When it comes to losing weight and keeping it off it is essential to keep your metabolism high.
There are a number of common lifestyle mistakes that may be slowing down your metabolism.
The following eating and lifestyle behaviours slow down your metabolism and make losing weight harder than it should and also makes you prone to future weight gain.
1. Eating Too Little Calories
Eating too little calories can cause a major decrease in metabolism.
Although a calorie deficit is needed for weight loss, it can be counterproductive for your calorie intake to drop too low. When you dramatically lower your calorie intake, your body senses that food is scarce and lowers the rate at which it burns calories. To ensure optimum weight-loss women can consume around 1,800 calories per day and for men around 2,000 per day.
2. Skimping on Protein
Eating enough protein is extremely important for achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.
Studies have shown that, in addition to helping you feel full, a high protein intake can significantly increase the rate at which your body burns calories.
The increase in metabolism that occurs after digestion is called the thermic effect of food (TEF).
The thermic effect of protein is much higher than the thermic effects of carbs or fat. Indeed, eating protein has been observed to temporarily increase metabolism by about 20–30%, versus 5–10% for carbs and 3% or less for fat .
One study found that people needed to eat at least 0.5 grams of protein per pound (1.2 grams/kg) of their body weight in order to prevent their metabolism from slowing during and after weight loss.
3. Living a Sedentary Lifestyle
Living a sedentary lifestyle may lead to a significant decrease in the number of calories you burn every day.
Unfortunately, many people have lifestyles that mainly involve sitting at work, which can have negative effects on metabolic rate and overall health.
Although working out or playing sports can have a major impact on the number of calories you burn, even basic physical activity such as standing up, cleaning and taking the stairs can help you burn calories.
This type of activity is referred to as non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT).
One study found that performing a high amount of NEAT regularly could burn up to 2,000 additional calories per day. However, such a dramatic increase is not realistic for most people.
Simply taking the stairs or getting up to walk around several times per day can help increase your NEAT and prevent your metabolism from dropping.
4. Not Getting Enough High-Quality Sleep
Sleep is extremely important for good health. When you sleep for fewer hours than you may need you increase your risk of heart disease, diabetes and depression.
Inadequate sleep also lowers your metabolic rate and increases your Several studies have found that inadequate sleep may also lower your metabolic rate and increase your probability of gaining weight.
5. Drinking Sugary Beverages
Sugar-sweetened drinks are the absolute worst beverages for health.
A high consumption of soft drinks, juices and other sugary drinks has been linked to all sorts of health problems, including insulin resistance, diabetes and obesity.
Most of the negative effects of sugar-sweetened beverages can be attributed to fructose. Table sugar contains 50% fructose, while high-fructose corn syrup contains 55% fructose.
Results from a 2012 study suggest that frequently consuming sugar-sweetened beverages may slow down your metabolism and promote fat storage in the belly and liver.
6. A Lack of Resistance Training
Adding in some strength training with weights keeps your metabolism from slowing down.
Strength training has been shown to increase metabolic rate in healthy people, as well as those who have heart disease or are overweight or obese.
Resistance training increases muscle mass, which makes up much of the fat-free mass in your body. Having a higher amount of fat-free mass significantly increases the number of calories you burn at rest.
Even 11 minutes per day for three days a week can increase your metabolic rate by 7.4% and burn an extra 125 extra calories per day, on average. Strength training also has anti-aging benefits by reducing muscle loss as you get older.
In conclusion engaging in healthy eating and lifestyle behaviours helps to keep your metabolism working at its optimum rate, prevents you from weight gain over time and keeps off the weight that you lost.
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Barbara is a qualified nutritionist offering Health, Nutrition & Lifestyle Counseling. She gives Healthy weight loss advice and promotes the Mediterranean diet. She is the author of the Med Life Diet - creating healthy lifestyle habits and attitudes for life !