5 Ways to Naturally Boost Your Metabolism
As women, our bodies go through many changes over the course of a lifetime. Puberty, childbirth, and menopause all have huge impacts on our bodies’ ability to convert food into energy, i.e. our metabolisms.
After a spike in metabolism during puberty, it starts to decrease about 1-2% each year in our twenties. During pregnancy, your metabolism increases to break down food to feed both you and your baby. After giving birth, your metabolism returns to your pre-pregnancy metabolism which is inconvenient for most women who typically gain about 25 pounds during pregnancy.
Your metabolism takes another hit once you reach menopause, which causes a decrease in estrogen production. Estrogen has been linked to weight control, hunger suppression, energy levels, and metabolic rate. The reduction in estrogen leads to a lower metabolic rate, an increase in lethargy, and decreased appetite control.
At all stages of a woman's life, there are plenty of changes to lifestyle and diet that can help counter the effects of a declining metabolism and, in some cases, boost metabolism. Below, you'll find five tips on how to boost your metabolism throughout your life
Eating whole foods and avoiding processed foods will provide your body with the natural energy it needs to maintain a balanced metabolic rate. Processed foods (i.e. packaged foods), refined sugars, and low-quality animal products are all inflammatory to the digestive system and can increase the number of free radicals in the body which increase the rate of aging.
Additionally, eating your recommended daily amount of protein each day can help your metabolism tremendously. Protein keeps you fuller for longer, levels out your energy and sugar levels, and requires more energy to break down than carbohydrates.
Incorporating warming spices like cayenne, chili, ginger, and cinnamon into your diet can also help boost your metabolism. These warming spices help with lipid oxidation, i.e. burning fat, and help suppress appetite. Beverages like black coffee and green tea can also help boost your metabolism.
Stop Depriving Your Body
In addition to eating right, you should not turn to diets that deprive your body of anything, particularly calories. When your body operates on a calorie deficit (you burn more calories than you take in), it thinks it’s starving. This means all your bodily functions slow down, including your metabolism, to conserve energy. You generally have less energy, causing you to have shorter workouts or skip them altogether, and can increase the likelihood you will binge eat.
Instead of thinking of your food choices as diets, consider them food habits. Eliminate as many processed foods as you can from your diet (there are plenty of tasty alternatives out there). And, adopt the mindset of nourishing your body. This means eating whole foods and eating smaller meals more frequently throughout the day.
Get Some ZZZ’s
Sleep is a great natural medicine. While we sleep, our body repairs itself and fends off illnesses. It can also help boost your metabolism because your body is gathering the energy it needs for the next day.
Sleep problems like insomnia are frequently linked with weight gain. Sleep deprivation works in a cycle. You lack the energy to exercise, so you are sedentary; you lack the appetite-suppression that sleep provides, so you eat more. Your unhealthy daytime habits cause you to sleep poorly the next night, so the cycle continues.
Long story short, your metabolism can’t work at full capacity when you’re sleep deprived because it needs to dedicate energy elsewhere in your body. So, get at least 8 hours of sleep each night to ensure your metabolism works at optimal levels.
One of the challenges women find as they get older is they lack the energy to do things they were once able to do. This has to do with the decrease in estrogen production we mentioned earlier.
Luckily, activity and exercise naturally boost our energy levels. To reverse the cycle of low-energy lethargy, you simply need to commit to staying active to provide your body with an energy boost. Studies have shown there’s hardly any change in metabolism in women who stay active throughout their entire lives.
As you get older, you may need to switch out your exercise of choice for something less impactful on your joints, like swimming instead of running. Adopting the mentality of exercising regularly early on will help maintain those healthy habits later in life.
Contrary to popular belief, lifting weights does not make women bulk up. Lifting weights is an excellent way to increase bone density, which is extremely beneficial for when you get older and increase lean muscle mass. The increase in lean muscle mass causes your metabolism to work harder, i.e. burn more calories, to sustain the lean muscles because they are more active than fat deposits.
At a young age, start practicing weight exercises that build up your muscle through sets of 4-8 reps at a weight that’s at the top of your range. As you get older, muscle building is perfectly maintainable, but many women switch to less-rigorous weight routines that focus on muscle maintenance and resistance training.
Boost That Metabolism!
Increasing your metabolism should not seem like a daunting task. These are all small changes that you can adopt over time to reduce the impact of a declining metabolism. If you have any other suggestions for what should be on our list, we’d love to hear your comments below!