Stuck with a slow metabolism? Genetics can really be a bitch, but fortunately, there are many day-to-day things you can do to reverse their effects on your health. For example, if you struggle with a naturally slow metabolism which keeps your levels of energy low and makes you more prone to gaining weight, you don’t have to learn to live with that.
You can greatly improve the quality of your life by simply transforming a few everyday habits that have been keeping you in the slow lane all these years.
You know, not all great solutions require gigantic lifestyle changes – as a matter of fact, those are proven to be rather unsustainable. Most of the time, it’s the little, almost invisible things you do that matter the most, because over the course of time they will add up into a great tide affecting the bigger picture of your life. Sure, you can leave your little unhealthy habits do their thing and keep you where you are, but you can also shake them up a bit and optimize your life choices, in order to become a healthier, more fulfilled person.
Metabolism is most often associated with calorie burning, but it actually refers to all chemical reactions that occur in our cells and keep us alive – and the energy required to make all those reactions happen comes from calories. Therefore, metabolism is basically the process that makes life possible, thus affecting brain and heart function, as well as controlling the digestive system.
So your metabolism has a bigger effect on your overall health and well-being than you probably realize – as a vital part of your organism, associated with the normal function of all organs. Having a slow metabolism doesn’t make you unhealthy by itself, but it can contribute to the development of some chronic health issues in the long-term, such as high blood sugar and high blood pressure, as well as hindering your weight loss goals. On the other side, a slow metabolic rate is one of the symptoms of a thyroid disorder, so make sure you check with your doctor and do the necessary tests to rule that out.
If you’re look for clues on what you could do to boost your metabolism and make it a lot more efficient at its job, begin with these 4 positive habits you can easily create for yourself in the pursuit of better health, more energy and less body fat:
1. Get Enough Sleep
This always sounds harder than it actually is. Your own well-being and your health should always come first on your list of priorities – one of the worst things you could do to yourself is not allowing your body to get enough rest. The lack of sleep is associated with higher levels of cortisol, slower metabolic rate, mood disorders and impaired cognitive functioning.
And sleeping late on the weekends in an attempt to recover from your hectic week is not the solution – not only that it won’t reverse the effects of your sleep deprivation, it could make things worse for your already confused organism.
So, give your body the time it needs to rest and recover, every day. Make a schedule and stick to it. Try to organize your activities in a more efficient way that doesn’t get in the way of a regular sleeping pattern – this is crucial for the optimal function of many processes in the body, especially your metabolism. And who enjoys feeling tired and irritable all the time?
2. Work out
You know, the word “metabolism” really means “burning calories to provide your body with the energy”. The most important element here is the efficient calorie burning process – put the amount of food you eat aside and ask yourself: does your body make the best use of its caloric value?
Food exists to give us the fuel we need to survive, not to fill up our sockets of body fat. And in order to effectively turn the food you ingest into energy available for use, you need a sharp, healthy metabolism.
The one thing than can greatly improve your metabolic rate in a short period of time is regular exercise. Even if you don’t feel like becoming an athlete, an hour at the gym three times per week can do wonders for your metabolism.
You’ll become better at burning calories long after the workout session, increase your muscle mass – and greater muscle mass naturally requires more calories as a cost of maintenance, increase your strength and endurance, balancing your hormones, and reducing the risk of injury and illness. I rest my case.
3. Eat Enough
We all know that in order to burn fat, we need to lower the calorie consumption. However, lowering the calories too much and too fast is not going to help. In fact extremely low calorie consumption will actually slow down your metabolism. The levels of leptin go too low and the body goes into “survival” mode. This means that the body will try to store as fat every gram of carb and protein you throw at it.
So instead of dropping the calories too low, start by cutting 400-600 calories a day and see how your body reacts. The optimal weight loss should be about 1 lb a week. After some time your body will stagnate and stop losing weight. This is the time when you should cut another 400-500 calories a day.
Choose high quality food rich in protein and complex carbs, i.e. slow-digested foods that can keep you full, keep insulin levels stable and make your body burn a lot of calories while metabolizing them.
By the way, studies have shown that spicy meals can provide a temporary rise of 8% in the metabolic rate and increase feeling of satiety as well, so you could consider including more chili and ginger in your diet.
4. Drink More Water
Since water is essential to human life and all bodily systems need it to function properly, dehydration depresses your overall normal functioning, including the metabolism.
Dehydration happens when you fail to replace the water that’s naturally lost from your body on a daily basis. Exercise increases the risk of becoming dehydrated, so you should drink more water in the hours before working out.
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Sometimes people don’t feel thirsty until they’re almost 3% dehydrated, so to prevent this from happening, make sure you consume at least two liters of this precious liquid every day, especially during the summer months. Staying hydrated will make it easier to combat fatigue and keep your metabolic processes running smooth.