We’ve all seen her (or him); the girl who can eat endlessly (and I mean, endlessly) without putting on a single pound. She might say things like “well, I just have a fast metabolism.” So what exactly is a “fast metabolism,” and where can us regular folks get one? Of course the answer is that we all have one (maybe ours just isn’t “fast”), and it’s not a specific thing, or organ, like your liver or brain. Your metabolism, according to the Mayo Clinic, is “the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex biological process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.” The rate at which your body converts calories into energy (metabolism) is influenced by various hormones and controlled by the thyroid. If you have a faster metabolism, according to some weight loss experts, your body will more quickly use the calories you consume for energy, instead of storing them as fat. Of course, the simplest way to think of weight gain is this: you gain weight when you consume more calories than your body uses for essential functions (like breathing, digestion) and for physical activity. But your metabolism can affect this energy balance, and can be a significant contributing factor to weight gain.
So… here are five ways to “boost” your metabolism so your body will more quickly use calories as energy.
1.Get a Good Night’s Sleep Every Night
When you’re not sleeping enough, you burn fewer calories throughout the day. You also just feel exhausted and have less “willpower” to resist unhealthy food. Lack of sleep greatly influences hormone balance, including the hormones ghrelin and leptin, which make you feel hungry or full. Cortisol levels also increase when you’re sleep deprived and that causes your body to store fat. An occasional restless night won’t have that big of an impact, but those who are chronically exhausted will gain weight without consuming more calories than usual.
2.Start Your Day with a Tall Glass of Water
After sleeping eight hours, your body is dehydrated. Right after waking, drink a glass of water to “jump start” your metabolism. I keep a glass on my nightstand, so I drink it before even getting out of bed. Your metabolic function slows down while you were sleeping and the water can give it that jolt it needs to get going in the morning. And don’t just think you can drink one glass and be done for the rest of the day either… studies have shown that staying hydrated by drinking a lot of water throughout the day can increase metabolic rate by as much as 30 percent! It’s also not a bad idea to drink a glass of water before a meal— it can make you feel less hungry, so you’ll consume fewer calories!
3.Move Your Body As Much As You Can
Yes, we all know that exercise is key to losing weight and keeping it off. Aim for at least a 30 minute sweat session three (preferably five) days a week. But even if you are able to fit that much exercise in, you still could be sitting too much throughout the rest of the day, which slows down your metabolism. Humans are meant to move, not sit behind a desk for eight (or more) hours a day. So, even if you have a “desk job” doing simple things like standing up more, walking around while on the phone, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator all add up and can add little metabolism “boosters” throughout the day. Park further away. Take a walk, even a 10 minute walk, on your break. Do anything you can to move more.
4. Eat Less at Night
This is a somewhat controversial tactic, but I follow it as much as possible. I try to stop eating for the day by 6:30 p.m. By doing that, you’re consuming your calories earlier in the day, which speeds up your metabolism. Remember, restricting calories too much is never a good idea, especially long term because it messes with your hormones and metabolism, which can lead to quick weight gain once you resume a regular diet. When you eat too late, or shortly before going to bed, you tend to be more sedentary and your body doesn’t need the calories for energy. So instead of using them for energy, those calories are more likely to be stored as fat.
5.Lower Your Thermostat at Night
Turn down the temp to about 66 or 65 degrees and your body will burn more calories while you sleep! Why? Because it takes energy (calories) to keep your body warm. When it’s too warm in your room, your body doesn’t have to work as hard to keep you at an optimal temperature. So turn down that temp and let your body’s natural fat-burning ability work for you while sleeping.
There you have it… five easy tips to help keep that metabolic fire stoked throughout the day and night! A few other quick things you can do to keep that fire humming along include: snacking on nuts, doing bursts of intense exercise in your workout, lifting weights, getting plenty of vitamin D and calcium, and of course, cutting back on refined carbs (anything white) and sugary sweets.