If I asked you “How do I go about losing weight?”, I’m willing to bet you’d say something like “just exercise more and reduce your calorie intake...duh!”.
And you wouldn’t be wrong.
BUT, there’s a crucial element to weight loss that so many people forget or completely underestimate; your metabolism.
It’s time to uncover a major factor for your weight loss success and discuss the specific habits you can implement to increase your metabolism and your overall success for weight loss!
What is Your Metabolism?
The term “metabolism” encompassess all of your body’s internal process that help you stay alive; food digestion, blood circulation, thermal regulation, converting food into usable energy, growth and repair of body cells, and so on.
In short, it’s the process for converting the food we eat into the energy we use throughout the day. Higher metabolism = more calories (energy) burned!
But there are definitely people with naturally fast metabolisms.
Remember the skinny guy whose diet was mountain dew, fast food + cheetos, but he couldn’t manage to gain a pound?
Our metabolisms are mostly determined by our genetics but that doesn’t mean there aren’t things you can do to help it run optimally and in turn, burn more calories throughout the day!
How to Boost Your Metabolism
One of the easiest ways to boost your metabolism is to simply drink enough water. For men, the recommended daily amount is 120 ounces, or roughly 15 cups of water. For women, it’s 90 ounces, or about 11 cups.
Other habits that can make a significant impact are:
Favor protein in your diet. High-protein diets promote lean muscle growth & maintenance, and more lean muscle = higher metabolism.
And as a bonus, protein requires the most energy to digest (~20%) out of the three macronutrients we consume.
High-intensity workouts. By significantly elevating your heart rate high-intensity training intervals, you’ll deplete your blood of oxygen and elevate your metabolism for up to 48 hours afterwards!
This is referred to as Post-Excess Oxygen Consumption (EPOC) & you can learn more about it here.
Lift weights to gain lean muscle. As hinted earlier, lean muscle requires significantly more energy to sustain than fat, so
more muscle = more energy expenditure (even at rest) = better metabolism. In addition, muscle mass is one of the first things to be decreased during periods of calorie deficit, but consistent and heavy weight training has been shown effective for maintaining your hard-earned muscle while dieting.
Get enough sleep. Studies have shown that sleep deficits affect the body’s ability to utilize glucose properly and to regulate hormones. Specifically, hormones that make you feel full (leptin) are decreased and those that signal hunger (ghrelin) are increased. It’s easy to see how these factors encourage overeating + weight gain.
Drink Green Tea. Green tea can help your body better convert fat stores into free-fatty acids, making them easier to use for energy.
Drinking green tea may also improve your overall insulin sensitivity, which makes weight loss much more likely.
De-Stress. It’s unfortunate, but we now live in a hyper-stress society and it’s been known that increased stress causes cortisol to be released. Cortisol often causes increased hunger because of its role in raising insulin levels, making overeating way more likely. It’s so important to find a hobby or activity that can be used as a de-stressing tool and keep your cortisol in check. Evening walks, playing music, reading, spending time with family; anything that can take your mind off the daily stresses and give both your body and mind a chance to relax.
Your metabolism can play a big role in your weight loss goals, so knowing how to optimize it will only helps towards your success.
The key is to implement these factors into your daily routine in a way they’ll actually stick!
When thinking about what foods to eat, consider a healthy and plentiful protein source first, then build the rest of your meal.
Schedule on your calendar precisely where and when your workouts will be completed, making them much more likely get done. Maybe place your workout shoes and gym bag in your car in the evening?
Develop a bedtime routine to help wind down before hitting the sheets, making for a more restful night. Perhaps some light stretching, reading, or listening to music will help. Whatever you choose, be sure to eliminate electronics 30-45 minutes before lights out! You’ll fall asleep much easier.
Keep green tea around the house so it’s easy to prepare.
Come up with 2 or 3 things you can do each day to de-stress and schedule them in your calendar! You wouldn’t miss a big meeting with the boss, you should prioritize your mental & physical well-being the same way.
Keep your metabolism and daily habits on the top of your mind, I promise you’ll have greater success in achieving your weight loss goals!