When your body decides to slow your metabolism it's all about one thing: survival! It’s not about your body trying to conspire against you and ruin your life. It’s your body making a wise decision to sacrifice long-term health for short-term survival because it's being told to do so (usually through food/nutrient scarcity). The slowing of the metabolism allows your body to go LONGER on less food. The body also tends to hold on to fat as a protective mechanism.
So if this is where you're at, today I'm going to tell you how to go about reversing your slow metabolism. Knowing what habits to change is the most important place to start!
Step 1: Identify the slow metabolism trigger:
- Not eating enough food
To make an analogy, think of your body like a house. If you’re not making enough money to pay your electricity bill, what do you do? Well, you turn down the heat in your house to compensate, you may not turn the lights on as often, and/or you may fail to perform regular maintenance. The body operates in a similar way. When there are not enough calories coming in, the body saves energy by reducing body temperature (slowing the metabolism), turning down digestive juices (making digestion weaker), reducing the pulse, and slowing thyroid function (resulting in less energy). This is a built-in survival response by the body, to help you go longer on less food. And this is not a bad thing. It's actually a very good thing because it's going to help keep you alive in an emergency or famine.
- Not eating enough food
- Not eating enough carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are really the most important macronutrient when it comes to the metabolism (and by macronutrient I mean protein, carbohydrates and fat). All macronutrients are extremely important, and none should ever be limited in any fashion intentionally. Adequate carbohydrates in the diet are very important because the conversion of T4 (inactive thyroid hormone) to T3 (active thyroid hormone) is dependent on enough glucose (sugar) and stored glycogen (sugar) in the liver. So you need regular carbohydrates to set the stage for that to happen.
- Mineral imbalances (this one is HUGE)
Mineral imbalances disrupt the conditions desired by your body. Calcium and potassium are two minerals that when not balanced can influence your thyroid's ability to do it's job. High calcium levels slow down your body, especially when paired with low potassium levels. When you're aware of what minerals are out of balance in your body, you can make supplemental adjustments to bring the ratio into better balance, supporting healthy thyroid function naturally. Find out what your calcium and potassium levels are using hair analysis or get started here.
- Fatty acid imbalance (don't ignore this one)!
Getting the right kinds and the right ratio (specifically your omega-6:omega-3 ratio) of fats in your diet is huge, especially when it comes to your metabolism and weight issues. Studies show that during evolution this ratio of fatty acid intake was closer to 1:1, and the Western diet today hovers closer to 20:1 creating huge implications on human health, especially regarding weight gain and obesity risk. “A balanced omega-6/omega-3 ratio 1–2/1 is one of the most important dietary factors in the prevention of obesity, along with physical activity.”  Read more about fatty acid imbalance and how you find out your levels with testing here.
- Hormonal imbalance
Low progesterone levels or estrogen dominance can slow the metabolism by interfering with the body's ability to convert thyroid hormone (from T4 to T3). This can happen for a variety of reasons, usually stemming from nutrient deficiencies, hidden gut infections triggering increased production of the beta-glucuronidase enzyme that causes estrogen headed out of the body as 'trash' to get recyled and brought back into circulation instead. You can check in on your beta-glucuronidase levels with gut testing.
- Insulin resistance
Insulin resistance is when your cells become less responsive to insulin and don't take in glucose (sugar) from your blood as easily. This causes your pancreas to pump out more insulin. When the body is not doing a great job managing blood sugar, a tendency towards weight gain is not unusual. Insulin resistance can have a number of underlying triggers, especially cellular inflammation, gut issues, poor diet and genetic predisposition.
- Liver toxicity
This is often caused by not enough high quality (animal) protein that is common in those with a history of veganism or low protein vegetarian diet. Nutrient excess of vitamin A, copper, or iron can also give the liver 'too much work to do' impairing its ability to do work that supports metabolic functions. Because 'dilution is the solution to pollution' extra body fat provides a safe place to store excess toxicity to protect the body.
- Other causes….
