolism as well as lead to muscle loss overtime.
Strength training “increases muscle mass, which makes up much of the fat-free mass in your body. Having a higher amount of fat-free mass significantly increases the number of calories you burn at rest” (Spritzler). The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn while at rest; you increase muscle mass from consistent strength training and progressive overload along with adequate protein intake.
Try to follow a solid workout program that hits all of your muscles 3x every week, with at least 10 sets per body part; as well as progressively overloading.
The six ways you can slow down your metabolism are:
- Eating too few calories
- Not eating enough protein
- Living a sedentary life
- Not getting adequate sleep
- Drinking sugary beverages
- Lack of Strength Training
That being said, it’s important to avoid these habits the best you can as they can lead to negative results. Implement healthy habits now so you can live a healthy future.
Breus, Michael. “Sleep Deprivation and Weight Gain.” Your Guide to Better Sleep, 5 Apr. 2018, thesleepdoctor.com/2018/04/10/sleep-deprivation/.
“Homeostasis.” Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, 5 Feb. 2020, en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Homeostasis.
Spritzler, Franziska. “6 Mistakes That Slow Down Your Metabolism.” Healthline, Healthline Media, 24 Apr. 2019, http://www.healthline.com/nutrition/6-mistakes-that-slow-metabolism#section7.
The reader assumes full responsibility for consulting a qualified health professional regarding health conditions or concerns, and nutritional advice before applying the content on this site to themselves. Samuel Navarro will not assume any liability for direct or indirect losses or damages that may result from the use of information contained in this post. You are ultimately responsible for all decisions pertaining to your health.