There is a lot of information out there on how to increase your metabolism, some say intermittent fasting works, others say juicing, doing certain type of exercises, etc. They can all help to a certain extent but they can be quick fixes and not a sustainable way to incorporate the habits into your daily life.
Here are my top 10 ways to rev up your metabolism that you can realistically incorporate into your life on a daily or every other day basis:
1) Eat Enough Calories I have been guilty of this in the past, actually the not so recent past like yesterday.. OY! Caloric deprivation is the worst way to boost your metabolism if your goal is to lose weight or increase satiety (feeling full). I call this the quick fix of thinking this is how you can lose weight quickly, not eating enough throughout your day. Not only do you feel like you can barely get through the day because of lack of energy to do basic functions, like thinking or moving let alone going to that spinning class or lifting weights after work. But the nasty thing about going into a caloric deprivation is that your body thinks its starving, so guess what, your body is holding onto any fat that it has because it doesn’t know when you are going to feed it next. So make sure you eat enough calories to not just sustain your regular body function but if you are active you need to eat more than someone who is sedentary. EAT EAT EAT. But Eat the good stuff AKA REAL FOODS, not processed crap.
2) Lift Heavy
I can see some women now who are reading this and say BULLSHIT Nicole, I am not lifting heavy because I am going to become bulky, big, yada yada.. I challenge you to this huge misnomer. Unless you are juicing, and I don’t mean fruit juice, ladies you aren’t going to get big and bulk up. If anything lifting heavy gives you beautiful curves and some sexy definition while at the same time helping prevent the onset of osteoporosis. Lifting heavy provides an uptick in your metabolism hours after you lift. Muscles need energy to sustain and grow and they burn a ton of energy thus increasing your metabolism. So drop those cute 5lb dumbbells and pick up some 10 lb weights.
3) Eat More Protein
Protein has a thermogenic effect, it takes the most calories of any type of food (carbs or fat) to digest. Eating more lean sources of protein also helps in sustaining and/or increasing the second item in this list; creating more muscle. Getting in your Omega-3’s reduce inflammation and balance your blood sugar.
4) Stress Management
There are two types of stress, chronic and acute. Acute stress is short term, and can have the potential to increase the metabolic effect, for example, skydiving or a quick run down a challenging ski slope. Then there is Chronic stress, chronic stress can have the exact opposite effect on your metabolism by increasing your levels of cortisol in the body which thus increases fat retention. Chronic stress can be brought on by your work, working environment, a bad marriage, and many other factors. We are not always able to immediately limit the amount of chronic stress in our lives but we can arm ourselves with tools such as meditation, exercise and yoga to help manage the effects of it.
5) Move Often
Moving throughout the day, whether at the office by taking bathroom breaks, wandering down the hall to say hi to a colleague, getting outside to go grab a cup of coffee or taking a walk after lunch helps even in the smallest amounts as opposed to staying glued to your desk and chair all day. That is why having a FitBit or another type of exercise tracker that has a “move reminder” on it can keep you up and about more often than not.
6) Stand More Than Sitting
This pairs nicely with number 5, move often. Not only has sitting for extended periods of time been highly publicized as very bad for your healthit also does not help with increase in mental activity or creativity. You can stand while talking on the phone, perhaps while taking notes, whatever you do, spend less time sitting.
Sprint intervals increase resting energy expenditure. It can also be a hell of a lot more fun than running on the treadmill for 3 miles or doing the elliptical (gag) for 45 minutes. My preference when I do cardio is to do a 20-30 minute combo of stair stepper for 1-2 minutes to a 1 to 2 minute full on sprint on the treadmill.
8) Drink Coffee or Tea
We have all heard that coffee or tea provide a thermogenic effect. A study in the “American Journal of Clinical Nutrition” noted that caffeine has a thermogenic effect. In the investigation of the effects of caffeine in healthy people who regularly consumed moderate amounts of caffeine, 100 mg, 200 mg and 400 mg of caffeine all stimulated thermogenesis.
9) Eat Regularly or Graze
Eating at consistent times throughout the day helps eliminate the potential for the energy or sugar crash at 3pm where you are thinking where can I get my quick fix to keep me going until the end of the work day. Eating apricots as a snack can help with satisfying that sweet tooth while also providing you with a decent amount of fiber to fill you up and not reach for a bag of chips or M&M’s. Also keeping a stash of pistachios or Brazil nuts in your snacking arsenal satiates your cravings with good fats and helps with increasing the hormone Leptin that is alerts the body when it is full.
10) Thyroid Awareness and Health
Unfortunately the American diet likes to strip out foods of their nutritional value because of the whole low and no fat craze and thus when the essential nutrients are stripped the added stuff isn’t always what our bodies need and require. For example, table salt (for the most part) is stripped of Iodine. Iodine is a necessity in overall thyroid health and function. Most Thyroid conditions are autoimmune ( Hashimoto’s Hypothyroidism), I was diagnosed 2 years ago as being on the cusp of having Hashimoto’s. I have been able to keep this at bay without using synthetic hormones by making sure I incorporate healthy amounts of iodine via Himalayan Pink Salt and seaweed into my diet as well as removing all grains from my daily food intake. This works for me, I don’t recommend it for anyone else as I am not a medical doctor nor do I play one on TV.