If you're eating enough calories, carbohydrates, nutrients, and you are still having issues, there are a few other things you may want to think about. Consider if any of the following could apply to you and support your slow metabolism:
- Poor digestion: weak digestion down-regulates or reduces the appetite often due to bloating, constipation and often causes you to not be able to take in as many calories. This weak digestion is often caused by pathogenic and bacteria overgrowth that can be addressed once identified.
- Stress: the stress hormone cortisol blocks thyroid hormone conversion, which will protectively slow the metabolism over time.
- Over-exercising: too much exercise, especially when the diet is poor is a sure way to send your body running for safety by slowing the metabolism.
- Not eating enough carbohydrates
Step 2: Support the slow metabolism trigger with food
Once you've discovered the cause(s) that are contributing to your slow metabolism, it's time to make some changes. The longer you've had a slow metabolism, the more causes you are likely to find yourself with, and the LONGER it will take to turn it around.
- If the cause is not eating enough food and/or nutrients, it's time to eat more real food and stop counting calories.
- If the cause is eating too few carbohydrates, it's time to work some nutrient dense carbohydrates into your diet gradually.
- If the cause is nutritional deficiencies, it's time to fill in the nutrient "holes" in your diet (you must get data on your body to do this).
- If the cause is a liver toxicity, it's time to nourish the liver with the right foods and ditch the excess while also detoxing your lifestyle!
- If the cause is poor digestion it's time to learn about what is wrong in your gut by way of stool testing and incorporate more easy to digest foods to work to up-regulate your digestion over time.
- If the cause is hormonal imbalance it's time to ensure you are supporting hormone production by giving your body enough of the raw materials it needs to make hormones and getting any testing needed to identify estrogen issues.
- If the cause is insulin resistance address cellular inflammation and work on managing your blood sugar balance with your diet.
- If the cause is over exercising, it's time to make sure that you are supporting energy balance on a day-to-day basis (avoiding a calorie deficit).
Step 3: Be consistent and patient
Be patient with your body. You don’t get a slow metabolism overnight, and a recovery won't happen in a day, week, month, 6 months or even a year in some cases! Understand that your body is doing the best it can to re-balance and to find homeostasis once again.
If this sounds overwhelming, consider the following helpful tools:
- How to Align to Weight Loss to Reboot Your Metabolism (without dieting and exercising more!)
- The 6 Week Metabolism FastTrack Program — enrollment is open for the next session beginning in 2 weeks. Apply here.
What's your slow metabolism trigger? Please share in the comments!
- Photo Credit: Depostphotos.com/Komvell
WE NEED TO GET RID OF THE GMO'S THAT IS EVEN IN OUR CEREAL. I BELIEVE THAT IS WHAT IS MAKING EVERYBODY FAT. WE AREN'T GETTING REAL FOOD! HOW COULD THE DAMNED GOVERNMENT LET THIS HAPPEN TO US?
Because the government dont care what you eat as long as there is money being made by companys like monsanto paying government big money to support them. Plus, as long as big agribusiness operates, we get the crap to eat. Plus alot of this crap is what people want to eat, with these processed foods that takes minutes to make and is cheap on the pockets.
To Wolf: AND.....those words that we can't pronounce on packages??...some of those are chemicals whose only job is to create a stimulation of our pleasure center. We might as well be snorting coke. AND...thanks to the FDA, when you and I read 'spices' on a package we think of oregano and rosemary....no, they allow food manufacturers to put these chemicals under the heading 'spices'. Packaged foods rival cigarettes in the number of chemicals; they won't all fit on a label. I always say that FDA stands for Federal Death Administrators.
put a stop to GMOs by not buying them....there are lots of organic foods to be had....buy those!
Also the MSG's that they put in our foods to enhance their flavor.
You nailed it, my ,how awful most foods are in stores that are not even labeled properly.
The government wants to see us sick,food,chemtrails,flu shots, list goes on. Even vegetables
Should be soaked in vinegar before you eat them to be safe,how sad is this!!
Vinegar doesn't do anything to remove pesticides. You should wash your vegetables and fruit but it won't remove the chemicals.
Better to buy organic and gmo free when possible.
What kind of vinegar?
