Are you slowing down your metabolism?

Is it hard for you to lose weight? Do you feel that you gain weight easily? Here are 4 lifestyle blunders that may slow down your metabolism! Take a look at your habits and make adjustments if you find that you are victim to any of these metabolism “no-nos”.

#1 Keeping your caloric intake too low

Although a calorie deficit is needed for weight loss, it can be counterproductive for your calorie intake to drop too low. Studies have shown that cutting calories too much and for too long actually lowers your metabolic rate, which can make weight loss and weight maintenance more difficult. There are many equations for figuring out what your calorie needs are for weight maintenance and for weight loss. But, the most accurate way to determine this is to have your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) measured. You can choose to add an RMR to your exam at Princeton Longevity Center. This will help to determine the number of calories that you need to maintain to keep your metabolic rate from dropping during weight loss.

#2 A low protein intake

Not only does protein help you to feel full, getting adequate protein actually increases your body’s calorie usage/metabolism; this can be very helpful when you are working on weight loss. Everyone has different protein needs, but a general rule of thumb is to eat at least 0.5 grams of protein per pound of body weight. Some protein sources and amounts are listed below:

  • 4 oz. of ground turkey breast = ~ 30 grams of protein
  • 4 oz. chicken breast = 35 grams of protein
  • 4 oz. salmon = 25 grams of protein
  • 1 oz. of almonds (23 whole) = 6 grams of protein
  • Greek yogurt = ~ 15 grams of protein
  • 1 egg = 7g protein

#3 Sitting too much

You probably know that being sedentary may lead to a significant decrease in the number of calories you burn every day. So, think about how many hours a day you spend sitting at your desk, sitting as you commute to work, sitting at your kid’s baseball game, etc. If you add it all up, it may be a lot more time than you think it is and changing this can help to boost that metabolism! Besides fitting in organized workouts during the week, think about your day and see how you can move more! Here are some ideas:

  • Setting a pop-up on your computer calendar that alerts you to go for a quick walk around the office (or to stretch at your desk) every 60-90 minutes.
  • Look into a standing desk for your office
  • Sit on a large exercise ball instead of an office chair
  • Take your business call outside; use headphones with your cell phone and walk as you talk
  • Park your car further from your office or get off the train/bus a few stops early and walk the rest of the way to your office
  • When watching TV, commit to getting up during commercials and stretch, do jumping jacks, squats, march in place, etc.

 #4 Not drinking enough water

Water makes up just over half of your body weight and plays a role in most bodily functions, including metabolism. Many studies have shown that dehydration suppresses resting metabolic rate and that drinking 8-12 glasses of water each day supports higher calorie “burn” compared to those that are not well hydrated. The Institute of Medicine recommends that women take in about 90 ounces of water per day and that men take in 125 ounces of water per day. Since 20% of our daily needs for water tends to come from the foods we eat, 80% needs to come from the water that we actually drink. So, most women should drink about 72 ounces of water per day and most men should aim to drink 100 ounces per day. Track your intake to see how close you are to these recommendations and adjust as needed. Use plain water, seltzer or other unsweetened beverages to fulfill your fluid needs.