Many people use the world metabolism in their workout vocabulary, yet many are not really certain exactly what it is. It is not a function of the brain or nervous system.

Metabolism is the process which your body’s muscles convert the glucose in your food to usable energy. A slower metabolism means that it is taking longer for your body to make that conversion.

The good news is that you can do your own personal health inventory and find out the potential problem areas that are slowing down your metabolism. Once you have the problems on your health radar, then you can actively take steps to increase your metabolic rate.

In most cases, it does not require you to do anything more than modify your lifestyle and diet.

1Gaining weight and having difficulty working it off

Often you will read that weight gain is a sign of a slow metabolism. But what you need to watch for is not being able to lose it in a reasonable amount of time.

Most people will put on a few pounds during the holiday season or towards the end of the summer when the necessity of a swimsuit body fades with the temperatures. One reason weight gain has to be watched is the possibility of a decrease in muscle mass, which will definitely slow your metabolism.

The loss of muscle mass may be more evident if you see some of the other signs below but haven’t gained any weight!

2Having difficulty staying warm on days when the temperatures are normal

People with higher metabolic rates are converting food into energy faster. That conversion generates heat as a by-product of the process, which raises the body temperature.

Naturally, you will feel warm on warm days, so what you need to look for are the days when you are putting on a sweater when most people are wearing short sleeves. You will often hear the health phrase “core temperature” which is the temperature of your body’s key internal organs, such as the heart and liver.

It is this internal heat that will keep your warm, and a low metabolism will reduce the level of your core temperature.

3Headaches that are not caused by people

If you are around people at all there will be times when their innocent behavior becomes an annoyance and gives you a headache. Then there are the times when a headache comes about suddenly, for no apparent reason.

Many times the underlying reason is an underactive thyroid, which will slow your metabolism even though you are doing everything right with your lifestyle. If you are experiencing migraine headaches it is essential you stop in for a visit with your health care professional for a follow-up diagnosis.

This is one of those reasons for a slow metabolism that just may be hereditary.

4A decrease in your ability to concentrate normally

This is another head issue, but this actually can negatively impact your entire life. Your brain feeds on the converted food you eat and a slow metabolism will result in your brain looking for energy that is slowly getting to its destination.

How this can potentially affect your entire life is that without the energy your brain needs, it can result in you making bad decisions. Though we may not think about it at all, the simple process of thinking and decision making burns off energy in your brain.

A balance is clearly required since weight gain can also slow up your metabolism.

5Constantly having that “run down” feeling

We have covered headaches and a loss of concentration, and the third head indicator of a slow metabolism is constantly feeling tired and run down. This is one you need to be careful with because there can be other underlying causes, such as depression, excessive stress, or another psychological problem that is not connected to a slow metabolism.

If you are certain the cause is likely a slow metabolism, then examine your diet to see if it has a sufficient amount of iron in it, and also look at your vitamin B intake.

6Shedding more hair than usual

Men and women alike fear seeing more hair in their brush or comb every morning than the day before. The average person will drop about 100 hairs everywhere, every day.

There are genetic factors to consider, but you can look to your head to see if the hair loss appears to be out of the ordinary. You should combine any theory of its connection to a slow metabolism with other factors on this page.

7Skin that is drier than usual or cracking

Cracking is the skin condition that requires more attention. Some people have naturally dry skin, so saying dry skin can be a subjective observation. Though this last reason may seem not terribly important, it is the one reason that has a definite hormone connection. The same hormone that controls all of your metabolic processes is the same one that keeps your skin and nails healthy. Barring any type of fungal infection, a health issue that should be brought under control immediately cracked fingernails or skin is a sure sign you need to take action to start resolving the problem.

The best way to use this information is to combine multiple signs of a slow metabolism and see what your “score” is. If you have 3 or more of these conditions, chances are you should start looking into how you can speed up your body’s metabolism. Take control of what you can, and start your journey back to a healthier lifestyle.