If you’re trying to lose weight, you’ve probably heard that a slow metabolism can make this a longer, more difficult process. Is that true? Yes and no. Genetics, thyroid function, hormones, certain medications, and other factors outside of your control can all negatively impact your waistline. For the purposes of this post, we’re going to discuss 9 lifestyle changes you can make today to boost your metabolism naturally so you can get one step further towards your weight loss goals.
What Is Metabolism and Why Is It Important?
Without getting too technical, the term ‘metabolism’ refers to how your body converts the foods and drinks you consume into energy. Someone with a fast metabolism burns calories more quickly than someone with a slow metabolism, which is why we often associate metabolism with our ability (or inability) to lose weight. But our body needs energy for much more than weight management – we need energy to perform basic body functions like breathing, cellular growth and repair, brain function, and movement too!
9 Ways to Boost Your Metabolism Naturally
1. GET ENOUGH SLEEP
Very few of us get the recommended 8 hours of sleep each night, which can cause a whole slew of problems. Ongoing sleep deprivation can lead to issues such as heart disease, kidney disease, high blood sugar, anxiety, diabetes and stroke. Not everyone realizes the importance of quality sleep, but it’s just as crucial as exercise and healthy eating and it’s a simple way to boost your metabolism naturally.
Research shows that sleep deprivation increases our cortisol (stress hormone) and ghrelin (hunger hormone) levels, while also decreasing the amount of leptin in our body, which is the hormone that is responsible for telling us when to stop eating. People who are chronically sleep-deprived tend to eat larger portions and find it harder to stick to their cleaning eating regime. If you want to boost your metabolism naturally, make sure to get at least 8 hours of sleep per night.
CLICK HERE for our best tips to beat insomnia and get a good night of sleep!
2. EAT BREAKFAST
While some studies suggest that people who skip breakfast tend to weigh more, the jury is still out on whether there is a direct correlation between eating breakfast and weight loss, or if it has more to do with the fact that people who prioritize breakfast tend to lead a healthier lifestyle. With that said, most agree that you are more likely to snack and/or overeat at subsequent meals if you don’t fuel your body first thing in the morning. Taking the time to eat a nutritious breakfast ensures your body and mind have the energy needed to functional optimally, making it another one of my favorite ways to boost your metabolism naturally!
3. STAY HYDRATED
We all know H2O does the body good. From keeping us hydrated so we feel energized, to flushing out toxins and improving our complexion, to boosting our immune systems, water is where it’s at, but few people realize that drinking 8 glasses of water per day can increase your resting metabolism, enabling you to burn calories faster. A great way to monitor whether you’re getting in your daily H2O intake is to use a water bottle with a time marker. You can also use a fruit infuser to add a little oomph to your water if you need a little motivation!
4. DON’T SKIP MEALS
While skipping meals may sound like an easy way to reduce your calories in versus calories out ratio to help you lose weight, restricting your calorie intake can actually slow down your metabolism and stall weight loss. Your body needs energy (calories) to perform basic body functions, and if you’re not providing it with ample fuel, your metabolism will slow down as your body enters ‘starvation mode’ to preserve energy. If you’re trying to boost your metabolism naturally so you can lose weight and keep it off, make sure you are consuming enough calories throughout the day to support your lifestyle and activity level.
5. LOAD UP ON PROTEIN
Protein such as eggs, lean meats, and tofu help keep you full for longer so you feel satisfied and are less likely to snack between meals. Protein reduces hunger, helps curb cravings, and also protects muscle mass, which is important if you want to lose weight. If you want to boost your metabolism naturally, high-protein foods are a must at every meal!
6. EAT THE RIGHT FOODS
I know it sounds too good to be true, but did you know there are certain superfoods that work to rev your metabolism while you munch away? Not only do these foods burn fat, they’re also incredibly good for your body. They’re filled with anti-oxidants, protein, and iron, which are all essential elements of a healthy, feel-good diet.
From breakfast to dinner, and snacks in between, here are 6 of the best metabolism boosting foods:
- Oats. Start your day off with a serving of oats and you’ll feel more full throughout the day. Not only are oats packed with fiber, they are also filled with Resistant Starch, a carb that burns fat and boosts the metabolism. CLICK HERE for our favorite overnight oat recipes to kickstart your morning!
- Blueberries. Blueberries are loaded with anti-oxidants, and are one of the best super foods out there. They also have a significant amount of fiber, so you can feel full without packing on the calories.
- Chili Peppers. If you’re a sucker for spicy foods, hot chili peppers such as jalapeno and habanero peppers do more than spice up your meals. They are filled with capsaicin, an ingredient that helps to burn fat through metabolism while also increasing your heart rate so more of your body’s energy is utilized. Most chili peppers are considered negative-calorie spices, so sprinkle them on your food to keep your metabolism revved.
- Beans. Beans are rich in protein and fiber, which are two essential elements that help raise your metabolism. It takes more calories to digest protein than any other macronutrient, meaning you lose more calories by eating protein-rich foods. Beans are also a great source of iron, which works to burn fat and help our bodies create energy.
- Spinach. Leafy green spinach has lots of vitamin B, which leads to a more energetic metabolism and helps you stay slim. It’s also rich in antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium and magnesium – a super food at its finest!
- Salmon. Leaner than red meat, salmon is an amazing source of protein that makes you feel full without packing on the pounds. Coupling lean meat with exercise results in leaner muscles, which leads to a healthy boost in your metabolism.
7. AMP UP YOUR WORKOUTS
HIIT (high intensity interval training) workouts have been found to be one of the most effective ways to boost your metabolism naturally. HIIT is an exercise technique where you give 100% effort through intense bursts of exercise, followed by short recovery periods. It’s a great way to get your heart rate up and burn fat in a short period of time.
Studies have shown that you burn more calories during a HIIT workout than long, continuous training, and it’s also been found that you continue burning calories even after your workout is over. The intensity of HIIT boosts your body’s repair cycle, meaning you’ll burn more fat 24 hours after a HIIT workout than if you did a longer, less intense workout. HIIT also reduces your appetite. It decreases the amount of ghrelin, the fat gaining hormone in your body that increases your appetite, so you won’t feel as hungry.
8. COMMIT TO STRENGTH TRAINING
Gaining muscle is super important for women, especially as we get older. Not only does muscle gain help you grow stronger, it boosts your metabolism, helping you lose weight, and it also lowers your risk of fractures due to osteoporosis. If you’re worried about bulking up – don’t be. Bodyweight training and strength training allow you to tone up in a healthy way, making you strong and confident. Want to know how to gain muscle the right way? CLICK HERE for the best workouts and muscle-gaining foods for women!
9. LIMIT ALCOHOL
While a glass (or 2) of wine may help you relax at the end of a tough day, alcohol can have a negative impact on your metabolism and weight loss efforts. Most alcoholic beverages are high in empty calories, and since your body isn’t actually designed to store alcohol, it’s main priority becomes metabolizing the alcohol first. This means that all of the foods you’ve consumed are put on hold, and all of the excess glucose and lipids from those foods are stored as fat. Many people find it harder to abstain from mindless eating after a couple of drinks, which only complicates this issue further.
Drinking alcohol also interferes with the quality of our sleep, and a night of drinking can significantly impact your ability to engage in physical activities the following day, so be mindful of what and how much you consume!
I hope this collection of tips to boost your metabolism naturally help you reach your weight loss goals! Remember to make sleep, breakfast, and hydration a priority, to avoid skipping meals and drinking alcohol wherever possible, and to amp up your workouts with HIIT and strength training exercises!