Avoid these 7 Metabolism Mistakes to Lose Weight

We Explain The Reasons Behind It.

Story Highlights
  • What does metabolism mean?
  • What causes metabolic damage?
  • 7 metabolism killing mistakes

A slow metabolism can be the death of weight loss. Here are 7 mistakes you could be making right now that stand in the way of your body burning calories. Make sure you avoid these metabolism killers!

Your metabolism is the engine that keeps your body running. It turns calories into fuel. There are ways to boost your metabolism but what about mistakes and habits that slow it down? You may be killing your metabolism without even knowing!



1. You’re not eating enough

screen-shot-2017-01-10-at-3-44-31-pmOne way to kill your metabolism is by not eating enough food.

While a calorie deficit is necessary for weight loss, countless people make the mistake of trying to lose fat too quickly by being overly-aggressive with their calorie restriction. This, in turn, causes their body to respond aggressively in opposition.

Your body has an inbuilt protection mechanism whereby it acts to conserve energy when it senses a drop in energy intake. Your body needs calories to get energy and if you don’t eat enough for your body to simply function or you are depriving yourself, your body will slow down your metabolism and start to break down calorie-burning muscle. Ultimately your body starts burning fewer calories which is the opposite of what you want if your goal is to lose weight.


Starving yourself to lose a few pounds, binging then starving and binging again can be a vicious cycle. Your metabolism is wondering what in the world is going on and goes into survival mode.  This means it is storing calories as fat instead of burning them.

It’s Better To Burn The Calories Off Than To Starve Them Off

Also, note that calorie deficit does not necessarily need to come from a calorie restriction only. A good amount of contribution should come from exercise.

2. You’re Not Eating Enough Protein


You all know that protein is essential for muscle-building, but a lot of us don’t realize that is is equally important for fat loss.

Lack of protein can cause higher insulin responses and increased hunger. You lose control of your appetite and are likely to binge eat.

Further, muscle is a metabolically active tissue. It is very thermogenic, requiring more energy for your body to process than the other macronutrients. Therefore, simply speaking, when you lose muscle tissue, your metabolism slows down. Having enough protein in your diet will help to prevent this from happening.

Read here: How to calculate your ideal macronutrients intake.

3. You Cut out Carbs Completely


A low-carb diet is one of the fastest ways to lose weight. At the same time, it promotes rebound or weight re-gain. Taking your low-carb diet to the extreme could backfire on you.

There are two major ways in which low-carb diets can cause metabolic damage:

  • Firstly, since your blood glucose levels will be low on a low-carb diet, your body will ultimately start converting proteins (including muscle tissue) to blood sugar for energy during high-intensity anaerobic exercise such as resistance training. This, of course, would lead to a loss of muscle mass.
  • Secondly,  carbs are your body’s preferred choice of fuel. When you exercise, your muscles need glycogen from carbohydrate stores in your body. Not consuming carbs means you’ll have low glycogen levels and low energy. With your muscles starved of energy, you won’t be able to exercise as intensely as you otherwise would.  This means you’ll burn fewer calories during your workout and after.

4. You Are Consuming Refined Carbs


Refined carbohydrates are rapidly digested and absorbed into the bloodstream, and they tend to elevate your blood glucose level very quickly.


This causes your pancreas to produce more insulin to prevent your blood glucose from getting too high. As a result, your liver secretes triglyceride-rich lipoproteins and subsequent triglyceride deposition in your fatty tissues. In turn, an increase in your fat mass will tend to lower your basal metabolic rate.

5. You Are Sitting Too Much


Our lifestyles have led to longer and longer bouts of sitting – at your desk at work, in the car while driving, on the couch watching TV. The longer you sit, the slower your metabolism remains even when you later exercise.


Move More, Sit Less

When we’re sitting, your metabolism is not as functional. But even leisurely movements—like walking to your colleague’s office instead of calling—requires muscle activity that triggers processes related to the breakdown of fats and sugars within the body. Simply standing burns more calories than sitting, so every half hour, take to few minutes to at least get up.

Try these 7 ways to move more at work

6. You Sleep Too Little


A good night’s sleep is important for maintaining a healthy metabolism. Not getting enough sleep adversely affects the body’s metabolism.

Metabolism regulates various hormones that have a direct impact on our hunger levels, these include insulin, leptin and ghrelin.

  • Insulin regulates our blood sugar levels. When you don’t get enough sleep, insulin tells your body to slow the release of leptin.
  • Leptin is a hormone that signals to our brain that we are satiated. Less sleep equals to low leptin levels which leads to a persistent sense of insatiable hunger.
  • Further, when you are sleep deprived, your ghrelin levels go up. This is the “go” hormone that tells you when to eat.
  • Having higher levels of ghrelin makes you more hungry.
  • These hormonal patterns contribute to obesity and lack of exercise


Research has also shown that people who get little sleep crave simple carbohydrates. These spike your insulin levels, wreaking havoc on your metabolism and destroying your body’s ability to burn fat. Another thing that can kill your metabolism is stress. And lack of sleep can easily lead to a more stressful week.

7. You Have an Erratic Eating Schedule


Our bodies are very smart. When your body knows when to expect food, it sends a message to burn up energy because it knows that more fuel will be coming in. However, if you have an erratic meal schedule, and you go hours without eating, your body will conserve instead of burn energy since it doesn’t know when it will next get more food.  


Researchers suspect that eating at the same times every day trains the body to burn more calories between meals.

That’s a lot of mistakes, how do I avoid ALL of these?

Avoid these mistakes and your metabolism should run like a well-oiled machine. We know that life often stands in the way of not making all these mistakes. But is about changing your lifestyle rather than following a strict diet, starving yourself or avoiding certain kinds of food.

I’d suggest slowly changing your habits one by one (read our article about the power of habit) and then slowly but surely you will live a fit and healthy lifestyle. Your body will thank you for it!

Leave us a review and let us know if you make these mistakes and how you’re working on avoiding them.


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Wiktoria Banda

Wiktoria is a content writer and illustrator at Shape.
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