You're getting enough sleep, eating breakfast, working out and trying not to sit as much -- which goes a long way to keeping your metabolism going. Sometimes, however, that isn't enough. The following are 12 ways you may be slowing down your efforts (and metabolism) without even realizing it.
1. Erratic Meal Schedule
Your body is a brilliant machine. When your body expects food, it releases signals to burn energy because it knows more fuel is on the way. If your meal schedule is erratic and you go long hours without eating, your body will be in conservation mode because it doesn't know when it will get more food. A regular meal schedule and eating every 3 to 4 hours will help keep your metabolism running steadily.
2. You're Only Drinking Water
Staying hydrated keeps cellular functions, like your metabolism, working at their best. You burn 2% fewer calories when dehydrated. If you don't like water, try a caffeinated tea, like green tea, as these can help boost calorie burning for up to 3 hours (coffee does the same but doesn't have the hydrating benefit).
3.You Avoid Dairy
Dairy contains nutrients that play important roles in fat burning and muscle building. Specifically, these great helpers are called conjugated linoleic acid (or CLA), whey, casein and calcium. Calcium can also help regulate your metabolism. The more calcium in a fat cell, the more fat it will burn.
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4.You Don't Take Weight Training Seriously
Your metabolism is boosted for up to 48 hours after you complete a strength training workout. Furthermore, strength training builds lean muscle mass over time, which leads to a higher resting metabolism. If you are already training, go slowly and don't rush your reps. Take it slow with the lowering portion of your rep as lowering a weight takes a greater toll on your muscle. This makes the body work harder to repair it, which means more calories are burned.
5.You're Not A Morning Person
Early morning sunlight helps regulate your circadian rhythm, which controls many functions in your body. Your circadian rhythm not only helps you sleep, it plays a huge role in how much food you eat and how much energy you burn. So get out there in the morning, get some sun and get your metabolism humming.
6.You Cut Out Carbs Completely
Cutting carbs entirely may not be a good idea. Your muscles require glycogen, which is formed from carbohydrates stored in your body. Cutting carbs means lowering your glycogen levels and your energy. Without glycogen you will not have the energy to workout, which means
you'll burn fewer calories both during your workout and after.
7.You're Bad at Snacking
If you like high-sugar, high-carb snacks like crackers, pretzels and sugary yogurts, you may want to take another look at your snacking habits. Reach for snacks that contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Nuts, like the walnuts, contain polyunsaturated fatty acids that aid the activity of some of the genes in control of fat burning. To burn more calories during the day, eat one ounce (about a handful) of nuts a day.
8.You Dial Up the Thermostat
Turn down the heat while you are sleeping. Your body requires energy to warm itself to a comfortable temperature. There's no need to freeze in the winter, but consider turning down the thermostat to 64-66 degrees Fahrenheit at night to increase and activate brown adipose tissue, or brown fat. Brown fat is responsible for burning calories instead of storing them, so the more active brown fat you have, the more calories you will burn.
9.You Only Use Sea Salt
Delicious as it is, sea salt lacks the iodine found in iodized salt and that's bad news for your metabolism. Your thyroid gland is responsible for your metabolism and it is activated by iodine. Without iodine, the process slows down. Adding iodized salt can help, but also try adding iodine rich foods like seaweed, eggs, shrimp and cod.
10.Your Produce isn't Organic
The chemicals found in pesticides (organochlorines) interfere with your body's ability to burn energy. Eating high levels of these toxins can slow your metabolism. Eat organic whenever possible. If you are not able to buy organic for all your produce, make the items that have skin you eat (like apples, cucumbers and peppers) your purchasing priority.
11.You're not Getting Enough Iron
Without iron, your muscles will not get the oxygen they need and your energy and metabolism levels will drop. Women lose iron when they have their periods every month, so it is vital to eat lots of iron rich foods such as beans and dark leafy greens (like bok choy, spinach and broccoli).
12.You're Super Stressed Out
Nothing in your body escapes stress. Stressed out women burn over 100 fewer calories when compared to calmer women. Stress also creates junk food cravings (foods that definitely do not boost your metabolism), so it's super important to take a little time and engage in your favourite stress relieving activities. Take a deep breath and boost your metabolism at the same time.