Not to disillusion anyone here, but our metabolism is actually not built like a speed gauge. There’s no gas pedal to pick things up or down … Not that we would ever hit the brakes and slow our metabolism for any reason, unless we were stranded without food for an extended period. You know, survival stuff.
But no. Generally speaking, we want to keep our bodies burning fuel quickly and efficiently so that we can keep up our energy, and not store extra calories as fat. Reminder: Calories equal energy. It’s gas in the tank. Unfortunately, fuel for humans is typically delicious, and lights up reward censors in the brain to ask for more. Oftentimes, we give in, because YOLO.
Reward centers firing or not, some of us happen to have a slower metabolism, or have slowed our own metabolism by not fueling it properly, suffering from chronic stress, thyroid disorders, or auto-immune diseases, or trying fad diets where we restrict calories and put our bodies into panic mode, damaging our systems along the way. If any of these pertain to you in a major, Captain Obvious way, we recommend inquiring about natural ways to boost your metabolism and talking to a professional for help STAT.
Of course, there are some steps we can take if we’re feeling a little sluggish to help reprogram the body to burn, utilize, and detox our “fuel” a little quicker. It all comes down to blood sugar, macros, hydration, and movement. Here are our favorite hacks and all-natural ways to boost your metabolism.
Right. Yes. Duh. We should move our bodies in order to lose weight. But it does more than just burn calories. While cardio raises our metabolic rate, weight training actually speeds up our metabolism in general. Lifting heavy weights or engaging in resistance training can increase resting metabolic rate, meaning we continue to burn cals while chilling. This is especially crucial as we get older, because our resting metabolic rate decreases with age.
Hydrating is pretty vital when it comes to all modes of wellness, and we hope that is — how do you say — obvious. However, studies show that drinking water actually increases thermogenesis, aka the production of heat, which raises our metabolic rate. Studies share that “Drinking 500 ml of water increased metabolic rate by 30%.” That increase was able to be measured in just 10 minutes, and continued for 30-40 minutes.
We also recommend drinking warm, hot, or at the very least room temperature water, as it’s easier for the body to assimilate, doesn’t slow digestion, and increases this thermogenic effect. Plus, it’s so comfy cozy, and still refreshing when you add a little lemon— a perfectly easy and enjoyable, natural way to boost your metabolism.
Starvation diets are absolutely not trendy anymore, and thank Goddess almighty. They give false results (the weight jumps back with a vengeance), they aren’t healthy, and the worst of it all? Intense, prolonged calorie restriction slows down your metabolism! While we are fans of fasting when it makes sense — i.e. the occasional intermittent fast when we aren’t premenstrual or menstruating can be totally beneficial — starvation diets are at the top of our Don’ts list.
If you’re just straight up hungry and fighting it because you want to lose weight, you are sending your body into panic mode — especially the ladies. That’s because it causes our blood sugar to crash, which is tied to insulin, a hormone. ICYMI, all hormones talk to each other; they are the chemical messengers in the body. When we starve ourselves, we are turning on survival genes that ask our bod to store fat instead of burn calories as fuel. Because our body thinks we are dying, and/or that it’s not a good time for reproduction, our estrogen production is sent through a loop. Think about that irony.
We do some major work while we are racking up z’s. In fact, when we clock good, restorative rest, we are cleaning out our brains, detoxing our livers, and jumping into metabolic states that ensure our longevity and even help us to lose weight. Lack of sleep can result in weight gain, as “sleep deprivation … and circadian misalignment are believed to cause metabolic dysregulation through myriad pathways involving sympathetic overstimulation, hormonal imbalance, and subclinical inflammation.” Yikes.
Turn off your devices, read, light candles, do some self care and self massage, and get to bed at a good, consistent time each night. Getting into a routine will make it easier to fall asleep at a similar time, making consecutive nights of restorative rest a regular part of your body’s circadian routine. Watch the positive effects pile up.
Because metabolism is based on the thermic effect of food, aka TEF, it’s important to note which types of foods have higher TEF. Protein has a higher TEF compared to carbs and fats, so it burns more calories at a quicker rate. Protein also helps you feel fuller for longer, curbing the need to snack. Think of high-protein foods that increase metabolism, like lean chicken, fish, legumes, edamame, and gluten-free grains like quinoa, as essential ingredients of your daily meals.
Eat plenty of spices (and spicy foods!)
Spices and herbs help stimulate digestion, which can get things along quickly through the GI tract for proper absorption and assimilation— which, as one may imagine, is an amazing natural way to boost your metabolism. Spicy foods like mustard, peppers, and ginger all contain capsaicin, a substance that is a natural metabolism booster. The heat from these spices juices up that thermogenic process we mentioned before, creating heat and getting metabolism on the move. Plus, they make mealtime a lot more interesting.