There is a cruel irony to losing weight that people rarely talk about. As your body gets smaller, the number of average calories you burn over the course of the day also gets smaller! That's right, simply put, losing weight slows your metabolism.
For answers as to why this is, you'll have to look at the endocrine system and the hormones ghrelin and leptin. Researchers at the University of Melbourne found that ghrelin, the hunger hormone was 20% higher in study participants who had lost weight, while leptin, the satiety hormone, was very low. Our hormones function like this because we are hard wired, and have evolved, to preserve fat. Weight loss triggers your body's starvation defenses, slowing everything down to encourage you to not only hold on to fat but to EAT!.
While it may seem like the cards are stacked against you, all is not lost. There are, fortunately, a handful of things you can to give you metabolism a little kick. Check it out:
1. Stand Tall
Our bodies are built to move. It is vital that you stand, stretch, or walk during the day. Try to walk for ten minutes, every hour. Moving your body activates your muscles and in less than 2 minutes, your metabolism starts to hum again.
2. Exercise Less, But Harder
Doing short bursts of intense work can increase the mitochondria present in your muscles which means it will be easier for your body to create energy by burning fat for fuel. This is why HIIT (high intensity interval training) style workouts are incredibly popular for people looking to burn fat. These types of workouts are generally structured around doing anywhere from 20-40 seconds of intense, all out work, followed by a shorter, 10-20 secondn period of rest. These workouts are effective, and they are short. You don't have to spend hours at the gym! Most HIIT workouts last less than 30 minutes! If you are looking to add this sort of routine to your day, or if you already have one and are looking to switch things up, check out SweatFlix. The largest collection of fitness videos every assembled, SweatFlix gives you access to over 115 hours of real time, on demand workouts! Whether you are a beginner or fitness veteran, there are workouts for you! And with new content being added weekly, you'll never again find yourself in a workout rut! Start your FREE trial today!
3. Sip Your Coffee
Drinking a coffee an hour before a workout may actually help you burn more calories after your workout is done. Caffeine can raise the body's adrenaline levels which will cause you to burn more calories, elevating your metabolism.
4. Get Yourself Outside
The bright, natural light that is available from sunrise to about noon, is a great metabolism booster. This blue light helps your body fall in line with its natural sleep and wake cycles. Synchronizing your circadian rhythms will help keep your hormones under control which can help you regulate your appetite. Not getting enough of this light can lead to a slower metabolism and overeating. Think about it, if you keep your body indoors all the time, and under artificial light, your body is less likely to understand, on a cellular level, when it is time to get up and go, and time to sleep!
5. Turn Off Your Mind
Being stressed out is a real metabolism killer. Stress alters the mitochondria in your cells just enough to lower their metabolic effectiveness. Aside from that, being stressed can raise your levels of the hormone cortisol which can cause you to carry fat around your midsection while making it more difficult for you to control things like your energy levels and your eating habits. Make sure that you actively schedule yourself a little downtime each and every day. This doesn't mean you have to just sit quietly, unless, of course, that is what works for you! Be creative. Spend times with your friends, go for a walk. Listen to music. Whatever makes you feel happy and calm, do it!
6. Eat Plenty Of Protein
Not eating enough protein slows down your ability to burn fat. It takes protein to build muscle, and the more muscle you have, the better your metabolism will be. What's more, your body has to work harder to digest proteins than it does carbohydrates which means that you will burn extra calories when you eat it! At BodyRock, we are always on the hunt for creative ways to get our protein! Have a look at this delicious breakfast, loaded with natural and nutrient dense protein sources! For more great meal ideas, check out the BodyRock Meal Plan!
What steps do you take to boost your metabolism? Share your tips with us!