If you’ve ever wondered why your friend or partner can eat a three-course meal without gaining a pound, while just one small dessert goes straight to your hips, it’s all due to metabolism. Some people have much faster metabolisms than others, and normally, this is just down to biology.
Here’s something you might not know, though – you can actually alter the speed of your metabolism using a few select quick tricks. The faster your metabolism, the quicker you’ll be able to burn energy, meaning you can metabolize calories quicker without them converting to fat in your body.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is the process in which your body converts foods and drinks into energy. During this process, calories from these foods are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.
Most peoples’ metabolisms slow down with age, which is why you might find yourself gaining some extra weight as you get older. Luckily, with a few simple hacks, you can ensure your metabolism works just as quickly as it did when you were in your teens and twenties.
Here are 11 expert-backed tips for increasing your metabolism naturally today:
1. Don’t skip breakfast
Many of us don’t make time for breakfast because we’re convinced it’s only going to add extra calories to our diet, with no other benefits. Actually, though, breakfast is the most important meal of the day as far as metabolism is concerned.
Studies have found that people who eat breakfast lose more weight than those who miss it, which is likely down to the fact that your metabolism slows while you sleep, and doesn't rev back up until you eat again. The later you get your first meal of the day, the more slowly you’ll burn calories until that moment.
It’s a smart idea to start the day with a solid breakfast of around 300 to 400 calories. Go for foods that are high in fibre and a source of carbs, which take longer for the body to digest, helping you to stay fuller for longer. Some of the best breakfast choices include oatmeal with low-fat milk, whole-grain toast topped with avocado, or a hearty omelette packed with vegetables.
2. Get your protein intake
Experts say that making sure to include enough protein in your diet can boost your metabolism, helping you to burn an impressive 150 to 200 calories a day. This is because protein is mainly made up of amino acids, which are harder for your body to break down, meaning you burn more calories just by processing them.
Before you jump onto a slightly crazy high-protein diet, you won’t need that much protein to reap the weight loss benefits. Just make sure that 10 to 35 percent of your total daily calories come from protein.
The best lean sources of protein include fish, chicken, certain types of cheese, yogurt, and legumes. You can even snack on things like nuts and low-fat string cheese to boost your protein intake between meals.
3. Don’t overdo the diet
You might think that putting yourself on a very low-calorie diet is a guaranteed way to lose weight, but unfortunately not. Your body is programmed to maintain your usual weight, so if you suddenly drop a substantial number of calories from your diet, your resting metabolic rate will slow down, because your body thinks that you're starving. This means you’ll actually be achieving the opposite results than those you’re after.
So how many calories a day should you consume? A good way to go about it is to multiply your current weight by 11. If you weigh 140 pounds, for example, you should try to eat a total of 1,540 calories per day. It’s a very bad idea to let your daily calorie intake fall below 1,200, as you’re more than likely only going to slow your metabolism down even more.
4. Add more spice to your meals
If you’re a fan of spicy food, try adding peppers and chillies to your dishes for a powerful kick. Spicy foods can temporarily boost your resting metabolic rate, helping you to burn off more calories between meals and while you’re asleep.
The reason why the likes of peppers and chillies can do this is quite interesting. They contain a compound called capsaicin, which temporarily stimulates your body to release more stress hormones, such as adrenaline, speeding up your metabolism, and increasing your ability to burn calories. Studies have also shown that people who eat more peppers have less of an appetite, thanks to the spiciness of the food, which made them feel full.
5. Eat more meals throughout the day
We know what you’re thinking: how could eating more meals help anyone to lose weight? But if you can eat five to six smaller, lower-calorie meals instead of three larger meals every day, your metabolism will never have time to switch off, which means it’s actively burning calories throughout the day. You’ll also never reach a stage of such intense hunger that you end up inhaling your food, and, predictably, overeating.
Try and aim to eat at a maximum of every four hours, and make sure your meals include protein, for an extra metabolic boost, and fibre, to keep you satisfied for longer. If you eat a high-fibre breakfast of overnight oats and berries, for example, you can then have a mid-morning snack, like nuts and yogurt, followed by a protein-rich lunch.
For a mid-afternoon snack, choose a piece of fruit and a wedge of low-fat cheese. Finish it off with a light dinner, which shouldn’t be any bigger than your lunch.
