5 Ways You're Ruining Your Metabolism

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We’ve all started exercise programs where we hope to see results or achieve a desired body weight, but along the way discover we’ve gained a few extra pounds. What?

This unexpected weight gain happens because certain habits we keep are actually slowing down our metabolism, letting our bodies store extra fat without even realizing it. Total bummer, especially when all you’re left fitting into is sweatpants à la Regina George. But there is hope. Since our metabolism plays a major part in a healthy weight, there is a way for us to use it to our advantage. Responsible for how our body uses the food we eat as energy, our metabolism helps burn that very fuel to keep itself steady at optimal levels.

Since we can’t all be The Flash with a hyper-metabolic rate, we share five ways you might be ruining your metabolism and tips to help you stay on track this year.

Skipping Breakfast

Touted as one of the worst habits to ruin your metabolism, skipping breakfast can cause a slew of health issues. Known to improve concentration, increase energy, avert cravings and curbing ravenous hunger before lunch, breakfast aids in weight management by influencing your metabolism throughout the day. Obesity specialist Dr. Wayne Callaway shares in his study that skipping breakfast will trigger overeating later in the day and a significant drop in metabolism.

Tip

If you're running short on time every morning, consider drinking a healthy smoothie — preferably a green one, as they boost metabolic rate, detox and increase energy levels.

Consuming Simple Carbs 

According to Shari Lieberman’s best-seller Dare to Lose, frequently wolfing down simple carbs like sugary, fatty foods encourages our bodies to tap into our own storage for vitamins, minerals and fiber, and collect the extra fuel as fat. Not only does this affect our muscle-to-fat ratio, but it also slows down our metabolism. Consuming simple carbs initiates carbohydrate sensitivity, which spikes blood sugar levels, as our bodies are unable to metabolize glucose due to an ineffective insulin response.

Tip

With most juices laden with pure sugar or worse — riddled with artificial sweeteners, they stimulate appetite and increase cravings for carbs. To sweeten juice, switch sugar for raw honey, and artificial sweeteners for stevia, an all-natural and no-calorie sweetener.

Not Drinking Enough Water

If you don’t drink enough water during the day, not only can it lead to dehydration and reduce brain function, but it slows metabolic rates significantly. Boosting your body’s ability to burn fat, researchers discovered drinking about 17 ounces of water increases the metabolic rate by 30% in healthy men and women.

Tip

If you’re trying to lose weight or stay trim, drinking a glass or two of cold water before a meal will help you to avoid overeating as you'll naturally eat less.

Lack of Sleep

We live in a demanding, hectic world with super busy schedules — we get it, sleep doesn’t always come easily. Nevertheless, it is essential if you want to keep your metabolism in check. No matter your age, a solid seven to eight hours of sleep per night is beneficial for your weight. Not only does a lack of sleep cause weight gain, but it’s been reported that long-term sleep deprivation increases food cravings as well.

Tip

If you want to be slim and healthy, make sure you get adequate sleep regularly, no matter how busy you are. Maintain good habits and a sleep schedule, and you're on your way to better health.

Poor Diet Methods

With a new year approaching, nutritionists see many people unwittingly end up harming themselves by taking part in "quick fix" diets. From fasts to yo-yo diets, detoxes to cleanses, crash diets are not only dangerous and lead to serious consequences, but they slow your metabolism as they deprive your body of essential nutrients and fats.

Tip

No matter your body weight, always consult your doctor to see what works for you. The best way to feel better about your weight is to exercise and eat healthy, sticking to diets that limit saturated fats, sugars and emphasize fruits, veggies, lean meats, fish and whole grains.