What Causes a Slow Metabolism

I can’t tell you how many times a friend or acquaintance has said to me, “I’ve tried to lose weight, but I just can’t”. I know how they feel. When you think you have given a good effort to shed some weight, only to step up on the scale day in and day out and see the same number, or even be gaining instead of losing, it can be a very frustrating experience (see my post “Gaining Weight when Dieting“). For the most part, however, it has been my experience that a lack of weight loss is due to nothing more that poor dieting techniques, such as consuming too many calories, not exercising enough, not drinking enough water, and too much cheating.

There are a number of factors that may cause a slow metabolism, which can make losing weight that more difficult.

There are a number of factors that may cause a slow metabolism, which can make losing weight that more difficult.

On a number of occasions I have met people who claim they cannot lose weight, not because of a lack of effort or poor dieting, but because they have a slow metabolism. Although the personal trainers and dietitians from ‘The Biggest Loser’ may not take this as a valid excuse for not losing weight, it is true that some people’s metabolism is slower than others. Does this mean that if you struggle to lose weight you can just chalk it up to a slow metabolism and be done with it? Of course not. What it does mean is that you will have to work even harder to lose weight, but you can still succeed.

If you are having problems losing weight, you may be tempted to blame it on your metabolism. This is not always a cop out, it can be a very real reason why some can’t lose weight, or take a long time to lose just a little bit. If you understand what causes a slow metabolism you can do more about taking care of these issues when you want to lose weight. That can make things a whole lot easier when dieting.

One of the most common causes of a slow metabolism is aging. This is something you really can not do much about, but that does not mean you have to let it beat you. As you age, your metabolism slows down. When you hit your thirties you may notice this for the first time. However, that drop in your metabolism is not as big as you may think. You can make up the difference with a few more minutes of exercise each time you work out. However, when you turn sixty, that difference will be more noticeable. Add menopause to that, it can be very hard to lose at an older age, but that does not mean you can not do it.

You may not be aware of your thyroid until it takes a turn on you and this can result in a slower metabolism. The thyroid is a gland in the neck that regulates how you burn calories and regulate hormones – to keep it in simple terms. If your thyroid begins to fail, you will get what is known as hypothyroidism. This means your body is going to pile on the pounds and you are going to feel sluggish and weak. If you develop hyperthyroidism, you are going to have the opposite problem. You will lose weight quickly (and probably at an unhealthy rate) and may feel high strung and out of sorts at times. Both are problems that must be taken care of by a doctor and often require medications for treatment.

There are other more serious conditions that can cause you to maintain and/or gain weight when you are doing all you can to lose it. I previously wrote a blog post about this topic – you can give it a read here “Health Conditions that cause Weight Gain”. If these are metabolic, the problems are probably going to be about more than weight loss. If for any reason you feel you metabolism is not what it should be, and if your body is responding to anything in a new and uncomfortable way, you should consult with your doctor. Beyond weight loss, fixing such problems can mean a long and healthy life. Without treatment, metabolism problems can mean more than hanging on to a few extra few pounds.

For more excellent information about metabolism, please refer to these articles: “Speed Up Your Metabolism” and “Foods that Boost Metabolism“.

5 comments to What Causes a Slow Metabolism

  • I have just turned 61 years young and yes I think my metabolism had slowed.
    I have started this plan to get it moving again. Access my progress at my blog.This may work for other seniors out there.

  • Lose Weight Gain Life

    Great post again mate. I think you’ve hit the nail on the head there. It doesn’t have to be hard yet mose people fail to realize the basics.

  • 0131

    Thanks for all the information I needed it for a school project but I have the opposite problem I can’t gain weight. My mom has the same thing and I would appreciate a blog about that. I agree a lot with this blog and agree most people make it harder than it is to lose weight.

  • Olivia Sanchez

    I am 62 years old and I have gained thirty five pounds in less than a year. Seeing as how I have never weighed more than 120 lbs. this is a big shock to me. Any advice would be appreciated. I just don’t know what to do. I go to the gym, get plenty of exercise. Help!

  • Jordana

    Olivia consider yourself VERY LUCKY to have stayed at 120 your whole life and to have just hit a weight gain now. For me my metabolism fell on it’s face the first time when I was 20, then again at 30. Each time it’s been worse so I am afraid what 40 is going to bring lol. I would say go and get your thyroid checked. If it’s for some reason it’s under active that could be why the weight gain, but honestly it’s probably your metabolism just catching up with you. Nothing you can do but keep getting exersize and being VERY watchful of what you eat.

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