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Many people blame their weight gain to slow metabolism. But what is it, really?
Defined as the bodily process that turns food and drinks into energy, metabolism is a biochemical process that is essential for the body. It ensures that your bones, muscles, nerves, brain, heart, and all other organs have enough fuel to function properly.
Your body requires fuel not only when you’re moving but also when you’re at rest. This is because the human body also needs energy for its “hidden” functions, including blood circulation, hormone level adjustment, breathing, and cell growth and repair. The calories burned so that your body can perform these functions well is called your basal metabolic rate.
Everyone runs on a different metabolic rate, depending on gender, age, body composition, and size. However, these aren’t the only factors that contribute to the speed of one’s metabolism – thermogenesis or food processing and physical activity are also crucial.
Taking that into consideration, there are four major mistakes you may have done or are still doing that are causing your metabolic rate to dawdle, including:
Doing Cardio All the Time
Many people think that sweating regularly from cardio exercises automatically translates to a faster metabolism and weight loss. But the truth is, they’re actually missing out on the opportunity to boost their metabolic rate.
Rather than going biking or running for miles all the time, you should also use weights or undergo body weight and resistance exercises to hasten your metabolism. Doing so will also help you gain more muscle mass so you burn fat efficiently.
This is because resistance and weight training can help increase a person’s metabolic rate even while resting. According to a study, doing such exercises regularly – even for short periods (e.g., 11 minutes of resistance training) – leads to calorie-burning action hours after the activity is done.
Aside from the numerous benefits that coffee provides, caffeine has also been found to help boost a person’s metabolism. Based on research, one cup of healthy coffee to start your day can improve your resting metabolic rate. This benefit is enhanced when the caffeine is introduced to your system before a workout.
Not Getting Quality Sleep
Another blunder people make that cause their metabolism to slow is not getting enough quality sleep. It is a well-known fact that adequate sleep helps prevent weight gain. In fact, a study published in 2012 revealed a link between longer time in deep sleep and an elevated resting metabolic rate, which means that both the quantity and quality of sleep is crucial.
Alternatively, insufficient or disruptive sleep can cause sluggish metabolism. It has also been found to be a risk factor in obesity and chronic medical conditions like diabetes.
Reducing Calorie Intake
Although this might sound like cliché, making poor choices in your food is one of the reasons why your metabolism is all over the place. Believe it or not, cutting calories can cause your leptin levels to decrease. Leptin is a hormone known to trigger the feeling of fullness and tells your brain when to stop eating.
When your leptin system is functioning well, it regulates homeostasis – a process that balances the consumption and burning of calories. Conversely, deficiency in leptin can lead to weight gain, or worse, obesity.
To make sure you have enough leptin in your system, avoid high-lectin and fructose-rich foods. Lectin is a protein that can wreak havoc in your gut and cause leptin resistance. High-lectin food sources include potatoes, eggplants, tomatoes, jack beans, and peanuts. Examples of high-fructose foods include soda, juice, energy drinks, bread and other store-bought baked goods, candy, and canned fruit.
Rather than reducing how much you eat and counting calories, make sure that you choose top quality food. This doesn’t mean you have to spend much; you only need to pick the right kind.
Also, make sure you only consume food until you are satisfied but not full. Choose to eat healthy snacks that not only improve the speed your body can turn food into energy but also ensure that you are focused and well-fueled throughout the day.
Jumpstart Your Metabolism
A speedy metabolism is right along the alley of the fountain of youth when it comes to the most coveted things in the world. Since it helps a person maintain his weight, improving one’s metabolism is a great way to stay in shape. Unfortunately, there are certain things people do unconsciously that may cause their metabolism to go slow.
To turn your metabolic rate around, you have to make sure that you do things right by your body. Choose the natural way of losing weight by enhancing your metabolism and ensure you avoid making the above mistakes.
Dave Asprey is the creator of the widely popular Bulletproof Coffee, host of the #1 health podcast, Bulletproof Radio, and author of the New York Times bestselling book, “The Bulletproof Diet.” Through his work, the Silicon Valley investor and technology entrepreneur provides information, techniques and keys to taking control of and improving your biochemistry, your body and your mind so they work in unison, helping you execute at levels far beyond what you’d expect, without burning out, getting sick, or allowing stress to control your decisions.