We need people with experience to keep on mentioning the dangerous food.
Why does everyone always blame the government for everything? YOU and ONLY YOU are responsible for what you eat! The government was never intended to be everyones personal savior. Don't eat boxed cereal if it has GMO's! It's not like it's your only option. Eat whole grain oatmeal or other non-GMO grains. There is plenty of non GMO foods out there that you can choose from.
You chose your government! If you don't vote you can not complain. Vote for a government who is concerned about what is happening to our environment, our food etc.
Feel the Bern!
Why would you even eat CEREAL in the first place? eat whole unprocessed food. Don't eat anything out of a box! and NO GOVERNMENT is going to care about what you eat. You have to take responsibility for your own well being. no matter where you live. Believe me Bernie doesnt care what you eat either.
Thank you. I have Celiac, low thyroid and don't tolerate greasy food.
I rarely ever eat at a restaurant and have found a wonderful pizza crust mix.
Everyone says I'm a picky eater, well. picky vs: bellyache. No contest.
The question is why this kind of food is on the market?
Basic economics: supply and demand.
Someone w/power to choose
Cynthia Robinson, CHHC
People blame the Govt because they allowed the crap into the foods... They being the FDA... AND... it has only been the last few years that people eyes are really being opened. Years ago those of us who were spouting the evils of Monsanto & the chemicals were laughed at or viewed as crazies... I totally agree with you..
We are the only ones responsible for what we buy & eat...ONCE you actually know what is in the products on the shelves. Simple way to understand this... If there are more than three items in the ingredients list...chances are you don't want to buy it. If you can't pronounce the words...don't buy it. Others wording for MSG... YEAST EXTRACT...& there are a few more..Google it, get educated. Shop the store perimeter for better health, Most vegetables should be Organic along with fruits. Get a copy of the Clean 15... & USE IT! GRASS FED BEEF....never the conventional stuff, Free Range chicken & eggs ONLY...CAGE FREE DOES NOT MEAN FREE RANGE! DO YOUR HOME WORK.
Cynthia Robinson, CHHC
One more thing avoid canned goods..the lining of fans contains BPA's...and they are absorbed into the foods.tomatoes are thehighest absorbent of this chemical...
The federal government set itself up to monitor the safety and purity of our food. (one of those government-created bureaucracies where no one is elected and they answer to no one but themselves) They are the people who decide what can go into our foods. I should not have to become a chemist in order to buy a box of "WHOLESOME" cereal off the shelf. My parents trusted everyone: doctors, politicians, Quaker Oats and those fat little Campbell twins. My generation trusts none of them and yes, we ARE responsible for what we eat but we ought not have to navigate the grocery aisles like a mine-field.
Amen and amen!!
People need to wake up and not expect the government to be their mommy.
We need to take care of ourselves and choose whole, organic food.
God bless you. My mother always used to feed the family bone broth. But I never knew the benefits. Thank you. She's been gone for fifteen years, and I've been hypothyroidic and now diabetic within the last fifteen years. I've been stagnant in phase one. Wondering why I was not getting anywhere. It all makes sense now. Thank you again. God will surely reward you for helping others in need without seeking monetary gain. Sending you many blessings and good vibes.
Very eye opening. I can't lose these 10 pounds and I don't eat much at all. I don't really like eating so it's been driving me crazy. I really have to push myself to eat. Great post.
Excellent tips! I will have to pin this and keep it for reference! My weight loss journey has been so SLOW...I think my metabolism is about as fast as a snail. Thanks!
Just to say that getting metabolism back up to speed can be a long slow process. Hang in there. Good advise in this blog post, thanks.
I loved the article, I have tried every diet, eating plan, and I cannot get get rid of the stomach fat around my middle,
thank you for the advice. The last part meant a lot to me! Be patient with your body & realise slow metabolism has been a major part of my life. Battling weight issues from a teen & now at 63 still battling. Following every diet conceivable. I'm a failure at weight watchers & Atkins & low fat, limited calories etc & find it so frustrating. I haven't gained weight for years but can't lose it either. With daughters wedding now 2 weeks away, no weight loss after 8 months of serious striving is depressing! Just eat less & exercise more doesn't hold true for me!
