“Think of your metabolism like a fire.”
You have to feed it well, let it breathe, and protect it to have the best flame. If you deprive it of any of these things that it needs, it’s not going to burn.
Metabolic Damage is a real thing that occurs when you avoid doing the things on the list below for a long time. As a nutritionist, I most commonly see it in clients who come to me who have been doing the opposite of what I recommend in this article. Some of the most common misconceptions about how to lose weight are some of the biggest culprits of a damaged metabolism. If you are doing any of these things you should stop doing them immediately, for example:
- Not eating breakfast or skipping way too many meals.
- Working out every morning on an empty stomach or working out way too much!
- Participating in ‘fad’ diets with crazy low calories or unbalanced nutrients for too long.
Extreme metabolic damage can be reversed but it can take a lot of time to work your body back up to eating a healthy amount of food before you can start to see weight loss again. Below is a list of 8 things I recommend to help get a faster metabolism.
1. Drink Water
No big surprise, water is easily the most efficient and under-appreciated resource that improves the functioning of ALL your bodily systems.
JUST DO IT!
Coldwater is especially good for waking up your digestive system first thing in the morning. If you need to drink more water try cutting out other beverages together and carrying around a water bottle with you all day.
The typical recommendation for water intake varies per individual.
Recommended Water Intake = 1/2 your Body Weight in Ounces
2. Breakfast First Thing!
I’m sure you have heard a million times that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. The reason they say this is that your metabolism doesn’t wake up and start working until you starting putting fuel in the tank. So DON’T SKIP BREAKFAST!. And although fasting cardio might have a time and place in a training program… don’t wake up and work out on a regular basis for an extended period of time. This can cause long term metabolic damage.
It’s no secret that active people usually have faster metabolisms. Getting your heart rate elevated helps you to be able to eat more calories and burn more calories. Unfortunately, overtraining can have the opposite effect. It can hurt your metabolism and release stress hormones that make your body hold on to fat and slow down your metabolism so you can run longer on less fuel.
4. Eat Sufficient Calories
Our bodies are actually really efficient at adapting to environmental factors and surviving even in times of drought or famine.
Hint: When you don’t feed your body enough it thinks it’s starving because there aren’t enough resources. So it does what it is meant to do and keeps you running on less fuel by slowing down your metabolic functions and burning fewer calories than it usually does.
If you are trying to lose weight you do need to have a calorie deficit (that means eat fewer calories than you are burning). However, eating a calorie deficit doesn’t mean you have to be under-eating. As long as you don’t set your deficit at more than 2 lbs. weight loss a week (-1,000 calories a day) and you don’t drop below starvation level daily caloric intake you should be fine.
1 lb. of fat = 3500 calories (or -500 calories from your Basal Metabolic Rate + activity level a day)
Males need a minimum of 1,700 calories daily
Females need a minimum of 1,200 calories daily
*Remember this is a minimum for already shorter and more petite men and women who want to lose weight. Your minimum calorie intake may vary*
5. Eating Frequently
Another component to increase your metabolic function in this diet is eating frequently. Like I stated earlier, your metabolism is like a fire and you need to FEED IT! Similar to conditioning your body or cardiovascular system. Cardio is good for your heart just like food is good for your metabolism!
6. Eating a Balanced Diet
But what types of foods are good for your metabolism?
Actually, a good balance of macronutrients is best to maximize your body’s energy efficiency. So eat plenty of carbohydrates, fats, and proteins. This is because your body needs all 3 macronutrients to run smoothly. Each macronutrient actually supports different functions and they all play off of each other to maximize absorption.
Hint: Fresher foods are always better than processed or frozen foods.
Hint: Liquid diets (even if they have balanced nutrition) aren’t as effective in boosting your metabolism because your body doesn’t have to work as hard to break it down. (Think of it like pre-crewed and digested food.)
7. Eating Plenty of Whole Grains and Fruit (Fiber)
The high fibers in fruits and whole grains are more difficult for your body to digest which results in making your digestive system work harder and boosting your metabolism.
8. Building Muscle
Muscle helps your body burn calories at a faster rate. So get off the cardio equipment and start lifting more weights or doing more plyometrics (bodyweight resistant workouts).
Higher Lean Body Mass = Higher Metabolism
If you found the information in this article helpful but still would like additional information we offer a full customized Metabolic Boost nutrition program. This diet has a good balance of macronutrients to maximize your body’s energy efficiency and protein absorption. The high fibers and whole grains are more difficult for your body to digest which results in boosting your metabolism. Another component to increase your metabolic function in this diet is eating frequently. Depending on previous food habits this diet may be difficult to eat everything at first. As your metabolism gets faster you will start to become more hungry. This is a good sign that your body is burning fuel and fat efficiently! Although this diet is relatively high in carbohydrates compared to a typical ‘high protein’ diet carbohydrate timing is incorporated to make sure you are not storing excess carbohydrates as fat. Carbohydrate timing is when you eat different amounts and types of carbs at different times of the day. This will be outlined in the diet plan more specific.