How to Slow Down Metabolism


Though a much more common inquiry is ‘how to increase metabolism,’ some people simply burn or expend everything they eat and are too thin. Others wish to know if they are practicing behaviors, albeit inadvertently, that adversely affects metabolism. Knowledge is the first step to changing bad habits, particularly where health is concerned.

Though this piece addresses slowing down metabolism it is for general information only. These methods are not recommended for overall health promotion and are not designed to replace sound medical advice or that of a qualified nutrition expert, such as a registered dietitian. There are no ‘foolproof’ methods for slowing down your metabolic rate, as, to a great extend, genetics play a role as do certain medical conditions, such as hypothyroidism. Keep in mind that your metabolic rate is not, as a rule, something entirely under your control.

Poor Eating Habits

Those that complain of a ‘sluggish’ metabolism, resistance to losing weight and overall fatigue have much in common, starting with their eating habits. Consuming smaller, frequent, nutrient-dense and well-balanced meals throughout the day keeps your fire stoked. In other words, it helps to keep your metabolism running higher because your body must digest food and utilize the energy derived from food. Therefore, it makes sense that taking in too few calories and skipping meals, particularly breakfast, may be a recipe for slowing down your metabolic rate.

Dieters more often than not over-restrict their daily caloric intake. Even if you are trying to lose weight, an energy deficit of 500 calories per day (combined from food restriction and exercise) is enough to result in a loss of one pound per week. An active, exercising 30-year-old female, standing 5-feet, eight inches and weighing 155 pounds can consume 1,800 calories per day and still lose weight, though the rate of weight loss will vary. However, if she decides that the only way to lose weight is to eat 1,200 calories per day, her body will attempt to adapt to this by conserving energy (and body fat). Her body will slowly grow accustomed to less food, making future weight control difficult, regardless of whether or not she increases her calorie intake.

Consuming breakfast gets your body going, in several ways. It ‘breaks’ your overnight ‘fast’ jump-starting your system into an energy burning mode. But you have to consume energy, in the form of calories, to expend energy. Skipping breakfast doesn’t offer any benefits.

Lack of Exercise

Not exercising or leading a physically active lifestyle can lower your metabolic rate. The less lean muscle tissue you have, the fewer calories you burn while engaging in an activity, or while at rest. Muscle burns calories just to maintain itself. Thus, exercise increases metabolic rate (calorie burning) in two ways. A combination of cardiovascular exercise and strength training builds muscle and, in general, your body temperature is elevated during exercise. An increase in core temperature slightly increases basal metabolic rate during and after your exercise session, particularly if the activity is vigorous. Your body temperature is lowest during sleep.


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