15 Ways to Hack Your Metabolism
Having a faster metabolism is one of those wish list items, like a self-replenishing bank account and hair that looks perfect the second you step out of the shower, that seems unlikely to ever become a reality. For many people, living with a slow metabolism is just another unwelcome part of getting older, like paying taxes or figuring out ways to disguise those first wrinkles.
Luckily, just because you weren't born with a speedy metabolism doesn't mean you're doomed to keep watching the pounds pile on. Incorporating these easy metabolism hacks into your routine can help you start the journey to a healthier life and leaner body in no time. And when you're ready to turbo-charge your weight loss efforts, discover the 55 Best Ways to Boost Your Metabolism!
Start Your Day With Protein
Starting your day with a donut or a big pile of pancakes is like putting a big stop sign in front of your metabolism, telling it you're less-than-eager to lose weight. Fortunately, the solution is as easy as it is delicious: kick off your morning with some filling protein instead. Not only will a protein-rich breakfast keep you satisfied for longer than a carb-heavy one, making it easier to pass up any treats that might otherwise tempt you, it can also help you shed unwanted weight. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity reveals that study subjects who started their mornings with eggs versus a similarly-caloric bagel lost 65 percent more weight than their carb-consuming counterparts. Want to add more protein to your diet? Start by putting the 29 Best-Ever Proteins for Weight Loss on your menu.
Celebrate the Sun
One of the easiest tools to boost your metabolism is not only widely available, it also happens to be free. Getting some early morning sunlight could just be the key to finally shedding those pounds that have been weighing heavily on your mind and your waist. Researchers at Northwestern University's Feinberg School of Medicine found that individuals who were exposed to early morning sunlight had lower BMIs independent of other factors known to affect metabolism, like exercise, calorie consumption, or age. In fact, the power of that early A.M. sun is so potent that people who caught the same amount of sunshine just a few hours later didn't enjoy the same metabolism-boosting effects.
Build Some Muscle
The answer to your metabolic woes won't be found in a bottle of diet pills or a chalky meal replacement shake; it's hiding in the weight room. Building muscle is one of the best ways to improve your metabolism while whittling your figure as more compact muscle replaces fat. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation reveals that subjects with greater proportions of skeletal muscle had significantly higher resting metabolic rates than those who had a higher fat-to-muscle ratio.
Going green is good for more than just the planet — it's also one of the simplest ways to send your metabolic rate soaring, too. Adding some green tea to your menu can help you suppress those thirst cues you might be mistaking for hunger and the combination of antioxidants and caffeine in every sip can send your metabolic rate through the roof. Research published in the International Journal of Obesity reveals that the catechin-polyphenols in green tea can boost metabolism, helping you shave off that unwanted weight in no time.
Fill Up on Fiber
A little extra fiber on your menu can go a long way for your metabolism. Fiber can not only fill you up, keeping you satisfied for hours after you've finished your meal, it can also cause significant changes to your intestinal microbiome, kick-starting your metabolism along the way. Research published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition reveals that individuals whose diets were rich in high-fiber whole grains burned approximately 100 calories more each day than those who opted for refined carbs.
Bring the Heat
If your food is hot, that means a metabolism that's firing on all cylinders isn't far behind. Researchers at Maastricht University and the Paris Institute of Technology for Life, Food and Environmental Sciences found that supplementation with just a small amount of capsaicin, the compound that makes hot foods spicy, increased subjects' calorie burn without increasing their blood pressure, making it a potentially safe metabolic remedy for those who can't add high-intensity exercise to their routine. Even if you don't like your food hot, you can still enjoy the calorie-burning benefits of capsaicin by adding some paprika to your food. Chili peppers aren't the only metabolism-booster in your pantry; discover the 40 Things Healthy Cooks Always Have in Their Kitchen and shed those extra pounds in no time.
