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Does a Slow metabolism Cause Weight Gain? And What Can You Do About It?

If you're struggling to lose weight, you might be wondering if a slow metabolism may be to blame. A slow metabolism can make it more difficult to to shed unwanted pounds, however is there anything you can do about it to achieve your weight loss goals. In this blog post, we'll explore the link between a slow metabolism and weight gain, as well as some strategies for overcoming a sluggish metabolism and achieving your weight loss goals. Stay tuned!

What is metabolism and how can it cause weight gain?

Metabolism is a complex process that involves the conversion of nutrients into energy, and it plays a crucial role in weight loss. When people talk about your metabolism, they are often referring to metabolic rate, which is the rate at which your body burns calories. Your metabolic rate contributes to around 70% of the total number of calories you burn each day, and it can vary depending on a number of factors such as age, weight, activity level, and diet. This means that this number is critical when it comes to weight loss.

A higher metabolic rate/metabolism means that your body is able to burn more calories, even at rest, which can make it easier to lose weight. Simply, if you burn more energy doing nothing, achieving a calorie deficit. is more easily managed and weight loss can occur.

On the other hand, a lower metabolism means your body burns fewer calories, making it harder to lose weight or even maintain your current weight. When you consume more calories than your body needs, your metabolism converts these excess calories into stored energy in the form of fat. Over time, this can lead to weight gain.

In addition to metabolism, there are other factors that contribute to weight gain, such as genetics, diet, and lifestyle choices. However, metabolism is still an important piece of the puzzle when it comes to weight loss.

So how can you overcome a slow metabolism and achieve your weight loss goals?

Firstly, you need to determine if your metabolism is really slow and the only real way is performing a resting metabolic rate (RMR) test. This is typically performed at a clinic and involves monitoring how many calories you burn in a set period of time while at rest. Other signs of a slow metabolism may include feeling tired after eating, experiencing cravings for sweets and carbs, or having difficulty losing weight despite eating a healthy diet and exercising regularly.

If your metabolic rate is slower than normal, there's no magic bullet that can help speed up your metabolism and help with losing weight. However, there are some things you can do to help make sure your metabolism is firing.

These include:

Avoid excessive calorie restriction

Even though we know losing weight is about eating the correct number of calories, attempting rapid weight loss can often have a negative impact on your metabolic rate. Don't attempt to lose weight fast and focus on a balanced diet and eating enough for a healthy weight. If you're unsure about how much you should be eating then find out more about metabolism testing here.

Eat more protein

Eating adequate protein helps to build muscle which despite many claims, doesn't really burn that many more calories than fat, however, more muscle means you can burn more calories while exercising since you'll be able to do "more work" i.e., lift greater weights. The benefits of strength training also extends way beyond just calorie burn. Eating a diet that's high in lean protein can also help to increase the Thermic Effect of Feeding (TEF), which means you will burn more calories digesting and absorbing protein compared to fat and sugar.


Make sure you exercise. We have spoken previously about the importance of muscle mass and how strength training may increase your metabolism. You may also look to include interval training, which alternates periods of high-intensity exercise with periods of rest. This type of exercise is great for increasing your fitness levels and will also burn calories even after you stop. However, the afterburn effect is often exagerated in terms of calorie burn,

Anecdotally, I have now tested over 400 individuals and I consistently see that fitter individuals tend to have a fast metabolism, so get moving!

Get a good night's sleep

Although sleep may not directly impact your metabolism, sleep deprivation can lead to weight gain as it alters hormone levels which impact metabolism and hunger cues.

Dietary supplements

There are a few dietary supplements that have been documented to to help with metabolism which include caffeine, green tea extract and forskolin however, the impact of these supplements on your metabolism will be negligible. One study showed that caffeine can increase your metabolism by 3-4% over 150mins, which is about 10 calories haha

So instead of trying to use supplements to boost your metabolism, focus more on the quality of your diet. If you're thinking about taking any of these supplements, it's important to talk to your doctor first to make sure they are safe for you.

Work with a weight loss professional

If you're struggling to lose weight or body fat, working with a weight loss professional can help you understand your metabolism and develop a plan to lose weight safely. A weight loss coach can also consider your previous diet history, behaviours and pitfalls when setting your goals, as well as providing you with support and accountability along your journey.


If you're struggling to lose weight, a slower than normal metabolism maybe to blame. However, the only way to know is with an RMR metabolism test. In the meantime, focus on eating regular, nutrient-dense meals and snacks throughout the day, including protein-rich foods in your diet, engaging in regular physical activity, and getting enough quality sleep each night, which can help support your weight loss goals.

If you felt like you needed more support, then why not book in for a call today to see how we can help.


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