Mid-life weight gain is common.  This is usually do to a combination of declining hormones, poor lifestyle choices, stress, lack of movement and/or sleep.

So why does this happen?  Why do metabolic rates slow down especially as we age?


Metabolism includes all of the biochemical reactions in your body that use nutrients and oxygen to create energy.  And there are lots of factors that affect how quickly (or slowly) it works, i.e. your “metabolic rate” (which is measured in calories).

But don’t worry – we know that metabolic rate is much more complicated than the old adage “calories in calories out”!  In fact it’s so complicated I’m only going to list a few of the common things that can slow it down.

Examples of common reasons why metabolic rates can slow down:

  • low thyroid hormone
  • your history of dieting
  • your size and body composition
  • your activity level
  • lack of sleep

I promise to give you better advice than just to “eat less and exercise more” (which often is the WRONG approach).


Your thyroid is the master controller of your metabolism.  When it produces fewer hormones your metabolism slows down.  The thyroid hormones (T3 & T4) tell the cells in your body when to use more energy and become more metabolically active.   Ideally it should work to keep your metabolism just right.  But there are several things that can affect it and throw it off course.  Things like autoimmune diseases, mineral deficiencies (e.g. iodine or selenium), stress, toxins & gut infections for example.

Tip: Get your Thyroid tested.  Get a full Thyroid panel including: TSH, free T4, free T3, reverse T3, Antibodies (tPo & tgab).  If you’re doctor won’t order the full panel, you can order tests direct from this lab.


When people undereat their metabolic rate often slows down.  This is because the body senses that food may be scarce and adapts by trying to continue with all the necessary life functions and do it all with less food. When you undereat, your body activates an anti-starvation system marked by high cortisol (stress hormone), low leptin levels (hormone that helps regulate food intake), high ghrelin (“the hunger hormone”), and low CCK levels (digestive hormone). This leads to more hunger, less satiety, AND more cravings for sugar and carbs. Eventually, this hormonal picture can accumulate as water retention, body fat retention in the midsection, and more.

You might be able to undereat for a while with results but it will catch up with you eventually and you may experience hair loss, weight gain, disturbed sleep, lack of appetite, fatigue and hormone imbalance.

Tip: Make sure you’re eating enough whole food to fuel your body without overdoing it.


In general, larger people have faster metabolic rates.  This is because it takes more energy to fuel a larger body than a smaller one.

However, you already know that gaining weight is rarely the best strategy for increasing your metabolism.

Muscles that actively move and do work need energy.  Even muscles at rest burn more calories than fat.  This means that the amount of energy your body uses depends partly on the amount of lean muscle mass you have.

Tip: Do some weight training to help increase your muscle mass and it is great for bone health.

Which leads us to…


Aerobic exercise temporarily increases your metabolic rate.  Your muscles are burning fuel to move and do “work” and you can tell because you’re also getting hotter.

Even little things can add up.  Walking a bit farther than you usually do, using a standing desk instead of sitting all day, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator can all contribute to more activity in your day.

Tip:  Incorporate movement into your day.  Also, exercise regularly.


There is plenty of research that shows the influence that sleep has on your metabolic rate.

Did you know that sleep is critical to becoming a pro fat burner? That’s why sleep is one of the foundational areas that I focus on with my clients.
Sleep especially affects your hormones which affects your health and weight loss efforts.

Here is the deal.

Cortisol is your body’s stress hormone. When your cortisol levels are high, your body stores fat. Not getting enough sleep can raise cortisol levels in the body and make it more difficult to burn fat.

Not sleeping enough affects your hunger hormones (ghrelin and leptin). Ghrelin signals to your brain when it’s time to eat, and leptin lets your body know that you’ve eaten enough.  After just a few days of insufficient sleep, your body will struggle to process insulin (the hormone responsible for changing sugar and starches into energy). When your insulin sensitivity is decreased, you are going to store fat.

The general consensus is to get 7-9 hours of sleep every night.

I follow the 3-2-1 sleep plan.  Three hours before bed, no food.  Two hours before bed, no work. One hour before bed, no screens.

Tip: Try to create a routine that allows at least 7 hours of sleep every night.

I’d love for you to join my next round of the  FASTer Way to Fat Loss  which has helped countless women rev up their metabolism, balance their hormones, increase their energy, reduce inflammation and burn belly fat and get lean…but it’s also helped them find food freedom.

RECIPE: (Selenium-rich): Chocolate Chia Seed Pudding

Serves 4

  • ½ cup Brazil nuts
  • 2 cups water
  • nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth (optional)
  • ½ cup chia seeds
  • ¼ cup unsweetened cacao powder
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ¼ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon maple syrup

Blend Brazil nuts in water in a high-speed blender until you get smooth, creamy milk.  If desired, strain it with a nut bag or several layers of cheesecloth.

Add Brazil nut milk and other ingredients into a bowl and whisk until combined.  Let sit several minutes (or overnight) until desired thickness is reached.

Serve & Enjoy!

Tip:  Makes a simple delicious breakfast or dessert topped with berries.