These 6 Habits Can Sabotage Your Metabolism

by Carina Wolff

Most of us would love a fast metabolism, and luckily we aren't stuck with what we got. Although we are born with a baseline metabolic rate, your everyday habits can have an affect on how you burn through nutrients, and you may be making some crucial mistakes that are ruining your metabolism. Unfortunately, you can't send your metabolism into super speed over night, but if you clean up your everyday habits, you can make some improvements to your metabolic rate.

"Metabolism is the full system of biochemical processes that occur inside your body, and your metabolic rate is the rate at which you use calories for these processes," says Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, author of The Overworked Person’s Guide to Better Nutrition , over email.

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We burn the most calories each day with basic bodily functions like breathing, circulating blood, and maintaining body temperature, and this is our basal metabolic rate. We then have the most control over the activity portion of our metabolic rate, so eating right and increasing our physical activity can boost this part of our metabolism.

If you're looking to speed up your metabolism, avoid these six mistakes that can hurt your metabolic rate.

1. Sitting All Day

Sitting all day causes your body to shut down at the metabolic level, as your circulation slows, your fat-burning enzymes switch off, and your blood sugar is used less, according to Women's Health. "We burn calories for non-exercise activities such as shifting your posture, wiggling your foot, folding laundry, typing, and anything else that isn’t sleeping, eating, or purposeful exercise," says Weisenberg.

2. Not Sleeping Enough

Getting too little sleep causes our metabolism to slow down to conserve energy. Sleep-deprivation also increases levels of cortisol, which lowers the use of certain hormones that are used to metabolize nutrients, according to

3. Not Drinking Water

Staying hydrated is just as important as eating. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism found that drinking water can increase your metabolic rate by 30 percent, and it can go into effect as little as ten minutes after consumption.

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4. Eating At The Wrong Times Of Day

Our bodies have natural rhythms that go along with the sleep/wake cycle, and our body's have a harder time digesting food at night. A study in the International Journal of Obesity found that people who ate later burned less calories while resting and digesting than people who ate the same amount of food earlier in the day. "It’s unwise to eat skimpy amounts early in the day and then scarf down a huge amount at dinner," says Weisenberg.

5. Blasting The AC

You might not associate air temperature with metabolism, but it turns out there is a connection. Cold temperatures can cause your metabolism to slow down to conserve energy and heat, according to, so it's best to keep your thermostat away from the lowest setting.

6. Not Working Out Hard Enough

Even if you are working out multiple times a week, if you aren't pushing yourself hard enough, you may not be getting the results you want. Studies show that working out at high intensities for less amounts of time is actually more beneficial for burning fat and improving metabolic function, according to the New York Times.

Avoiding these mistakes can help repair your metabolism, but it is still important to continue to eat a balanced diet and exercise regularly to keep your body as healthy as possible.

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