The quicker your metabolism is the faster and more efficiently your body burns fat. If you’re really keen on losing a few pounds, check out these simple lifestyle changes to boost your metabolism and enjoy feeling more active and alert.
Listen to your body
How many times have you heard that you need to slow down when eating? Indigestion isn’t the only danger when chomping down your food; if we eat too quickly our brains can’t register the amount of food we’ve eaten and therefore fail to send signals to our body that we’re full. Doing this regularly can quickly lead to unnecessary added calories, not to mention a rather uncomfortable stomach! Give it at least 20 minutes to see if you’ve had enough or not.
Focus on protein-rich meals and snacks
If you’re looking to fire up your metabolism then sugar-laden refined carbohydrates are not the way to do it! Protein is your friend here as it takes more energy to digest, ramps your metabolism up more than any other nutrient and can be found in a lot more places than typical meat and fish. Nuts, beans, pulses and seeds are all excellent sources of protein, couple these with gorgeous leafy greens and organic vegetables and you’re onto a dietary winner.
For a protein pick-me-up try sprinkling some sesame seeds over your next lunchtime salad, or even adding some flaxseeds to a morning bowl of fruit. Smoothies are also a great way to get vital protein into your diet: nut milks such as almond can be blitzed alongside fruits and other seeds and leafy greens to get all the protein you need in a quick, simple and delicious way.
Adding some healthy fat to your morning meal is also recommended; a Nori seaweed wrap with avocado and greens will deliver your body a combination of protein and healthy fat, keeping your metabolism ticking over for the rest of the day and keeping you fuller for longer.
Don't confuse fats
Don’t be scared of fats – they’re not all bad! It’s true that cutting back on some fats can help you lose weight, but our bodies need healthy, “essential” fats to produce, maintain and rebuild the trillions of cells which flow through it. All day long the cells in our body communicate with each other using receptors in their membranes. For these membranes to function as best they can we need to feed our bodies quality, unsaturated and healthy fats, as opposed to refined and saturated fats that’s laden in junk food.
When looking for healthy fats think seed oils, nuts, flax and chia seeds and leafy greens such as watercress, lamb’s lettuce and seaweeds/sea vegetables such as samphire. Keep in mind that this isn’t an excuse to go to town on healthy fats! Maintaining a balanced diet is key for your metabolism, therefore replace the saturated and omega-6 fats with the healthier omega-3 and your body will thank you for it.
Reduce your intake of carbohydrates - but not all of them!
There’s a lot of talk at the moment that cutting carbohydrates can lead to reduced body fat. Whilst this is true to an extent, our bodies need certain carbohydrates to function and give us energy, of which is especially important for those of us who eat a plant-based diet. If you want to reduce body fat steer clear of white breads, pasta, cereal, muesli, potato and other starch based foods and instead opt for one of the following healthier carbs – quinoa, beans, lentils and brown rice. Try making a hearty three-bean stew or leafy brown rice based salad!
Dont underestimate the importance of sleep
If you’re a night owl and are serious about ramping up your metabolism then you’ll have to get your sleeping pattern in check very quickly if you want to see an ounce of progress. Sleep is essential for ensuring the body’s metabolic pathways run smoothly, let alone allowing you to function as a normal human being the next morning! A lack of sleep has not only been linked to tiredness (shock) but also weight gain, insulin resistance, an increase in the production of the hunger hormone, ghrelin, and even type 2 diabetes.
Use exercise as a springboard for success
Having all the above elements in place will greatly help you boost your metabolism and drop fat in the process, but none so more than proper exercise, in particular strength training. When you build muscle you increase the efficiency of the metabolism powering cell, mitochondria. Try to get 3-4 days of strength training a week, with any day off consisting of high intensity interval training (short bursts of exercise).