Metab­o­lism is the many chem­i­cal “trans­for­ma­tions” nec­es­sary to main­tain life. It is such a loose con­cept that you may believe that you are at its mer­cy. In fact, that’s how it is.

Here are some rea­sons why your body’s calo­rie burn­ing process may slow down.

You started your day dehydrated

One of the best (and cheap­est) ways to jump­start your metab­o­lism is to drink water as soon as you wake up. The fact is that dur­ing sleep, the body’s metab­o­lism slows down. If you don’t wake up in the mid­dle of the night to drink water, your body isn’t get­ting any flu­ids at all.

It’s worth rehy­drat­ing your body before load­ing it with any food or drink. It also results in less bloat­ing, a mod­er­ate appetite, and more ener­gy.

Have you given up fruit?

Fruits are rich in pectin, a gelatin-like fiber that “sticks” to tox­ic com­pounds and helps the body elim­i­nate them. It is not dif­fi­cult to guess that if you do not eat fruit, the effect will be the oppo­site.

Plus, as a weight loss bonus, pectin can lim­it the amount of fat your cells can absorb. Grape­fruits, oranges, peach­es and apples are good sources of this sub­stance.

Photo by Trang Doan

Do you prefer coffee to green tea?

If you always skip green tea, you’re miss­ing out on some impor­tant metab­o­lism-boost­ing effects. In a 12-week study, par­tic­i­pants who com­bined dai­ly drink­ing of 4–5 cups of green tea with a 25-minute work­out lost an aver­age of two kilo­grams more bel­ly fat than those who did not.

The fact is that tea con­tains cat­e­chins. These are antiox­i­dants that stim­u­late the release of fat from fat cells and help the liv­er con­vert fat into ener­gy faster.

You didn’t get enough sleep

If you’re chron­i­cal­ly sleep-deprived, don’t be sur­prised if you gain a few pounds with­out eat­ing a bite of extra food. Lack of sleep can cause sev­er­al meta­bol­ic prob­lems. You may burn few­er calo­ries, lose con­trol of your appetite, and in the mean­time your body’s cor­ti­sol lev­els will jump, which stores fat.

Not get­ting enough sleep (which experts say is between 7 and 9 hours a night) for most peo­ple also impairs glu­cose tolerance—the body’s abil­i­ty to use sug­ar as fuel. This can lead to ill­ness over time.

We all have nights when we get less sleep than we need. How­ev­er, if this hap­pens con­stant­ly, it is bet­ter to extend your sleep rather than exer­cise for fat loss or weight main­te­nance.

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