I have strictly followed an Autoimmune Paleo lifestyle with 30 day elimination then adjusting eggs back in. No grains, no bread, eating good sized meals, lots of salads & veges & protein with homemade coconut yoghurt & fruit for dessert. Still no weight loss after 2 months! Argh! And discouraging when I read of others losing lots of weight oh the same protocol.
Positive points to encourage me is feeling better & having more energy. Must have patience!
Hormonal imbalances are my next step with the doctor to sort as hot flushes have returned & sleep disturbances.
Thank you for the encouragement.
I feel your frustrations. I have had a weight problem since young adulthood. When I was a teenager I was bulimic. I still have a distorted body image which doesn’t help. I have hormonal imbalances. I’m on thyroid medication. I have lost some weight but I have about 70 lbs more to go. My primary care doctor will not do tests required to check for the more in depth hormones. I’m vitamin B, D , A low. So I honestly think that if I could get my hormones in check and have a better idea of what I really should be eating I might have a chance at seeing some weight come off. Help my depression and anxiety
This is the second article I've read that states animal protein is needed for over all health, and the first I've read that directly blames a vegetarian/vegan diet for poor metabolism.... You're obviously on the meat bandwagon and I feel you haven't done enough separate research into vegetarianism and veganism. I've practiced veganism for 6 years, and was vegetarian prior, reversed my need for medication and lost over 145lbs. People who are poorly nourished, whether on an animal inclusive or vegetarian/vegan diet will suffer the consequences of that nutrient lacking diet. High quality, animal free proteins can be found in many foods. Don't forget, veganism isn't new, and it's not a fad, it has been successfully practiced in many cultures, which date back prior to the creation of the word itself in the 1800's. In my personal experience, my vegan or vegetarian friends, family members, and coworkers, have all been healthier than their relative to physical activity meat eaters. The one thing I've noticed the most about people who consume animal products, no matter how healthy on a regular basis, are much more likely to consume fast food when in a rush, even "healthy" versions of fast food, whereas vegans/raw vegetarians, rarely have options of fast food, so rely on fresh produce when in a bind for time. Failing vegans and vegetarians are mostly a result of ignorance to how nutrients function, which again is poor nutritional knowledge, nothing to do with the lack of animal.
I don't have a thyroid but am struggling to lose weight. Have also tried various diets but have failed to lose. I don't eat enough food to lose. Got poor appetite
this article is so poor, is scientifically incorrect has no research etc etc! Anyone who imagines you can speed up metabolism by changing your calorie intake shouldn't be offering advice in a nutritional capacity. Movement is the best way to affect metabolism and if you are having problems with body fat reduction then please have your endocrine system and metabolism regulating glands/organs checked!
And may I ask where you got your medical degree. One of the things I learned in my college anatomy & physiology class was that if you starve the body of calories (like when you are dieting) then the body will slow the metabolism to make sure there is enough energy for basic life functions. Of course, that doesn't mean you should over eat. More & more research is proving that the "diets" we have been given to loose weight can actually make us fatter as do the "diet" food that were pushed onto us. Before you make stupid comments, maybe you should do YOUR research.
Wow! I said yes to 6 out of the 10 signs that I'm not eating enough. I need to start eating better and eating more whole foods.
I agree with Liam!
A slow metabolism is often the sign of other health conditions. It could be big gallstones blocking the function of the gallbladder, liver disease, thyroid conditions, medications you are taking etc. Best to talk to a health professional, get some tests and try to find the underlying cause.
I definitely have signs of a slow metabolism and #2 isn't a problem for me. We do need to stop eating out so much, though, because I know that's cap food. Are there any blogs for women who have had complete hyterectomies? I've had one 10 years ago and didn't take any hormones then or now so I know my hormones are out of whack or very low but have never seen any articles addressing it.
I guess you've never heard of the"Sop, Eat, Stop" method. It says the oppositie of what you're saying.
