There are many theories out there on how to boost your metabolism, but that’s just what they are—theories. Every body is very different, and so is every metabolism. There are steps we can take to improve our metabolism, but first, let’s take a look at what metabolism actually is.
There are lots of questions here. What exactly is metabolism and how does it affect you? Why do some people seem to have a faster metabolism and eat anything they want without weight gain? For that matter, why is it that some people just look at sweets and feel they gain weight?
In reality, your metabolism is affected by many factors, including age, gender, body composition, physical activity, stress, sleep, and overall lifestyle (1)
Your metabolic rate is the rate at which your body burns energy to function daily. Exercise isn’t the only thing that takes energy; digestion and other bodily functions take energy, too. Let’s break it down.
You expend 15-30% of your energy in daily activities, such as cleaning, going to the gym, walking, yoga, working, or running. 10-15% is for breaking down food and liquid so your body can repair itself and function properly.
The other 60-70% of your energy is used for vital functions, such as your heart beating, breathing, and body temperature, which is your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR). In other words, a BMR baseline reflects what you need to survive—without exerting energy.
If you geek out on math, here’s how to calculate your BMR:
- Men: BMR = 88.362 + (13.397 x weight in kg) + (4.799 x height in cm) – (5.677 x age in years).
- Women: BMR = 447.593 + (9.247 x weight in kg) + (3.098 x height in cm) – (4.330 x age in years).
You can hasten your metabolism by exercising, moving more, and eating regularly, but overall your BMR requires the most energy.
Here’s how to get that metabolism burning a bit faster:
- Follow the Golden Goddess approach.
- Stay hydrated.
- Eat mindfully.
- Eat iodine-rich food (such as seaweed), which is critical for optimal thyroid function. Think of your thyroid as your body’s thermostat. It’s critical to your metabolism, so keep it running well by eating nourishing food.
- Make sure you have a mineral-rich diet, too. We need lots of minerals to function well. For instance, selenium is a very important mineral thyroid health and other functions that most of us don’t get enough of, and it’s easy to do. Just three Brazil nuts per day will meet the daily requirement for selenium. You can also find this mineral in tuna (watch out for high mercury levels), crab, lobster, sunflower seeds, and mushrooms.
- Limit soy intake. The soy that we buy in the U.S. is highly processed and may affect your thyroid and estrogen levels.
- Spend time outside. Just 10-15 minutes of Vitamin D is important for overall immune health, as well as thyroid health. A simple blood test will reveal your levels, as well as how healthy your gut is, too.
- Incorporate weight-bearing exercise. Not only will you feel better with those endorphins, you’ll boost your muscle-to-fat ratio. The more muscle you create, the more energy you’ll need to burn to function and maintain that muscle mass.
- Don’t skip meals. Depriving yourself of meals will wreak havoc on your blood sugar balance as well as your metabolism. Skipping meals can also leave you dehydrated with low energy, poor cognition, and possibly (ok probably) with an irritated outlook. Besides, long-term deprivation can cause far more detrimental issues to your health.
- Stay hydrated. But how much water should we actually drink? Aim for 8-12 cups a day—and pay attention to the color of your urine. Ideally, it should be a pale yellow. If it’s dark yellow, consider drinking more water.
Remember, water is also found in fruits and veggies, which makes it even easier to ingest. If you exercise and sweat a lot, you can become dehydrated by not drinking enough water or eating enough water-rich food.
Drinking infused water is my all-time favorite way to get my water (I get bored with plain water). However, be mindful of store-bought, flavored waters because they can have hidden ingredients such as sugar [read all about sugar labels], flavors, syrups, and artificial sweeteners and colors. I love adding tasty, natural ingredients to my water, such as:
- Mint and cucumber
- Oranges and blueberries
- Pineapple and mint
- Watermelon and basil
- Strawberry and lemon
- Mango and pineapple
- Grapefruit and raspberry
As you can see, the list of combinations is endless! Whatever your favorite flavors, be sure to let the fruit infuse for at least four hours or overnight in the fridge. You and your kids will love this easy alternative to plain water and instead of buying flavored water, you’ll save lots of money and reduce waste! Cold tea and Golden Goddess smoothies are also great plain water alternatives.
With these steps, you’ll be on your way to a faster resting metabolism in no time! And as always, I’m here to help if you need me.