Lots of people talk about trying to lose weight, but few talks about trying to gain it. There are plenty of valid reasons to want to gain weight, but whatever your goal is, you will most likely have to contend with your body’s metabolism, which controls how fast you break down food and get nutrients from it. Fast metabolism makes it hard to gain weight.
There are many methods you can use to slow down your body’s natural metabolism, but there are only a few methods that are actually safe and healthy. Most of these methods have to do with the size of your meals and your daily calorie intake. Eating bigger meals and consuming more calories than you burn impacts your metabolism.
Of course, you’re probably going to need a bit more detail about all of this if you really want to make the most of this information. Don’t worry, we will not only cover all of the best methods to slow down your metabolism, but we will also cover how to ensure that you do it safely. After all, your metabolism is a natural part of your body.
How Does Metabolism Work?
Many people think of burning calories as something that happens particularly when they are exercising or doing something strenuous.
However, this is not the case. Your body burns calories all the time, even when you are sitting or sleeping. After all, your body needs the energy to breathe, think, pump blood, and more.
The rate at which your body naturally burns calories even without you engaging in any type of exercise is your metabolism, simply put.
People with fast metabolism naturally burn calories more quickly than others and burn more of them while going about normal human functions. This makes it easier for them to lose or keep off weight.
That’s all well and good, but if you are trying to gain weight or put on muscle mass, a fast metabolism can be more bane than a boon.
In situations such as these, having a slower metabolism would actually make it a lot easier to put on weight. Unfortunately, it’s hard to judge exactly how fast someone’s metabolism is.
It often comes down to genetics, but if you notice that you rarely tend to keep the weight even when you eat a lot, your metabolism may be faster than normal. If you want to slow it down in order to gain weight, there are a few options available to you.
How to Slow Down Your Metabolism
The thing is, your metabolism not only makes it harder to put on weight at all, but it also makes it harder to keep weight after you do gain it. That’s why you’ll need to employ these healthy and simple tactics if you want to bulk up or gain some muscle mass.
Consume More Calories Than You Burn
This one is pretty obvious: you lose weight by burning more calories than you consume, so gaining weight is just the opposite.
You need to consume more calories than you burn every day in order to put on weight. It’s hard to know exactly how many calories one burns every day, but you should be going over the recommended daily intake of 2,000.
You don’t necessarily have to eat more food, but you do need to eat foods that are higher in calories. Even smaller portions can have more calories depending on what they are portions of. For instance, whole-grain bread, legumes, potatoes, and squash are all quite high in calories. You can also indulge in more rice, pasta, protein shakes, etc.
If you exercise on a regular basis, you will have to eat even more food to compensate for the calories you are already burning through exercise.
But as a rule of thumb, as long as you consume 500 extra calories than you burn every day, you are likely to gain at least one pound in a week. Of course, there are alternatives to just eating more.
Take a High-Calorie Supplement
If you are alright with the idea of adding supplements to your diet, this can be a source of more calories for you, instead of outright eating more food.
There are health and energy supplements out there designed specifically to provide you with more calories and a feeling of fullness for a longer period of time.
Now, this is not to say that you should use a supplement in place of actual meals. Don’t replace breakfast or lunch with a supplement and think that is equivalent to eating a meal. They are called supplements for a reason: you should add them to your daily meals, but not replace meals with them. High-calorie supplements may help you keep weight.
Some popular brands that have options for this include Ensure and Boost, though there are certainly still other options out there.
Eat Larger Meals, and More Frequently
Some studies have found a correlation between eating larger, frequent meals and intaking more calories. The results weren’t exactly concrete, however, so we can’t say definitively that this would guarantee some weight gain. However, we’ve already discussed how intaking more calories would definitely help you in this regard.
As for eating more frequently, it means your digestive system has more food to digest, so it is unlikely to burn all of the calories you are consuming before at least some of it manages to get stored as body weight.
To really make the most of this strategy, consider eating late into the night or making dinner your biggest meal. Because you often go to bed soon after, your body slows down and uses the minimum amount of calories possible to keep your body functioning. This means that calories you intake right before bed are more likely to stick.
If you don’t want to eat more frequently, just consider eating larger meals at the times of day you do normally eat. Defeating your metabolism is mostly about outpacing the rate at which is burns the calories you intake, so more calories will always help with gaining weight and mass.
Raise Carbohydrate Intake Specifically
Many people view carbs as something bad to be avoided, but when you are trying to gain weight, the opposite is true. This is especially the case if you are specifically trying to build muscle mass. That’s because your body naturally prioritizes the conversation of carbohydrates over other things, like protein.
That means that, if you eat a large amount of both protein and carbs, your body will convert the carbs first, giving the protein a bigger opportunity to actually contribute to your muscle mass. This isn’t really slowing down your metabolism so much as tricking it into converting what you don’t want instead of what you do want.
This doesn’t mean you should start loading up on junk food, of course. There are healthy carbs and not-so-healthy carbs. Chips and soda probably aren’t the way to go, but you can definitely eat more pasta and whole wheat bread, as well as rice.
Trick the Body Through Fasting
Fasting probably sounds extremely counter-productive to trying to put on weight, but there’s actually a trick to this. When your body believes that you are starving, it slows down your metabolism in order to extend the length of time your energy can last. It’s kind of like rationing water in the desert, consuming less so it lasts longer.
You can use this to your advantage if you are trying to put on weight. If you fast occasionally, you can trick your body into going into starvation mode. Once your metabolism has slowed down considerably due to this, you can eat a large, calorie-rich meal. Even though you’ve started eating again, your metabolism won’t go back to normal immediately.
Your metabolism will still be slower than normal, and you will have just consumed a large number of calories. Your slower metabolism will not be very likely to burn through all of those calories before some of it is stored as body weight. You can use this trick to great effect, just make sure you keep the fasting to occasional bouts.
Specific Foods That May Slow Down Your Metabolism
Aside from all of the aforementioned tactics, there are some particular food items you can eat that do a good job of slowing down your metabolism in one way or another. The first is refined grains with lots of carbs, for the reasons mentioned previously in this article. Second up is fruit juice, though that should be consumed in moderation.
That’s because, much like carbs, sugars distract your body and take priority over being converted compared to protein, so you can trick your body just like with carbs. Granola bars are also a good choice, as they are high in fructose, which requires a lot of effort for your body to convert.
This once again means that the things you want to keep on your body, such as protein, get a bigger window of time to be stored as actual body weight.