Most of the calories that your body uses up every day come from your metabolism (i.e. all of your body’s functions that keep you alive). 70% of the energy you burn comes from your metabolism, with 15% from exercise and 15% from thermogenesis (thermic effect of your body digesting and processing food). So you can see that if you have a higher metabolism, you burn significantly more calories than someone who does not have a high metabolism.
So here are my top 5 tips to help you speed up your metabolism.
Breakfast is so important because usually you have been asleep for the past 8 hours or so and haven’t eaten for at least 8-10 hours. So if you skip breakfast, you are putting your body in a semi-starvation mode which means it will slow down your metabolism to conserve energy, and this means storing fat. DO NOT SKIP BREAKFAST. If you don’t get hungry in the mornings, that is because you have a slow metabolism and your body is used to this but you can change it. Start by eating something very small and slowly increase your food intake. Over time, your body will crave a healthy meal first thing in the morning. Eggs are my go to breakfast!
Protein forces your body to use more calories during digestion compared to carbohydrates and fat. Eating protein with every meal (particularly carbohydrates) helps to prevent spikes in insulin, which means you are less likely to store fat. Protein also helps to increase your body’s muscle mass, which further increases your metabolism. Aim to eat protein with every single meal. Great protein sources include chicken, lean beef, turkey, salmon, fish, eggs, lentils, spinach, raw nuts, nut butters and protein powders.
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat. So if you have a high body fat percentage, your metabolism is lower. And if you have a high percentage of muscle, your metabolism is higher. What this means is that if you have muscle, your body will burn more calories throughout the day. So your body burns more calories when you are sleeping!
Skipping meals slows down your metabolism. I know I touched on it earlier, but when your body hasn’t eaten for a while, your body’s response is to conserve energy. This means that your metabolism will slow down and your body tries to store fat. Crash dieting usually sees extreme reductions in food intake so your body is essentially always in the starvation mode. When you come out of a crash diet, your metabolism will be low, so when you go back to eating normally, your body will store more fat than before your crash diet. That is why people who crash diet almost always end up putting all the weight back on.
Metabolism is controlled by the nervous and hormonal systems. Any hormonal imbalances can influence how quickly or slowly the body burns kilojoules. The best thing to do is go and see your doctor for a check up to make sure everything is working as it should. Hormonal imbalances can also lead to weight loss / gain.