How to Stop Being Cold All the Time (it's Your Metabolic Health)
Updated: Jun 10
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Many people seem to always be cold, women especially. If the temperature dips below 73 degrees, a sweater is needed. I’ve definitely felt that way before. Bundled up in front of a space heater, freezing. It’s a kind of cold that seeps into your bones and makes it hard to warm up. It’s almost an expectation that women are always cold. It’s so common that it’s almost considered feminine!
While there are actually many different things that could be causing you to be cold all the time, a common cause is actually a slow metabolism. One huge red flag of a sluggish metabolism is a low basal body temperature (anything below 97 Fahrenheit). A fast metabolism means the body is well-fueled and burning hot, and slow metabolism means the body is conserving all the energy it can. Diet culture and the need to be skinny have wrecked many people’s metabolism, causing their body temperatures to drop.
For years, I ate too few calories to stay slim. I tried various diets and went through phases of over-exercising. This wrecked my metabolism! When the body does not get the fuel it needs, it slows everything down to conserve energy. It releases stress hormones to keep things running. This is NOT healthy in the long run! Food is literal fuel for the body! And humans’ bodies are designed to eat many times a day to keep things running!
What are the signs of a slow metabolism?
1. Low basal body temp, which leads to being cold all the time.
Particularly, cold hands and feet. The basal body temp is the body’s temperature after first waking in the morning. Anything at or below 96 degrees is an indicator of a slow metabolism. The normal range should be 97-98 degrees.
2. Low mood.
Feelings of general sadness, PMS, or anxiety can be a sign of a slow metabolism. When the body is not getting the nourishment it needs, it burns through minerals that are vital to mood, particularly magnesium. Just as job or family stress puts you in a low mood, body stress from lack of nourishment does the same. The body has the same hormonal reaction to physical stress AND emotional or social stress.
3. Low heart rate.
Many people assume that a low heart rate is an indicator of fitness, but actually, it’s an indication of a slow metabolism. Like the temperature, the heart rate drops slightly to conserve energy. Everything in the body slows way down because it’s not getting the fuel it needs. Long-distance runners are the classic example of people who usually have low heart rates. That’s because distance running is a stress on the body. The body is smart and will do everything it can to take care of you. In order to conserve the energy it needs for the 5-mile run, it slows down everything, the metabolism, and the heart rate.
4. Low libido.
Libido is often overlooked when assessing overall health, but it is an important indicator! Many people falsely assume that libido will decline with age, however usually what happens is the metabolism slows with age, and libido decreases as a result. Again, the body is smart and will do everything it can to take care of you. When the body is under stress (not getting enough fuel), it will lower its production of testosterone (which fuels libido), so that there’s less of a chance of reproduction. If the body is struggling to fuel itself, it’s not going to want to create a baby to then care for! Hormonal birth control can also be a cause of low libido (see my post here for why you should stop hormonal birth control).
5. Low appetite.
Lack of hunger is possibly the largest clue that your metabolism is under-functioning! Many people are not hungry in the mornings, and this means your metabolism is not up and running as it should be! If your metabolism is fast, you will be hungry every 2-3 hours.
See my post here for Pro-metabolic Snacks.
If you resonated with several, or all, of these red flags, your metabolism most definitely needs support!
The number one thing you can do for your metabolism today is begin eating enough!
Eat breakfast within 30 minutes of waking, even if you’re not hungry. Eat every few hours, either a full meal or a snack. Each meal and snack should consist of a protein and a carbohydrate. It’s best that proteins and carbohydrates are whole foods, nutrient-dense, and full of bioavailable nutrients (meaning easy for the body to absorb). There are a lot of things you can do to support your metabolism. Read more in my post here on 5 Ways to Speed up your Metabolism.
Won’t I gain weight if I eat that much?
Yes, very possibly. However, oftentimes, the weight gained is very easy to lose once your metabolism is healthy and fast. I believe as a society we also expect people (women especially) to be too thin. The fact is, a visible 6-pack is just not realistic for most women. However, many people do legitimately have some extra weight to lose. If that’s the case, focus first on healing your metabolism, and then losing the weight very very slowly. Ready my post here for how to lose weight on a pro-metabolic diet.
When the metabolism is fast, the body is warm. A fast metabolism and warm body means the body is well-fueled, just like a wood fire. This does not mean you’ll never be cold, but you’ll find it much easier to warm up and stay warm!
I used to always be cold! I craved Tennessee summer heat just so I could always step outside and let my body warm up, but even in an air-conditioned room, I always had a sweater. I dreaded the winter because the cold would set in, and I just could not warm up. It seemed to seep into my bones, and I had to wait until springtime to finally thaw out. After about a year of working to heal my metabolism, I can happily report that I’m no longer always cold! Just this week, I was in a meeting with several co-workers, and two female co-workers were talking about how the room was cold, and how they were always cold. The room was about 70 degrees, and I was comfortably warm, wearing less warm clothing. I was actually even sweating a bit.
Healing the metabolism is so well worth it. Not just to not always be cold, but also to have steady energy, mood, libido, and appetite. I’ve been able to gain muscle so much easier in the gym! I no longer feel like trash in the mornings! And I no longer get the afternoon energy slump, and need a cup of coffee every day! What’s been your experience? Let me know in the comments!