With summer just around the corner, plenty of men and women are looking to slim down. As we work hard to lose our winter weight, we quickly remember that it’s so much easier to put those extra pounds on than to take them off. Have you been trying to achieve your desired beach bod without much success?
If you have been yo-yo dieting for years, these fad diets may have potentially hurt your metabolism. With so many “counting calorie” programs, far too many individuals aiming to lose weight end up starving themselves, shedding weight too rapidly. Not only is this not a long-term solution to weight gain, but it can also disrupt your metabolism.
If this sounds like you, no need to panic — your metabolism can be reset.
The science behind metabolic rate
Your basal metabolic rate is simply the amount of energy you expend while at rest. Claiming that you have a “fast” or “slow” metabolism is common, but the truth is, it’s much more complex than that. Sure, in some cases individuals inherit a fast metabolism, naturally being able to eat whatever they wish, never gaining a pound — of course, this is not the case for everyone.
Although you may not choose your initial metabolic rate, you can influence it, helping it function at a more optimal rate. In terms of weight loss, boosting your metabolic rate will make a significant difference in terms of your goals, while encouraging a more balanced, active lifestyle.
8 ways to reset your metabolism — starting today
As you can imagine, resetting your metabolism takes time and effort — it is not an overnight process. As long as you begin to incorporate the following eight suggestions, you’ll be well on your way to not only a healthier weight, but a healthier life.
1. Use common sense regarding meal frequency
Everyone is aware of breakfast, lunch and dinner, but are three main meals a day best for your health? For years, people suggested eating small, nutritious meals more often. Although this can help optimize insulin regulation, studies have shown that it does not boost your metabolism.
If you’re trying to lose weight, it’s obvious that your diet will need to change. The truth is, far too many people are overweight yet undernourished. If you are truly providing your body with the nutrients it needs, hunger is a reliable indicator of when you should be eating.
Small meals and healthy snacks are beneficial if you’re one to binge on unhealthy foods. If you don’t eat all day then pig out on fast food, both your insulin and hormone levels will be out of whack. This can lead to cravings, excess eating and the consumption of far too many calories.
2. Start your day with a high-protein meal
Although breakfast has long been called the most important meal of the day, research now suggests that it does not affect your resting metabolism. What it will do, however, is provide your body with fuel in order to tackle the morning ahead. When you choose a high-protein morning meal, the protein burns more calories during digestion than carbs and fat.
Related: 6 Complete Vegan Proteins You May Not Know About
It’s also important to consume fiber and other essential nutrients. If you don’t feel like eating before 9:00 a.m., no need to panic. If, however, you are someone who skips breakfast then gorges on junk food at lunch to satisfy your grumbling tummy, you need to focus on changing your eating schedule and habits.
3. Lift weights
If you work out before work, your high-protein breakfast will also help you recover more rapidly after weightlifting. Yes, weightlifting — strength conditioning is very important for both men and women. As you increase the amount of lean muscle mass on your body, the more effective your metabolism will be. In fact, for every pound of muscle you gain, your body will burn 50 to 70 more calories daily.
4. Don’t forget cardio
Any diet plan that will guarantee weight loss without needing to exercise or change one’s eating habits is something in which you need to approach with caution. Diet pills and other weight-loss plans on the market often take advantage of people — not allowing them to achieve lasting, long-term effects.
If you truly want to boost your metabolism, you’re going to need to start moving. If you’re out of shape, don’t push yourself too much too soon. Start slow, walking 30 minutes a day, before progressing to higher-intensity cardio workouts that stimulate your metabolism.
5. Switch to whole foods
With so many processed foods available, far too many families have gotten into poor habits, focusing on convenience over nutrition. When it comes to digestion, some foods require more energy to break down in comparison to others. Whole foods have a high-thermogenic effect, meaning you burn more calories when breaking down Greek yogurt than ice cream.
6. Be consistent
Perhaps this is the most important recommendation of them all. If you change your diet and exercise for two days but then revert back to your old, unhealthy habits, you can see how you may fail in terms of your metabolic rate and weight-loss goals. Create an exercise routine, develop healthy eating habits and stick with it. Leave reminders around the house if you need to — whatever works for you.
7. Pay attention to liquids
Green tea consumption has been linked to a wide range of health and weight-loss benefits, including fat oxidation and improved insulin sensitivity. It has been well-documented within studies that focus on obesity — with one study, showing a 33 percent reduction of type 2 diabetes onset when drinking six cups of green tea daily in comparison to one cup a week.
The benefits of water are also well-documented, especially in terms of weight loss, skin health, cognitive functioning and overall energy. Within one study, published in The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism, water-induced thermogenesis was reported among participants.
While studying normal-weight individuals, for both men and women, 500 milliliters of water increased metabolic rate by 30 percent. Approximately 40 percent of the thermogenic effect observed was due to the water being warmed from 22 to 37 degrees Celsius (approximately 72 to 99 degrees Fahrenheit). It was concluded that drinking two liters of water per day would result in an energy expenditure of 400 kilojoules, or just shy of 100 calories.
8. Spice it up
Using a range of spices to season your food will result in a wide range of antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and even metabolic benefits. Adding a small teaspoon of hot mustard to a vinaigrette is an easy way to amp up your metabolism, as well as adding more turmeric, cayenne, ginger and cinnamon to everyday dishes.
As you review the list above, every suggestion focuses on a balanced, active lifestyle — it’s as simple as that. The hard part is implementing these suggestions and making lasting changes. Create a daily health routine that is flexible yet structured. As you create new habits, older, unhealthy routines will be easier to avoid.
When you give your body what it needs, it will provide you with the long-term results you’re aiming to achieve. Focus on a nutrient-rich diet packed with protein, iron and fiber; plenty of water; and a regular exercise regimen in order to reset and boost your metabolism.
If you have any suggestions that have worked for you, please feel free to share below!