By Jennifer Smith, CHN, BHC, FBCC
Weight management and a slow metabolism are fiercely intertwined. Metabolism is defined as the process through which people break down food to nourish and repair themselves. It regulates your absorption of nutrients and how they are stored in the body. When you want to achieve health goals and reach a lower weight, changes in your metabolism could be a real obstacle, but the question is, how does this happen? In this article we will be exploring what might cause a slow metabolism.
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As people get older, the body loses some of its ability to regenerate and repair cells that are damaged or have gotten overworked and need to be replaced. This is because as humans age, their metabolism will naturally slow down, causing them to store fat that they were at one time able to burn by simply being active. As people progress into their late 30’s and early 40’s, the metabolism slows down and becomes less efficient.
When was the last time you got to do something physical? A physically demanding lifestyle can help you to keep a healthy and make sure that your metabolism keeps working at a more efficient level. As people grow older, their metabolism will begin to slow down, so working out or having some kind of scheduled activity can help to fight some of the effects of this.
People with an already sedentary lifestyle will experience slow metabolism. The reason for this is if the body doesn’t need a lot of calories on a daily basis, then it will optimize the metabolism to burn only what it needs. That means that if you eat more calories than you use, that food eaten will become fat in the body. This is also why eating less and working out more doesn't work as a long term solution. Your body adjusts to this new state of fewer calories and more exercise and holds on to fat rather than burning it.
Dr. Jade Teta makes a distinction between movement and what he terms 'metabolics' (exercise). Metabolics is the planned and structured exercise that you do. Movement is everything else that you do to move through-out the day. This could be vacuuming or cleaning your house, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking at lunch-time, gardening, yard-work, etc. All of this other movement is what researchers have termed 'NEAT', Non-Exercise Associated Thermogenesis.
"It turns out this NEAT movement is a HUGE component of total daily energy use, and varies widely from person to person. Research looking at a person who sits all day long and then does a 30 minute workout (metabolics), compared to a person who moves all day long but does no structured exercise, suggest the mover is far better off health and fitness wise than the metabolic exerciser."
-Dr. Jade Teta
Want to know Dr. Teta's favorite way of increasing NEAT? In his Metabolic Renewal program he suggests you walk for 1-2 hours per day. This is not speed walking or fast-paced walking. In order to reduce stress and keep cortisol levels down, you should keep your pace slow and leisurely.
A lot of people have become used to eating 4, 5, or 6 meals in a day. Depending on your activity level, this could be very bad for your metabolism because your body will convert the foods you eat too fat to because there is too much energy available at any given time. It can also make you sleep strange hours to conserve energy resulting in lethargy. This can keep you from enjoying the quality of life that promotes other healthy behaviors and thus create a vicious cycle of lethargy and weight gain.
Keep it simple, stick to 3 meals a day (or less if intermittent fasting), breakfast, lunch and dinner. Aim to reduce and cut-out snacks, since snacking; especially on high carb, low calorie snacks leads to insulin resistance. Snacking also keeps your insulin at higher levels through-out the day which blocks your body's ability to access fat stores to burn fat. This leads to slow metabolism and eventually weight-gain.
As you can see, a few simple changes can have a drastic impact, speeding up a slow metabolism and improving your ability to lose weight.
If you want to boost your metabolism even more, see my weight loss and metatbolism protocol on Fullscript at the link below.
Click here to view my weight loss and metabolism protocol on Fullscript.
Jennifer Smith is certified in Holistic Nutrition, a Biblical Health Coach and Faith-Based Clinical Counselor. She has completed advanced certifications in Functional Nutrition, Biblical Naturopathy and Biblical Eating and Clinical Nutrition.