Is your metabolism like a snail? Do you blame the workings of a slow metabolism in your weight gain? Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. Even when you are resting, your body needs energy for breathing, circulating blood and repairing cells. The number of calories that your body is using for these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate. Lots of factors determine your basal metabolic rate:
1. First cause of a slow metabolism is one that can’t be directly controlled – genetics. Some gifted people are blessed with a fast metabolism, but that certainly does not mean that genetics always is destiny. A regular exercise program that includes both aerobic activity and resistance exercise to build lean body mass can do much to speed up a slow metabolism.
2. Age – it is known that lean muscle mass burns more calories than fat tissue. When you have a higher percentage of muscle mass, your metabolism is faster. As you get aged, the percentage of lean muscle mass you have naturally decreases and is slowing down your metabolism. Training is important for any age group, but it is especially important for adults after the age of 25.
3. Lifestyle factors can be the cause of a slow metabolism. Some medications, particularly those which are used to treat depression, may cause the slowing of metabolism. The same can do skipping meals and fasting. If you skip a meal, your body goes into a survival or resting mode. When in this state, your body responds to a lack of food by slowing down your metabolism in an effort to store calories. This leads to a decreased metabolic rate and probably weight gain. To prevent the body from entering this starvation mode and keep your metabolism running effectively- eat small meal or snack every two to three hours.
4. Eating too many calories – when people receive calories more than they burn off it leads to increasing blood sugar. Tissues can’t assimilate partly divided glucose. It accumulates in cells and causes slowing down of metabolism.
Even though there are some marked lifestyle habits and things you can’t control like your advancing age that can cause a slow metabolism, a decreased metabolic rate is usually the result of an underlying hormonal disorder.
5. Cushing’s Syndrome – a disorder that develops when your tissues are exposed to cortisol- a hormone responsible for maintaining the metabolism of proteins, carbohydrates and fats- for an extended period of time. This prolonged exposure slows down metabolism, which can result in obesity, increased fat around the neck and a rounded face.
6. Hypothyroidism – a disorder which is characterized by an underactive thyroid gland. When this gland does not produce enough thyroid hormones all of the processes taking place in our body including metabolism slow down.
7. Diabetes – It is not yet completely clear why diabetics have slow metabolisms, but they seem to have more trouble with taking off weight than non-diabetics. This fact may be related to their higher blood sugar levels which fools the body into believing there is lots of energy around, resulting in a slowing down in metabolism