Feel like your metabolism is broken? Here's how you can fix it, rid that last bit of fat, and finally get lean
Does this situation sound familiar to you?
You put 100% effort into your weight loss by eating healthy and exercising 6-7 days a week. But despite your adherence, your weight doesn't budge a pound, and you aren't looking any leaner...
You go seeking help, but all you hear is "eat less and move more."
The thing is, you aren't eating any "bad foods," and you're already spending hours each day huffing and puffing on the treadmill...
Now you're expected to eat even LESS and move MORE?
Clearly, there's more to this story than a lack of hard work.
If you've been dieting and working out hard with no results to show for it, then your metabolism may be what’s to blame.
In this article, I'm going to show you:
- Why Your Slow Metabolism is Making Losing Weight Hard
- What Causes Your Metabolism to Slow Down?
- 3 Tactics that Fix Your Metabolism and Keep It Healthy For Life
- How to Lose Weight and Get Lean WITHOUT Busting Your Metabolism
Why Your Slow Metabolism is Making Losing Weight Hard
When you have a slow metabolism, everything with diet and exercise seems to get harder.
It often feels like you have to consume half the calories and workout twice as hard as your naturally skinny friends. And even then, you see fewer results then they do...
Doesn't seem right, does it?
A slow metabolism can also affect one's mentality towards food, exercise, and body.
For example, they may be labeling certain foods as "good” or "bad" based on their past experiences.
They see a piece of cake, brownies, or a cookie and automatically see it as being bad and fattening…
What's more, folks struggling with a sluggish metabolism often think that weight loss is only possible through hours of daily cardio. But this typically just leaves them feeling exhausted and craving cake, brownies, cookies, and other "bad" foods even more!
Finally, there’s body image, which I think every single person deals with to some degree.
That's because it's difficult to have a happy and friendly relationship with your body when you’re putting in hours of hard work with nothing to show…
Find someone who's struggling with one or all of these things, and I'd be willing to bet they've also been fighting to lose weight for YEARS following yo-yo diets with nothing more to show than an upward trending waist line...
Does this sound like you?
If so, then you know how hard it is—both mentally and physically—to go through cycles of dieting and uncontrollable weight gain...
If not, then consider yourself lucky! But, don't think you're out of the clear just yet...
Everyone has the potential to struggle with metabolism—especially if they follow diet and exercise strategies that destroy their body's ability to maintain a healthy metabolic rate.
Which is why it's important to understand what causes our metabolism to slow down. That way, we can fix our metabolism and keep it from slowing down in the future!
What Causes Your Metabolism To Slow Down?
You probably already know that your metabolism determines the number of calories you burn each day. Consequently, this determines how much food you can eat before you start gaining unwanted weight.
But I want to go one teeny-tiny step further and explain the three pieces that make up your metabolic speed...
Stick with me here—once you have these metabolic pieces down pat, you can being taking steps towards improving your metabolism and start losing weight with ease!
1. Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR)
RMR refers to the number of calories your body needs to perform basic functions each day. It’s the energy you burn BEFORE exercise.
Individual RMR's vary depending on factors such as sex, height, weight, fat mass, and fat-free mass (aka muscle, bones, and organs).
The ole' metabolism not kicking the way it was back in high school?
Aging effects the speed of your metabolism too.
Most of the time, though, the decline in metabolism from aging is a result of increases in fat mass, decreases in fat-free mass, and less daily activity.
Sidenote: If you feel like your metabolism has dropped from aging, then the above paragraph should be fantastic news!
It's totally possible to stop your metabolism from slowing down and even speed it up by increasing your muscle mass and being more active throughout the day!
Genetics play a role in our RMR too, but studies show that folks of similar body compositions only vary 200-300 calories at most.
So STOP blaming your slow metabolism entirely on genetics!
Chances are, you're in the normal range. 🙂
2. Thermic Effect of Food (TEF)
Energy is needed to break down the food and macronutrients we eat. Protein uses 20-30% of its calories during digestion, carbs use 5-10%, and fats use 0-3%.
This is one reason I recommend a higher protein diet while dieting. It'll help you burn more calories from the food you eat.
