You’re not eating enough
Yes, to drop the pounds you need to be in a calorie deficit, but that doesn’t mean not eating at all. By eating too few calories your body can become lethargic and ill. You could also force your body to hold on to its fat storage more, due to it thinking you’re starving.
Too much alcohol
Instead of using energy to burn the calories you’ve just ingested, your body is actually trying hard to get rid of the toxins provided by the alcohol. Alcohol is considered a borderline poison to the body, which it wants to get rid of, so this process can prevent your body burning fat by up to 73%.
Skimping on protein
Muscle is more active metabolically than fat. How do you gain muscle, you ask? Protein! If you skimp on your protein intake, your body won’t be able to form muscles as fast even if you’re hitting the gym five times a week. It’s recommended to eat a gram of protein per kilo of weight each day if you want to maintain muscle.
A small fried treat here and there can be included into a balanced diet, but if it’s a regular thing then you could be in trouble. There are direct links between trans fats and hydrogenated oils and slower metabolic rates and weight gain, especially around the abdominal area. This is the worst place to develop fat as it can affect vital organs.
Not enough sleep
A lack of sleep can cause all sorts of health issues, but you will also impede on your weight loss goals. You can burn fewer calories if you’re constantly exhausted and it also influences you to eat more junk, especially ‘high energy’ foods like sugar and carbs.
Fruit juice in the morning
Fruit is good for us, but when it’s juiced it makes it easy to consume way more sugar than we would eat just by eating the fruit. High sugar foods can cause our blood glucose to spike, which can slow down the metabolism and burn fewer calories over the day.
Pesticides on produce
A study from ‘Obesity Review’ revealed that people who had higher levels of certain pesticides in their body through produce consumption, showed a slower metabolism and a higher struggle to lose weight. Where possible get your produce from places from chemical free sources and limit your consumption.
Non-organically farmed cattle are often treated with antibiotics and those have been shown to affect our gut health. Not only that, high consumption of animal proteins have been linked to altering the balance of the gut according to Harvard researchers. These impacts can slow down the metabolism.
Too much soda
We all know soda isn’t great for us, but did you know it can directly impact your metabolism? Many sodas contain high fructose corn syrup, and fructose can’t be metabolized directly into energy like glucose can. This means lots of this sweetener can slow your metabolism and there’s even links between some metabolic disorders and fructose consumption.
The wrong salt
Iodized salt can have positive benefits to our bodies. Iodine helps your thyroid to function and in turn keeps your metabolism in working order. This isn’t to say you should eat a ton of salt, but adding a sprinkle here and there to your meals won’t hurt. Don’t alway limit yourself to only seasoning with sea salt, as this doesn’t contain that all important iodine.
You sit all day
Sitting all day means you’re not engaging enough muscles in your body and your resting metabolism gradually begins to slow. You’re also more likely to make worse food choices when sat consistently as it’s convenient to just reach for a bag of chips or a candy bar, so make sure to bring a healthy lunch with you and don’t rely on vending machines.
Choosing the wrong yogurt
Greek yogurt offers way more nutritional benefits over sweetened traditional dairy yogurts. Greek yogurt has high protein levels and also can offer probiotics, which are great for gut health. The protein in the greek yogurt benefits muscle development, in turn helping to speed up the metabolism.
Not upgrading your water
Fresh water will always be good for you, but for even better results in regard to your metabolism, try drinking green tea too. According to researchers, green tea contains Catechins which are a group of antioxidants. These antioxidants have been shown to increase the metabolism and improve the liver’s fat burning capabilities.
Granola bars for breakfast
Whilst the oats may help with balancing blood sugar levels, the amount of sugar and fructose syrups often added into store bought or recipes is crazy. Sugar and fructose can slow down your metabolism and not help with digestion, so not the best start to your day.
You’re constantly on edge
Stress is bad for us in more ways than just mental strife. According to the ‘Biological Psychiatry’ journal, stress can make the body metabolize food slower and can also cause sleep issues. Stress can also influence poor diet choices like over consumption of alcohol and fatty foods.
Too many refined grains
Large quantities of gluten and starch could have an impact on the body’s metabolism. The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition published a study that claimed that, when eating whole grains, the body will have a higher calorie loss than refined grains. This is due to fewer calories being saved during digestion.
Your first drink of the day is coffee
Just wait a few hours after waking up for your beloved beverage. Instead, the best way to wake up your body and metabolism, according to Dietician Lisa Jubilee, is two cups of water right after waking up. This is because you’ve just gone eight hours without fluids and your body will always require hydration in the morning.
Too many naps
Occasionally napping is fine when we really need it, but too many could affect your metabolism. University of Colorado researchers found that participants burned 52 to 59 less calories when they slept during the day vs when they slept deeply at night. If you can avoid it, just get your Zzz’s at night.
You’re on a low carb diet
Too many refined carbs can prevent weight loss, but we still need some. Carbs actually help your body metabolize protein and help it to build the muscles we need. Carbs are also used for energy, so you can’t work out in the gym, build muscle and improve your metabolism without carbs.
You don’t consume enough calcium
According to the University of Tennessee, a high calcium diet can help you burn more fat. This is because calcium helps your body figure out how to metabolize foods and can dictate if calories are burned in line with what your body needs or unnecessarily stored as body fat.
