As a gym owner, I have the incredible opportunity to engage in regular conversations with individuals about their health and fitness goals. Weight loss is often a prominent topic of discussion. What has intrigued me the most is hearing about the approaches people are taking in their weight loss journey, believing them to be effective, only to find themselves stuck and struggling to achieve their goals. Unfortunately, I frequently come across extreme and restrictive methods that people adopt, like excluding entire food groups, practicing fasting or limiting eating hours, or over exercising / punishing one's self for "bad eating".
These strategies tend to backfire as they are simply not sustainable, becoming overwhelming and ineffective in producing desired results. Why is that? Well, our bodies require food as fuel, and when we deprive ourselves, we often experience a decline in energy levels, mental fog, feelings of sluggishness, and even a decline in our ability to perform optimally during training sessions. It's crucial to provide our bodies with the necessary fuel to thrive and achieve our best potential.
Unfortunately, there are plenty of sneaky ways we slow our metabolism down — here are 7 of the most common metabolism saboteurs:
1. You don’t eat enough
Your body is smart! When you regularly eat less fuel than you burn, your body can make itself even more efficient by lowering how many calories it needs.
This can happen if 1) you exercise a lot and don’t ramp up your food intake to match it; 2) you undereat every day, or 3) you go on a lot of diets.
2. You skip meals
Research shows that eating regular meals throughout the day is linked with a greater “thermic effect of food” – i.e., more calories burned after eating.
Plus, eating on a regular schedule helps your body manage its blood sugar levels, which is a biggie when it comes to your health.
3. You don’t lift weights
Strength training helps boost your metabolism in a couple of different ways.
Over the long run, it helps build muscle, and muscle tissue burns more calories at rest than fat tissue.
But it also has an immediate benefit: it raises your metabolism for hours after your workout is finished.
4. You don’t prioritize your sleep
Not getting enough sleep is like a triple whammy on your metabolism.
5. You sit all day
Being sedentary – i.e., not getting up to move around every half-hour or so — is linked with a slower metabolism. Time for that standing desk!
6. You don’t eat enough protein
Not only does protein keep you feeling full after you eat it, but it also helps you build metabolism-boosting muscle.
Plus, digesting it burns more calories than digesting carbs or fat.
A healthy guideline to follow for protein consumption is to aim to eat between 0.8 -1 gram of protein for every pound of your body weight. So, if you weigh 150lbs you should be eating between 120 - 150g of protein each day.
7. You get stressed out a lot
It’s true! Stress can LOWER your metabolism.
An Ohio State University study found that women burned fewer calories after they ate a high-fat meal when they were stressed.
Just another reason it’s so important to have a plan to regularly blow off stress, like working out, meditating, or relaxing hobbies.
Focusing on improving these 7 areas can really be a game changer in reaching your goals. However, you may also be asking yourself how on earth do I lose weight if I need to be eating enough calories to support my metabolism, but also in a calorie deficit in order to lose weight? That’s a great question and I have a pretty simple answer for you! Before you start counting macros or worrying about how many calories you’re eating you need to figure out one important number - your estimated TDEE – aka your Total Daily Energy Expenditure.
In everyday language, it’s how many calories you burn every day just living your life.
I’ve got a calculator you can use to figure out yours right now.
Here’s the link: https://mynutritioncalculator.com/mifflin-st-jeor-calculator
A little tip for using the calculator: A lot of us overestimate our activity level. Read the choices carefully and think about how active you are on most days of the week. :)
No matter what your goals are, knowing this number can help you fine-tune your nutrition — and be more intentional with your choices.
Don’t forget, nutrition isn’t the only key to supporting a healthy metabolism. Building healthy muscle mass will also boost your metabolism because, as we discussed above, muscle burns more calories at rest than fat does. Having a regular strength building routine is super important and becomes more important as we age since we tend to lose muscle mass with hormone changes. At Wilcox Wellness & Fitness we can help you create a healthy & sustainable approach to your health & fitness, allowing you to reach all of your goals! Want to learn more? Schedule a no obligation phone call with us to see how we can help you.
Go to www.wilcoxwellnessfitness.com/getstartedbrunswick to start the conversation!
Hi! My name is Allison Hopkins and I am the owner of Wilcox Wellness & Fitness in Brunswick, ME. I am excited to bring WILCOX to Brunswick and share in my passion for living a great life through health and fitness.