How do I boost my metabolism quickly?

This is a question that I am asked almost every day. Many of my patients are convinced that their inability to lose weight is related to a “slow metabolism”, which may be partly true. Metabolism is defined as all the chemical processes that occur within an organism to maintain life. It is the beating of your heart, your respirations, brain function, digestive system etc. There are several things that can slow one’s metabolism. One is simply the act of aging. In general, as we age, we gain fat and lose muscle. Lean muscle tissue is more metabolically active than other tissues, so losing muscle means slowing metabolism. In addition, many of my patients become less active as they age, which can also depress metabolism. Someone with poor thyroid function may also experience a drop in metabolism. The thyroid gland produces the thyroid hormone, which is in charge of metabolism. Sluggish thyroid function may lead to some weight gain so I recommend speaking with your physician about this potential issue. Another cause for decreased metabolism is actually losing weight! I know it seems strange but if you have a smaller body then you require fewer calories to maintain your body’s functions. I try to remind my patients whom are experiencing weight loss that they will need to adjust/reduce their total calorie intake if weight loss continues. Medications can also contribute to changes in metabolism. Some medications speed up metabolism and some slow it down. So be sure to speak with your doctor if you feel like a medication may be affecting your body’s metabolic rate.

Now that the doom and gloom of slow metabolism talk is done, how can we best preserve or kick start metabolism? The first thing you can do is be diet sensible. If you are following a fad diet to lose weight, you are likely restricting calories. This is not the way to kick start your metabolism. Your body needs adequate nutrients (adequate but not too many) to keep your metabolism kicking at a good rate. Skip the fad / low calorie diets and speak with a registered dietitian. They can help figure out a safe calorie goal for healthy weight loss. Another way to keep your body burning is to include some resistance training into your workouts. Remember we discussed that loss of muscle depresses metabolism? Resistance training will help build lean body mass and increase metabolism (and be sure to do your weight lifting before you tackle your cardio for more calorie burning potential!) Finally, adding a little spice to your diet may also help rev metabolism. Add hot Asian mustard to any oil based salad dressing for an extra kick and be sure to consume lots of hot peppers and vinegar.

Login to Favorite