September 8, 2021

How to Boost Metabolism Naturally

There is a recent rave about increasing metabolism to lose weight, among many other proposed benefits. So, we would be analyzing the idea with various studies to see if one can increase his/her metabolic rate and if an increased metabolic rate can cause weight loss.

Even more, we would discuss ways to boost metabolism naturally if we agree that increasing metabolism is essential towards weight loss. 

Let’s dig in already!

What is Metabolism?

A lot of people talk about their metabolism like it's a muscle that they can flex or somehow control. Metabolism describes the set of chemical reactions in the cells of living organisms to sustain their life. This process includes converting food to energy to fuel cellular processes, converting food/energy into building blocks for lipids, proteins, nucleic acids, and carbohydrates, and eliminating metabolic wastes.

Can one increase metabolic rate?

Metabolism, in its simplest terms, is a complex process that describes your body converts the calories you eat into the energy your body needs to function. Four main components influence the rate.

  • Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR): Also called the resting metabolic rate, this describes the number of calories your body burns while resting to maintain vital functions like heart rate, brain function, and breathing.
  • Thermic Effect of Food (TEF): TEF is the number of calories your body burns to digest a meal. Typically, it is approximately 10% of the calorie intake.
  • Thermic Effect of Exercise: As the name suggests, this describes the number of calories your body burns during a physical activity like exercise.
  • Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT): NEAT is the number of calories your body burns while you fidget, change posture, stand or carry out other non-exercise activities.

Naturally, we all do not all have the same metabolic rate. some factors that affect our metabolism are the amount of lean muscle and fat tissue in the body, age, sex, hormones and genetics. Hormones have so much effect that for women their metabolism can change according to where they are in their cycle.

In fact, the human body is divided into three types based on the metabolic process.

  • Ectomorphs: People who fall into this group are usually slender with small joints and a light overall build. They have a narrow frame, speedy metabolism, and could often overeat without getting fat.
  • Mesomorphs: Mesomorphs have a medium-sized body structure usually, athletic and moderately built. Their metabolic rate, as you would guess, is average. That is, they would gain weight or build muscle quickly from overeating or strength training.
  • Endomorphs: People who fall into this category have large bone structures (joints and bones) and more body fat because their metabolic rate is typically slow and would store more nutrients.

Though some have a faster metabolic rate than others, increasing the metabolic rate across all groups with the same routine is possible. However, endomorphs will get the results quicker than ectomorphs. There are also other factors that can slow or speed up your metabolism over the years like, slow thyroid function, loss of muscle mass, and changes in hormone levels. This is why the metabolism of a healthy active 20 year old is not the same as someone who is not active at age 50, moreover there are huge differences in hormones and muscle ratio between men and women, which gives men an edge over women when it comes to metabolism and weight-loss.

Effects of Increased Metabolism

Increasing your metabolic rate leads to a wide range of symptoms and signs, which may include

  • Weight Loss
  • Increased heart rate
  • Consistent hunger
  • Fatigue
  • Feeling hot and sweaty

7 Ways To Boost Metabolism Naturally

Contrary to popular belief, people don’t get fat because their metabolism is slow. In fact, although it sounds counter-intuitive, fat people have a faster metabolic rate, which is because their body needs more energy to carry essential functions, and because eating more can actually speed up your metabolism.

So, what’s the buzz about boosting metabolism and losing weight? Well, irrespective of your metabolic rate, if you eat more calories than you can burn, you’ll gain weight. Thus, the focus should be more on how to get your body to effectively burn calories whilst consuming less calories that your body needs.

Imperatively, one must take some lifestyle and diet changes to get there in no time. Trust me, it isn’t as strenuous as you may think.

In my humble opinion, the goal is to maximize your bodies natural ability to burn calories, and that can only happen by eating clean, balancing your blood sugar, building muscle, de-stressing and keeping your hormones in check. 

There are no magic solutions or pills that can get you there.

Increase Protein Intake

The Thermic Effect of Food (TEF), as explained earlier, describes the extra calories required to absorb, process, and digest the nutrients in meals. In other words, these extra calories are not just there to aid metabolism but to foster and increase metabolic rate by specific percentages.

Protein offers the highest TEF of all food types, improving metabolism by a staggering 15-30%. Carbs come next with 5-10% and fats at 3% maximum.

Protein is an ideal choice to improve metabolism not only because of its high TEF. Studies also indicate that a meal made of 30% protein will help you feel fuller and prevent you from adding more calories than your body can burn, and slow down the process.

Protein also increases your satiety and reduced your hunger, so by consuming more protein you will naturally eat less and burn more.

Lower Carbs and Sugar Intake

If you have followed my article “An extensive analysis on sugar,” you would understand one of the most critical but slightly overlooked effects of sugar- insulin hike!

High carbs or sugar causes a sudden rise in the amount of insulin in the blood. The body’s immune system considers high insulin in the blood as a threat and would find ways to lower it. Sadly, one of the methods the body use is to stop metabolism and start to store fats rather than burn them.

