What Are Signs And Symptoms Of A Slow Metabolism?
If you find it very difficult to lose weight and you seem to gain weight inexplicably, the problem may be your metabolism. If your metabolic rate is slow, you will not burn energy efficiently. Instead, every bite you eat will tend to be converted to fat rather than energy. The end result is easy weight gain and difficult weight loss.
In this article, we will discuss some common symptoms of slow metabolism and provide suggestions for stimulating a sluggish metabolism.
Resting & Active Metabolic Rate
Your metabolic rate determines the number of calories you burn to produce energy. Your entire body needs some energy to survive, function and thrive. The number of calories you use to perform both voluntary and involuntary activities makes up your total daily calorie burn.
Metabolic rate is measured in two ways:
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR)
- Total daily energy expenditure (TDEE)
Your BMR indicates the number of calories your body utilizes to carry out involuntary functions (e.g. breathing, digesting, etc.) This is the number of calories you would use in a day if you simply lay around doing absolutely nothing.
“An accurate BMR measurement requires that the person’s sympathetic nervous system not be stimulated, a condition which requires complete rest” – Wikipedia
Your TDEE refers to the number of calories you expend performing voluntary actions such as eating, reading, walking and exercising.
With a healthy metabolism, if you consume more calories than those needed to perform these activities, you will naturally gain weight. If you consume fewer calories than those needed, you will naturally lose weight.
Unfortunately, if your metabolism is slow this is not necessarily true. Your calorie consumption may not weigh in appropriately and your weight gain or loss may not reflect your TDEE.
How You Can Tell If Your Metabolism Is Slow
The first and most obvious way you can tell if you have a slow metabolism is difficulty losing weight. If you consistently follow a low-calorie diet and get regular exercise yet continue to gain weight (or fail to lose weight) this is a sign of a slow metabolism.
Slow metabolism could be caused by a medical conditions such as hypothyroidism. Thyroid hormones control and determine your metabolic rate. If your thyroid hormone levels are low, your metabolism will be very slow.
If your thyroid hormones are out of balance you may gain weight even though you eat very little.
Other symptoms to watch for include:
- dry skin and hair
- problems concentrating
- general malaise
How Can You Speed up a Slow Metabolic Rate?
If you suspect a thyroid problem, you should see your doctor. Discuss your dietary requirements and the possibility of medication to help correct the problem.
That said, natural methods of boosting metabolism will not hurt you even if you do have hypothyroidism. To boost your metabolism naturally, you should eat a balanced, healthy, whole foods diet consisting of mostly fresh fruits and veggies, high quality lean protein sources and complex carbohydrates. Also, there are some natural supplements available. If you’re interested in those, checkout our review of Metabo379 by BioTrust.
Avoid processed foods, simple carbohydrates, sugars and artificial ingredients of all kinds. Especially shun entirely wasted calories such as those found in sodas and sweetened fruit beverages. These products are made up almost entirely of artificial ingredients and chemicals that are bad for your health. Instead, drink ample amounts of pure filtered water to help detoxify your body and improve your metabolism.
Be sure to get at least 15 or 20 minutes of light to moderate exercise every day. Alternate weight work one day with cardiovascular exercise the next day. For example, you might do a light barbell workout one day along with yoga. The next day you might perform some stretches and light calisthenics.
Mix it up by adding walking, cycling, swimming, dancing and other enjoyable forms of exercise. Adding interest and fun to your daily routine will help improve your energy levels in general. When you follow your doctor’s orders regarding medication and maintain a healthy program of diet and exercise, you will soon set your metabolism to rights.
For more details about what to do after you’re sure your metabolism is running slow, checkout our article about resetting and boosting your metabolism.