Your metabolism is the speed at which you process and burn calories for energy. Interestingly, your metabolism, or basal metabolic rate (BMR), speeds up with the more weight you gain. It takes more calories to keep your body working when you have more weight. The problem with metabolism and weight gain is eating more than needed, but more importantly, eating too much of the wrong foods slows down the speed of your metabolism.

The goal of weight loss is to boost metabolism without limiting your healthy food sources and the number of calories. Before cutting calories you should focus on increasing healthy food intake and building more muscle mass. The more muscle you have, the more calories you’re burning even at rest. Once you build a toned figure, you must feed it with food. If you limit your calories you’ll end up slowing your metabolism, increasing hunger, and also losing muscle mass because your body will break down muscle for energy. That’s not to say you need to start a bodybuilding program, you can get a light 5-15 lb weight set and workout at home, but adding weight training to your fitness goals will give you maximum results to boost metabolism and ultimately burn more fat.

My 10 tips

1. Stop Starving yourself, Quit Dieting, and stop using fat burners- Low-calorie diets and skipping meals to lose weight may shed a few pounds initially, but it’s really causing your metabolism to slow way down. Running at a slower speed conserves energy and ensures you’ll gain weight right back. Strict diets, especially low-calorie, low-carb, and keto wreck your metabolism. Even after you’ve stopped the diet, your metabolism continues to run at a slower pace for a long time, making it harder for you to lose weight. Skipping meals can lead to muscle breakdown for energy, thus slowing metabolism further. As for weight loss pills, most of them work by stimulating heart rate and/or suppressing appetite, but come with side effects and typically weight regains once you stop taking them.

2. Be active- Being active throughout the day will increase your BMR. This includes activities outside of your routine workouts. Create movement all day with daily tasks like choosing to stand over sitting, going for a walk, playing with the kids or pets, parking farther, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. All these small changes will keep your body engaged and boost metabolism. Create a space where you can get some cardio bursts in during your workday and set a timer on your phone so you get up and move frequently.

3. Strength training over endless hours of cardio- Cardio is great for endurance and heart health, but you’re only burning calories while you’re working out and a short time after. Cardio burns stored muscle glucose first and then taps into fat for energy, but only after 30-60 minutes and most people are done by then. Appetite increases with cardio and glucose stores are replenished, so you never really get into fat-burning mode unless you’re doing consistent high-intensity cardio for longer than 30-60 minutes. On the other hand, strength training with resistance and weights will stimulate muscles to become stronger, which requires more energy on a daily basis. Energy will continue to burn well after your workout and even on the days that you skip the gym when you’ve built more muscle mass. Ladies, I promise you won’t bulk! So to all my cardio queens, try to spend some time in the weight room for maximum results.

4. Hydrate- Being dehydrated will slow down bodily processes. Be sure you’re drinking plenty of water throughout the day and be aware of drinks that actually dehydrate you more. Stimulant drinks like energy drinks, coffee, and tea with caffeine also have mild diuretic effects which lead to more water excreted by the kidneys. They also tend to increase heart rate which uses up more water. Soda is never a good source of hydration as it contains a lot of sodium, as well as sugar and caffeine. When too much sodium builds up in the blood water is pulled from cells in the body to dilute sodium content, drying out internal organs. Just stick to water!

5. Sleep- During sleeping hours is when the body repairs itself. Any internal damage is addressed while we are sleeping so cutting your sleep short can actually lead to hormonal imbalances, increased stress, increased risk for infection and disease, as well as slowing down metabolism. Sleep deprivation also alters our appetite, increasing hunger hormones and reducing feelings of fullness. We tend to eat more calories on days we don’t have sufficient sleep and have a slower metabolism, which is ideal for weight gain. If you’re having trouble sleeping, it should be a top priority to reduce the risk of weight gain, but also other diseases. Check out my sleeping tips!

6. Manage mental health and stress- Depression can leave you feeling completely drained before your day has even started. You don’t feel like doing anything and even the smallest tasks take so much effort. Taking a shower may be the milestone for the day so forget about any kind of workout. You may think that being thinner will make you happy, but it’s really your mindset you must fix first. Anxiety and depression can also make you crave high sugar and fatty foods, as these also give us a dopamine boost… this is why we relate certain foods to feelings. It feels great at the moment, but then we have a wave of regret. Get your mind right and your body will follow.

7. Green Tea – Sipping on green tea can help boost metabolism. Not all day, but 2-3 cups a day can help you lose weight in a few ways. The catechin content in green tea is a powerful antioxidant that helps boost levels of brown fat. Brown fat is considered a healthy fat as it breaks down glucose and fat for temperature regulation. Compared to white fat which just stores energy reserves. Green tea helps shrink fat cells around the abdomen. Make it up in a larger batch with lemon and mint and enjoy it throughout the day.

8. Avoid processed or high-sugar foods & stop having cheat days- “Cheat” days encourage you to eat bad the entire day. Your diet is about balance, not reward. We need to detach from the workout and reward mentality. The game of life isn’t about cheating yourself. If you want to have a cheeseburger enjoy it and don’t beat yourself up about it. Instead, put your efforts into what you’re doing right for your body, not all the wrong stuff. Start with adding healthy habits before taking all your bad ones out. That being said, limiting processed foods and high sugar should be a top priority as these foods promote weight gain regardless of the number of calories.

8. Spice up your food- Using spice while cooking helps to boost metabolism. Studies have shown that using spices like peppers and chilies can boost metabolism. Other spices that can help with appetite are cinnamon, cumin, and turmeric. It’s also a great way to change up your meals for completely different recipes. Grab some new seasoning and fresh herbs at the grocery store and create a spicy flavorful meal.

9. Ease up on caffeine– In small amounts, caffeine can help boost metabolism, but it tends to also come with a high amount of other things like sugar and sodium that aren’t good for our health. However, too much caffeine, like 4-5 cups of coffee a day puts extra stress on the body from over-stimulation. This added stress triggers the release of cortisol, which leads to increased levels of abdominal fat. Also, the effects of caffeine lessen over time with constant exposure. So less is more when it comes to caffeine.

I hope some of these tips can help you get your metabolism back on track and if you agree please share!

Disclaimer: The information in this article is designed for educational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for informed medical advice or care. This information should not be used to diagnose or treat any health conditions without consulting your healthcare provider. Information used is based on experience and opinion, not 100% evidence. Always consult with a health care practitioner before relying on any information in this article or on this website.