Whether you’re exercising or not, your body is burning calories. It takes energy to keep basic body functions—such as breathing, growing, repairing cells and circulating blood—going. Metabolic rate (a.k.a. metabolism) is the number of calories your body uses to complete these functions that are basic to human life.
A “fast” metabolism burns more calories doing these tasks, whereas the body of someone with a slower metabolism simply doesn’t burn as many calories performing the same tasks. Although a “slow” metabolism isn’t likely the sole cause of weight gain, many people blame a slow metabolism on their inability to lose weight.
Basal metabolic rate is determined by a few factors, including gender (men tend to burn more calories than women), body size and composition (a larger, more muscular body has a higher metabolic rate) and age (metabolism typically slows with age).
Is it possible to speed up your metabolism?
The short answer to that question is yes. There are certain lifestyle habits that may help your body become less efficient, meaning it requires more energy for activity (and therefore burns more calories).
Causes of a “Slow” Metabolism
Your slow metabolism could be the result of any combination of the following factors:
- Sitting too much
- Not eating enough protein
- Too much alcohol
- Eating too little
- Sleeping during the day
The good news is that if you want to see more progress on the scale, there are a few tricks you can try to rev up your metabolism. Though these tips won't cause a dramatic weight loss on their own, when paired with a healthy diet and exercise regimen, they can help you get that much further on the path to your weight loss goals.
Speed Up Your Metabolism
Use these tips to speed up your metabolism and burn more calories:
- Drink a glass of cold water every morning. Not only will it jolt you awake, but cold water also helps get circulation in the body going, which is one way your body uses stored fat.
- Stand more. Do you have a desk job? Invest in a standing desk so your body has to work harder during the day. If a standing desk isn’t an option, make a conscious effort to get up and walk around the office or walk outside regularly.
- Sleep right. A consistent sleep schedule can help speed up your metabolism.
- Spice things up. Eating spicy foods can boost circulation, increase energy and improve digestion.
- Eat more fiber. The more fiber in your food, the more your body has to work to break it down, burning more calories.
- Drink green tea. Green tea contains catechins, which are a type of antioxidant that can trigger the release of fat cells.
- Get more omega-3s. Omega-3 fatty acids can reduce risk of heart disease, irregular heartbeats and lower blood pressure levels.
- Use cinnamon when cooking. Cinnamon is a natural, metabolism-boosting spice.
Do you have questions about what foods to eat to boost your metabolism? Contact one of Goshen Health’s registered dietitians for individual diet counseling. For more information, please call 574-364-2400 or 1-866-724-3851.