It's easier to do than you think...
Our metabolism, by definition, is the balance of energy within our bodies.
We're more familiar with understanding it as what burns calories and helps us lose weight, however; our goal should always be to reach that energy balance!
Achieving true balance is nearly impossible due to the fact that most of us don't move or eat in the exact same way each day. And that's ok! Metabolism is meant to be a goal, not a shortcoming.
When your goal is weight loss, you actually want to increase your catabolism rate. This process releases energy by utilizing the nutrients in your body and "consuming" or "burning" the calories associated with them.
You really don't care what it's called though, are you? You just want to know how to make it happen. I got you!!
How to increase your metabolic rate of calorie usage:
Increase NEAT- non-exercise activity thermogenesis
Choose more nutrient dense options
Leverage portion sizes
S.L.E.E.P. and rest!
(and give your body a break from dieting)
Non-exercise activity thermogenesis is a sciencey way of saying calories burned while we breathe, talk, walk, pick up children, cook dinner, etc. Just because you're not intentionally exercising doesn't mean you're not burning calories!
Some easy ways to incorporate more "NEAT" include:
-Setting a timer or alarm to go on a quick 5 minute walk outside each day whenever possible.
-Taking the stairs instead of the elevator.
-Cooking from scratch instead of heating up or ordering food.
-Utilizing a different style of chair that allows for leg movement or more core stabilization (ex. swivel chair, exercise ball, standing desk)
-During commercial breaks (or even before and after your favorite show,) get up and do a few jumping jacks, squats, push ups, or even a lap around the house or up and down the stairs.
Each time we raise our heartbeat, our metabolism fires up. It sends more blood throughout our bodies and allows for more systems to be fired up.
By using these tips and increasing your heart rate even just slightly throughout the day, you can exponentially increase your resting metabolic rate!
2- Nutrient Dense Foods
3oz chicken breast- protein, vitamins B6, B12, K, selenium *128calories
1c spinach- fiber, carbohydrate, vitamins A, B6, C, E, K, magnesium, potassium, selenium, folate *5.7calories
Both of these options are good choices in a healthy, balanced diet. But you can eat a whole lot more spinach than chicken before reaching potentially undesired outcomes due to the difference between nutrients and calories.
(also read as- please don't stop eating foods just because they're higher in calories. Rather, add in MORE low calorie options with lots of nutrients to support and balance a functional plate.)
Nutrient dense foods, as you can see above, are typically calorie poor (low in calories). Filling yourself up on foods that contain vital nutrients to keep you healthy may also help you shed a few pounds by increasing your ratio of calories used by the body to calories consumed.
A word to the wise- be very gentle when incorporating this tip. A sudden leap in fiber intake can cause serious gastrointestinal discomfort and sometimes even gas and constipation. When it comes to fiber, slow and steady wins the race!
3- Leverage Portion Sizes
Hear me when I say this- serving sizes are meant as a GUIDE, not as law.
You can have two or five servings of a specific food if you want to and it won't set your progress back.
When we talk about using portion sizes, we simply want to become more mindful about how much we're actually eating. A great example of this is trail mix.
Trail mix of any kind can be an easy and health promoting snack.
But...1/4c of cajun style trail mix is 170cal.
If you measure out 1/4c, it's enough to feel satisfied. But it's also REALLY easy to eat upwards of 1/2c or even a whole cup if you're really hungry and mindlessly munching.
While it's not a "bad" thing to munch or enjoy your favorite things sometimes, if you have a goal you want to reach, it may be worth keeping track of how much you're really eating.
Taking it back to tip #2- keeping a focus on nutrient dense foods and moderating our intake of calorie dense/nutrient poor foods can help reduce our calorie intake and thus lead to a higher metabolic rate! Balance is THE major 🔑!
4- Sleep and Rest
Your body literally cannot do what it's supposed to do if you don't sleep. Bottom line, period.
Our brain cycles out "build up" each night. This cycle helps to keep our brain functioning well! This process also requires 8 hours and only happens when we sleep.
What else happens when we sleep?
It takes a fairly long time for our gut to digest all the food we eat. During the day, digestion is fairly constant because we reactivate the process each time we eat. That's a good thing!
But when digestion is finished, the energy required to complete that process has to go somewhere else. And that "somewhere else" is called autophagy. This is the process when our cells regenerate! Sort of like the brain thing mentioned above- our cells need to "clear house" every once in a while and have complete focus to attack free radicals, scar tissue, and other undesirables that find home in our bodies due to normal daily activity.
When we sleep (or even just rest on the couch for a few hours and relax,) our bodies have more physical capabilities to complete the processes that keep us healthy and functioning at high capacity.
If you don't allow your body to rest, the opposite of your desired outcome will occur and your metabolism may slow down.
Another note worth mentioning- your metabolism does NOT speed up when you go on diets. Bouncing back and forth between different calorie amounts and nutrient intakes can actually throw your body into shock, slow metabolism, and lead to weight gain.
If you don't yet check the boxes above and need a hand introducing some habits that HEAL the metabolism, join us on April 19th for Seasonal Sessions: Supercharged Spring℠!
This 3-day course will cover metabolism, how many calories YOU need to be eating, what nutrients your body uses to maximize physical activity, and the best ways to eat seasonally and save money.
Leave the crash diets, pre-packaged food, and weird shakes in 2020. It's time to learn how REAL FOOD (including French fries and ice cream) can fit into your healthy lifestyle even when you're trying to lose weight or build muscle.
What would happen if instead of taking things away this year, you added to the list of things you can do, have, and eat?
What would happen if you felt confident and sexy when you put on your shorts or swimsuit this summer?
What would happen if the only thing on your mind was how much fun you're having- not how you look when you sit down?
A lot of good might happen- and you're worth finding out what that feels like 💙
Join now for only $21 until 4/17!
Not sure if it's the right time for you? Send the phrase "spring info" to @bewellhwc on Instagram or firstname.lastname@example.org via email! We will get you matched (for free!) to make sure you're not spending money on something that doesn't serve you!
Did you learn something new today? Leave us a comment and a like if this post was helpful! Screenshot and post or share this link to your social media and tag us (@bewellhwc) for a chance to be featured AND win a discount code for our services and special courses!
Don't miss another health hack. Get updates any time we share a new blog by subscribing at the top of the page: https://www.bewellphc.com/blog
**The ads you may see on this webpage are in no way supported or recommended by Be Well Health and Wellness Consultants. We do not choose which ads are run and information may be contradictory to the education we share in our posts. Please be advised that we will always stand behind science and share accurate health information in our written articles.