We’ve all known those people who seem to be able to eat anything and stay slim. How do they do it? Why do we struggle, eat steamed broccoli and chicken breasts and still pack on the pounds? Chances are, our effortlessly-slender friends have a higher rate of metabolism than we have.
While the term “metabolism” actually refers to the combined chemical reactions in the body, it is most commonly meant to refer to ‘metabolic rate,’ or the amount of calories a person burns. The higher your metabolic rate or metabolism, the more calories your body burns and the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off. A high metabolism can also give us more energy and make us feel better all the way around.
Here are 5 metabolism-boosting habits you NEED to adopt starting today!
1. Eat More Protein
The very act of eating increases your metabolism for a few hours afterward. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). It happens because your body has to burn calories to digest and absorb the food.
Of all the nutrients, protein causes the biggest rise in TEF and can increase your metabolic rate by as much as 15 – 30%. Compare that to only 5 – 10% for carbs and 0 – 4% for fats.
But there’s another weight loss benefit to eating more protein, and that is it helps you feel fuller longer so you don’t overeat or make bad snacking choices in between meals. In fact, one study found that people ate roughly 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet.
Moral of the story: start eating more protein.
2. Drink More Water
You’ve heard for years now you should drink more water, but are you drinking enough? Adequate hydration is necessary so your body’s systems can work optimally. But it turns out water can help boost your metabolism, too.
Studies have shown that drinking just 17oz of water increases a person’s resting metabolism by 10 – 30% for about an hour. If you drink water every hour, you can keep your metabolism elevated. This calorie-burning effect may be even greater if you drink cold water, as your body must use energy to heat the water to body temperature.
You’re also going to lose weight if you drink water instead of sugary coffee beverages and soda, so start drinking more today.
3. Let Your Body Take a HIIT
It’s time to give your workout a kick in the pants. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) involves quick and very intense bursts of activity. You not only burn more fat during a workout, but even after your workout has finished. Studies have found that after training with HIIT for a period of 12 weeks, people were able to reduce belly fat by 17%.
And since we’re on the topic of moving your body, don’t forget to use those muscles. Muscle requires more calories than fat to sustain. High amounts of muscles will result in a higher metabolism. So, if you want to boost your metabolsim, start lifting weights or doing exercises like squats and pushups.
4. Stand More
Most of us have gotten into the bad habit of sitting all day. We sit when we drive (well, at least we should), we sit at work, and we sit at night to binge-watch hours of television. But all of this sitting is incredibly bad for our overall health, let alone our metabolisms. In fact, sitting is being called “the new smoking,” that’s how bad it is for our health.
Compared to sitting, standing for an afternoon can burn an extra 174 calories.
So, if you normally sit while you work, try standing for short periods of time. You can even consider getting a standing desk.
5. Get a Good Night’s Sleep
You know that a lack of sleep can lead to a whole host of health issues, but did you know sleep and metabolism are linked? Studies have shown a lack of sleep results in an increase for the risk of obesity.
Not only does a lack of sleep wreak havoc on your metabolism, it also increases blood sugar levels and causes insulin resistance, both linked to weight gain and the likelihood of developing type 2 diabetes.
The bottom line is a lack of sleep can decrease the amount of calories you burn and change the way your body uses sugar. So, go to bed at a decent hour, keep your room cool and dark, and don’t use any electronic devices like laptops and tablets that emit a blue light, as this light messes with your regular sleep patterns.
If you follow these five tips and eat sensibly, you will be able to give your metabolism a boost and, in return, shed some weight.
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