I’ve finally finished this handy article with tips on how to boost metabolism. It took me a while because I wanted to put together all the science-based information from different resources as well as my own experience.
The thing is, women with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome) have initially slower metabolism that make their weight loss process even more challenging. I know it first hand, as it always seemed unfair when other girls lead the same lifestyle as I did but managed to lose weight easily while I could hardly shed a single pound.
Only with years of learning about my condition and trying different things, it became clear why I struggled with my weight that much. Unfortunately, PCOS is a great factor in gaining weight. And slow metabolism is only one of the main reasons for that.
Anyway, there are things you can definitely do to boost metabolism and start losing weight. So don’t panic, everything is manageable. Let’s dive into the details!
How metabolism works
Before we go into depth of fixing slow metabolism, it’s important to understand what it is and how it works.
Your metabolism regulates the rate at which your body burns the energy that you get from food (which we measure in calories) every day. In other words, metabolism is you ability to burn calories.
If your metabolism is sluggish or slow, then the energy you take in from your meals starts to get stored as excess weight.
You need to understand that metabolism is a complex term. It consists of 3 parts: basal metabolic rate, non-exercise adaptive thermogenesis, and exercise.
Basal metabolic rate (BMR) is the number of calories your body burns just to stay alive, it’s the amount of energy it uses for your organs and system to work properly. As you can see, burning calories doesn’t just happen when you exercise — you burn calories every minute of every day due to chemical and physical processes that occur continuously inside your body.
You can use online calculator to figure out your own BMR.
Non-exercise adaptive thermogenesis (NEAT) is the amount of energy you burn during non-exercising activities like doing laundry, cooking, working on a computer
You can easily calculate how many calories YOU burn while sitting, standing, walking, running, lifting weights
These calculations can help you learn how many calories you burn every day and figure out how to create a caloric deficit to start losing weight.
And lastly, exercising helps to burn additional calories and speed up metabolism. That’s why it’s crucial to include regular workouts into your schedule if you want to have a healthy strong body.
What slows down metabolism
It’s a fact that calorie restriction slows metabolism significantly. If you are cutting calories too much and for a long period, your metabolic rate will become slower. That, in turn, makes weight loss and weight maintenance more difficult. Caloric restriction over the course of just a couple days drops thyroid production or thyroid function. Besides, hard dieting keep your body in a stress mode where too much cortisol is released.
The best thing to do is to avoid extreme diets and starvation – this will create the opposite effect than what you are looking for.
A healthy balanced diet will give you stable results even if it will take more time. Additionally, exercise can help to boost your metabolism when you are cutting calories. We will talk about all this a little bit later in this post.
It’s essential that as you age your metabolism slows down and can’t burn fat as quickly as it did before so your body puts on weight pretty easily. Your muscle mass also decreases, which slows down the rate at which you burn calories. Research showed that a natural lack of estrogen receptors in the brain due to aging caused people to gain weight without consuming more calories. Again, to cope with this you have to eat
Such as Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, hypothyroidism and other illnesses. The variety of hormones that your body produces can alter how you process food. It’s a fact that women with PCOS have a slower metabolic rate.
Cortisol, a natural steroid that slows metabolism and can cause weight gain, particularly around the stomach. Increased cortisol levels can also cause you to overeat, and when you overeat, you, again, gaining more weight.
Besides that, your genes can influence your metabolism in many ways.
What boosts metabolism
High-protein healthy diet
Yes, I am probably talking about protein intake in every single post on this blog. But man, it’s important! I don’t think that everybody needs to eat lots and lots of protein. But if you are struggling with hormonal imbalances, crazy cravings
That being said, how can protein help to boost metabolism? Simple. It has a higher thermic effect than fat or carbs, which means the body burns more energy to absorb and digest this nutrient. Besides, combined with regular weight training, protein helps to build muscles. This also contributes to a
To learn how much protein you need to eat for your weight check my post “How to burn fat fast”.
Although metabolic rate inevitably slows during weight loss and continues to be slower during weight maintenance, evidence suggests that higher protein intake can minimize this effect.
Amazing sources of protein are beans, lentils, tempeh, greens, seeds, nuts, eggs. In the article “How to overcome a weight loss plateau” I show what foods to eat to get at least 20g protein with every meal. Check it out!
Fiber is another nutrient that takes longer to digest and can improve your BMR. The best sources of fiber are flax seeds, chia seeds, sweet potato, beans, peas, artichokes.
