Being in my late twenties has some advantages: I'm completely comfortable with staying in on a Friday night, and I can still consume a few glasses of wine without feeling like a truck had hit me the following day. However, my age comes with a few complications — and my metabolism is one of them.
As I've gotten older, I've noticed a change in how my body processes food. Gone are the days when I could get chocolate wasted and eat a large bin of brownies or live off pizza for a solid week straight (no, just me?) without my body freaking out or slowing down. Now if I want my metabolism to actually work, I need to drink more water and exercise — basically, things I'd avoided when I was 20 years old.
But is having a slow metabolism actually a bad thing? Can we all live a life where we indulge in our vices? Well, there could actually be some advantages to having a slower metabolism.
According to SFGATE, a study published in a 2010 edition of The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism stated that having low levels of thyroid hormones usually correlates with having a slow metabolism. In return, this activity could indicate a longer life expectancy. Dr. Joel Fuhrman further explained that this probably happens because the body doesn't have to work as hard to burn calories and may experience less stress.
Either way, if you can relate to my story and want to know if your metabolism is slow, then you came to the right place. Here are nine subtle signs that could indicate you have a slow metabolism.
1You Constantly Feel Tired
When your metabolism slows down, it could have something to do with your lack of exercise. You may feel sluggish and out of tune with your body because you're "too tired" to do anything. "You feel sluggish, slow moving and tired," says psychologist Nicole Martinez in an email with Bustle about people who may show signs of a slow metabolism.
2You Have A Weary Mind
Ever have those moments when you can't get your stuff together at work because you can't focus or you feel completely anxious? It could have something to do with your metabolism. "[You're feeling] anxious, or feeling down. [You're] just feeling a little unfocused," says nutritional expert and owner of NAO Nutrition Nikki Ostrower over the phone with Bustle about people who show subtle signs of their metabolism slowing down.
3Your Weight Doesn't Stabilize Like It Used To
According to Ostrower, people with slow metabolisms "[Gain] weight easily and [have] difficulty losing it." This is because your metabolism cannot burn a lot of calories at once to help fuel your body with energy. Instead, your body produces more fat. Of course, there is nothing wrong with this, it just indicates that you're getting older and your metabolism is slowing down. Someone pass the wine, please.
4You're Showing Physical Signs Of Hormonal Changes
According to Ostrower, people who have "skin issues/conditions, irregular menstrual symptoms, and thinning hair" most likely have a slower metabolism. This could be because your thyroid hormone levels are low, which can cause your metabolism to slow down.
5You're Developing Food Intollerances
"They're noticing a pattern in their body that is not normal, like IBS symptoms," says Ostrower about people who may have slow metabolisms. If you're not being mindful of your food intolerances, you may be hurting your metabolism. If your body is aggravated by a particular food group, it may cause your body to freak out.
6You're Feeling Cold Or Have Dry Skin
Because your thyroid levels help regulate your metabolism, lower hormone levels could make your skin and hair feel dull and dry. "You have dry skin and nothing that you're doing is motorizing it," says Ostrower.
7You Have An Underlying Medical Issue
Sometimes your slow metabolism has nothing to do with your diet or lack of exercise. Having a slow metabolism might have something to do with an underlying medical issue.
According to LIVESTRONG, Sylvie Tremblay, MSC, explained, "For example, low thyroid activity or hypothyroidism, causes a slow metabolism. That's because thyroid hormones typically control your metabolic rate, and lower-than-normal thyroid hormone levels can make your metabolism slow to a crawl, even if you're not overeating. You might also notice other symptoms, such as dry hair and skin, difficulty concentrating and feeling cold, lethargic or depressed."
8You're Constantly Stressed Out
"However, cortisol is also considered a catabolic hormone, which means it breaks down muscle for energy. So while the stress may initially increase your body's calorie-burning furnace, the loss of muscle — which is one way your body burns calories — may ultimately cause an overall decrease in your metabolism. Muscle breakdown from one stressful incident may not have much of an effect on your metabolism, but long-term chronic stress might," said Jill Corleone, RDN, LD, in a LIVESTRONG article. Essentially, if you want your metabolism to speed up, make sure you are taking care of your well-being.
9Eating Healthy Has No Impact On Your Weight
Eating healthy usually coincides with losing weight because you're not consuming refined sugars or unhealthy fats. But if you're eating healthy and you notice that your weight still fluctuates, then you might have a slow metabolism. "You eat very healthy but you still can not lose weight, or you gain weight. [Healthy] foods do not have the impact on you that they do on others," says Martinez about people who show signs of a slow metabolism.
While it's not the end of the world if you have a slow metabolism, it's good to know so you know how to take care of your body. If you want to boost your metabolism, try to drink a lot of water, exercise, and get your thyroid checked. Your doctor will be able to tell you if your thyroid is slowing your metabolism down.