This How To Boost Metabolism Naturally post is for Skinny Fitalicious members. Sign up for Skinny Fitalicious Membership to get exclusive posts, webinars & to receive special discounts!
What Is Metabolism?
Metabolism is a biochemical process where your body turns food into usable energy. This energy is used for basic human functions such as breathing, thinking, circulating blood, processing food, adjusting hormone levels, cell turnover and repair, as well as daily functions like running the kids to school and working out. The number of calories your body uses daily is called your basal metabolic rate. While this measurement is not 100% accurate (it’s a very old calculation), it does provide a baseline of functioning metabolism.
What Happens When Your Metabolism Is Slow?
When you eat, your body takes the energy it converts from food and stores it as fat or uses it immediately. When your metabolism is slow, your body has difficulty utilizing the food you eat as fuel which means it is more readily stored as fat. This equates to easier weight gain and difficult weight loss. If you have a hypothyroidism, this is also contributes to a slow metabolism. Bottom line is you want your metabolism working optimally so your body can burn fat, utilize energy from food you consume and you can manage your weight.
Metabolism is depending on age, gender, family history, weight, physical activity, conditioning, and eating habits. While most people believe that as you age metabolism slows down, this is not entirely true. Metabolism slows for most due to changing hormones which can happen at any age. Hormonal changes influence the way you burn and store fat. The pituitary gland slows production of growth hormone which helps you maintain muscle mass. Muscle mass is what allows you to burn more fat and calories. Additionally, many people are less active as they age which contributes to this slow down.
How To Boost Metabolism Naturally
The good news is there are several ways to boost your metabolism naturally. These are things that can be easily added to an already healthy lifestyle. There’s no better supplement to a healthy diet and exercise. These metabolism boosting tips are meant to compliment that lifestyle, not supplement it. As always, if you have specific medical conditions you will want to check with your health care provider to ensure they do not interfere with medications or protocols.
Eat Breakfast 1-2 Hours After Waking Up
There is a lot of mixed information about whether or not breakfast is good for you, but in my book it is the best time of day to train your body to burn fat. Why? Because cortisol is high in the morning, therefore, your body is most receptive to utilizing fuel for energy. This is why I tell my clients to always start their day with a high protein, veggie and fat breakfast, and to stay away from all carbs (including fruit) in the morning.
Eating breakfast also stabilizes blood sugar. As blood sugar dips and spikes throughout the morning, this causes insulin to be released. Insulin is the fat storing hormone. The more insulin is released the more you become insulin resistant and store more fat.
Drink Coffee or Tea
Good caffeine sources such as coffee or tea increase thermogenesis, a process where the body creates heat. This heat increases the number of calories you burn.
Be careful not to go overboard with caffeine. Too much coffee is linked to the development of atherosclerosis, or plaque buildup which leads to heart disease. Too much caffeine in general increases sugar cravings. The recommended amount is no more than 2 cups daily.
Add Spices To Your Food
Hot spices and spicy foods in general increase thermogenesis which as I mentioned above increase metabolism. Adding cayenne pepper, chili powder paprika, chili peppers, Sriracha, jalapeños, or other naturally spicy foods to your diet is a simple way to boost metabolism.
Practice Intermittent Fasting
Intermittent fasting is not eating for periods of time. There are a ton of health benefits that research is showing for this, improved liver function, energy utilization and sleep to name a few. During periods of fasting, the body uses stored energy, breaking down fat to fatty acids to use as fuel.
To start, try fasting for 12 hours between dinner and breakfast (i.e. 7pm to 7am) once or twice a week. As you become a better fat burner and build metabolic flexibility, you can experiment with this fasting window up to 16 hours. Note, women are more sensitive to fasting than men so do not go beyond 16 hours.
Contrary to popular belief, more snacking does not increase metabolism. In fact, depending on the person and their level of activity, it can do just the opposite causing insulin resistance which means more fat storage. This is why I advise all my clients to stop snacking.
Constantly elevating insulin locks the doors to fat cells so you can’t burn stored fat for fuel. By spacing out your meals, your insulin levels can go back to baseline and your body can shift into fat-burning mode. If you’ve been on the grazing-train for a while, you’re likely a primed sugar-burner. To start shifting your metabolism to burn fat, try to go 4-6 hours between meals. To do this, you must include PFF (protein, fat and fiber) at every meal to elongate satiety. Focus on eating larger meals each day that carry you from meal to meal. A snack here or there is okay, but making it a routine is not.
Adding healthy fat to your diet and limiting carbs and sugar, promotes increased fat burn. Breaking down fat and turning it into energy requires more energy from the body than carbs and sugar. This boosts metabolism. MCT oil is a medium chain triglyceride that is easily converted by the body to fuel instead of stored a fat. It also increases thermogenesis so you’re still burning calories when you take it. I like using this one and adding a tablespoon to my coffee along with collagen.
Drink A LOT of Water
Most people are not drinking enough water, and mistake hunger cues for water. Drinking enough water can lower your appetite by as much as 30%. I recommend to my clients they drink half their body weight in ounces (i.e. 150 pound woman should drink 75 ounces daily, a standard plastic water bottle contains 16 ounces). Note, if you workout or live in a hot climate you need to add more to this number to account for that.
Eat Antioxidant Rich Foods
Inflammation and oxidation slow metabolism. Eating foods that are rich in antioxidants can counteract this. Antioxidant rich foods include berries, cranberries, dark chocolate, tomatoes, leafy greens, artichokes and pecans.
Do Resistance Training
As we age, human growth hormone slows down which slows muscle mass regeneration. The more muscle you have, the more calories and fat you burn. Counteract this by incorporating resistance training to increase your basal metabolic rate. And remember, more cardio isn’t better. The longer you do cardio, the more muscle you break down.
Cortisol is the main stress hormone and is released when you’re under stress. This release slows metabolism, increases sugar cravings which leads to weight gain when stress is chronic. Managing stress is so important to health and I cannot “stress” this one enough!
Sleep deprivation leads to increased hunger for quick energy. Eating more when you don’t need fuel leads to more insulin release which leads to more insulin resistance and fat storage. Aim for 6-8 hours a sleep per night. Taking a magnesium supplement can help you get better sleep as most adults are deficient in this nutrient needed for melatonin production.