At some point in your life, you may have heard that someone is thin because they have a “fast metabolism.” You may have even felt like you were doomed to be overweight because your metabolism is slow. While everyone’s body is different, there is some good news: you CAN reset your metabolism.
The process of resetting your metabolism isn’t simple – it involves changing many aspects of your life, from how much you sleep to how you flavor your food and even the amount of stress you experience. Because our metabolisms are complicated, you will need to take a multifaceted approach in order to improve your metabolic rate.
Sound overwhelming? It can be – which is why Ideal You developed a program that is specifically designed to help change your metabolism from fat-storing to fat-burning. If you’re ready to lose a life-changing amount of weight, we are here to help.
What Is Your Metabolism?
“Metabolism” is a simple word for a complex process. It refers to all of the chemical processes in the human body. If your metabolism runs quickly, then your body will require more calories (and will burn through more calories as it works). People who have “slower” metabolisms often struggle with excess weight.
When we talk about metabolism, what we are usually discussing is metabolic rate – or the speed of our metabolism. Your metabolic rate is the amount of calories that your body burns in a period of time. It includes a number of components, including:
- Basal metabolic rate (BMR): the minimum metabolic rate needed to keep the involuntary functions of your body (such as breathing, pumping blood, and maintaining temperature) while you are asleep or in a state of deep rest.
- Resting metabolic rate (RMR): this is the minimum metabolic rate that is necessary to keep your body running while you are at rest (not sleeping). Studies show that it accounts for as much as 50 to 70% of all caloric expenditure.
- Thermic effect of food (TEF): the number of calories burned while digesting and processing food
- Thermic effect of exercise: the increase in calories burned during exercise; and
- Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT): the calories burned by your body as you engage in movement other than exercise throughout the day (including fidgeting, walking around, and standing).
Our metabolic rate is affected by a number of factors, including age, body size, level of physical activity, muscle mass, hormone disorders, and environmental temperature. This is why it is often harder to lose weight when we get older (as our metabolic rate slows as we age), and why women often have a harder time losing weight compared to men (who tend to have greater muscle mass). Genetics may also play a role in metabolic rate.
Our metabolisms are incredibly complex. That is why it can be so hard to lose weight. For example, if you don’t eat enough, your body may go into starvation mode – reducing the number of calories burned by decreasing your metabolic rate. That is why, as a general rule, diets don’t work for weight loss.
That doesn’t mean that you can’t change your metabolism to lose weight. It is possible – if you do more than just cut calories or exercise for hours a day.
Can I Reset My Metabolism?
Boosting your metabolic rate (aka your metabolism) is possible with some changes to your diet and lifestyle. Remember: our bodies are complicated, and our metabolic rate is influenced by a number of factors. For this reason, you will need to take a holistic approach if you want to reset your metabolism.
Step One: Get Enough Sleep
If you want to lose weight, you will need to focus on your sleep. When you don’t get enough ZZZs, your metabolism slows down, which puts you at risk of weight gain. Sleep deprivation is viewed as a stressor, which triggers the release of cortisol (the stress hormone). At the same time, lack of sleep can cause your testosterone levels to drop, which can make it harder to lose weight.
If you want to truly reset your metabolism, start by getting a full 8 hours of sleep each night. According to one study, people who were trying to lose weight experienced a 55% drop in fat loss when they only got 5.5 hours of sleep per night. In other words, not getting enough sleep will stall your weight loss efforts.
Step Two: Eat a Protein-Rich Breakfast
We know that mornings can be hectic, particularly if you are trying to get your kids out the door to school before heading off to work. It is little wonder, then, that so many Americans skip breakfast entirely – or just rely on coffee to power them through the day.
This is a mistake. “Breakfast” literally means break the fast – i.e., you need to eat something after 8+ hours of not eating to get your metabolism revved up for the day. Studies show that people who eat breakfast tend to have a much healthier diet overall. Including protein in your breakfast can increase your metabolic rate by as much as 20 to 30%.
