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6 Metabolism Killers

Nina Ghamrawi, MS, RD, CDE
April 11, 2024
April 11, 2024

If you’ve tried literally everything to lose weight, but it is not budging, you may need to adjust your approach. Several factors can shock and lower metabolism, leading to a decrease in energy expenditure and potential weight gain.

Here Are 6 Major Habits to Stop Now:

  1. Chronic Stress: Prolonged exposure to stress can disrupt hormonal balance and lead to elevated levels of cortisol, the body's primary stress hormone. High cortisol levels have been linked to a decrease in metabolic rate and an increase in fat storage, particularly in the abdominal region. So redeem one of our meditation videos, and chill out a little with us!1
  2. Poor Sleep Quality: Irregular times for sleeping and waking, not enough sleep, or poor sleep quality can all disrupt the body's circadian rhythms and impair metabolic function. Research suggests that sleep deprivation alters hormone levels, leading to increased hunger, decreased satiety, trouble resisting temptations, and metabolic dysregulation.2
  3. Low-Calorie Diets: Prolonged calorie restriction or extreme low-calorie diets can signal the body to conserve energy and slow down metabolic rate as a survival mechanism. This adaptive response, known as metabolic adaptation or "diet-induced adaptive thermogenesis," can offset weight loss efforts and make it challenging to maintain long-term weight loss.3
  4. Sedentary Lifestyle: Lack of physical activity or prolonged periods of sitting can lead to less muscle mass, and a lower resting metabolism. Regular exercise, especially aerobic and resistance training,  has been shown to increase metabolic rate and promote fat loss.4
  5. Irregular timing of meals: The body's metabolism follows a circadian rhythm, which is regulated by internal clocks that respond to external cues like meal timing. Irregular meal timing, such as skipping meals or eating at inconsistent times, can disrupt circadian rhythms and alter metabolic processes.5 Irregular meal patterns can disrupt the normal secretion of our hunger hormones, leading to increased appetite, overeating, and weight gain over time.6
  6. Skipping breakfast: Breakfast is often considered the most important meal of the day as it kick-starts your metabolism after an overnight fast. When you skip breakfast, your body may enter into a prolonged fasting state, leading to a reduction in basal metabolic rate (BMR). This kicks your body into conservation mode- as if you are a bear, hibernating in winter. The problem is, when you do finally eat, your metabolism will be already depressed, leading your body to hold on to more of the food you consumed, turning it into fat to store it for the next time you fast.7 Skipping breakfast may also lead to more hunger and overeating later in the day. Additionally, research suggests that breakfast skippers are more likely to consume higher-calorie, nutrient-poor foods later in the day, which can further impact metabolic health.6


In conclusion, chill a little, try to rest as well as you can, strengthen your muscles, and don’t stress your body out with too little food or skipping meals. We know life gets hard sometimes. Talk to a health coach or dietitian, and they can help you troubleshoot any rough patches to help you through them with less strain on your body.


  1. Epel, E. et al. (2000). "Stress and body shape: stress-induced cortisol secretion is consistently greater among women with central fat." Psychosomatic Medicine.
  2. Knutson, K.L. (2007). "Impact of sleep and sleep loss on glucose homeostasis and appetite regulation." Sleep Medicine Clinics.
  3. Dulloo, A.G., et al. (2012). "Adaptive thermogenesis in human body weight regulation: more of a concept than a measurable entity?" Obesity Reviews.
  4. Church, T.S., et al. (2010). "Effects of aerobic and resistance training on hemoglobin A1c levels in patients with type 2 diabetes: a randomized controlled trial." JAMA.
  5. Panda, S. (2018). The Circadian Code: Lose Weight, Supercharge Your Energy, and Transform Your Health from Morning to Midnight. Rodale Books.
  6. Leidy, H. J., et al. (2010). The influence of higher protein intake and greater eating frequency on appetite control in overweight and obese men. Obesity.
  7. Farshchi, H.R., et al. (2005). "Deleterious effects of omitting breakfast on insulin sensitivity and fasting lipid profiles in healthy lean women." American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

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