Do you eat a pretty healthy diet, maybe even healthier than your friends and family, yet feel like more of it sticks to your belly and butt than anyone else’s? It sounds like you have a slow metabolism.
It’s entirely possible, so let’s take a look at just why this may be happening. I’ll also share some metabolism boosting fitness tips.
What is Derailing Your Metabolism?
If your metabolism isn’t cranking as it should, there’s a good chance it’s because you don’t have enough muscle.
Now I’m not saying you should look like a professional wrestler, but adequate muscle is important because muscle accounts for 70 percent of your basal metabolic rate and thus a vast majority of the calories you burn every single day.
Actually, this ties into the number one cause of a slow metabolism: very low-calorie dieting.
When you eat too few calories on a daily basis—and that typically is 25 percent less than what you really need—your thyroid takes note. It’s the master gland of your metabolism, and when your caloric intake is low, it starts to slow down, making your metabolism work sluggishly along with it.
Your body needs enough energy—in the form of food and the calories it contains—to power itself, and the problem with a lot of restrictive diets is that they completely get in the way of this. There are numerous studies which show this.
Caloric restriction over the course of just a couple days drops thyroid production or thyroid function by 38 percent; that’s insane! If you do not keep your thyroid healthy, it doesn’t matter what else you do; you’re going to have a very tough time losing weight because your metabolism is just too slow.
It may go against a lot of what you’ve learned, which is exactly why I try to share so many metabolism facts with you. For right now, all you need to focus on is this: the cause of a slow metabolism is your lack of muscle.
Making the Cause of a Slow Metabolism Work in Your Favor
If you follow a low-calorie diet and you actually lose weight, that’s a great thing. However, what happens when you go off the diet?
Most diets are very short-term fixes that most of us take on when we’re feeling a little too plump. They’re not a lifestyle, and that’s a big problem. What happens when you stop the diet and go back to eating the way you did before?
Your metabolism is now slower than it was before thanks to your decreased intake of food, so once you start eating more, your metabolism isn’t equipped to deal with the newly increased intake. As a result, all of that weight you lost ends up coming back, if not more.
If you want to lose weight and keep your metabolism healthy, you need to start strength-training—that’s truly how to to increase your metabolism.
If the cause of a slow metabolism is insufficient muscle, then building the muscle you do have will lead to increasing metabolic rate. That’s when the weight will start to melt off.
Secondly, you should begin strategically cycling your caloric intake. I talk a bit more about this topic here.
This is the foundation of my upcoming book The All-Day Fat-Burning Diet.
In the book, I show you how to use my proprietary five-day food-cycling formula to reset your metabolism so that you can strategically use days of slightly lower caloric intake and other days of higher caloric intake to reset your hormones and boost your metabolism while still enjoying food.
Best of all, you’ll be losing up to five pounds per week.
I could go on about this stuff all day, but grab a copy of the book if you’d like to dive deeper into this topic. For now, just remember to take these two steps: begin strength-training with heavier weights and avoid low-calorie diets. Setting out on the path towards lasting change is really that simple.
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Yuri Elkaim is one of the world’s most trusted health and fitness experts. A former pro soccer player turned NYT bestselling author of The All-Day Energy Diet and The All-Day Fat Burning Diet, his clear, science-backed advice has transformed the lives of more than 500,000 men and women and he’s on a mission to help 100 million people by 2040. Read his inspiring story, “From Soccer to Bed to No Hair on My Head” that started it all.