3. Activity Energy Expenditure (AEE)
This accounts for the calories you burn during your workouts or other forms of “Planned Exercise (PA)."
It also includes the non-planned stuff like walking, fidgeting, adjusting, and other subconscious movements you do throughout the day (often referred to as Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis, or "NEAT").
Of the three metabolic components, RMR is the hardest to change—at least in a short amount of time...
But while genetics do play a role in RMR, there are things you can do that'll naturally increase your resting metabolic rate. (more on this in the next section…)
The Thermic Effect of Food is also a bit tricky...
You see, dieting requires eating less food (duh). As a result, you end up burning fewer calories from digestion. But there are a couple of ways you can improve your TEF despite eating fewer calories. (again, next section )
Now, here's the silver lining in the whole sluggish metabolism fiasco...
You have the most control over the energy you're burning from daily activity. The key, though, is to exercise in a way that helps burn calories while ALSO increasing your RMR over time.
It’s also important that the exercise you do doesn't overly stress your bodies. If it does, your body may decrease "NEAT" activity and burn fewer calories.
This is often what happens with "Chronic Cardio Dieters." They exercise so hard that their body compensates by increasing hunger and encouraging less movement the rest of the day.
Instead of cleaning the kitchen or walking the dog, they opt for a third episode of GoT....
3 Tactics That Fix Your Metabolism and Keeping It Healthy For Life
Below are my three best tactics for increase your metabolic rate and keeping it healthy in the long-term.
Here's the best part: they're super easy to start doing, and they'll deliver results after just a few days of implementation!
1. Lift Weights to Build Muscle and Burn More Calories
There's no question...
Strength Training is one of the best ways to naturally increase your metabolic rate.
- It burns calories DURING the exercise...
- It burns calories AFTER while your body fights to repair broken down muscle fibers and restore ATP (energy), glycogen, and oxygen....
- The muscle you build from lifting weights contributes to long-term metabolic health by increasing your fat-free mass—which requires more calories and energy to maintain compared to fat mass. (source)
2. Be More Active Throughout The Day
If you’re like most people, then you’re probably spending the majority of the day sitting on your tush...
“But but but... I ALSO workout!"
Okay, so maybe you're exercising 1-2 hours a day...
But what are you doing the other 22-23 hours (besides sleeping)?
If you're spending it laying around being sedentary, then your energy expenditure and metabolism are going to take a hit.
It's incredibly easy to be sedentary nowadays, and that's why there are two things I have all my clients do when they start working with me is 1) shoot for 10-15k steps per day and 2) avoid sitting for longer than 60-90 minutes at a time.
These two changes alone can help you burn an extra 300-400 extra calories each day! They'll also undo a lot of the negative health stuff associated with prolonged sitting.
One of the easiest ways to keep track of your steps is by wearing a Fitbit.
The other—less expensive—option is to aim for 45-60 minutes of moderately paced walking each day (roughly 2-3.5 miles). That'll get most people close to that 10-15k step mark.
You can break this up into bite-sized chunks too. If you walk 15-20 minutes before, during, and after work, you'll likely hit the 10k mark by the end of the day.
3. Eat More Protein
Protein has the highest thermic effect of all three macronutrients. All that means is you burn more calories eating protein than from carbs or fat.
Protein is also vitally important for building muscle, which as we talked about is a key contributor to a healthy metabolism in the long-term.
Based on the studies and research we have, I recommend getting 0.64g-1g of protein per pound of bodyweight each day.
How to Lose Weight and Get Lean WITHOUT Busting Your Metabolism
Unless you have a medical issue that's negatively affecting your metabolism—hypothyroidism, low testosterone, side effects of a medicaiton—then it's entirely possible to lose weight while fixing your metabolism in the process!
Here's what you need to do to ensure your metabolism stays healthy while you're dropping fat and getting lean.
1. Strength Train - strength training with weights will benefit your metabolism in two ways.
Firstly, it'll help raise your metabolism in the short-term from burning calories during the workout.
Secondly, you'll build muscle, which will increase your RMR and help you maintain a higher metabolism in the long-term.
