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3 Habits That Can Sabotage Your Metabolism

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Brunilda Nazario, MD - Blogs
By Brunilda Nazario, MDBoard-certified internist and endocrinologistMay 24, 2019
From the WebMD Archives

When we’re having trouble losing weight, it can be tempting to place the blame entirely on our metabolism. Yes, metabolism matters, but it’s not beyond our control.

What we eat, how we move, and how we sleep – all of these have the power to rev up our metabolism, but many people unknowingly sabotage themselves in these areas.

Here are three common mistakes that can keep you stuck in a metabolism rut:

Not Enough on Your Plate

If you have not heard it before, LISTEN UP: If you’re trying to lose weight, don’t starve yourself!

Drastically reducing food intake is a sure way to drop your metabolism. Instead, focus on making wiser food choices. Skip the processed stuff – these foods cause inflammation and prevent fat loss. And try to increase your intake of food and drinks that burn more energy, including lean proteins (like chicken breast or turkey), ice cold water, or an iced cup of java. Smart food choices are key, since weight loss results in fat loss and muscle wasting. And finally, stay hydrated …water, water, and more water! 

Not Enough “Work” in Your Workout

Not all workouts are created equal. While, yes, all exercise burns calories, it only cranks up your metabolism if it’s done right.

Make a decision to push yourself harder in the gym. It takes courage – and you’ll get uncomfortable – but doing the same routine over and over again won’t change things, and you won’t get the results you want.

Spice up your workout with high intensity interval training (HIIT). Do two or three 30-minute sessions a week. Remember, the goal is to push your limits. To do this successfully, you'll need to keep reminding yourself that you will recover. With HIIT, you’ll burn more calories, and boost your metabolism afterwards. You’ll burn calories even after you’ve left the gym.

Another idea: Grab some type of tracker. It will show you how much you’ve worked, how many calories you’ve burned, or the max heart rate you’ve achieved. You can use this information to hack your metabolism, and you’ll find yourself getting stronger every day.

Not Enough Rest for Your Body

You might think that keeping your engine running nonstop will rev up your system, but depriving your body of rest actually does your metabolism more harm than good. Sleep helps your body make the right amounts of hormones that drive your metabolism. Without shuteye, your metabolism takes a nosedive, and the number on your scale goes up.

Plus, when it comes to overall health, sleep is one of the most important things you can do for your mind and body. So aim to get the recommended amount of sleep for adults – 8-9 hours of restful sleep (which means getting both REM and NonREM sleep). An athlete needs good sleep to recover so they can perform at their best and prevent injuries.

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About the Author
Brunilda Nazario, MD

Brunilda Nazario, MD, is the Lead Medical Director at WebMD and is responsible for reviewing WebMD content and ensuring its accuracy, timeliness, and credibility. She is a board certified Internist and Endocrinologist, she is also certified in Advanced Diabetes Management. Upon completion of a certification in bariatric medicine, Dr Nazario is now a Diplomate for the American Board of Obesity Medicine.

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