Boosting Your Metabolism For Dummies
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Although being overweight and having unhealthy habits can result in a disease diagnosis over time, what about day to day? Maybe your metabolism is slowing down for the first time in your life, and risk for disease isn’t something that can motivate you to make healthier changes. Perhaps you aren’t overweight and just want to break unhealthy habits because you’re sick and tired of feeling sick and tired?

When you’re not eating enough and/or not getting the nutrients you need, your body isn’t working at peak performance. You’ve probably experienced one or more of the following symptoms at one point in your life due to unhealthy habits and a sluggish metabolism:

  • Your energy level is low: If your metabolism is slow, so is the process of breaking down food and nutrients for energy. So whether you’re undereating in general or overeating the wrong types of foods, your energy levels will suffer, and you’ll experience fatigue.

  • Your immune system is weak: Without getting the nutrients you need, you’ll be more likely to take sick days. Your body just isn’t as strong as it needs to be to fight off disease. Being inactive, or not getting plenty of exercise, is correlated with a lowered platelet level (platelets protect you when a foreign virus or bacteria enters your body).

  • Your digestion is out of whack: Without plenty of fiber, movement, and water in your lifestyle, your digestive system won’t be working as best it can. You’ll experience constipation, bloating, and reflux because your metabolism isn’t churning away at the food you eat the way it should be and isn’t absorbing it properly for use.

  • Your mood is depressed: Not eating balanced meals due to a busy work schedule or stress or any other lifestyle barrier can serve to make you irritable and depressed due to fluctuations in blood sugar. Purposefully depriving yourself and not being satisfied will only leave you cranky and vulnerable to food cravings.

  • Your mind is foggy: Your brain requires the right types of nutrients for memory, concentration, and overall alertness. Without it, your resolve to eat better and exercise can diminish, and your judgment isn’t as great to make the next right decision when it comes to healthy lifestyle choices.

  • You aren’t as mobile: If you’re overweight and experience joint pain, it may be difficult for you to move around. Even day to day tasks can be daunting. Aside from weight, if your energy levels are low, getting motivated to exercise is more difficult, which in turn also affects other pieces of the puzzle, such as mood and digestion.

A slow metabolism doesn’t only affect how you feel on the inside. What you put into your body gets broken down and affects your appearance. Although it’s not necessarily true that eating too much sugar or fatty foods will cause your skin to break out, those foods are probably replacing more healthful ones in your diet.

If you’re not getting enough good nutrition because you’re depriving your body, not drinking enough water but drinking plenty of alcohol, or not sleeping well, that has an impact on how you look on the outside. Your skin, hair, and nails are constantly regenerating, so if you aren’t providing your body with the nutrients for adequate growth, their appearance will be compromised.

Outwards signs of a slow metabolism and unhealthful diet include:

  • Dry, dull, hair or hair loss

  • Dry, brittle nails

  • Dry, oily, itchy, discolored or pale skin and acne

  • Intolerance of cold

Looking at the entire picture of physical and mental health can provide insight into your metabolism and your so-called healthy lifestyle. If you think you’re eating nutritiously but experience any of the preceding symptoms, it may be time to reevaluate your plan.

About This Article

This article is from the book:

About the book author:

Rachel Berman, RD is the Director of Nutrition for, a free Web site and mobile app which provides tools to help people lead healthier lives. A nationally recognized nutrition expert, she has appeared on The Today Show, several local television and radio health segments, and is frequently quoted in print and online publications.

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