You've probably heard it all before -- the way to rev up your metabolism is to build muscle, stay active, and drink lots of water. But there are surprising ways you might be slowing down your metabolism without even realizing it. Here are seven reasons why your metabolism slows down and what to do about it:

1. You're not eating enough dairy

1. You're not eating enough dairy

It's common knowledge that muscle helps to speed up your metabolism. Research shows that people who eat three-to-seven servings of dairy per day lose more fat and gain more muscle than those who don't consume dairy. If you notice your metabolism has become more sluggish, it could be that you just need to eat more protein-packed low-fat dairy products, such as cottage cheese and greek yogurt.

2. You've ditched the carbs

2. You've ditched the carbs

While numerous studies show that a low-carb diet can aid in weight loss, you shouldn't ditch carbs completely. This is especially true if you exercise a lot. Why? Because your muscles require glycogen from carbohydrate stores in your body. But if you don't consume enough carbs, your glycogen levels will be too low and you won't have enough energy to exercise intensely. This will slow down your metabolism. Be sure to consume a serving of complex carbohydrates at every meal, such as brown rice, quinoa, and sweet potatoes.

3. You're snacking all wrong

3. You're snacking all wrong

Do you tend to reach for low-calorie foods like rice cakes as snacks? This could be hurting your metabolism. Instead, you should reach for nuts that contain polyunsaturated fatty acids. Why? Because they help boost your body's ability to burn fat, which in turn increases your metabolism. You should eat a small handful of walnuts per day.

4. You're not exercising hard enough

4. You're not exercising hard enough

Your metabolism speeds up with high-intensity interval training, and it slows down when you don't exercise hard enough. In fact, research shows that those who engage in high-intensity interval training for 20-minutes at a time, at least three times a week, lose significantly more weight than those who just exercise at a steady pace. Your metabolism could be slowing down simply because you're not doing the right kind of exercise.

5. You're not doing strength training exercises right

5. You're not doing strength training exercises right

The number one way to rev up your metabolism is to build muscle. That's where regular strength training comes into play. But if you're rushing through strength training exercises, or you don't have the correct form, you could be hurting your metabolism. To get the most out of strength training exercises, make sure you focus on eccentric movement.

6. You use sea salt instead of table salt

6. You use sea salt instead of table salt

While sea salt might be all the rage nowadays, it could be slowing down your metabolism. Why? Because it lacks iodine, which helps regulate your thyroid gland. Without enough iodine, your thyroid won't produce enough hormones and your metabolism will slow down as a result. Use iodized salt instead, and eat more iodine-rich foods, such as seaweed, cod, shrimp, and eggs.

7. You don't exercise during the day

7. You don't exercise during the day

Believe it or not, but getting enough sunlight every day is necessary to keep your metabolism running smoothly. The best thing you can do for your metabolism is to go jogging or walking early in the morning and soak up all the sun that you can. Research shows that people who exercise in the morning tend to have a lower body mass index than people who exercise at night. This is because early morning sunlight regulates your circadian rhythm, which in turn regulates a healthy metabolic rate. If you notice your metabolism is slower than usual, you might not be getting enough sunlight.

Rev it up!

If you notice that your metabolism is more sluggish than usual, it would be due to your diet and lifestyle. To keep your metabolism running smoothly, you should make sure that you eat enough dairy products and iodine-rich foods, engage in high-intensity interval training exercises, snack smartly, and strength train regularly. You'll notice the pounds fall off.

References
  1. "8 Surprising Ways You're Slowing Your Metabolism," Women's Health, November 26, 2014.
  2. "9 Subtle Signs Your Metabolism is Slowing Down," Bustle, February 8, 2017.
  3. "9 Medical Causes of a Slow Metabolism," Reader's Digest, n.d.

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