11 Weird Everyday Habits That Can Make Your Metabolism Slow Down
According to the Mayo Clinic, our metabolism is basically the system in our body that breaks down energy (i.e food) to be used for fuel. A healthy metabolism keeps us energized and feeling good, which is why it's important to be aware of ways you're slowing your metabolism without even realizing it.
According to Slyvie Tremblay, MSc, in a piece for Livestrong, a slow metabolism can make us feel tired and lethargic, leaving us with less energy to tackle our day. And it doesn't take an expert to tell us that feeling like we don't have enough energy never feels good — especially when most of us need to be awake and functional for at least 16 hours daily.
Most of us know the basics about keeping our bodies healthy, like getting exercise and eating foods that nourish us, but it turns out there's actually even more we could be doing (or in some cases, not be doing) that end up slowing us down and making us feel not so great day-to-day.
If you've been feeling low-energy lately and are looking for ways to feel better, here are eleven unexpected habits you could be doing that slow down your metabolism.
1. You Don't Sleep Enough
According to nutritionist Seth Santoro in a piece for EatThis.com, a lack of sleep "can cause several metabolic problems," noting that we should strive for seven to nine hours of sleep a night. In the same piece, nutritionist Lisa Jubilee even recommended opting for more sleep over a workout if you have to make a choice.
2. You Drink Coffee When You're Hungry
In the same EatThis.com piece, nutritionist Amy Shapiro noted that opting to drink coffee instead of eating actual food when we're hungry hurts our metabolism overall, as the caffeine acts as an appetite suppressant, and means we aren't getting calories when we need them. So opt for a snack instead of reaching for another mug of java.
3. Your Home Is Too Warm
According to the NIH, cooler environments kick start our metabolisms and help them break down our food more efficiently. So perhaps think twice before you pump up the heat before bed or turn off the AC in your office.
4. You Don't Eat Dairy
According to Precision Nutrition coach Brian St. Pierre, RD in a piece for Prevention, muscle is essential for a healthy metabolism. And, "dairy is a rich source of top quality proteins whey and casein. Whey is very good at boosting protein synthesis, which helps build muscle, while casein stops protein breakdown and maintains the lean mass you have."
5. You Lift Weights Too Fast
St. Pierre also noted that many of us speed through our strength training, specifically by lowering weights super fast compared to the speed at which we lift them. However, the lowering motion is incredibly good for building muscle, and thus also great for our metabolisms.
6. You Always Opt For Sea Salt
According to Nutritional Therapy Practitioner Lauren Geertsen, salt contains iodine, which is integral for the proper functioning of our thyroid glands — which in turn is integral to a well functioning metabolism. However, sea salt does not contain iodine, so you may want to switch your sea salt out for regular run-of-the mill table salt next time you're due for a refill.
7. You Work Out At Night
According to a study out of Northwestern University, exposure to sunlight early in the morning may also help kick start your metabolism and ability to efficiently burn what we consume. So sit by a sunny window as you drink your morning coffee or eat breakfast — you just might start feeling more energized.
8. You Skip Breakfast
"Your metabolism slows while you sleep, and it doesn't rev back up until you eat again," explains Barbara Rolls, Ph.D., professor of nutrition at Penn State University in a piece for Redbook. You're literally giving your metabolism an energy boost as soon as you eat.
9. You Don't Eat Enough
In that same article, Pamela Peeke, M.D, noted that waiting too long between meals and not snacking throughout the day is a major way most people slow down their metabolism. "It will also prevent you from going without food so long that you become so hungry you overeat," she said.
10. You Pass On The Spice
According to BestFitnessRevolution.com, hot peppers with capsaicin (which include things like cumin, cayenne pepper, jalapeños, habaneros) can increase our metabolism by up to 25 percent as we eat. So if you're feeling sluggish, go for that spice.
11. Your Workouts Last Too Long
Dr. Josh Axe, certified doctor of natural medicine, wrote that high intensity interval training, which means shorter bursts of high intensity exercise, boosts our metabolism more than longer, less intense sessions. And bonus, it takes way less time out of your day.
A healthy metabolism is super important for feeling our best, which is why it's also important that we don't unknowingly do things that could slow it down. So if you're feeling sluggish, try implementing a few of the above tips and you just might start feeling like a whole new you.