Interesting read, and it may be correct, because dieting sure has not worked for me. I relate to a lot of the stuff on the list. Not really much information is given after because she is trying to sell her wares. Nothing is for free, just people trying to make an easy buck. Then here I am trying to find an easy way again to lose weight, when will I learn.
I started putting weight on at 45 at 48 I had a total hysterectomy , after this I put on another 4 stone. I have all the symptoms of hypothyroid but because my blood range measurements in Britain fall on borderline the Doctors won't treat me. I have found the only way I can lose weight is by a VLCD yes a pack diet they contain all the nutrients you must drink up to 3 litres of water a day.you must not do much exercise although walking and swimming are recommended in moderation but keep yourself very busy in other ways, especially the first couple of days until the hunger goes away. I am on everol hrt patches and could not live without them. I am now 60 but look 50 so can't complain but don't drink or smoke..The authors blog makes a lot of sense especially if you look at the French way of life and a very good book which is about this diet also a way of life is The dukan diet by Pierre Dukan I know lots of people that have lost weight by following it.
Yess! Thank you for this! I'm often in conversations with people who either eliminate a whole food group (ahem, carbs!) or who eat too little. As an exercise Physiologist (and mom) I agree! This is timely and wise - grateful for this piece!
I try to eat when I am hungry and quit when full, so some days that varies. I am finding that I have more clarity and energy when I eat this way and I lose weight. It isn't starving your body if you only eat when hungry. That's what naturally thin people do. And it comes down to choices when you are hungry, eating healthy foods that satisfy because you are eating a lot less food than before.
I was always slim and healthy, even through 3 children, however when I turned 50 and stopped having menses, I gained about 40 pounds in 2 weeks and have never lost it. Doctors say change in hormones and hypothyroidism. I did not like the idea of taking pills drawn from pigs or chemicals and so opted to not take any thyroid addition or fake hormones, and now in my 60s still healthy as ever but still about 40 pounds overweight. Would like to weigh about 135.
Ever since I hit 26 years old, it seems my metabolism has hit ridiculous lows. For 10 years prior, I was the same weight and same body.... now I'm 20 lbs heavier. Your reasons seem to hit home, though. I do have a great deal of stress, I was over exercising to try to get rid of weight fast, and I was eating less carbs. Thanks for the insight! I hope this helps me move this 20 lbs off my bones
Very interesting information. I plan on re-reading it to see exactly what could be causing me not to be able to lose weight. I believe some of my problem is the medicines I take. I am constantly taking steroids, not being able to exercise does not help either. Thanks for the information.
I have turned around my diet, my eyebrows are growing back, no constipation, no insomnia, eat as organic as I can from my garden....but my basal temperature is usually about 95F axillary, and continue to hold about 20 more pounds than I wan to ... What now????
I am a long time health care pro..
My body has failed me.
I have always eaten healthy. My parents were health nuts.
Stress has to be the reason.
We not cook totally from scratch. Organic, non GMO...
Life has thrown so many crisis my way that just walking is a major effort at times.
A friend said to me one day..I have no idea how you can still be alive.
So after 5 yrs I unpacked my suitcase, and am trying to reach some level of "peace"!
We have no idea how constant stress, keeps us ill.
And EMF's kill our microbiome, and then that causes Leakky Gut.
I learned long ago from one of the first "Stress" experts, that when we experience stress, our bodies release 1500 damaging stress chemicals instantly.
Can you imagine how toxic we are?
I am turning myself around by at least 180 degrees and going to try to heal my whole body.
Mind, emotions, physical and spiritual.
I use to be a stick. Still have my vintage clothes. Loved how good I felt when thin. Not for others, but just for "me"!
Several decades ago I ate very low fat in order to lose weight. It did not work well and I think it damaged my digestive system. I lost tolerance for fats and wound up with multiple food intolerances and allergies. I’ve been trying to eat healthy for years but it is complicated with so many things i cannot eat.
One other thing: Plastics contain chemicals but even organic foods are wrapped in plastic! Grass-fed beef is vacuum-packed in plastic and I think that gives it an off-flavor. The bulk bins in the stores are plastic too. .
Several decades ago I ate very low fat in order to lose weight. It did not work