Working out and eating right but still can’t lose the weight? Here are 8 reasons you are slowing down your metabolism without even knowing it!
1. You Ditched Dairy
Muscles are essential for keeping your metabolism running, and according to research from McMaster University, women who consumed 3 to 7 servings of dairy per day lost more fat and gained more muscle mass than women who downed less.
2. You Cut Carbs Completely
True, study after study shows that for weight loss, a low-carb diet trumps a low-fat one. But that doesn’t mean you should eliminate carbs completely, especially if you exercise regularly. “During exercise, your muscles demand glycogen from carbohydrate stores in your body,” says Precision Nutrition coach Brian St. Pierre, R.D. “If you don’t consume enough carbohydrates, your glycogen levels will be too low and you won’t have the energy to exercise as intensely.”
3. You Snack Wrong
Instead of reaching for low-calorie snacks like rice cakes, reach for nuts instead. Research shows that polyunsaturated fatty acids—especially in walnuts—may enhance the activity of certain genes that control fat burning, so you torch more calories throughout the day, according to The American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. Aim for about one to 1.5 ounces (a small handful) of walnuts per day.
4. You use Sea Salt in your Food
Sea salt lacks iodine—a key element that gives your thyroid gland (which controls your metabolism) its kick. Without adequate iodine, your thyroid is unable to produce thyroid hormones and your metabolism can take a major downfall, says St. Pierre. Reach for iodized salt instead. Each quarter-teaspoon provides nearly 50 percent of your recommended dose of iodine.
5. You like it Hot
To burn fat, crank up the AC. Research at the National Institutes of Health found that people who slept in bedrooms cooled to 66°F for a month doubled the amount of brown adipose tissue—a type of fat that burns rather than stores calories. “Brown fat becomes more active in cooler temperatures to help keep us warm,” says Aaron Cypess, M.D., an endocrinologist at the National Institutes of Health. So the more active your brown fat, the more calories you’ll burn throughout the day.
6. You Rush Through a Strength-Training Workout
Ahhh strength training, Your favorite workout – But slow it down! Speeding through the reps causes you to miss out on the major metabolism-boosting benefits that come from these movements. Eccentric movements are more muscularly damaging, so they require more effort from your body to repair and recover compared to concentric or lifting motions, says St. Pierre. That equals more calories burned. Researchers in Greece found that women who performed one weekly strength workout that focused on eccentric movement increased their resting energy expenditure and fat burning by five and nine percent, respectively, after just eight weeks.
7. You don’t push yourself while exercising
There’s a reason it seems like you’ve been hearing about high-intensity interval training (HIIT) for years now—it works! When women performed a 20-minute HIIT workout three times per week, they shed nearly six pounds more than those who exercised for 40 minutes, three times a week at a steady pace, Australian researchers found. “Interval training also results in greater post-exercise oxygen consumption than exercising at a sustained pace, which means you continue burning calories for a period of time afterward,” says St. Pierre.
8. You Skip Your Morning Workout
Research from Northwestern University have found that early-morning sunlight may help regulate your circadian rhythm, which controls countless functions in your body, including how well you sleep, how much food you consume, and how much energy you burn—all essential components of a healthy metabolic rate. So wake and get moving!
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