Struggling with stubborn weight gain? Try these 12 ways to rev up your metabolism

Chinese woman preparing vegetables on kitchen countertop

12 Simple Ways to Speed ​​Up Your Metabolism10'000 hours – Getty Images

You see, you probably don't need scientists telling you that your metabolism slows down as you age.

Studies show that women gain an average of 1.5 pounds per year as adults—enough to gain more than 40 pounds by their 50s.

If you're fine with that, fine. We're not here to tell you there's only one type of beautiful body. However, if those extra pounds were unwelcome guests, it was worth the roller-coaster ride of battling hormones, muscle loss, and stress that conspired to slow down her fat-burning engine.

Thankfully, there's a way to help it speed up again. Weight gain in midlife isn't inevitable: By eating metabolism-boosting foods, you'll likely sleep better, have more energy, and hopefully feel tighter on the brink.

1. Cut Calories—But Not Too Much

Of course, losing weight requires cutting calories, but restricting your calorie intake too much can be a double whammy for your metabolism. When you eat less than you need for basic biological function (around 2,000 calories for most women), your body suppresses your metabolism.

It also begins to break down valuable, calorie-burning muscle tissue for energy, says Dan Benardot, Ph.D., associate professor of nutrition and kinesiology at Georgia State University. “Eat just enough so you don't get hungry—a 150-calorie snack between meals in the morning and afternoon (about 430 calories per meal) will keep your metabolism going.”

Inspiration for healthy recipes is coming soon.

2 Enjoy a hearty breakfast every morning

Eating breakfast jumpstarts your metabolism and keeps you energized throughout the day. It's no accident that women who skipped this meal were 4.5 times more likely to be obese. If nothing else, drink yogurt. Or try porridge made with your milk of choice and topped with nuts for an extra boost of essential protein.

Caffeine is a central nervous system stimulant, so your daily cup of coffee (okay, plural) can speed up your metabolism by five to eight percent — roughly 98 to 174 calories per day.

A 2012 study from Obesity linked high caffeine consumption to weight loss through thermogenesis (the body's way of retaining heat) and fat oxidation.

Just bring to a boil.

3. Add More Fiber to Your Diet

Including more fiber-rich foods such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, beans, and other legumes in your diet will help you feel fuller and curb unhealthy food cravings.

The study found that women who ate the most fiber gained the least weight over time. Women should aim for 21 to 25 grams of fiber per day, and men 30 to 38 grams.

Vegetables and fruits highest in fiber include raspberries, pears, apples, green beans and broccoli.

Making sure you get a good balance of protein, fiber, and fat each day will keep your hormone levels in check and help prevent you from gaining belly fat.

4 stay hydrated

Research in the Science journal Obesity suggests that drinking water can help promote weight loss by lowering calorie intake and altering metabolism.

Researchers believe that's because you're replacing sweet, calorie-dense drinks with water. They also believe that drinking water can help promote lipolysis, the breakdown of fat and other lipids.

Whatever the mechanism, make sure you drink two liters a day.

5 Improve everything with HIIT

Research shows that high-intensity interval training is more effective at burning belly fat and boosting metabolism than steady-state cardio.

Alternating between short bouts of high-intensity training and low-intensity training resets your metabolism at a higher rate, allowing you to burn more calories for hours after your workout. This is called EPOC (Excess Post-Exercise Oxygen Consumption).

6 Start strength training

Strength training helps you build lean muscle mass, which starts to slow down once you hit your 30s.

According to a study in the Journal of Applied Physiology, strength training increases your resting metabolic rate so you burn calories even when you're not exercising. clever!

When it comes to strength training, doing compound movements is one of the most effective ways to work multiple muscles at once and save time in the gym.

Compound exercises, like weighted squats to shoulder presses or reverse lunges to bicep curls, work multiple muscle groups for more gains

7. Increase Your Protein Intake

Your body needs protein to maintain lean muscle. Include one (approximately) 85 grams of lean meat, two tablespoons of nuts, or eight ounces of low-fat yogurt with each meal and snack.

Like fiber, protein keeps you full for longer and curbs cravings for refined, processed foods, which tend to be high in calories. a victory.

8 Eat more iron-rich foods

It's essential for carrying the oxygen your muscles need to burn fat, says nutritionist Tammy Lakatos, co-author of “Sparking Your Metabolism.”

Before menopause, women lose iron each month through menstruation. Unless you restock, you run the risk of low energy and a low metabolism.

Shellfish, lean meats, legumes, fortified grains, and spinach (Popeye, the iconic) are excellent sources.

9 Get More Vitamin D

Yes. This vitamin is vital for maintaining metabolism-boosting muscle tissue – and many people in the UK don't get enough of it.

The NHS advises that “most people should be able to get all the vitamin D they need from sunlight on their skin” from late March/early April to late September.

However, it is best to prioritize getting enough vitamin D through nutrition. You can get 90 percent of your daily recommended intake from just one salmon fillet. Other good sources include tuna, shrimp, tofu, cereal and eggs.

That said, you don't need food to do all the work. According to the NHS:

“In autumn and winter, you need to get vitamin D from your diet because there isn't enough sunlight for the body to produce vitamin D.”

“But because it's difficult to get enough vitamin D from food alone, everyone, including pregnant and breastfeeding women, should consider taking a supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D per day during the fall and winter months.”

10 limit alcohol consumption

When you drink alcohol, you burn less fat than usual and at a slower rate than usual because alcohol is used as fuel, especially with high-sugar drinks.

Go for a low-calorie alcoholic beverage at your next happy hour—or, choose from the booming market for alcohol-free alternatives. If you need inspiration to change up the sauce, check out all these celebrities who don't drink.

11 Eat more calcium-rich foods

“There is some evidence that calcium deficiency is prevalent in many women, which may slow metabolism,” Lakatos said. Calcium intake through dairy products, such as skim milk and low-fat yogurt, may also reduce the effects of other foods, the study suggests. fat absorption.

If you're vegan or opt for dairy-free milk, remember to check the label to make sure whatever you're using is rich in calcium and other essential nutrients.

According to nutritionists, these are the best milk alternatives to buy.

Best Foods to Boost Your Metabolism

12. Stay as active as possible

Exercise is obviously important for countless reasons that have nothing to do with weight or body composition. However, regular daily activity known as NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) is equally essential for a healthy metabolism.

Little things like stretching your legs, taking the stairs, or even just standing on the phone can increase your energy expenditure, burning up to an extra 350 calories a day.

When you're looking to shed excess pounds to achieve a healthy body composition—and the key is making those changes lasting—every little bit really helps.

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