You’ve seen articles on metabolism boosting foods, right? Yeah, me too. But here’s the hard truth: No single food will boost your metabolism. Just like no single workout or specific lift will boost your metabolism either. Why am I always over here talking about improving metabolism you may be wondering? Here’s why: Improving your metabolism can have many benefits, including helping you burn more calories and lose body fat, increasing your energy levels, and improving your overall health. And who doesn’t want most or all of that?
As we age, it’s normal and expected for our metabolic rate (or the amount of calories we burn each day) to decrease. It’s also normal for us to naturally lose about 5-8% of our muscle mass each decade once we hit the late 30s-early 40s age range. Since muscle burns about 3 times the amount of calories as fat mass, this isn’t good news for our ability to burn major calories.
I see many women start to cut their calorie consumption down once they’ve hit this point because they feel like despite all of their best efforts, they keep gaining weight. Some clients have even come to me and let me know that their physician told them to eat 1200 calories a day and go on a low carb diet. Y’all. No. The only person who should be eating 1200 calories is a small child, not a grown woman! Plus when you only eat 1200 calories a day, do you think you’re getting enough protein to stimulate muscle growth to improve metabolism? No way.
Do ya wanna hear the great news? Though we may not be able to get our metabolism back where it was in high school, we can definitely improve it and here are a few ways how to do that:
- Build muscle mass: One of the most effective ways to increase your metabolism is to build more muscle mass. Muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, even when you’re at rest. So, incorporating strength training exercises into your workout routine can help you build muscle and increase your metabolism. Plus, how much better and stronger do you feel when you can see a little muscle popping out!
- Eat protein-rich foods: Protein requires more energy to digest than carbohydrates or fat, which means that your body burns more calories digesting protein. Some examples of protein-rich foods include lean meats, fish, eggs, beans, dairy, and lentils. Protein is one of the major building blocks for muscle, so if you’re not eating enough protein, you won’t build those muscles well.
- Stay hydrated: Drinking enough water is important! Dehydration can slow down your metabolism, making it harder for your body to burn calories. Aim to drink at least half your body weight (in lbs) in ounces of water per day to stay hydrated and keep your metabolism running smoothly. (Example if you weigh 160 lbs, shoot for a minimum of 80 oz of water per day). If you exercise regularly or are an extra sweaty person, you may need even more water.
- Get enough sleep: Getting enough sleep is crucial for maintaining a healthy metabolism. Sleep deprivation can disrupt your hormones, including the ones that regulate your appetite and metabolism. Aim to get 7-8 hours of sleep per night to keep your metabolism running smoothly.
- Don’t skip breakfast: Eating breakfast is an important part of your nutrition for many reasons but one of the biggest reasons why I recommend eating breakfast is to start your day out balanced and prevent chaotic eating later in the day. Skipping meals can cause you to be hungry later which can put you at a higher risk of overeating or feeling like you just can’t get full. This can also cause cravings later throughout the day.
As you’ve read, there are quite a few components involved in metabolism and you really need to be as consistent as possible with your nutrition and exercise to see the best results. Things like incorporating strength training exercises into your workout routine, eating protein-rich foods, staying hydrated, getting enough sleep, and not skipping breakfast are all effective ways to keep your metabolism running smoothly.
Don’t forget that improving your metabolism takes time and may take longer to improve if you’ve been a chronic dieter. But it is possible!
Need ideas on balanced meals and snacks to help you get started?
Breakfast: Start your day with a protein-rich breakfast to kickstart your metabolism. Some examples include:
- Greek yogurt with berries and almonds
- Omelet with spinach and mushrooms
- Whole-grain toast with avocado and smoked salmon
Lunch: For lunch, aim for a balance of protein, healthy fats, and complex carbohydrates. Some examples include:
- Grilled chicken with quinoa and roasted vegetables
- Salad with mixed greens, chicken, avocado, and nuts
- Whole-grain wrap with turkey, hummus, and vegetables
Snacks: Eating healthy snacks throughout the day can also help keep your metabolism going strong. Some examples include:
- Apple slices with almond butter
- Greek yogurt with fruit
- Baby carrots with hummus
Dinner: For dinner, focus on lean protein, vegetables, and healthy fats. Some examples include:
- Grilled salmon with roasted sweet potatoes and asparagus
- Stir-fry with chicken, vegetables, and brown rice
- Lentil soup with a side salad
Looking for more individualized help to get your metabolism fired up? Apply for my Metabolism Makeover coaching program where I give you everything you need to get the healthy, confident body you’re looking for! Apply Here!