Signs You Have a Slow Metabolism (and How You Can Speed it Up)

Aging comes with plenty of benefits — but unfortunately, a slowing metabolism isn’t one of them. Women’s Health reminds us our metabolisms are humming at peak speed when we’re in our late teens to early 20s. By 25, however, your metabolism starts its slow decline. And once you’re in your 30s, 40s, and behind, you’ll certainly notice a few unwanted pounds may hang on longer than they used to despite your best efforts to shed them.

A slow metabolic decline is normal, of course — but what if your metabolism is crawling slower than a snail’s pace? Here are the signs it’s a lot more sluggish than it should be, no matter what your age is.

You’re exhausted

young man massaging his nose and keeping eyes closed

Man looking tired | g-stockstudio/iStock.com

A bad sleep schedule can certainly make you tired. But if you’re feeling like no matter how much sleep you’re getting you’re still as tired as ever, your slow metabolism may be to blame. Eat This, Not That! notes when your body is burning through energy at a slower pace, this can certainly make you sleepy. In fact, endocrinologist Heather L. Hofflich told the publication that this is the most common sign of trouble aside from weight gain.

You lose weight slowly and gain it back quickly

Losing weight definitely becomes more difficult with age — and if your metabolism is slower than average, you may find it next to impossible. Additionally, even if you do eventually lose a few unwanted pounds, you may find that they latch right back on soon after, says nutritional expert Nikki Ostrower to Bustle. Keep track of how many calories you’re eating per day and weigh yourself consistently in order to judge if this may be the case for you.

Your skin is dry and you’re losing hair

Young woman in towel after shower using body cream

Young woman in a towel after the shower using body cream | FotoDuets/Getty Images

If your skin is flaking no matter how much water you drink or moisturizer you use, you may need to start asking questions about your metabolic rate. General practitioner Mashfika N Alam tells Eat This, Not That! that your skin may not be getting enough vital nutrients when your metabolism slows. This can cause excessive dryness.

Additionally, the same process that affects your skin can also impact your hair. A slow metabolism may cause hair loss or slow hair growth.

You have another medical condition

If you know you have a thyroid condition, chances are it could be messing with your metabolism as well, Bustle notes. Your thyroid hormones control your metabolic rate. So, if you have an underactive thyroid, this can definitely lead to a crawling metabolism.

There are also a variety of medications that can hinder your metabolic rate. Everyday Health notes some antipsychotic meds used to treat bipolar disorder and depression are known to cause weight gain.

How to speed up your metabolism

Young woman in sports clothing working out at home

Young woman in sports clothing working out at home | iStock.com/diego_cervo

Even if you have a slower metabolism than most, there are certain lifestyle changes you can make that can give it a boost. Livestrong.com notes you should add strength training into your exercise regimen, as muscle mass helps burn calories at rest. High-intensity cardio can also help keep your metabolic rate humming after your workout is through, so that’s another good way to ensure a slow rate doesn’t result in weight gain.

As for foods to eat, consider adding more protein to your diet. It takes more energy to digest protein than it does to digest carbs or fat, so this will rev your metabolism slightly as well. And of course, protein helps keep your muscles strong, which helps in the long run.

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