Having metabolic levels that are firing on all cylinders is key to keeping trim, fit and healthy.
Contrary to popular belief, weight loss isn’t all about calories in versus calories out. A diet that’s too low in calories can actually stall your progress and slow your metabolism. You want your metabolism constantly burning like a furnace, so your body converts the food you eat into energy as quickly and effectively as possible. Aside from eating too little, excessive exercise can also makes things worse. Whether your goal is to shed pounds, build muscle, or improve your health, it’s important to maintain a balance in everything you do. Common mistakes, such as skipping meals or doing cardio for hours, can mess up your hormones and affect your ability to burn calories.
Here are 4 common mistakes that wreck your metabolism.
Not Eating Enough
Crash diets are notorious for their tendency to decrease metabolism. When you don’t eat enough, your body enters into starvation mode and begins to store calories for fuel. At the same time, it adapts to a low calorie intake and uses less energy to sustain itself. To prevent these issues, steer clear of any diet providing less than 1,200 calories a day. At the absolute minimum. Bear in mind that the more you exercise the more you’ll need to increase your calorific intake. The key is to eat small meals, regularly. I’ve previously been guilty of the “caveman” diet myself. Not having meals for a long periods of time, and then binge eating. Inevitably leading to overeating, bloating and just feeling terrible! This is no bueno. As with anything, balance is the key. When it comes to nutrition, remember that biotin, or vitamin B7, found in chicken, spinach, almonds and cold water fish is essential for your metabolic process. This vitamin processes nearly every type of food that you ingest, including carbohydrates, protein and fat. When biotin levels are at the proper levels in your body, the food that you take in will be processed quickly.
Exercising too much or for too long
The health benefits of exercise are obvious and backed up by science. However, too much exercise can do more harm than good. Engaging in long cardio sessions can decrease your metabolism, put stress on your joints, and cause fatigue. Excessive cardio is also linked to muscle loss, poor recovery, and decreased immune function. Keep your workout sessions short and intense to boost your metabolic rate and shed fat. I’m a big fan of HIIT (high intensity interval training) – short sessions (approx 30 mins) of rigorous and varied cardio training. Not enough time to get bored, efficient, and very, very effective. And the metabolic burn lingers for hours after your workout is over.
Sleeping Too Little
Sleep deprivation increases the stress hormone cortisol levels, which leads to a sluggish metabolism. If you don’t get enough rest, your body will feel threatened and burn fewer calories on a daily basis. Lack of sleep also increases hunger and cravings, affects hormone levels, and slows down recovery from exercise. Most of us are guilty of not sleeping enough – six out of ten of us according to recent research – with people in the UK found to be most likely to be suffering from sleep deprivation. Little tip – putyour phone away at 8pm each night. You’ll spend less time procrastinating (the hours I’ve lost playing on words with friends….) and enjoy higher quality sleep as a result.
Not Getting Enough Protein
Protein is one of the three macro-nutrients required for optimum health. It not only helps builds and maintain muscle, but also keeps your metabolism up. A high-protein diet will boost your metabolic rate, causing your body to burn more energy throughout the day. To stay fit and healthy, choose lean protein sources, such as fish, beef, chicken, turkey breast, seeds, and raw nuts. Consume at least 0.8 grams of protein per pound of body weight to fully reap its benefits.
I’ll reiterate a previous point – this is all about balance! Don’t just read the titles and think “Sweet! All I need to do is eat lots, do no exercise and sleep!” – eat well and often, exercise portion control, workout regularly and efficiently, and give your body time to rest and recuperate. Not only will your metabolism improve, but you’ll feel better, lighter, stronger and less stressed out.