Who here has ever wanted to lose weight but their damned metabolism is just too slow?
Or, maybe you know someone who’s as skinny as a rake, eats whatever they want and don’t put on weight, yet you so much as look as a danish and gain weight?
Don’t worry I’ve been there. It’s easy in that situation to feel like there’s no chance you’re able to handle a night out of not tracking or eating things that you’re “not supposed to.”
For years, we’ve talked about the metabolism as it’s this physical thing we’re given at birth. We cop out on it. I remember growing up overweight thinking I have a bad metabolism so this is just the way it is for me so I’m always going to be fighting it.
What a load of shit.
I’m sorry, but your metabolism is not a body part that you’ve been given. It’s not your toes or fingers. It’s something you are largely responsible for. Thanks to some really great science that borders on ethical at best, we’ve learned that the metabolism is incredibly flexible.
Metabolic adaptation, put simply is the body’s metabolic rate responding to stressors that you are putting on the body or diet which are mostly linked to the quantity of food you are ingesting on a regular basis. It is typically thought of in the fitness world when you are entering a caloric deficit where you are eating less and your body begins to down regulate its mitochondrial efficiency (burning less calories to produce the same amount of ATP) and metabolic rate.
But metabolic adaptation also occurs on the opposite end of the spectrum through increasing metabolic rate and ergo the amount of energy you are burning on a regular basis.
The million dollar question though, is how do I do it?
The good thing about NEAT is that it comes at no cost of stress to your body. Walking the dog and getting in your 10,000 steps is not an activity where you’re breathing hard to do it. In fact, it’s often a very relaxing thing for a lot of people.
Think this is just a fad thing developed by FitBit to sell some devices? Think again, this stuff really matters.
“Walking 10,000 steps per day in association with dietary counselling improved anthropometric data, REE (resting energy expenditure), the physical domains of HRQoL and anxiety in obese adults,” reported one study.
2. Drink some coffee
Man, there’s not many times where you’ll get told to enjoy something as beautiful as coffee.
Seriously though, coffee is incredible. My infatuation for the hot drink aside, it’s also a great tool for giving that metabolism the boost it needs. In several studies, we’ve demonstrated that caffeine can be a great tool for increasing your metabolic rate and improving body composition.
Not a coffee drinker? Tea works in the same manner, particularly green tea shows proven benefits for increasing your metabolic rate.
3. Increase Thermic effect of eating
One of the things that goes into the amount of calories you’re burning through your daily energy expenditure is the thermic effect of eating. What this means is that through the eating and digestive process, certain macronutrients and foods are actually burning more fat than others.
One way to do that is simply increasing the amount of fiber you’re eating on a regular basis. Sure, you don’t want to go crazy with this and eat 50g of fiber a day starting tomorrow (for digestive reasons) but keeping it to 15g per every 1,000 calories is a great starting point. Most people should be around the 25-35g mark per day. Note, this means eating less processed foods.
When it comes to macronutrients though, know that research shows that protein burns about 20-35% of its calories through eating, carbohydrates 5 to 15% with fats much lower at 0 to 5%. So yes, protein is important for more reasons than simply just building muscle.
A former journalist and sports blogger, I've turned my writing prowess and love of fitness and nutrition into a personal blog where you can find anything you are looking for on the world of health, nutrition and fitness.