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How Metabolic Slowdown Affects Women And Their Weight Loss

Let me ask you a question. Have you drastically cut calories and you’re still not losing weight, stuck in a plateau where you have little energy and feel sluggish frequently in the afternoons? If so, you’re likely experiencing a Metabolic Slowdown.

Metabolic Slowdown is actually a condition where your body reduces its overall energy usage and heat production. You’ve heard that dieting puts your body into “starvation mode” but what you may not know is what’s actually going on.

The better you understand what happens to your body; the more likely you’ll be to give up on diets for good.

The thyroid gland is the regulator of your overall metabolism. It sets your body temperature and rate in which you burn calories. The main cause of Metabolic Slowdown is a decrease in active thyroid hormone.

There are three major causes why thyroid hormone decreases which results in Metabolic Slowdown…

The first reason is due to a loss in muscle from hormonal shifts.

This is often the result of hormonal changes that come with age (primarily a decrease in testosterone).

That’s why resistance training is essential for women over the age of 30 (they have less testosterone to begin with). Women over 30 who don’t take proactive measures to maintain lean muscle will start to lose it real quick.

The second reason is muscle loss due to low calorie dieting.

When you don’t give your body the energy it requires it will actually go to its own lean muscle for energy.

For every three pounds of fat you lose from low-calorie dieting you’ll also lose about a pound of muscle. Muscle wasting will directly result in lowered T3 and T4 thyroid hormone levels.

The third major cause of thyroid attenuation is increased cortisol production.

Many women are unaware of this connection. Physical stress, lack of sleep, food allergies, emotional worry, and other forms of stress will cause your adrenal glands to ramp up production of cortisol.

The increase in cortisol affects thyroid hormone conversion, which once again helps to lower your metabolism.

How Metabolic Slowdown occurs in most women

Let’s see if any of this sounds familiar if you’re over 30. Somewhere in your late 20′s or early 30′s you start gaining weight although you can’t say you’re eating any differently.

In fact, if anything you’re eating much healthier than when you were younger (no more sodas and potato chips for breakfast) but your body simply isn’t what it used to be. You’re gaining weight, your clothes fit tighter, and your shape just doesn’t look the same in the mirror.



The truth is you’re gaining more and more body fat with each year as you lose muscle (and the shape and definition that goes with it). Your metabolism has been lowered due to the natural decrease in testosterone and resulting muscle loss.

And since doing weight training to maintain and build lean muscle is the last thing on your mind because you’ve never had to workout before, you’ve continually lost muscle.

You don’t want to do weight training because you have this belief that it’s going to make you “big and bulky” an you just want to “tone, firm and lose weight.”

So you figure the best thing to do is go on a diet and do cardio. You starve yourself to lose the first 5 or ten pounds then hit a plateau that just won’t budge.

You’ve continued to lose muscle in the process and the physiological stress placed on your body from the low calorie dieting has increased cortisol. Hormones regulating your metabolism get further out of whack…and metabolism continues to decrease.

You decide to up your cardio in order to break through the plateau. This only makes the situation worse because you weren’t providing enough calories in your diet in the first place so your body starts breaking down lean muscle and once again producing more cortisol.

This vicious cycle keeps repeating itself again and again. With each time you lose more and more muscle mass (and lower your metabolism further and further) until you get to the point that if you even walk past a bakery you’ll put on two pounds.

The solution for Metabolic Slowdown

It’s all in your metabolism! Here’s the secret. Whether you want to reverse Metabolic Slowdown (yes, it can be reversed!) or prevent it from happening in the first place. All

I can say is that once you understand how the human body functions you’ll understand that deviating from this basic strategy will ultimately leave you fat and frustrated.

You’ve got to make sure your hormone levels are in balance through a supportive nutrition diet (a diet that supports muscle development), cardiovascular exercise (preferably including interval training for boosts in fat burning hormones), resistance training (to build lean muscle and support hormone levels), and then finally regulating stress and getting adequate rest and recovery.

There it is in nutshell, your recipe for avoiding/recovering from Metabolic Slowdown. The choice is yours on which path to take.

Shane Doll is a certified Charleston personal trainer, fat loss expert, speaker, and founder of Shaping Concepts Personal Training Studios. You can receive a FREE no-obligations trial of his Charleston personal training programs and experience the Shaping Concepts difference for yourself.

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Category: Hormones & Health.