When you struggle with your weight there almost always comes a point where you wonder if your metabolism is to blame. Did you lose the genetic lottery? Is there something medically wrong with you? Or is everyone else’s metabolism just freakishly fast?
It can be tempting to use this belief as an excuse to give on reaching your ideal shape. I’ll even admit that it’s much easier to throw in the towel and tell yourself there’s nothing you can do. But the fact is, you can do something about it!
Today let’s talk about how to boost your metabolism. First we need to understand this mystery force that runs (or ruins) your body weight.
What is Metabolism?
When people talk about metabolism it feels like some mysterious and all-powerful force of nature that we can never fully understand. Which is why so many companies have capitalized on selling vague supplements that seem all but guaranteed to give you a six pack. So let’s clear the air.
Metabolism is really just a word to describe the processes by which our bodies’ maintain life. Chemical reactions are constantly happening and there are two types of reactions that fall under the metabolism umbrella: Catabolic and anabolic.
A catabolic reaction breaks down bigger molecules into smaller ones. When your food gets digested and turned into energy your body can use, that’s a catabolic reaction.
Anabolic reactions combine smaller molecules into bigger ones. These reactions use up energy. When your body builds or repairs muscle, this is an anabolic reaction.
Here’s a quick video that breaks it down:
Your body needs and uses energy for basic life sustaining processes like breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells. These basic functions (and the amount of calories that burn) make up your basal metabolic rate or BMR.
And unlike some people might have you believe, you can affect your BMR.
It is important to note that body size does affect your BMR. Bigger people have a higher BMR because it takes more energy to sustain a larger body. There’s more muscle and more tissue that needs to be taken care of.
A smaller person is going to have a lower BMR because there’s less tissue that needs to be maintained. So naturally when you lose weight your BMR is going to drop as you drop pounds.
But don’t freak out, there are two other ways that your body burns calories that are more variable.
Dietary Induced Thermogenesis (DIT) – Different types of foods take more or less energy (calories) to digest. So you can increase your calories burned by eating certain foods that use more calories to breakdown, more on this later.
Physical Activity – Physical activity is the number one way to boost your metabolism. It can also help you boost your metabolism long-term too. And that doesn’t just mean hitting the gym for an hour every day.
Weight gain happens when you take in more energy than you use. This extra energy is stored in the form of fat. Weight loss happens when your body uses more energy than you’re giving it. This means eating less and moving more!
A High-Metabolism Diet
Taking a look at your diet and the food you eat is one way that you easily can burn more calories without even thinking about it.
There are certain foods that your body has to put more effort into in order to break down and digest them. The top two food groups that you should eat to calorie burn are protein and fiber.
Digesting protein requires more energy than any other macronutrient (macronutrient = carbs, fat, protein). Good protein sources include…
- lean beef
- nonfat Greek yogurt
- whey protein (like in IdealShake)
Fiber comes in a close second. Because your body can’t actually digest fiber it has to work extra hard in order to extract the other carbs and nutrients that it can use. High-fiber, low-carb foods are the best way to maximize this benefit. These foods include…
- leafy vegetables — like spinach and kale
Eating these foods won’t make you burn hundreds of extra calories a day but they will help. And if you eat these foods consistently you’ll consistently be burning a few extra calories which will add up in the end.
The other benefit is that these foods are just plain healthy. Not only are they good for you, they’ll help you feel fuller longer so that you can say no to cravings and successfully cut calories.
There’s one more food that I want to mention that doesn’t fall into either of these categories but is still proven to boost metabolism, and that’s green tea. Green tea has catechins which are incredible at helping you to increase fat burn and metabolism.
And when you combine it with caffeine it becomes even more potent.
The biggest impact that you can have on your metabolism is physical activity. While eating the right foods will have some effect on your metabolism it’s not nearly as powerful as getting more active. The more active you are the more energy (calories) your body uses.
Cardio will help you burn the most calories in a workout but weight lifting will help you increase your metabolism long-term. That’s because weight lifting helps you build lean muscle, which burns more calories. The more lean muscle you have the more calories you burn.
So lifting weights is kind of like a twofer. Not only are you burning calories during the workout itself, you’re also building muscle which will keep burning even more calories even while at rest.
Building and supporting lean muscle improves your BMR.
But physical activity isn’t just about hitting the gym for an hour every day. It’s about cultivating a lifestyle that is active. Going for walks, playing with your dog, running around with your kids at the park, getting involved with community sports, these are all ways you can improve your physical activity. Find something that you love to do and keep doing it.
People that you think have a “naturally high” metabolism probably don’t. It’s just that they’re more active. That can be you too!
Also remember how I mentioned that when you lose weight your metabolism will naturally slow down? Researchers have found that exercising while on a calorie restricted diet helps to prevent this slow down to a certain degree. When you can compare people who exercise while on diet to people who didn’t, their metabolisms are MUCH higher.
So not only is exercising good for your current metabolism it will also help you to maintain a good metabolism through your weight loss journey. This will make weight maintenance so much easier because you’ll be burning more calories which means you’ll be able to eat more calories which will make maintenance more doable.
How to boost Your Metabolism: The Takeaway
Boosting your metabolism is possible. Eating the right foods, getting active, and building lean muscle are all ways that you can naturally burn more calories in your daily life. Weight loss can be a slow and steady journey but doing small things like this can help you see results even faster.
In very rare cases there are medical issues that could be slowing your metabolism down. If you’re doing everything you can — sticking to a meal plan (like the IdealPlan), exercising, etc. — then it might be time to talk to your doctor.
Want something you can do RIGHT NOW to boost your metabolism? Try IdealBurn fat burner! It has green tea and caffeine, a proven metabolism boosting combo. Plus the caffeine can give you the energy you need to get active and burn even more calories.