In general, eating well-balanced meals, staying away from processed and sugary foods, and sticking to foods that are low on the glycemic index is the best way to boost metabolism.
You can download my free 7-day Meal Plan with low-carb high-protein vegetarian meals that will help you balance hormones and start losing weight.
What also can boost your metabolism?
They say it’s beneficial to break your big meals into small ones. For example, instead of eating three meals a day (or even two or one), try to eat more frequently and opt for four-five smaller meals. Recent research has shown that eating this way aids metabolism and help with PCOS weight loss.
I can’t say for everybody, but it seems to work pretty well for me. I have 3 main meals but I also have filling snacks between them. I’m not a fan of too frequent snacking as it makes me think about food all the time, which is annoying. But having 2-3 snacks is essential for me.
Another thing you can do to boost metabolism is to practice the carb (and calorie) cycling. What this basically means is that you change the
One more tip! Make sure you consume enough vitamin D as low levels of this vitamin may result in a slower metabolism. If you have PCOS, it’s definitely a supplement you should consider taking. Even getting it from food and sunbath may not be sufficient for women with hormonal imbalances. So give it a go!
HIIT & building muscles
It’s not a surprise that exercising regularly can boost your metabolism. Ideal types of activity for this are both HIIT (High-Intensity Interval Training) and heavy lifting.
These workouts raise your heart rate and build your muscles. And the more muscles you have, the more calories you burn during the day. In other words, your metabolic rate is increasing.
The most effective approach is to lift heavier but to aim for fewer repetitions (6-10 reps). It will allow to grow your muscles. Of course, lifting weights may not be for everyone. There are some contraindications that you have to keep in mind.
Strengthening your arms, legs and booty with weight training can increase your metabolism and improve insulin sensitivity.
I recommend using kettlebells (or dumbbells) and resistance bands if you train at home. Bands with strong resistance help to build muscles even when you are not allowed to lift weights. For example, I use them for many leg and booty exercises on the floor.
In addition to your workout routine, you have to move more every single day. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. Being sedentary may be one of the main reasons for slow metabolism. Your body just gets used to the fact that you don’t need much energy as you don’t spend it enough. Unfortunately, many people have lifestyles that mainly involve sitting at work, which can have negative effects on metabolic rate and overall health.
It’s easier said than done. I can totally understand. I used to spend over 10 hours working in front of a
What helped me is purchasing a standing desk to burn more calories and improving blood circulation in my legs. My personal preference is this sleek high-quality Artiss Standing Desk. I have exactly this one but in white color. You can also search for other options here. And I just try to increase my NEAT (non-exercise activity thermogenesis) by taking more breaks to walk, clean, stretch
And the very last tip here is to try morning workouts. In order to boost metabolism for an extra 10 percent it can be great to exercise in the morning (before breakfast, in fasting state). This schedule can also assist in burning more fat.
This is not much evidence that certain foods can effectively boost metabolism, but they still may assist in this and add some other healthy benefits.
- Cayenne pepper: It’s true that hot peppers and spices increase your heart rate, therefore they may slightly boost your metabolic rate. They are also great for reducing inflammation in your body which is also help losing weight. That’s why try adding cayenne pepper, black pepper, turmeric and ginger to your recipes for an extra fat-burning effect.
- Green Tea: Everybody knows that green tea is the best thing to have when you try to lose weight. It doesn’t make magic but it assists in weight loss due to its high antioxidant content and almost 0 calories. It’s even better to consume matcha green tea as it is more condensed and packed with nutrients.
- Seaweed Wakame: I use these amazing flavourful algae when cooking my sushi rice. But wakame can also help to burn more fat as it contains fucoxanthin that promotes DHA production in the liver and decreases bad cholesterol.
- B vitamins play an essential role in the metabolic rate. All eight water-soluble vitamins are necessary for various metabolic processes. For example, B-12 breaks down protein and fats. But it needs B-6 and folate to work properly. So all the B vitamins are crucial. Make sure you get them from your foods or supplements.
- Coenzyme Q10 (CoQ10) speed up your metabolism and lower inflammation.
- And as I’ve already mentioned in this article, make sure you consume enough vitamin D and iron. You can do blood tests to figure out whether you have any deficiency. I prefer to supplement some basic nutrients from time to time just to keep everything in balance.
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