Weight loss, whether through surgery or weight training are the only true, sure ways to increase metabolic rate. Ironically, there are dozens of ways to slow the process down. Slowed caloric burn increases the risk of weight gain. While there are many different studies that point their fingers at one thing or another, it is usually a combination of more than one that can slow metabolism to a dangerous, weight gaining level. Hormonal balance is one of the most common ways that the metabolism gets slowed, especially in women. Estrogen naturally decreases as a part of aging which leads to a slow but nearly steady weight gain even if there is no change in caloric intake or exercise routine. According to research by the University of Texas's Southwest Medical Center, women may gain roughly ten percent of their current body weight in ten year increments simply because of slowed estrogen production. But estrogen is not the only hormone that can be a problem. Testosterone can decrease in both genders as well. Testosterone helps to regulate muscle mass which in turn helps to control weight gain. Muscles burn calories even when the body is at rest.
Stress, which is a common problem in this modern world is also another leading cause of weight gain for both men and women. Stress increases the release of a particular hormone called cortisol. Cortisol in turn causes an increase in the amount of weight that is gained, especially around the middle of the body. Cortisol may also cause many people to overeat. Finally, stress can also cause a decrease in the amount of sleep for the night. That decrease in sleep can interfere with the body's internal clock which also regulates calorie burn. Sleep deprivation may also cause a difficulty in burning specific calories, especially carbohydrates leading to a constant rise in blood sugar levels. High blood sugar levels also causes insulin levels to rise which leads to weight gain.
Other, less common types of slowed calorie burn can include certain medications, certain health conditions and not getting enough exercise. Ironically, eating too little can also decrease the amount of calories that are burned each day. Trying to stick to a calorie count that goes below 1200 per day for a woman and 1800 for a man will not allow weight loss but rather will cause weight gain as the body becomes convinced that it is starving.
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