In simple terms, more insulin = more fat storage and slower fat burning.

The overall effect of high insulin is weight gain, diabetes, and more because of the halted metabolism and increase in fat storage.

Exercise

We hear it all the time exercises increases metabolism, and it does that through multiple means.

  • Maintaining muscle mass through exercising can keep up your metabolism even as you sleep and as you age.
  • Exercise helps balance essential hormones that also contribute to a faster our metabolism.
  • Exercise can balance our hunger and stress hormones, allowing us to eat less while burning more.

At any given weight or time, the more muscle on your body, and the less fat, the higher your metabolic rate. That's because muscle uses a lot more energy than fat while at rest.

Well, the good part is that, for boosting metabolism with exercise, every step counts, from a trivial standing to high-intensity training. In fact, research shows that by standing up for 4 hours, even at work, you can increase your metabolism and burn up to 174 more calories. Whereas high-intensity workouts can increase your metabolism during and after your workout (1)

Practice intermittent fasting

As a muslim health coach, fasting has been an integral part of my life since childhood, during Ramadan all muslims fast from sunrise to sunset, in some places that can be more than 12 hours of fasting and that includes no food no water. fasting for me wasn't a form of diet or weight-loss, it was purely a religious practice. 

Now as the science started to catch up on the benefits of fasting, it added an extra component to my fasting routine. 

Intermittent fasting (IF) is an eating pattern that cycles periods of fasting and eating. Intermittent fasting utilizes insulin balance to help your body burn fat. Since insulin is produced every time we eat, goes down four hours after a meal, and the body only burns fat with low insulin levels, you will burn fat for sixteen hours if you follow the 16/8 method or full 24 hours for a 5/2 approach.

Studies have shown that when it comes to weight loss, intermittent fasting can be just as effective as traditional calorie restriction, if not more. Fasting can also increase blood levels of human growth hormone, an important hormone for promoting fat loss.

The body always needs energy, and when you’ve eaten, that energy comes from the glucose in your food. But when you haven’t eaten for a few hours, your body turns to glucose stored in your liver. When you still don’t eat, your body runs out of its stored glucose, then turns to burning ketones from your fat cells. that is the power of intermitten fasting to boost metabolism and help you burn more fat.

Hydrate Regularly

Staying hydrated is an integral part of your journey to improve your metabolism naturally for two main reasons.

First, water is essential for the body to carry out all its functions, including metabolism, efficiently. However, and more significantly, studies show drinking up to 17ounces of water temporarily speeds up resting metabolism by 10-30% for up to an hour.

More so, like proteins, water helps you fill up quickly. Reports indicate that drinking water about half an hour before eating can help you eat less.  

Reduce Stress

Stress, including physical, mental, and emotional stress, triggers an inflammatory response that involves increasing cortisol (the stress hormone) production. When cortisol levels are high, the body stops non-functional activities, including metabolism.

Typically, you should find ways to reduce stress by taking a break, listening to music, or meditating. Albeit, the body responds to dietary strains like high-sugary meals as stress and would increase cortisol production.

An exclusive recommendation would be to follow proper eating habits while dealing with stress in healthy ways and finding ways to cool off when necessary.

Get Enough Sleep

Poor sleeping habits like having little sleep relates to stress closely. Worse yet, it distorts your hunger and satiety hormone.

Laboratory studies have clearly shown that sleep deprivation can alter the glucose metabolism and hormones involved in regulating metabolism, getting too little sleep can cause your body to increase ghrelin production, causing you to feel hungry and overeat; thus, slowing down metabolism. Otherwise, it could increase leptin production, make you feel full when you’re actually not full, and ultimately slow your metabolism.   

Final Note

Other things to keep in mind if you do all of the above and still struggle is to check your thyroid hormones, sex hormones and blood sugar for any signs of pre-diabetes or insulin resistance. undiagnosed underlying conditions could be the culprit for that slow metabolism that doesn't seem to improve even after all measures have been taken. 

There are many ways to boost metabolism, but all of them surround making specific dietary and lifestyle changes. While these changes could be as easy as standing up more often, staying hydrated, or high-intensity exercise, it is worth mentioning that they all count, and it's not about choosing one over the other, it's about finding the balance in your life that allows you to reach your health goals and stay there.

Following the specific diet and lifestyle changes, we discussed earlier is one effective way to get started on your journey to balance hunger, metabolism, and weight. 

If you are ready for drastic changes in your health and weight guided by a weight-loss health coach you can sign-up for my mindful weight loss program today to get a hassle-free, enjoyably transformation of your eating and lifestyle habits, showing you secrets to understand your unique body and its metabolism and uncover your true weight-loss potential.


About the author 

Aayah Khalaf

A health coach and detox specialist, CEO and founder of Bee Nourished a health and weight-loss initiative. I help women and mothers achieve their health and weight-loss goals with life changing programs that are uniquely yours.

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