Your metabolism matters. And that’s because your metabolism — the rate at which your body converts fuel (food) to energy and burns calories — determines in large part whether and how easily you gain or lose weight, as well as being a factor in your risk for developing conditions such as diabetes. While metabolic rate isn’t the whole story for weight loss, and is determined in part by factors out of your control — such as age, sex, genetics, and body size — it still pays to do what you can to boost metabolism. Even small, natural adjustments toward boosting your metabolism can add up to weight loss and significant health benefits over time.
Understanding metabolism and conversion of food into energy
Metabolism is the complex biochemical process by which your body turns what you consume into energy, combining food and drink with oxygen to release the energy needed for proper body function.
This metabolic process is going on even while you are resting or sleeping because your body still has to carry out basic functions like breathing, circulating blood, and repairing cells. The amount of energy your body uses to perform these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate.
This basal metabolic rate is what you want to alter if your goal is to boost metabolism for weight loss. You do need to be aware, though, that there are some determining factors that you can’t do anything about and will have to work around, for example:
- Sex – Men usually have more muscle than women and, as a consequence, generally have a higher metabolic rate and burn more calories.
- Body size/composition – In general, bigger people have more muscle mass and usually burn more calories.
- Age – As you age, you tend to lose muscle mass, so your metabolism slows down.
But there are a couple of additional factors that work hand in hand with your basal metabolic rate to determine how many calories you burn. And these you can do something about:
- Physical activity – Obviously, the more you move around, the more calories you burn and the greater the potential for weight loss. Even doing little things like walking around the house more can impact calorie burning and boost metabolism.
- Thermogenesis – This is what happens when your body processes food. Digesting, absorbing, transporting, storing food/nutrients – all this burns calories as well, so proper eating is a big factor in boosting metabolism.
6 ways to boost metabolism naturally and easily
Let’s take a look at some of the adjustments you can make to naturally boost metabolism, burn more calories, and lose weight. The following suggestions may seem small, but the cumulative metabolic effects can add up.
1. Stand up for health
Sitting too much can adversely affect your health in multiple ways, both physically and psychologically. In fact, sitting for prolonged periods has been called the “new smoking.” So just standing up when you can will help counteract the bad effects of sitting and will help boost metabolism. Standing at your desk for an afternoon will burn 174 more calories than sitting.
If you can, get a standing desk at work, or create one yourself by elevating your computer monitor. If that isn’t an option, set reminders on your calendar to get up and walk around at least once an hour. See if you can find other ways to sit less: watch your favorite TV shows while walking on the treadmill instead of sitting on the couch, or walk to work instead of driving if possible.
2. Consume more cold water
As you probably know, you should drink lots of water instead of soda and other sugary drinks, but that’s not the whole story. Besides consuming far fewer calories, when you drink water instead of soda, you also burn more calories. Drinking 17 ounces of water will increase your basal metabolic rate by around 10% to 30% for on hour or so. And if you drink cold water, your body uses more energy and burns more calories heating that cold water up to body temperature.
3. Get sufficient protein at every meal
Getting enough protein is important because it can elevate your metabolism for a few to several hours. (Remember that business about thermogenesis we mentioned earlier.) While digesting any food requires energy expenditure and elevates metabolic rate, protein digestion boosts metabolism 15% to 30% as opposed to 5% to 10% for carbs and a measly 3% at most for fats. In addition, eating enough protein helps you feel fuller and can help prevent overeating. In fact, when people eat a diet of 30% protein, they generally eat 441 fewer calories in a day.
4. Drink green tea
Drinking green tea can boost metabolism by about 4% (although this may not be true for everyone). An added benefit is that it can also aid in converting stored fat into free fatty acids, and this process is suspected to play a part in burning fat.
5. Cook with coconut oil
Replacing inflammatory refined cooking oils with coconut oil, which is high in medium-chain fats, is good for your heart. Further, one study found that consuming medium-chain fats like those in coconut oil increased metabolism by 12%.
6. Go to bed
Lack of sleep has long been linked to a higher risk of obesity as well as an increased risk of developing diabetes. Getting enough sleep, then, can help you avoid the negative metabolic effects of sleep deprivation. An added bonus of getting enough sleep is that it can help you feel less hungry and aid in weight loss, because lack of sleep increases the hunger hormone (ghrelin) and decreases the fullness-regulating hormone (leptin).
Beyond boosting metabolism
No doubt, you need to boost your metabolism, but significant, lasting weight loss calls for a many-pronged approach. According to Mayo Clinic, “weight gain is a complicated process. It’s likely a combination of genetic makeup, hormonal controls, diet composition and the impact of environment on your lifestyle, including sleep, physical activity and stress.”
So what’s the weight-loss solution beyond boosting metabolism?
First, it’s knowledge about all of the different functions in the body related to appetite, and how your body processes and burns different foods. And that means getting help from medical professionals who can perform advanced testing to help you understand how your body works and create a personalized plan that meets your needs.
Lasting weight loss the right way
For strategies to boost metabolism and achieve lasting weight loss, we’ve got you covered at Quest Weight Loss. We’ll work with you to develop a plan that focuses first on safety, efficacy, and health benefits, with the four pillars of nutrition, hydration, exercise, and supplementation supporting your personalized program.
We understand the challenges of lasting weight loss. We truly want you to succeed, so your goals become our goals. We provide ongoing support with:
- Nutrition and lifestyle education
- Genuine encouragement
- Counseling and recommendations
- Additional tools and resources
To discover more about achieving your weight-loss goals, fill out the easy contact us today for a free consultation!