Losing weight can be an exhausting job: Strict diets and work out programs seem to never work, and if they do, as soon as you go back to your daily eating habits, all the weight comes back. This is why speeding up the metabolism is necessary, not only for weight loss and fat reduction but to improve body functions in general.
Losing weight does not have to be an exhausting task, if you learn how to take advantage of your body functions to help them work in your favor, for example, you can learn how to speed up your metabolism to lose weight.
What is metabolism?
Before we begin to focus in boosting and speeding up our metabolism, it is necessary to understand this process. People commonly believe that metabolism is a mysterious process in charge of regulating your weight. In reality, metabolism is a series of processes and biochemical reactions that occur at the cellular level. Life at a molecular level depends on metabolism’s correct function since it allows cells to reproduce, grow and respond to stimuli among other functions.
What happens if we speed up our metabolism?
Metabolism has two parts, anabolic (constructing) and catabolic (breaking down). The anabolic reactions provide energy to the cells while in the catabolic reactions the energy is used for breaking down molecules.
These processes are interdependent, and the minimal amount of energy needed by the organism (which we obtain from our food) for these processes to take place is the Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). What we usually call metabolism is actually the basal metabolic rate (BMR).
If we increase the BMR, what we call “speeding up the metabolism”, our body will consume more energy in all its tasks, and the calories in our food will be consumed instead of being stored as fat, which will definitely help us lose weight.
What does metabolism depend on?
The body’s volume, sex, age, genetics, all play a very important role in your BMR. Our muscle cells require more energy to function; a person with a higher muscle mass will have a faster metabolism. This is the reason men, which by nature have a higher muscle mass and less body fat, have a faster metabolism and need to consume more calories.
In the same way, as we get older, the muscle mass decreases. This is fundamental in understanding this process. This is why it becomes harder to lose weight after the 30’s. However, these factors are not definite since it is possible to speed up our metabolism if we avoid certain habits that slow it down and we acquire those that stimulate it.
What causes metabolism to slow down?
Along with the factors already mentioned, there are certain habits that can be detrimental to the Basal Metabolic Rate. One of the more damaging ones is flash diets. You can lose weight in a fast manner, but they are usually accompanied by a Yo-yo effect, that means that as soon as you stop the diet, you gain all the weight and sometimes a Little more.
There are two reasons for this:
First, the calorie intake in these diets is usually very low which forces your body to burn muscle mass to obtain energy. When you lose muscle your metabolism slows down.
Second, when you drastically reduced the intake of food, the body goes into emergency mode, it gets a signal to slow down all processes so it consumes less energy and forces it to store each and every calorie consumed. When you have a slow metabolism and less muscle mass, you gain the weight very rapidly when you go back to your normal eating habits.
Ways to speed up metabolism
Any weight loss diet that eliminates completely all carbohydrates, fats, forces you to skip meals or reduces excessively the calorie intake is destined to fail. This is why is necessary to know how to speed up the metabolism, not only for weight loss purposes but to improve our overall health.
Sleep to speed up metabolism:
It seems ironic that it is possible to speed up our metabolism trough rest, but there are several studies that correlate hours of sleep and metabolism. This occurs because sleep deprivation and other disorders affect negatively our cardiovascular and metabolic functions; it affects glucose regulation and other hormones that are related to weight gain and type 2 diabetes. It is important to rest at least 8 hours every night if you want to speed up your metabolism.
Avoid skipping breakfast:
When you wake up, you have been without food for at least 8 hours, it is important to give our body nutrients to keep it from going into emergency mode which leads to muscle mass loss and the slowing down of our metabolism. Choose a breakfast high in protein and vegetables, that way your body takes advantage of the thermogenic effect (your body produces more heat and you burn more calories), in addition you will help maintain muscle mass and you will feel satisfied and avoid over eating during lunch.
Train with weights:
Weights are not just for body builders or those obsess with having lots of muscles. Lifting weights, even light ones, will help you build muscle mass and decrease fat. Muscular tissue consumes more calories, by increasing its volume it will help you lose weight. Focus on the major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest and shoulders) a couple of times a week.
Drink water to speed up metabolism
Drinking 500ml of water a day help increase the metabolic rate by 30% by inducing thermogenesis. In addition it will keep you hydrated and your skin will look better than ever.
Drink a cup of coffee in the morning:
A cup of coffee increases heart rate which helps speed up metabolism for up to 3 hours afterwards. If you are a good candidate, meaning if you do not have hypertension or anxiety, you might consider this option, otherwise you should avoid it. Choose black coffee, no sugar or sweetened with Stevia. Avoid frappe style coffee, with cream and syrups that increase the calorie intake and would ruin the positive effects of the coffee.
This is the most effective way to burn calories and reduce stored fat. You only need 30 minutes a day of physical activity, 5 days a week, to speed up your metabolism for more than 12 hours and lose weight.
Learn how to eat well:
Choose foods capable of speeding up your metabolism. Tuna fish, yogurt, grapefruit, fermented foods, and proteins in general stimulate the thermogenic process as we mentioned before. In addition, fatty acids such as Omega-3 which are found in tuna and salmon reduce the body’s resistance to the hormone leptin, which is linked to fat burning.
When you are engaged in physical activity, speed up for at least 30 seconds. If you are swimming, walking or running, speed up and then go back to your normal speed. If you are in the office, take the stairs and go as fast as you can. Those peaks in activity help you consume more oxygen and force the mitochondria to work harder to burn energy.
Make the change to Green Tea:
Green Tea is not only rich in antioxidants and poliphenols, but its main active ingredient helps speed up metabolism by promoting fat oxidation and thermogenesis. It does not have any calories, so you can drink up to 5 cups a day to help increase your BMR up to 90 calories and in this way speed up your metabolism.
Eat several times a day
It is better to consume 6 small meals a day instead of two or three big meals. This will contribute to speeding up our metabolism avoiding insulin peaks while maintaining stable glucose levels preventing weight gain.
It is important to stress the fact that this information would only be useful if it is practiced along a healthy diet and exercise program. There is no fast and easy way to lose weight, it is necessary to create and maintain healthy habits to see change. Remember to consult a physician and/or a nutritionist before making drastic changes to your diet.