6 Ways you Could be Hurting Your Metabolism
Your metabolism... It's all very scientific and mysterious... Or is it??
I'm sure you've thought about it.. asked questions, got advice and tried to understand more about it, how it works, how it affects your physical results and your progress. But maybe you just feel stuck, exhausted, tired of trying!! And maybe you're not understanding it to the extent that you could be.
If more people understood the importance of caring for their metabolism, and that they actually have a lot of control over whether it's running fast or slow, then there would be a lot more priority on learning about it!! Here are 6 quick no-no's when it comes to your metabolism.
#1. 1200 calories is just not enough!!! Did you know the less food you eat, and if you do that over an extended period of time, your body's metabolism actually slows down to adjust to your intake!?! Wait, what?? I'm cutting back, and now that's all my body is burning? YES! Very Strict, low calorie diets typically give you quick weight loss boost, you might even see 5-10 lbs in the first week! And then you'll hit a plateau. When your calories are too low, after time, your body begins to go into "fat store" mode and hold onto everything. And you might be one of the people stating "I feel like a barely eat anything, and still can't seem to lose weight!!"
If you haven't done a BMR analysis before, or haven't done it recently. Go to an online BMR Calculator and get your numbers. Your BMR (Basal Metabolic Rate) is the amount of calories you burn just by being you.. sitting on the couch or even sleeping all day. This is what it takes your body to function in a 24 hour period of time. And you should NEVER go below your BMR level.
#2. Jumping on the diet bandwagon again and again. See another hot diet popping up? Everyone is on it? Your friends lost 15 lbs on it?? Well my friend... my advice? Don't do it. Especially if it's anything extreme such as cutting out entire food groups, cutting nearly all carbs, going all raw foods when you have barely been eating vegetables regularly. And going on diet after diet causes metabolic confusion, and can even cause your body to start to react to foods and form allergies to help avoid being put through extremes again.
You and your body have a relationship... and the more trust you can build with your body, the more it will start to work with you and for you. There are a lot of resources on this topic, Angie Viets has some incredible articles about this topic, especially for those who have struggled with an eating disorder and Aimme Jenson runs an online FB group for those who are emotional eaters.
Also, think of how many people you know who have jumped on an extreme diet of any kind, lost all or most of the weight they wanted to... AND THEN SUSTAINED IT LONG TERM. I can't name one person I know! The reason? Our busy lifestyle these days, especially in the U.S. unfortunately is based around food as entertainment. And while this is fun, and can be kept in balance.. like going out for dinner as a family, grabbing fast food on your way to your kid's games, or popcorn and treats at the movies. It is also impossible to avoid completely! Yes, you can do it for a while... then your friends ask you out for a couples date, there's a birthday party you've been invited to, a girl's night, a date night, a vacation, you name it!! Our lives and bodies do not support extreme measures long term.
I'm not saying you can't choose healthier options, and keep things in balance while going out or hosting events, but what I am saying is that unless the whole world changed over to to the extreme diet you are following, you will not have the support or options you need long term. Yes, we have TONS of healthier options and whole foods and organic choices and farm fresh options, but to keep up any extreme long term, is not practical unless that is your full time focus, and the only thing you have going on in your life.. which no one I know is in this situation. Balance is key! If you feel like it's practical and sustainable long term, even when you're on vacation, then it's a good choice!
#3. Pushing your body too hard with Exercise and not enough fuel. It's easy to think "work out more and eat less." Right?? And we've all heard it before "just work out harder!" Or you just need to "really go for it!" But here's the thing, YES working out is good for you. YES pushing yourself further can be a great thing. But NOT if you're not fueling your body properly. There is a big push these days for low carb/high fat diets. But they are not right for everyone! In Fact, they are only right for about 15-20% of the population, based on body type and how their body assimilates carbs, proteins and fats. And only with supervision from a coach or doctor! Intermittent fasting is another one that can really get people's metabolism's going too slow. It is an incredible tool if used with a coach, or a lot of research and consistency, for eliminating toxins and inflammation in the body. But NOT if your body type does better with small, frequent meals, or if you have low blood sugar. Or if your metabolism is already running slow.. There are tons of articles out there about fueling your body before, during, after your workouts. The best success you'll have is learning what ratios are right for your body, and you can follow these wherever you go, no matter what activity you're doing or vacation you're on! Invest the time to learn about nutrition and your body and metabolism will thank you!!!
#4. Running... haha YES! I said running even though I am a big time runner. but really it's not just running. Any activity that is keeping your heart rate high for extended periods of time. Running is typically the most common for this. When your heart rate comes up and down over the period of a workout, your body knows there are rest periods and will tap into your fat stores for energy. But when you're in vigorous exercise and your heart rate is in the extreme zone for more than 20-30 minutes especially, your body can go into "starvation mode" and slow your metabolism to conserve energy (a natural survival mechanism). Most people don't know or understand this, so they don't eat before a run, they don't fuel during the run and then don't feel like eating anything for a few hours after they run. They might say they don't feel like eating, or they feel sick if they eat and then run, or they may think they will lose more weight by not eating. But whatever the reason, what they are experiencing, is the body's metabolism slowing to a halt, and giving them signals to avoid food, because it doesn't need it as it's in conservation mode.
There is a way, however to avoid this!! And the answer is to EAT! Eat 30 minutes to an hour before you run (even up to two hours is great). And then bring fuel with you such as GU packs or gummy's like CLIF Blocks. Eat and drink something every 30 minutes you are running. This keeps your metabolism burning, uses the fuel you are giving it to keep you going, and you'll tap into your glucose and fat stores just as your body should with physical activity. After your run, you should get a lean protein and some carbs within 30 minutes afterwards. Even if you don't feel like it, just having a small protein drink, or something similar will help your body recover and boost your metabolism back to where it needs to be.
#5. Too much of the same. While it is said that "routine is good." TOO much of a good thing, without change can cause a plateau. As you push yourself with a new routine... say for instance you start lifting weights 3X a week, and then running or doing some type of cardio the other days, it is super easy to stick to the EXACT same workouts. Why? Because we are creatures of habit, and once we learn something, it's easier just to repeat it then to learn something new. But your body is extremely smart, and over time will not be pushed by what you are doing. So your metabolism will stay the same, and you will stop seeing progress. My advice? Every couple of months, change up what you are doing! Pick a different class to go to, or another workout routine to follow. Vary your times and intensity levels. Don't fall into the trap of same ol', same ol'.
#6. Not eating enough. Wait what? I need to eat more? Sounds contradictive to a weight loss plan? I used to agree. In fact, I WAS the 1200 calorie dieter for the longest time. I thought it was what I was supposed to do. Female, check! Wants to be skinny, Check! And thought being very restrictive was the key. But the fact is, as you hit the nutritional numbers and ratios your body is designed for. Your body's metabolism will naturally increase. Like I mentioned before, your body will adjust to whatever you are giving it. So start with knowing your ratios, getting a macro coach, and slowly integrating more into your diet. You want to do it the right way, with coaching, otherwise you may just be giving your body too much of something and not enough of what it actually needs! There are many days I eat upwards of 2700 calories and my body can still use more! I have learned to listen to my body, adjust when necessary, build trust again with my body by treating it well and keeping my end of the deal, and I've had better results that I EVER did with cleanses and refreshes and cutting to the extreme.
I hope this was helpful to you!!! Find me on FB or IG for your own macro analysis for your body type and weight loss goals!! Remember, each person is unique and individual, so do your best to get education and learn all you can (knowledge was key for my progress), but also know that you are the one who knows your body best, so weigh out your options and listen to your body and do what feels right for you!