We have heard time and time again that the older we get, the slower our metabolism will become; I swear it may have been the biggest warning I heard from those around me prior to turning 30. Well, if you’re like me, then you are not willing to just sit around and wait while your metabolism goes from lightning speed to a snail’s pace.
I knew there had to be a better way, or at least there had to be a few simple things that I could incorporate into my daily routine to give my body that extra little boost that I’m looking for; thankfully, that’s where the experts came to my rescue!
Breakfast first thing in the morning
While I can be finicky about what I eat for breakfast in the morning, I was never one of those people who could just get by skipping breakfast. Even if I don’t wake up hungry, by the time I finish my morning workout, I’m ready to dive face first into my smoothie, toast, or yogurt. As it turns out, that’s exactly what I should be doing.
Certified holistic health coach Meghan Meredith told me, “Eating breakfast helps jump-start your metabolism for the day and gives you the physical and mental energy to tackle the day ahead.” Pass the cereal and coffee my way, please!
Sip on green tea
I may be a coffee girl at heart, but I do enjoy a mug of hot tea as much as the next person, especially during the cooler months when my office is as cold as a freezer. With that said, I think green tea just became my newest go-to for that little afternoon mental pick-me-up, as well as a little boost for my metabolism.
“Green tea has been proven through several studies to slightly increase one’s metabolism due to it’s ability to increase energy expenditure, the amount of calories one burns,” said Meredith. “Green tea contains caffeine and catechin polyphenols, a type of antioxidant, that promotes this increase in metabolism.” She went on to add that while the increase in thermogenesis and fat oxidation appears small in several studies, every little bit counts and is an added bonus to the other benefits of green tea, including helping battle chronic disease, lowering cancer risk, and increasing brain function.
Walk around during the day
One of my biggest struggles during the work day is convincing myself to get up and move. It’s not because I’m feeling lazy, but I usually find myself in a zone or feeling the pressure to get a lot of work done in a little amount of time, so my breaks only consist of a couple quick trips to the restroom, to refill my water bottle, or to grab my lunch from the fridge so I can eat at my desk.
If this sounds at all like you, then you likely understand that it can often be accompanied with a lot of snacking, whether you’re actually hungry or not. As it turns out, a few walking breaks through out the day may not only keep our hands out of the trail mix bag, but it may also give our body and mind an extra little boost.
“Taking a walk and engaging with others can help you re-energize and re-focus,” Yoga Alliance RYT teacher Alex Samet told me. She went on to add that standing on your feet can help reverse the effects of sitting in a desk chair, make you less likely to overeat, and add a little boost to your brain and metabolism.
Eat small meals throughout the day
When it comes to diet, there’s a lot of information out there. I swear it seems like there’s a new diet trend popping up every other week telling you the newest way to eat for those six-pack abs or to lose the last five pounds. Lately, I’ve noticed a lot more hype around larger meals and little to no snacking, which is opposite of a lot of advice from years past, but which is the best way to go?
“It’s okay and even beneficial to snack if you do it right,” said Samet. “Eating small meals or snacks throughout the day is actually beneficial for your metabolism. However, rather than reaching for the office candy jar, find a few minutes to pack a healthy snack with protein like celery and peanut butter.” Ants on a log, anyone?
Sprinkle on some cayenne pepper
If spicy food is already your thing, then you’re going to love this next piece of advice, but if it’s not, then it’s time to jump on the spicy food train immediately. According to health coach KJ Landis, “Cayenne pepper is another boost for metabolism. It heats the body temperature up, burning energy.” In other words, it burns calories!
Landis went on to tell me about her own experience of adding a 500mg dose of cayenne pepper before bed each night. Without making any other changes to her already grain free, sugar free lifestyle, she lost five pounds. Even better, studies show the active ingredient, capsaicin, helps decrease appetite!
Add in some strength training
If you’re someone who has been afraid to lift weights for fear of becoming bulky, it’s time to change your thoughts! Landis said, “The number one way to boost metabolism is to lift heavy things.”
Don’t worry, you don’t need to have an expensive gym membership or try to become an amazing power lifter. “Lifting your own body weight and using resistance training for sustained holds, even 30-60 seconds is extremely effective in boosting metabolism,” Landis mentioned. She went on to explain that it takes more energy to sustain muscle than any other tissue, thus increasing our metabolism. If you’re still afraid to pick up a set of dumbbells, though, she went on to share that even walking up hills is a great way to add in some easy resistance training!
Limit your sugar intake
I love cookies, brownies, and cake as much as the next girl, but to likely come as no surprise, this sugar is not doing us or our metabolism any favors. “Sugar decreases the function of your immune system at almost the instant you ingest it,” said health and nutrition expert Carolyn Dean, MD, ND. “Sugar requires magnesium in order to metabolize it; therefore, the more sugar you consume, the more magnesium you waste, the weaker your metabolism functions, the less energy you have.”
Long story short, what she told me means that cookie you have at lunch which you’re hoping is going to carry you through the afternoon is likely the cause of your slump during the last few hours of work, and it’s definitely not helping your waistline.
Make sure to get enough sleep
If you ask people what they want more of in their lives, I’m sure most of them will answer that they want more sleep; myself included. As it turns out, to keep our metabolism going strong, sleep is a major factor.
“If your body is very tired, it will be hard for it to create energy and fight off disease,” said Dr. Dean. “Consistent rest will keep you strong and ensure that your body has the strength to be productive.” That includes boosting metabolism.
Include more protein in your meals
If you’re trying to figure out a good breakfast to start your day, then NASM trainer Meghan Kennihan suggests a veggie and chicken sausage omelet. Not only are you getting the metabolism boost that your morning meal provides, you’re adding to it with plenty of protein.
“A meal of pure protein elicits a thermic effect nearly 25 percent of the meal’s caloric value,” said Kennihan. “This large thermic effect results largely from activation of the digestive processes.” She went on to add that eating a meal that is mainly protein, like a large steak and green beans or grilled chicken and a side salad, will allow you to burn calories while doing next to nothing.
Try taking a cold shower
Honestly, when I find myself shivering in my office, I can’t help but complain about it, but as it turns out, this may be a good thing for my metabolism. “Cold environments significantly increase energy metabolism during rest and exercise,” said Kennihan, “The metabolic rate can increase up to five times at rest during extreme cold stress because shivering generates body heat to maintain a stable core temperature.”
I can’t say that I’m super excited to spend several hours working at my desk in a shivering state, so Kennihan suggests that even taking a five-minute cold shower will allow you to reap the metabolism boosting benefits.
Now to get started
I’m not sure about you, but I’m feeling a lot better about my metabolism. All of these expert ideas are simple, effective, and easy enough to start implementing into my life today. Even better, there’s no need to grab some fancy chemical-filled supplement from the local drugstore when these tips are all within our reach.