Kick That Metabolism Into High Gear!

Ah, metabolism.  Friend or foe, it is integral to us in our quest for a healthy weight, and how we process the food we take in.

Metabolism is the rate your body burns calories for energy.  Simply put, it is why you might see one person eating thousands of calories a day but never gaining weight, while another adheres to a strict, reduced calorie intake but has trouble losing weight or even staying steady and not gaining.  They burn calories at different rates.

Why is metabolism different for each of us? Because we are all different!  Lifestyle and genetics both contribute.  And age?  Well, it is an enemy of metabolism to be sure.  The older we get, the slower our natural metabolism tends to be, and it needs some help going faster.

Most of us would agree that we’d like to have metabolisms on the higher end of things… and here are some tips on how to kick yours up a few notches!

Ways To Increase Metabolism:

  • Exercise!  Amazing how that is the answer to so many of our health questions!  The more you move, the more your body needs to burn energy to support that moving.  The best news is that your metabolism will stay higher for several hours after a good workout, even when your body is back to normal speed or even resting.  That means you are burning calories and fat at a higher rate for a lot more hours than you are actually exercising.  If you multiply that by 4-5 days a week, your metabolism is working harder and faster a lot of hours.
  • Eat!  You read that right.  Metabolism is like many other functions – it needs practice.  When you skip meals, you may know that you aren’t really starving yourself, but your body takes it very seriously.  Human beings were designed to be able to sustain life during times of uncertain food intake.  When you skip meals, your metabolism not only slows down that way, but your body actually signals itself to store more fat!  That’s right.  You aren’t burning it – you are actually increasing the storage.  Bad news for modern humans who have grocery stores and food available all the time.
  • Eat More!  That’s right.  Not only do you need to eat, but the more often you eat, the more your metabolism is signaled to fire up, and burn that off the excess.  When you eat 5-7 small meals a day instead of the same amount of food in 3 larger meals, your metabolism gets a much more effective workout.  You are less hungry, you burn more fat and calories, your energy and blood sugar both stay much more constant all day long.  Your body is not worried about when the next meal is coming, nor does it have such a large amount of food to process at one time.
  • Eat Balanced!  The great thing about firing your metabolism up is that you can begin to take in more calories and still maintain a healthy, stable weight.  Part of that is eating the right foods.  Balanced diets give your body all the nutrition it needs and all the functions fire properly, reducing cravings and helping your metabolism stay strong.
  • Eat This!  No, that wasn’t an insult – certain foods can actually increase metabolic rates in most of us.  Give some of these a try in your diet each day, and try to replace a few of the “not so good” carbs in your diet with better options that have more fiber in them, or foods that have more lean protein, both of which improve metabolism!
    • Hot peppers
    • Spices like curry and cinnamon
    • High fiber foods like oatmeal, broccoli, and apples
    • High protein foods like lean turkey breast and beans (they give you fiber, too!)
    • Green tea
    • Grapefruit
    • Caffeine (limit this though, as the metabolism boost is quickly outweighed by the potentially negative health effects.)
    • Soy milk (unsweetened)
    • Low fat yogurt  – several servings of dairy a day can speed up metabolism and fat-burning, so make them really count by choosing items (like yogurt) that are low in fat and offer protein and probiotics.
    • Water!  You can instantly speed up your metabolism with a nice big glass of the elixir of life!

So get busy, get moving, get eating… and start firing that metabolism up to a fever pitch!

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