We’ve all heard the claims before: hacks to “boost your metabolism” by simply drinking a certain tea or ingesting an herb that’s promised to shed pounds fast. The problem with many of these fad diets is that the majority of these tips (like eating low calorie meals with lemon juice & cayenne pepper for example) are not evidence based, healthy, or sustainable!

Don’t burn your booty for no reason, ya’ll; if you’re currently working on some self-improvement in the weight loss department (congrats, you can do it!) or are just curious about how to keep your metabolism active, check out the following 5 ideas for scientifically proven methods (that work!) to keep your system cruising.

image by kristen kilpatrick

Increase your protein consumption.

You know that your body receives energy from food but did you know that your body also uses energy to digest? The process of digestion itself is actually a metabolism boosting action….your body must burn calories to ingest calories (whoa!). This is called the Thermic Effect of Food (TEF). We know that your body actually has the highest rate of TEF when digesting protein specifically. By increasing protein in your diet and decreasing empty carbs and sugars (which are simple to digest, requiring very little TEF, non-nutritious and tend to cause weight gain) you can keep your body in the healthy burning zone. Protein on my friends. 

image by kristen kilpatrick

Drink plenty of green tea and cold water.

Take a tip from Chinese medicine and add green tea to your daily routine. Regular consumption of green and oolong tea have been researched to increase your metabolism by 4-5%.

Interestingly, green tea actually converts some of the fat stores in your body to free fatty acids which can cause up to a 17% increase in fat burning. Yas hunny!

Try adding 4-5 cups of green tea per day. Sound like too much work? I hear you busy people; you could also just brew a big pitcher every week to keep in your refrigerator, then every morning when you start your day fill a large water bottle to sip on as you go. Do note that some of the action of the metabolic boost associated with green tea is relative to the caffeine content though, so if you’re already a big caffeine drinker, this effect may be decreased. Unfortunately research also shows green tea doesn’t work like a charm for everyone….but it’s so easy, delicious, and healthy, there is absolutely no harm in seeing if you’re one of the lucky ones. Burn baby burn. 

Another even simpler beverage to imbibe in for metabolic boosting effects is ice cold h20! Plain and simple cold water can help set off a calorie burning effect in your body, keep you fuller for longer, and has been well researched and associated with weight loss. First of all, by drinking more water you will incidentally replace consumption of any sugary drinks or empty calories from things like soda, sports drinks or juices. Secondly, your body needs to warm itself and heat up after you fill it with ice cold water, so you stimulate that same calorie burning thermal effect of digestion (TEF) as mentioned before. Lastly, water makes you feel full, and often-times dehydration is actually what is triggering your hunger. I’m NOT saying don’t eat – eating is important and nourishing and food is GOOD, but over-eating or eating when unnecessary is a problem for many people.

Drinking more water has many other health benefits as well, so go ahead and up the ice cold drinks and see how you do. Again, a very simple change for a great positive impact. 

image by hannah haston

Stand more.

The research is out, has been out and is staying out ya’ll! Sedentary lifestyle and sitting too often has even been dubbed “the new smoking,” as it causes weight gain and increases your risk for major health problems like heart disease and obesity. If your boss hasn’t gotten behind the standing desk option at work it might be a good time to send them a little research and ask for one…! Check it out; just by replacing sitting with standing for the afternoon at work, you can burn an extra 175 calories per day.

Standing keeps all parts of your body (vascular, cardiac, gastrointestinal system to name a few) working just a little bit harder which overall boosts your metabolism. It’s a super easy fix. Don’t have a spendy boss who’s willing to buy in? No worries – there are super affordable standing desk options (I have one and love it!) available online, like this.

image by kristen kilpatrick

Get Intense & Get Lifting

Heard of HIIT? Research shows that High Intensity Interval Training actually kicks your metabolism into gear and allows you to keep burning calories AND fat even after your workout is done. The burn that keeps on burning baby. If you’re looking for a new way to exercise OR your form of exercise isn’t giving you the results you desire, give HIIT a try, how cool that it keeps giving after you’re done? I’d call that a two for one.

Secondly, don’t be afraid of pumping a little iron (insert Arnold voice). Muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat, and unfortunately when people start losing weight, they often also lose muscle. Research shows that when exercisers build muscle during dieting and exercising they retain weight loss better than those who don’t. If you have a toddler or a small dog you’re already ahead of the lifting game, if you don’t, check out these weights. 

image by teal thomsen

Self care in the form of SLEEP!

If you haven’t heard about this yet, get on the bandwagon, getting your fair share of shut eye is SO important for both short term and long term health. Lack of sleep is strongly directly correlated to many chronic health conditions and obesity and diabetes are two of them. This could very well be relative to the negative side effects that not sleeping has on your metabolism.

When you don’t get enough sleep (chronically less than about 8 hours per night), your body sustains increased blood sugar levels, insulin resistance and causes you to feel more hungry and less full – even when you should feel full. That’s not cool man!  A well rested bod is satiated and balanced and you won’t crave as much junk. Easy peasy fix….oh excuse me, it’s 8 pm, I need to go brush my teeth and apply a face mask, goodnight ! 

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