Snooze and Lose
Sleeping may have a paltry calorie burn when compared to, say, CrossFit, but getting an adequate amount of sleep can make all the difference when it comes to your metabolism. Researchers at the University of São Paulo have found a link between sleep hormone melatonin production and increases in leptin, a hormone that signals satiety, meaning that a good night's sleep can help you steer clear of sugary, fat-laden snack with ease. A study published in the academic journal Sleep additionally reveals that even minor sleep deprivation can significantly increase levels of cortisol, a hormone that triggers fat storage, putting the brakes on your metabolism and making it harder to slim down. So, whenever you can, make sure you're getting plenty of sleep —your metabolism will thank you.
Water Off the Weight
A little cold water before your meal could help you shave off any unwanted weight. Research published in the Journal of Endocrinology & Metabolism reveals that drinking cold water increased metabolic rate by 4.5 percent, and a study in the Journal of Clinical & Diagnostic Research found that, over an 8-week period, overweight girls who drank water half an hour before their meals lost significantly more weight and body fat than those who dug right in.
A lack of caffeine in your life could be what's standing between you and the speedy metabolism you want. Researchers at King's College in London found that adding just 100 milligrams of caffeine to subjects' daily routine increased fat burn by as much as 150 calories. While that may seem like a relatively small number in the grand scheme of things, shaving 150 calories off on a daily basis could mean you drop an extra pound and a half every single month.
Pack in Some Probiotics
What do pickles, sauerkraut, and kimchi have in common? They're all delicious ways to boost your metabolism in a hurry. Researchers at Imperial College London have determined a link between consumption of probiotics, like those found in fermented foods, and metabolic changes linked to decreased fat absorption and weight loss. So, if you're eager to kick that metabolism into gear, start by adding some fermented foods to your meal plan.
Want to heat up your metabolism? Start by keeping things cool at home. Research published in the Journal of Clinical Investigation reveals that exposure to temperatures between 60 and 61 degrees over a 10-day period saw significant increases in healthy brown adipose tissue, the kind that can increase metabolism and burn dangerous visceral fat. A leaner body and lower energy bills? Sign us up! Cranking up the AC isn't the only way to beat the heat; the 50 Best Detox Waters for Fat Burning and Weight Loss will have you feeling cool as a cucumber.
If your usual cardio isn't doing it for, try taking things up a notch by adding some high-intensity interval training to your gym visits. Researchers at the University of New South Wales found that high-intensity interval training not only helped participants lose significant body fat over a 12-week period, but increased participants' metabolic rate for up to 72 hours after their workout was over. You probably can't say that about those lackluster sessions on the stair stepper.
Load Up on Calcium
Getting stronger bones and a speedier metabolism start with a single step: adding some extra calcium to your diet. A study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism reveals that women with higher calcium intakes lost significantly more weight — an average of 17.2 pounds — over a 4-year study period when compared to those who skimped on calcium. While research suggests that dairy sources of calcium may contribute to the risk of bone demineralization and osteoporosis, you can still add plenty of calcium to your diet by filling up on leafy greens, like kale and spinach, nuts, and fatty fish.
Put Down Your Phone
If your phone is starting to feel like it's practically part of your body, the best thing you can do for your metal health and metabolism is to step away and unplug. Researchers at the National Institute on Drug Abuse have found that just 50 minutes of cell phone use a day can affect your brain's glucose metabolism, and a study conducted at Northwestern University reveals that the bright light emitted from digital devices can have a negative impact on humans' circadian rhythms, making it more difficult to get an adequate amount of sleep, slowing the metabolism in the process.
While some people claim that maintaining a high stress level is essential for their productivity, staying stressed may be having a deleterious effect on your metabolism. When you're stressed out, your body increases the production of cortisol, a hormone that triggers belly fat storage. Multiple studies have linked high cortisol levels to lower metabolic rates and an increased risk of obesity, making it so important to find time to de-stress and decompress. Researchers at Kaiser Permanente have even linked lower stress levels to an increased likelihood of meeting weight loss goals, so if you've got some stubborn weight you just can't shake, some deep breaths and a whole lot of "me time" may be just as important as those long hours you're logging at the gym. Stress isn't the only weight loss saboteur out there; the 20 Weird Reasons Why You're Gaining Weight Fast could be stalling your slimdown, too.