Your metabolism plays a key role in the speed, ease, and often success of your weight loss strategy. That said, it is not an organ or even a system in your body. It is the rate and processes by which your body converts fuel – such as from food or stored body fat – into energy. Your body uses that energy for its basic functions such as respiration, the beating of your heart, thinking, digesting more food, and moving around.
Your Metabolic Rate
A tremendous number of factors can influence the speed of your metabolism. Some will speed it up, meaning that you’ll burn through more food calories or body fat in less time. Other factors will slow it down, meaning that you’ll require much more effort to burn the same number of calories or amount of body fat.
Is Your Metabolism Working for or Against You?
There are so many things working against you in the weight loss battle… is your metabolism one of them? If you have been on at least 3 different diets, frequently missed meals, or cut out any of the major food groups in the last year- the answer is probably yes.
Those are only some of the factors that can cause your metabolic rate to slow down. When it’s slow, this means you’ll struggle more to lose weight, but will find it far easier to gain. If you’re working on managing your weight effectively, then a slow metabolic rate is certainly the opposite of what you want.
Slow Metabolic Rate?
Do you think your metabolism is slow? In that case here are the foods and exercises to give it a jump start. Before adopting any lifestyle changes, it’s always wise to speak with your doctor. That will help you to know that you’re making choices that are safe and appropriate for your unique needs.
Metabolism Acceleration Tips
- Don’t starve yourself. Consistently eating too few calories will force your body into “starvation mode”. This means that your body is functioning as though in a period when food is short. Among its first actions is to slow the energy burning rate – that is, the metabolism – in order to conserve as much as possible. This is a survival function as your body can’t tell the difference between starving yourself on purpose and doing so involuntarily. It’s far more effective to keep your calorie intake within a certain healthy range.
- Focus on nutrition. When your metabolism needs jump starting, the place to start is the quality of your diet. Make sure your diet isn’t lacking any important nutrients, carbohydrates, protein, or fat. Watch out for misleading labels like “fat free” which may mean that the fat has simply been replaced by sodium and sugar, not benefitting your nutrition or diet at all. Instead, if you need to reduce your fat intake, choose foods that are naturally low in fat or fat-free, such as vegetables.
Focusing on nutrition also means improving the quality of the foods you’re already eating. For example, instead of eating products based on refined flour, choose those made of whole grains. Opt for brown rice instead of white. Whole grain bread instead of white, and whole grain pasta instead of standard noodles. Make sure you’re getting enough fiber through lots of dark leafy greens. Don’t forget that some fats are good for you. Have a small amount of these each day to keep up your health and your metabolism.
- Add metabolism-boosting nutrients. As much as it’s great to have a nutritious diet overall, there are certain specific parts of your nutrition that can enhance your metabolism. Vitamins, especially fish oil, and fiber help power and speed up your metabolism. Also, vitamins B12 and B6, taurine, and caffeine will rev that metabolism up. Certain beverages that contain caffeine and have been proven to have other health benefits are coffee and green tea. However, not getting enough sleep will slow your metabolism down so be sure to have your last cup no later than 4 p.m.
- Get your cardio done. Exercise is vital to keeping up a healthy metabolism. Cardio workouts specifically are the best way to get jump starting your metabolism. Staying active will help you to burn fat you don’t want as well as preventing new fat from accumulating.
Exercise outside – scientists don’t know if it is the sunlight or the fresh air-but exercising outside will boost metabolic rate more than working out in a gym. When walking outside, increase calorie burn by walking in the grass, sand, dirt, or gravel. Also, using Nordic poles, walking sticks, or wearing weights will burn more than walking alone.
- Don’t ignore strength training. Strength training will not only keep your workout fresh, but it will also give you more muscle for a higher metabolic rate.
With so many fad diets out there, following any of them is likely to have caused your metabolism to suffer. That’s not to say you can’t repair the damage. Just nurse your diet back to health and include all the essential nutrients, carbs, proteins, and fats. Additionally, simple adjustments to your exercise routine, like increased intensity, and some natural vitamin D, will help to build muscle and jumpstart your metabolism.