2. Increase Your Daily Activity - This will help you burn more calories during the day without any additional effort.
Like I said earlier, try to aim for 10-15k steps per day. If you have a Fitbit, you can even set a daily goal that'll keep you accountable.
No Fitbit? No worries. Most smartphones have the ability to track your activity too.
3. Avoid Chronic Cardio - too much cardio—especially from moderate intensity cardio on the treadmill, elliptical, or stairmaster—can end up being a negative thing when you're dieting...
For most people, all chronic cardio does is add more stress on top of dieting, and we all know what happens when we get too stressed...
We get HUNGRY!
In fact, studies have shown that the more cardio people add to their weight loss plan, the more their body starts compensating through increasing hunger and decreasing non-exercise activity like fidgeting and walking. (source)
Can You Lose Fat WITHOUT Cardio?
4. Avoid Excessive & Prolonged Calorie Deficits - both of these things are a recipe for disaster...
Similar to doing too much cardio, your body will start to adapt to extreme and long-term dieting by reducing your RMR and spontaneous activity (NEAT) throughout the day.
If you've ever tried dieting on ultra low calories, then you've probably experienced feelings of lethargicness and lack of motivation to workout... or move in general!
The best way to avoid this adaptation? Stick to a moderate calorie deficit—around 20-25% below maintenance—and have a small cheat meal every couple of weeks to give your body a break.
You'll still lose fat, but you'll also have enough energy to workout and feel like a regular human!
5. Be Patient - If you're trying to lose weight in hopes that you'll be 50 pounds leaner in just a few short months, then prepare to be disappointed.
Losing weight and building healthy diet and exercise habits takes time.
It's ain't sexy, but it's the cold hard truth.
There's a popular saying: "weight loss is a marathon, not a sprint."
I disagree. Weight loss isn't a sprint, and it's not a marathon either...
It's not about making temporary and uncomfortable changes to your diet and exercise so that you can lose weight and return to your old way of doing things...
It's a lifelong commitment to being healthy and taking care of your body. It's about making permanent changes that improve your health forever.
Sure, it'll be tough in the beginning. But over time, the changes you make will become habits and a part of who you are.
Before long, you'll find that losing weight and being healthy is more than just possible...
It's also an enjoyable and rewarding way to live your life!
But Getting Started Is The Hardest Part...
I believe wholeheartedly that the information in this article is some of the best you'll find for losing fat without crashing your metabolism in the process.
But there's a big difference between KNOWING what to do and ACTUALLY DOING IT.
Getting started is the hardest part, and that's why I created my 90-day challenge, Metabolic Meltdown:
Metabolic Meltdown is my 90-day fat loss challenge designed to get you started on the path of burning fat, gaining lean muscle, and building a metabolism primed for long-term success.
The Challenge Includes:
- The Metabolic Nutrition Strategy Guide
- The Metabolic Exercise Strategy Guide
- Three Phases of Metabolism-Focused Workout Routines
- Exercise Substitutions Guide
- Metabolic Mover Daily Activity Guide
More importantly, here are the results you can expect to see after 90 days on consistent work:
- Lose 10-18% of your body fat (If you're a shorter woman, roughly 10-15 pounds of fat loss. If you're a taller man, around 25-30 pounds of fat loss)
- Gains in lean muscle mass and strength (Ladies can expect to look leaner and more toned. Dudes can expect to look leaner and more muscular/defined)
- A faster metabolism and greater fat-burning potential
- Learn diet and exercise strategies that are sustainable and enjoyable for long-term results.
But here's the catch...
You'll ONLY see those results if you're CONSISTENT with following the exercise and diet strategies in the challenge...
If you give it 100%, you will see seriously fat loss results.
If you give it 50%, you will see sorta-okay results.
If you buy it and don’t use it, you will see ZERO fat loss results.
So if you're ready to kick-start your weight loss with a plan designed using all of the metabolic fat loss tactics we talked about today...
AND you're willing to put in 100% effort and consistency during the next 90 days....
Then the Metabolic Meltdown Fat Loss Challenge is the best way to get your metabolism healthy again so you can start losing fat and staying lean & healthy for the rest of your life.