Your metabolism is important for maintaining your body’s wellness, whether it be for losing or gaining weight. However, many common lifestyle mistakes can cause permanent or temporary damage to your metabolism. Many people who are trying to lose weight have trouble with their metabolic rate, and having a low metabolic rate makes it difficult to lose weight. What is often overlooked is that a low metabolic rate is mostly due to dietary mistakes or lifestyle habits!
Related: Understanding The Metabolism Is A Key to Better Body Health
Metabolism also declines with age, and your lifestyle can accelerate this process. As one’s metabolic rate decreases as one ages, their tendency to gain weight increases. Dietary mistakes or unhealthy lifestyle habits that accelerate this process make it more difficult to lose weight in the long run.
The damage to your metabolism not only manifests as difficulty gaining or losing weight. It also reduces your quality of life associated with constant fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, headaches, and difficulty concentrating, making it important to keep your metabolism healthy for reasons beyond weight loss or gain.
What are these common mistakes, you might ask? Here are 6 common mistakes that harm your metabolism and how to overcome them:
1. Not Eating Enough
If you’re following a very restricted diet to lose weight, fasting for long hours and eating very little food results in having too few calories and nutrients. While this may seem like it would help in weight loss, it actually causes a huge drop in metabolism.
Everyone has a minimum calorie intake for their metabolism to work properly called a basal metabolic rate. If you take fewer calories than required for your basal metabolic rate, your body thinks that the food supply has been restricted and will therefore signal itself to burn fewer calories. This not only makes it impossible to lose weight in the long run but also results in symptoms like fatigue, dry skin, hair loss, and headaches. In such a situation, you cannot improve your metabolic rate even if you go back to your old routine and start eating enough calories.
Another harmful effect of lowering your metabolic rate from eating too few calories is that when you do return to your old routine after losing weight, you start to gain more weight than you usually would have because your metabolism has changed so that it burns fewer calories than it would have in the past.
Therefore, if you are going to diet to lose weight, you should not restrict your calorie intake too much for too long. An adequate and balanced diet is always the best! To lose weight, consuming just the right amount of calories between your basal metabolic rate and your total energy expenditure is key.
2. Low Protein Diet
Often when you aren’t mindful of your eating habits, you tend to consume carbohydrates heavily. However, our body needs adequate protein to maintain muscle mass.
Adequate protein intake prevents the metabolic rate from falling, as it helps you feel full and preserves muscle mass. So make sure you get enough protein every day! To find out roughly how much protein you should have a day, you can go by the World Health Organization's recommendation: for healthy individuals, the daily protein requirement is 0.8–1 gram per kg. For example, if you are 70 kg, the amount of protein you need daily is between 56-70 g.
3. Maintaining A Sedentary Lifestyle
A sedentary lifestyle means not engaging in or irregularly engaging in physical activity. Being sedentary causes fewer calories to be burned and slows your metabolism. As this is one factor that makes it difficult to lose weight, it’s important to consider both your diet and your level of physical activity to maintain a healthy metabolism.
Any kind of physical activity is very important for metabolism. Even simple activities such as walking, climbing stairs, or standing up occasionally if you are an office worker can help keep your metabolism going.
4. Not Sleeping Well
A good night's sleep helps maintain your metabolic rate. Having poor sleep quality and sleeping less than you need reduces the amount of energy spent while at rest and increases the risk of many diseases.
Insufficient sleep lowers your metabolic rate and, in turn, increases the likelihood of weight gain. The time that you sleep is also important. Sleeping during the day instead of at night can negatively affect your circadian rhythm and result in poor sleep quality, thus considerably reducing your metabolic rate.
Having a night of good sleep is a way to speed up or protect your metabolism. Make sure to sleep 7-9 hours every night, which is the requirement for healthy sleep for most adults.
5. Not Drinking Enough Water
About 70% of our body is water, which is proof of the importance of drinking water for your metabolism. Since water is necessary for the cells to function properly, your metabolism slows down if you do not drink enough water throughout the day.
Adding enough fluids to your diet can increase your metabolic rate, but frequently having drinks high in sugar can slow down your metabolism and is linked to several diseases. For this reason, you should drink at least 8-10 glasses of water every day and pay attention to the other kinds of drinks you have. For example, avoid drinking sugary drinks regularly.
6. Being Stressed
When you are stressed, your body produces a hormone called cortisol. This hormone turns on your fight or flight instincts, which affect your body’s functions and causes your metabolism to slow down.
If you are constantly under high stress, your metabolism will slow down, and your tendency to store fat will also increase. Therefore, try to take time for yourself with activities that help lower your stress levels, such as meditation or yoga.
Vivoo Nutrition Team