Your metabolism is low, now what?
A resting metabolic rate test (RMR) gives insight about the energy systems of your body in 3 ways.
Knowing your caloric burn if you were to lie in bed all day is needed information to personalize nutrition needs. These calories are essentially what your brain and body need to keep breathing, keep pumping blood, run all the thousands of chemical reactions in our body, etc. It does not include movement, exercise, and digestion.
Knowing your fuel source at rest fasted, sugar burner or fat burner, allows you to better choose a starting point.
Knowing if your metabolism is normal, low, or high is important data to define strategies to reach your health & fitness goal.
What caused my low metabolism?
There are multiple ways that your metabolism can drop. You need to realize this is not about blame. It’s more that as a culture this knowledge is not prevalent, it’s not widely shared.
Overall, fat does not burn calories. Fat is how calories are stored. The amount of lean mass you have effects your metabolism. One does not need to be overweight to be overfat. One can be a very good body composition level while overweight when they have a good amount of lean mass. Knowing your accurate body composition is good data to pair with RMR data.
The mantra that has been pushed upon us the last 40 years to lower caloric intake and burn more calories can lower metabolism. Paired with multiple meals & snacks throughout the day focusing on lower fat and higher carbohydrate intake impairs metabolic flexibility. This habit creates a body that relies on sugar burning. Access to fat stores is impaired. When the body has limited or inconsistent fuel sources, it drops RMR to preserve energy.
Hormones play a significant role. Having insulin in your system 24/7 limits, stops the ability to access fat as fuel. Having cortisol in your system 24/7 means you are a sugar burner; sugar is the fastest fuel source to “run from a tiger”. High TSH (thyroid stimulating hormone) indicates hypothyroid issue and potential autoimmune disease that lowers RMR. Sex hormones, estrogen and testosterone, also play a role.
What do I do to fix my metabolism?
Regardless of the cause of your lowered metabolism, habit change is needed. Implementing meals without snacking or spiking insulin in between, movement throughout the day, proper workouts, stress optimization and prioritizing sleep will begin to improve your metabolism.
When it comes to thyroid issues, the lifestyle changes need to be implemented even when thyroid medication is warranted.