6. Practice weightlifting
If you thought cardio was the best way to lose weight, you’d be wrong. Actually, weight training is most effective for speeding up a resting metabolic rate. You can burn several times more calories in your muscles than you can in fat. This means that if your muscle mass is higher in proportion to your fat, you’ll find it easier to lose weight in the long run.
If you don’t have the time to hit the gym, you can still achieve impressive results with as little as two 15-minute lifting sessions a week. Studies have found that if you just do one set of 10 reps, focusing on the same muscle, you’ll enjoy the same muscle-building benefits as three sets. Weight training also gives your metabolism a short-term boost, leaving it in overdrive for at least two hours following a weightlifting session.
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7. Get a better sleep
One of the easiest ways to derail your metabolism is by not getting a good enough night’s sleep. One study found that people who got four hours of sleep or less a night had more of a problem processing carbohydrates.
When you're sleep-deprived, your body doesn’t have the energy required to do its normal day-to-day functions, including burning calories. This means your metabolism won’t be able to work as quickly as it could if you were waking up feeling energized in the mornings.
It’s simple enough to get a good night’s sleep. Make sure you eat your last meal at least three hours before you plan to go to sleep and start settling down for bed at least half an hour before you actually shut your eyes.
Schedule in regular exercise, as this can help you to feel ready for rest come the evening. You could also try soaking in a hot bath, as studies show that taking a dip in warm water makes it easier to fall asleep.
8. Know your carbs
So many people think carbs are the enemy, and this really isn’t true. We need carbohydrates to be able to survive, so cutting out the carbs on some nasty diet really isn’t a healthy weight-loss solution.
Instead, learn to know the difference between “good” and “bad” carbs. Refined carbs, such as bagels, white bread, and potatoes, create a surge in insulin that can promote storage of fat and may drive down your metabolic rate. These ones are best avoiding if you want to increase your metabolism.
High-fibre carbs are a lot better for achieving your weight loss goals. Focus on vegetables, fruits, brown rice, sweet potato, oats, and whole-grain bread and pasta, which have less of an impact on insulin levels.
9. Reduce your stress levels
We all know how annoying it is for someone to tell you to “calm down” when you’re clearly not calm, but if there was ever a reason to reduce your stress levels, it’s for weight loss purposes. Long-term stress can actually result in weight gain because your body is flooded with stress hormones, which stimulate fat cells deep in the abdomen to increase in size and encourage fat storage. Stress hormones also spike your appetite, making you more likely to overeat.
Chronic stress is different from having a tough moment at work and taking it out on your computer screen. If you’re finding it hard to wind down at the end of the day, make sure to allow yourself 10 to 15 minutes every day to enjoy a de-stressing activity. This might be reading a book, taking a bath, meditating, practicing yoga, or going for a walk.
10. Drink green tea
It's difficult to dispute the nutritional benefits of green tea, whether you’re a fan of its taste or not. With its powerful flavonoids and antioxidants, green tea is a fantastic beverage for battling chronic diseases and maintaining overall health. It’s hardly a surprise that new research has found that green tea can also boost metabolism and help with weight loss.
Research has found that the caffeine and catechin in green tea have the ability to increase your metabolic function by 4 to 5 percent and improve fat oxidation by 10 to 16 percent. In simple terms, this means that green tea can speed up your resting metabolism while reducing the number of fat cells in your body. You can buy Green Tea Here.
11. Stock up on healthy fats
If you’re trying to lose weight, the idea of adding any sort of fat, healthy or not, into your diet might seem counterproductive. Actually, though, the right healthy fats can help you feel fuller between meals, have fewer cravings, and lose weight while you’re at it. Healthy fats combined with fibre work together to boost metabolism, so whatever you do, if you want to shed pounds, don’t cut out every single fat from your diet.
Focus on a balanced diet of protein, carbs, and healthy fats like avocados, nuts, and olive oil to see a change. Just make sure not to add too many healthy fats into your diet, as, despite being good for you, they’re fairly high in calories.
There are so many ways to increase your metabolism naturally if you’re looking to achieve your weight loss goals. The solution to losing weight and keeping it off is not to starve yourself – rather, eat the right foods at the right times, and your body will do the rest of the work for you.
There’s no reason why you can’t get your metabolism back on track the healthy, natural way, so if this sounds good to you, start implementing the tricks we’ve mentioned in this video today. You’ll be surprised at just how quickly you notice the benefits.