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Metabolism. We’ve all heard the term, but what is it really? And what does it mean for your weight?
Basically, the term metabolism describes all chemical reactions involved in maintaining the living state of cells and an organism (you or me) overall.
Your metabolism can run at different speeds. For some people a fast metabolism is the norm and others it’s slower. When your metabolism is fast you burn more calories in a shorter period of time and are less likely to accumulate a lot of fat. However when your metabolism is slow, just the opposite is true; you burn far fewer calories in the same period of time resulting in more leftover calories that then get stored as fat.
With the recent stay-at-home orders many people have gotten a little sluggish and gained weight. So if you’re looking to increase metabolism and drop a few pounds, check out these (mostly) quick tips below to turn your body into a fat-burning furnace to help you reach your weight loss goals just a little quicker.
1. Sleep Well, Sleep Early
Start by getting a good night’s sleep. Lack of sleep is one of the key factors in weight gain. It leads to impaired glucose tolerance, or simply put, your body’s inability to utilize sugar for fuel. A study in Finland looked at sets of identical twins and found that when one twin slept less they had more abdominal fat! And chronically sleep deprived people can often gain weight while eating barely any food. A lack of sleep can also cause you to burn fewer calories, have less appetite control, and increase levels of cortisol, which also contributes to storing fat, especially around the belly area.
2. Skip the Nap
Research has found that people burn fewer calories when they sleep during the day and have more waking hours after the sun’s gone down. In a recent study at the University of Colorado at Boulder they found that when participants slept during the day, they burned about 60 fewer calories than they did while sleeping at night. 60 calories may not seem like a lot, but it’s a couple of cookies a day or about a pound every two months.
3. Drink a Full Glass of Water in the Morning
One of the easiest ways to boost metabolism is to drink a full glass of water in the morning. Over night your organs get dehydrated and metabolic function slows down. Rehydrate before any other food or drink to boost your energy, have a smaller appetite and less bloating in general.
4. Drink More Water Overall
Studies show, that simply drinking more water may increase the rate at which healthy people burn calories. All it takes is an extra 2-3 glasses to get your metabolic rate up by 30%. An extra 6 cups of water over the course of the day burns about 17,500 calories over the course of a year – almost 5 pounds!
5. Move More at Home
If you want to burn more calories and try boosting your metabolism quickly, move your body more when you’re at home. A number of years ago my grandfather wanted to lose weight, he only made two simple changes and lost 25 pounds in six months without dieting or exercising: 1. He stopped eating sweets 2. Every time he did a small chore or put something away at home, he did it one item at a time so he moved a lot more without ever exercising. i.e. doing laundry, he would put one pair of pants in the closet at a time and them go back to the laundry room for the next.
Try modifying the way you do things at home, specifically simple household chores. And that extra movement or trip up and down the stairs can also help curb the urge to snack while infusing more activity into your day.
6. Step it Up at Work
For most of us, work takes up a significant portion of the day, and we are often sedentary for most of this time. Try setting a timer on your phone or smart watch and move your body every 20 minutes. To boost your metabolism, do whatever you can to prevent yourself from sitting in one position for an extended period of time. Just like at home, make more trips around the office for small tasks rather than doing everything at once. And regular movement is not only good for weight loss, but it also reduces stress, improves concentration and has the added benefit of boosting productivity.
7. Eat Healthy, Eat Smart
High protein foods are especially important for keeping your metabolism up and losing weight. Foods with protein are more difficult to digest and absolutely essential for growing or maintaining lean muscle mass.
Be mindful of your snacking habits and skip the high sugar, high fat, and high carb treats. These may taste great and feel great in the moment but will leave you feeling sluggish and more inclined to snack more for the rest of the day.
When you do get the urge to snack try taking a five minute walk and drinking a full glass or full bottle of water before reaching for quick bite.
8. Skip the Soda and Artificial Sweeteners
I know it has 0 calories, but research has shown that drinking soda and eating foods with artificial sweetener can mess up the body’s normal metabolic response to sugar. It can actually leave you craving sugar and increasing your appetite! Diet soft drinks have been linked to weight gain, specifically belly fat and a decrease in metabolic rate. Personally, I swore off diet soda a few years ago when I noticed that whenever I drank it, usually no more than a six pack of cans in the summer, I would instantly put on 2 to 3 pounds that week!
9. Exercise and Build Muscle
Exercise is arguably the most effective way to both boost your metabolism and lose weight. Working out with even moderate intensity revs up your metabolic rate for hours afterwards.
Resistance and strength training that builds muscle is especially helpful for a long-term, sustained increase in overall metabolism because it leads to an increase in your “resting metabolic rate”.
60 to 80 percent of the calories that we burn every day are used just for basic functions to keep us alive. And yes, it’s true, a lean, muscular body burns more calories, a lot more calories, at rest.
Ask Your Doctor First
As always, when making any dietary or exercise changes always consult your physician first. The information here is general and may not be right for everyone. Whatever you do, find what works best for you and your body. Learn to work with your body and not against it; this is meant as health and wellness and a way to support your body not to punish it!
Are you going to do anything differently to boost your metabolism?
Head to the comments and tell me about it, then pin and share this post if it helped you!