You don’t refuel after working out
To properly build new muscles you need protein. If you’re working out without proper nutrition or protein after you will slow down any muscle building progress. Muscles are needed to burn more fat than just our natural metabolism, so having enough muscle can speed it up.
The good bacteria from probiotics can help improve your immune system, your gut health and help maintain a good metabolism. If we keep our immune system healthy and working to a good level, our body can use it’s energy burning fat and correctly using calories rather than trying to stop itself from getting ill.
Not enough prebiotics
In order for probiotics to do their job for our health, they need fuel and energy to work. Most of that comes from fiber, which often a lot of Americans don’t eat enough of. Most refined carbs have their fiber stripped from them so make sure to limit refined carbs.
You don’t have an eating schedule
If you don’t eat all morning and have such a busy day you forget to eat, you’re more likely to reach for higher fat and sugar foods. It’s also been studied by Hebrew University that animals who eat fatty food sporadically gain more weight than those who eat more regularly.
You always reach for conventional food
Getting the first set of fruit and veg you see in the store could limit your weight loss journey as they may contain more chemicals than those organic produce. It’s easy to get things in a rush at the grocery store but if they’re cheaper it’s usually because they’ve been grown quicker with pesticides, which are something you need to avoid.
You end every meal with a sweet
It can be a hard habit to stop, but it’s worth it. If you are eating unnecessary sugars after a meal you could risk your body’s blood glucose levels spiking and the excess sugar can be absorbed and stored as fat rather than used as energy.
You eat mostly packaged foods
The majority of packaged food is full of chemicals and preservatives so they can remain shelf stable. This isn’t good for your body, which may seem obvious, but for more reasons than one. Your metabolism can be directly impacted by chemical preservatives, by the means of insulin resistance or development of type 2 diabetes.
It happens to us when we’re extra busy or running late, which can’t really be helped, but do try to cut the habit where you can. You need to fuel your body in order for it to run properly, skipping breakfast can halt the burning of fat from the day before as it simply won’t have enough energy to do so. Start your day off with a high protein breakfast.
Eating too many calories at night
If you’re taking in the majority of your daily calories right before bed you won’t be optimally using them. Sleeping burns a few calories but nowhere near as many as when you’re awake, walking, doing errands or working. It’s actually often recommended to have a bigger breakfast, as opposed to a bigger dinner.
Fasting for too long
Some people swear by fasting but there’s very little scientific evidence that backs up its benefits. If you naturally have a larger appetite you will be more likely to binge after the fasting, which can end up with you consuming more calories than you normally would eating at regular times.
Boring meal prep
We’ve all seen the social media posts of gymgoers prepping boxes of chicken and broccoli seven days a week, but the average person can’t live like that. Forcing yourself to eat foods you don’t enjoy just because they’re ‘healthy’ means you won’t stick to it. Create a plan of meals you can easily rotate and change up to keep food fun.
Not consuming enough iron
Iron is important for everyone but women are more likely iron deficient. Iron helps with fatigue, energy and thyroid function. If you are deficient in iron your body is going to be using more energy keeping you awake, alert and repaired than it should. Taking supplements and eating iron rich foods can help improve metabolic functions.
Not drinking enough water
A lot of the time we’re not hungry, we’re thirsty. It’s so important to remain hydrated as water can help repair lots of aspects of our bodies like skin and digestion. Water is also needed for filtering out toxins in the body and properly metabolizing foods, so make sure to get a few liters in a day.
Getting your energy from sugar
If you’re in a mid day slump you may be tempted to reach for a candy bar, but don’t. High sugar foods spike our blood glucose and can over time prevent proper insulin function. Sugar is also not a long term energy source, so you are more likely to feel tired quicker after eating it.
There has been studies looking at the link between these sweeteners and appetite. Studies have shown that zero calorie sweeteners can impact the brain’s ability to control hunger cues and can even make you feel hungrier after. So you may end up just eating the calories, or more, than you were trying to save through drinking diet sodas for example.
Grocery shopping when hungry
This is a sure fire way to have your cart full of refined carbs, fatty snacks and sugary treats. When we’re hungry we often have limited brain function and this can influence poor choices. Make sure you have eaten a good meal and bring a lost to stick to before you go shopping so you can fill your pantry with better food choices.
Consuming refined oils
The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that oils high in Omega 6 fatty acids like canola oil and sunflower oil are less resistant to insulin. This can mean you could be eating oils that can’t be properly metabolized and can be stored as fat rather than used as energy, whilst impacting your insulin function.
Sticking to a restrictive diet
If you cut out whole food groups you could be putting extra unnecessary pressure on your body. Each food group is important in order to maintain a healthy body and lifestyle, so if you aren’t properly fuelling your body it will start to preserve it’s energy and therefore fat storage.
High fat diet
Saturated fats are hard for the body to digest and use as energy, so they end up being stored as fat instead. This can directly impact your metabolism as it won’t be fuelled correctly from your food intake. Saturated fats also prevent the proper development of lean muscle.
Not being prepared to eat
If you don’t have the proper food already in your home, it makes it so much harder to follow a healthier lifestyle. Often people aren’t put off from the actual food but the preparation of it, especially when already hungry. Be sure to have some prepared healthy snacks in the home to prevent binging on convenient junk food.