Have you been feeling sluggish of late? Constantly craving carb heavy and sugary food, and find your body holding onto stubborn weight? Well, chances are that it is your metabolism that is to blame. According to nutrition specialists, your metabolism — more specifically, your metabolic rate — is how quickly your body is burning calories. When you have a slower-than-normal metabolism, it creates a cascade of negative side effects, including fatigue, mood swings, food cravings, and difficulty losing weight.
Luckily, a slow metabolism isn’t permanent, and with the right changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can rev up your metabolism, and get back to feeling better in the process. Sounds like a win-win doesn’t it? Here is a list of ten simple changes that can go a long way in increasing your metabolism, to incorporate into you lifestyle starting today.
1. Eat protein with every meal
Eating food can increase your metabolism for a few hours. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF) and it's caused by the extra calories required to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal. Protein, such as chicken, eggs and tofu, causes the highest rise in TEF. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats. It also helps you feel full and helps build muscle, keeping your metabolic rate high.
2. Drink more water
People who drink more water have an easier time losing weight and keeping it of. Apart from the calories you save by avoiding sugary drinks, it also temporarily speeds up your metabolism; keeps your body processes working smoothly, and helps you feel full and satiated. Cold water is even better; as your body has to work to increase it’s temperature and burns more calories in the process.
3. Do a high-intensity workout.
High-intensity interval training is basically any workout that alternates between intense bursts of activity and fixed periods of less-intense activity or even complete rest. This can help cut your workout time in half, and boost your metabolism for all around better results. Mixing up your exercise routine and adding a few high intensity workouts could be the key to losing that extra, stubborn fat.
4. Get 8 hours of sleep.
It sounds obvious and maybe even repetitive, but that doesn't make it any less important. Studies have shown a direct link between poor sleeping habits disrupted metabolic rates of both male and female adults. In fact, women who slept five hours or less each night had a twofold greater risk of obesity than women who slept seven to eight hours each night. Our advice? Get to sleep on time and make sure you get enough shuteye to keep you at your fat burning best.
5. Don’t under eat.
It's a common belief that in order to get into shape, you must restrict your caloric intake. While that may be true in certain situations, be fair warned against restricting your calories too far. In order to speed up your metabolism, you must eat the right amount of calories. The goal is not to under eat. If you aren't consuming enough calories, you will lose muscle mass, and ultimately your metabolism will slow down .The trick is to choose nutrient-dense foods that will keep your body nourished and your hunger satiated.
6. Lift weights.
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, and building muscle can help increase your metabolism. This means you will burn more calories each day, even at rest. Lifting weights will also help you retain muscle and combat the drop in metabolism that can occur during weight loss. Basically, weight training is important for building and retaining muscle. Higher amounts of muscle will result in higher metabolism, all around.
7. Stand up more often.
Sitting too much is bad for your health. Some health commentators have even dubbed it ‘the new smoking.’ This is partly because long periods of sitting burn fewer calories and can lead to weight gain. In fact, compared to sitting, an afternoon of standing up at work can burn an extra 150 to 200 calories. If you have a desk job, try standing up for short periods to break up the length of time you spend sitting down.
8. Sip on some green tea and coffee.
Green and oolong tea have been shown to increase metabolism by 4–5%. These teas help convert some of the fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, which may increase fat burning by 10–17% . Also, as they are low in calories, drinking these teas may be good for both weight loss and weight maintenance. Studies have shown the caffeine in coffee can boost metabolism by 3–11%. Like green tea, it also promotes fat burning. Consume the right amount though; more then 2 to 3 cups a day are not advisable to be good for your health.
9. Eat spicy foods.
Peppers contain capsaicin, a substance that can boost your metabolism. One study of capsaicin, at acceptable doses, predicted that eating peppers would burn around 10 additional calories per meal. Alone, the effects of adding spices to your food may be quite small. However, it may lead to a slight advantage when combined with other metabolism-boosting strategies, so don’t hold back on the spice, as long as you can handle it.
10. Replace cooking fats with coconut oil.
Unlike other saturated fats, coconut oil is relatively high in medium-chain fats. So, how does this help? Medium-chain fats can increase your metabolism more than the long-chain fats, which are found in foods like butter .In one study, researchers found that medium-chain fats increased metabolism by 12% when compared to long-chain fats. Due to the unique fatty acid profile of coconut oil, replacing some of your cooking fats with it can have weight loss benefits.