How to speed up a slow metabolism

If you read my previous post and relate to the signs of a slow metabolism, you might be wondering how to speed up a slow metabolism. Or maybe you are here because you can’t seem to lose weight no matter how hard you try. You are convinced you just have a slow metabolism and there is nothing you can do about it. Well, I’m here to tell you that there is something you can do. It is entirely possible to increase a low metabolism and maintain a healthy weight without restriction and deprivation.

I want to start by saying that we are all born with a different genetic metabolic rate. Our metabolism also depends on factors such as our age, gender the amount of muscle we have. Therefore, some people naturally have a “faster metabolism” and others tend to hold onto weight more easily. That’s not what I’m talking about here. I am talking about when your natural metabolic rate is slowed down. When you experience any or all of the symptoms of a low metabolism such as feeling cold and tired all of the time, hair falling out or disruptions to your hormones.

I am especially talking to those of you who have been through periods of chronic stress, or who have been dieting and over-exercising for many years. If your metabolism has decreased you might just not feel like yourself. You might feel like your energy has been zapped and you’ve lost your natural vibrancy. If this sounds like you, read on to find out my simple strategy for how to speed up a slow metabolism!


How to speed up a slow metabolism

There are many different causes of a slow metabolism but at the root of them all is STRESS. This can be physical stress due to calorie restriction or over exercising, psychological stress or emotional stress. Any of these can put your body into a state of survival mode and cause your metabolism to slow down. Therefore the main focus for how to speed up a slow metabolism is to help your body feel safe and relaxed again. How can you do this? Try out the protocol below for a month and see how your body responds!

Diet

To speed up a slow metabolism, getting adequate calories and nutrients is paramount. Even if your goal is to lose weight, focus first on getting your metabolism healthy again before trying to cut calories. Fixing your metabolism first will make it much easier to lose weight down the line and keep it off. So if you have been following a restrictive diet, take a break. Stop counting calories or macros and weighing your food. Don’t restrict any food groups, eat plenty of carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Focus on mainly whole foods but don’t stress out about eating some processed foods too.

Basically you want to flood your body with energy and nutrients so that it feels a state of abundance. This is easiest with a diet including meat and fish but it is definitely also possible on a vegetarian or vegan diet. Go for energy dense foods such as potatoes, dairy, chocolate and coconut products. Focus less on high water, high fibre foods such as fruits and vegetables. Allow yourself to eat till you feel fully satisfied at each meal or snack. Listen to your body and it will tell you what it needs. One of the best ways how to speed up a slow metabolism is to eat more food and metabolically supportive foods.

Exercise

If you are currently following an intense exercise regime, please give yourself permission to take some time off. It might seem counter-intuitive to stop exercising to speed up your metabolism and yes you do burn calories through exercising. But exercise, especially chronic cardio can actually decrease your basal metabolic rate, that is the amount of energy you burn at rest. This means that your body is more efficient at using calories. A sign of this is a lowered pulse rate (below 60bpm) which we often associate with fitness but is also a sign of the body adapting to stress. Listen to your body and if you are feeling tired, don’t be afraid to rest.

This is even more important if you are feeling chronically stiff and sore as it is a sign your body is feeling stressed and overloaded. It is important let your body heal any underlying injuries and relax any built up tension. Yoga is a great way to move your body whilst supporting your metabolism. Gentle walking, tai chi, stretching and dancing are also great ways to stay active whilst healing your metabolism. Have fun and let go of any pressure to perform, burn calories or change your body in any way. As your metabolism starts to improve and you feel more energetic, you can add in some resistance training to build muscle which will help to boost your metabolic rate even further.

Relaxation

This is a big one! If you are feeling stressed, anxious and on edge your metabolism is highly likely to suffer. Stress alone can be enough to prevent you from losing weight and can cause the symptoms of a low metabolism. So if you feel like you have tried everything and nothing works, definitely take a look at your stress levels and you might understand. Identify the major stressors in your life. Then, maybe with a coach or therapist, work out how you can reduce your stress and develop helpful coping strategies. Reducing stress is one of the keys to how to speed up a slow metabolism.

Try to bring more relaxing activities into your day whether that is meditation, deep breathing, creative projects, reading or playing with your pets. Basically anything that helps you to get into a calm and relaxed state. Making relaxation a priority part of your every day self-care routine is a key step to getting your metabolism functioning optimally. If you are stressed about losing weight or comparing yourself to others, ask yourself why? Purge your social media of any accounts that make you feel down on yourself and replace them with interesting or uplifting things instead.

Sleep

This goes hand in hand with relaxation. There have been so many studies showing the impact of lack of sleep on the metabolism. Poor quality sleep is a stress on your body and can cause your cortisol levels (a stress hormone) to spike. Not only does it make you feel terrible but lack of sleep puts your body into energy conserving mode and makes you more likely to gain weight. Not getting enough sleep has also been linked to changes in blood sugar control and release of the hormones that regulate appetite. Ever noticed that you crave more sweets and caffeine after a bad night’s sleep? Now you know why!

To speed up your metabolism, make sure you are getting as much sleep as you need to feel refreshed and energised. If you are struggling with sleep, try out my tips on dealing with sleep disturbances. Especially taking care of your sleeping environment and having a solid evening routine to help you to relax and wind down. If you have chronic insomnia and signs of a low metabolism, focus on the tips here and you might just find your sleep improves naturally along with your metabolism. It goes both ways, sleep supports your metabolism and a healthy metabolism enables deep, sound sleep!


How to know your metabolism has increased

If you are following these steps for how to speed up a slow metabolism, keep track of how you are feeling throughout this process. Look out for changes in your energy levels, sleep and motivation for life. Notice if you are feeling warmer and more relaxed, maybe your hormones and hunger levels become more balanced. Celebrate any small wins you observe and don’t worry if you gain a bit of weight along the way. You are in this for the long haul and setting your body up for future health and success.

Enjoy the process as much as you can and take the chance to focus on other areas of your life outside of health and fitness. Pay attention to the signs from your body and when it tells you it is ready to start exercising again or to eat lighter foods, you can start to make gradual changes. Remember to always let your body lead the way.


Summary on how to speed up a slow metabolism

Remember that this isn’t forever.. this is a protocol for helping your body to heal itself and your metabolism to recover. As you start to feel better and have more energy you can start to switch things up. Maybe by changing the foods you eat or by adding in more exercise. Always let this process be guided by your body rather than your mind!

Over to you…

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