Eating a good breakfast is especially important if you work out in the morning – as long as you eat before exercising. A recent study found that eating breakfast before exercising actually accelerates your metabolism after you are done working out.
A good breakfast should include a mix of protein and healthy fat – and can include coffee, too. Research shows that just 100 milligrams of caffeine (as much as an average cup of coffee contains) can improve your resting metabolic rate by 3 to 11%. If you aren’t a coffee drinker, not to worry – you can get the same effect by drinking a cup of green tea.
Step 3: Drink Plenty of Water
One of the key aspects that affects your ability to lose weight is hydration. Simply put, if you aren’t drinking enough water, you’ll have trouble dropping unwanted pounds.
While coffee or tea is great for the morning, try to stick to water throughout the day (and avoid sugary drinks like soda or juice). Not only is water calorie-free, it can actually increase your metabolic rate. According to one study, drinking just 16.9 ounces of water (a little over 2 cups) can increase your metabolic rate by 30% for up to 40 minutes. Try to drink 16.9 ounces of water a few times a day to really reap the metabolism-boosting benefits.
Step 4: Move More
While vigorous exercise is not required to lose weight, engaging in some light strength-training or cardio a few days a week can help to reset your metabolism. As an added benefit, muscle burns more calories than fat. When you get stronger, your metabolism will typically rise as well.
A 2011 study found that doing cardiovascular exercise for as little as 45 minutes increased participants’ metabolic rate for 14 hours after working out. Whether you choose to go for a brisk walk, hop on a Peloton, or pick up some weights, you may be able to reset your metabolism by getting sweaty a few days a week.
If you don’t have time to exercise or cannot work out for any reason, you can still reap the benefits of a better metabolism. By moving more each day, we can increase our non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT). Try walking while you are on a phone call, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, or parking further away from your office or the store.
Step 5: Spice It Up
Well-seasoned food doesn’t just taste better – it can also help you lose weight. Healthy spices and herbs add few calories and improve flavor. Some may even rev up your metabolism.
In particular, eating spicy foods that contain capsaicin – like chili peppers – may allow you to burn an extra 50 calories per day. That may not seem like a lot, but over time, those 50 calories per day can really add up. In just one week, you may burn 350 extra calories – just for throwing a few dashes of Frank’s Red Hot onto your morning eggs.
Step 6: Reduce Stress
Too much stress and anxiety is linked to weight gain. When we experience stress, our bodies release the hormone cortisol – which can slow down our metabolism. Researchers have found that people who experience a stressful event burned 104 fewer calories over a 24 hour period, compared to people who did not experience the same stress – over a year, this can add up to 11 pounds of weight gain.
While reducing stress can be hard in our busy modern lives, it is often necessary if you want to drop pounds and improve your health overall. One option to reduce stress is meditation. Practicing mindfulness meditation for just 10 to 15 minutes per day has been shown to lower cortisol levels. There are a number of apps and videos available online to guide you through meditation.
Step 7: Get Enough to Eat
As noted above, when we don’t consume enough calories, our bodies go into starvation mode. This reduces our metabolic rate and makes it that much harder to lose weight.
Specifically, eating fewer than 1,000 calories per day can cause a significant drop in your metabolic rate that lasts even after you stop dieting. One study found that when overweight or obese people cut calories too drastically, their metabolism slowed down so much that they burned 504 fewer calories per day. As counterintuitive as it may seem, it isn’t a good idea to go on a severely calorie-restricted diet if you are trying to lose weight.
Improve Your Metabolism with Ideal You
It IS possible to reset your metabolism – but that doesn’t mean that it’s easy. While gaining weight is pretty easy, losing those same lbs can be a challenge. Ideal You is here to help.
Ideal You takes the guesswork out of weight loss. We will give you a structured food list and weight loss journal, all natural supplements to help improve your metabolism, and support from a team of weight loss coaches. Working together, we will empower you to change your metabolism from fat-storing to fat-burning – so you can lose a life-changing amount of weight quickly and sustainably.