A lagging metabolism is a real drag. Not only can this lead to unwanted weight gain, but also a host of other unpleasant side effects. And what’s interesting, or more telling, is that our bad daily habits can cause metabolic problems. From insufficient sunlight to poor sleep habits, the way we live day to day has a huge impact on the health of our metabolism, far beyond just eating healthy.
According to Dr Rekha Kumarmedical affairs manager at weight-care platform found, and New York-based endocrinologist, “Some symptoms of a lagging metabolism may present as fatigue, weight gain, body aches, stiffness, low mood, feeling cold, or dry skin.”
Here, Kumar sheds light on the common bad habits that keep your metabolism slow, your body sore, and how to break these cycles of bad habits.
Here’s what to do if you suspect a lagging metabolism
If you are not feeling well and suspect a slowing metabolism, Dr. Kumar recommends that you contact your PCP. From there, your PCP will take the necessary steps to get to the bottom of your symptoms.
Keep in mind, “What we need to do to maintain healthy metabolic changes throughout our lives.” Says Dr. Kumar. Simply put, “what works at 30 may not work at 60, and what works at 60 may not work at 90,” Kumar explains. We need to change our routines as we progress through life for thriving metabolic health.
Top 6 bad habits to correct for a healthier metabolism
1. Not moving enough
Movement is crucial for overall health, and not moving enough can definitely dampen your metabolism. “One of the main ways your metabolism is destroyed is through simple, everyday decisions about your activity that determine how much energy you expend,” says Kumar.
Some examples include taking a car or a bus when the distance is walkable. (Or a route in which you can cycle). “You could have done it if more time had been budgeted,” Kumar says. Taking an elevator instead of the stairs, especially when there aren’t many steps, is another way to minimize movement.
“These seemingly minor energy-saving ways to get from point A to point B not only negatively impact metabolism, but put our bones, joints, and muscles into disuse,” says Kumar. Therefore, the “use or lose” thinking applies here, not just as we age.
She adds that “lack of movement leads to loss of muscle mass and muscle tone, which slows metabolism.” The results: a feeling of sluggishness, impaired carbohydrate metabolism and preparation for injury. “If we hurt ourselves due to lack of mobility, it sets off a vicious cycle that destroys our metabolism because we can’t move and the cycle continues,” says Kumar.
- Easy fix: Walk more and cycle where you can. If you work from home or have a desk job, set a timer every hour and get up and walk or do a five-minute bodyweight workout every few hours. It adds up!
2. The 24 hour recovery window
Fasting is a constantly hot topic. “Although the role of intermittent fasting is debated when it comes to weight loss, circadian eating patterns or periods of cellular rest are beneficial for metabolism,” says Dr. Kumar.
Since modern society has made staying awake, working and refueling 24/7 a more common practice, “this means there are fewer periods of cellular rest, which which means there isn’t enough time for our cells to work resting and repairing,” Kumar explains.
Cellular rest is essential for healing the whole body, inside and out. “When we don’t give ourselves time to rest and repair and we eat around the clock, we increase inflammation, leading to an increased risk of diabetes and other inflammatory conditions,” says Kumar.
- Easy fix: Allow your metabolism to rest at the cellular level by incorporating intermittent fasting into your daily habits. Consult your doctor to find out which fasting program is best for you.
3. Bad sleeping habits
Bad sleep habits lead to more than a bad mood. “Our bodies need rest to function properly, have a healthy metabolism, and make hormones that are used for growth and repair,” Kumar explains. “Much of this happens while we sleep, but if your sleep patterns are erratic, unpredictable, or inadequate, our natural hormone rhythms are disrupted and we might see spikes in cortisol and growth hormone at the wrong times. of the day.”
Unfortunately, this leads to increased appetite and weight gain, which increases our risk of obesity.
- Easy fix: Limit or omit screen time one hour before bedtime, create a relaxing environment in your bedroom, limit daily caffeine intake, and incorporate relaxing breathing exercises before bedtime; aim for eight hours per night.
4. Consuming empty calories
This one might not be a shocker, but empty calories are everywhere these days. “Low-nutrient foods that are high in calories and low in nutritional value can wreck your metabolism,” says Dr. Kumar. Examples include sweeteners, candies, pastries, sugary drinks, baked goods, and many salty snacks. “All the empty calories that come with these foods leave our bodies looking for vitamins and minerals, which eventually leads to overeating and damages our metabolism,” says Dr. Kumar.
- Easy fix: Focus on eating organic whole foods, limit processed snacks, and if needed, see a registered dietitian to help get you on the right track.
5. Alcohol consumption
While everyone’s definition of moderation varies, “any amount of alcohol will impact our metabolism because we have to use our metabolic machinery (liver enzymes) to detoxify and break down alcohol,” Kumar says. This is where the negative side effects of alcohol come into play: “When our liver is busy prioritizing alcohol metabolism, it doesn’t do as good a job of metabolizing fat and breaking down hormones. .” She adds.
Easy fix: Cut out alcohol altogether or opt for special occasions or holidays.
6. Not enough sun
Vitamin D from the sun is your metabolism’s friend. “The metabolic benefit of sunlight is related to vitamin D metabolism,” Kumar explains, and is therefore very important for overall health. “Vitamin D is a hormone involved in gut health, bone health, kidney function and more; Just 15 minutes of sunlight gives us three months of vitamin D,” says Kumar.
And if you’re feeling blue, sunlight is the perfect way to boost your mood.
“The amount of direct sunlight people should get varies with other medical conditions, but a healthy balance of sunlight with SPF should also boost vitamin D metabolism,” Dr. Kumar recommends.
- Easy fix: Aim for 15 minutes of sunlight a day and check with your doctor if you have any health conditions or take medication before embarking on a regular routine of sunshine.