by Dr. Will Cole
To lose weight, all you have to do is fix your metabolism, right? Yes, well…that’s easier said than done. Yet, there are ways that you can alter your metabolism for easier weight loss. Let’s break it down to the basics:
- The food you eat is either stored in your body or used as fuel.
- Your metabolism is the internal process that turns food into usable energy.
- If your metabolism is slow, you’re going to have a harder time using food for fuel and you will be more likely to store those calories you ate in your fat cells.
- When you have a harder time using food for fuel and are more likely to store energy in fat cells, weight gain becomes easier and weight loss becomes more difficult.
- If you can make it easier for your body to burn energy instead of store it, weight loss will be easier and weight gain will become more difficult.
What we see on the outside is a direct correlation to our health on the inside. We can leverage what we know about our biochemistry to hack our way to a quicker metabolism. So without further ado your guide to start speeding up your metabolism.
1. Eat more healthy fats.
Healthy fats are the building blocks for more even blood sugar, and steadier blood sugar often leads to easier weight loss. Your body uses glucose from sugar and carbs for energy, but once those easy-access stores are depleted, your body will start burning fat. Fat burning takes more energy than sugar-burning, and tends to preserve more muscle, so encourage that process by bringing in more fat to burn. The best ones are medium-chain triglycerides like the ones found in coconut oil because these are the most readily available for your body to use as energy.
2. Fast intermittently.
By periodically limiting your food intake for certain stretches of time, intermittent fasting has been demonstrated to reduce inflammation and decrease insulin resistance; which can help fight off diabetes and encourage fat burning and weight loss.
3. Drink that H20.
Your body is more than half water, and every single one of your cells needs water to regulate temperature and function correctly and efficiently. You lose water through sweating, digesting food, and even just breathing, so you need to keep the wet stuff coming in. Drinking eight cups of water per day could increase your metabolism enough to burn almost 20,000 extra calories per year.
4. Balance your hormones.
Leptin is a hormone produced in your fat cells, and leptin’s job is to tell your brain to burn fat for energy. Leptin resistance occurs when your body stops recognizing this hormone and tricks your metabolism into thinking it’s starving – causing it to continually store fat instead of burning it off. A blood test can easily check your leptin levels. Your ideas range should be between 4 and 6 ng/dL.
5. Get ripped.
Muscle uses more energy than fat, so the more muscles you have, the more calories you will burn just sitting around doing nothing. In other words, incorporate strength training into your workout. Studies have shown that building muscle improves resting metabolic rate, which can help you burn more calories overall and improve whole-body metabolism.
6. Sip tea.
Thermogenesis is the process by which your body produces heat, which can increase the number of calories you burn. Certain foods contain naturally occurring thermogenic nutrients such as catechin-containing green tea. Drink a few cups of green tea every day and you could increase your metabolism by 4 to 5 percent and increase fat burning by 10 to 16 percent.
7. Cut back on alcohol.
When you drink alcohol, your body has to stop what it is doing and metabolize that alcohol, filtering it through your liver. That means you won’t be metabolizing fats and sugars as quickly, and your metabolism will slow down. Studies have shown that your body’s fat burning actually decreases by 73 percent after indulging in just one alcoholic beverage.
8. Check your thyroid function.
Your thyroid is the master of your metabolism, producing T4 and T3 hormones to increase cellular activity and metabolism. When your thyroid underperforms, you won’t get as many of those valuable hormones in your system, and that can slow your metabolism. Getting a full thyroid panel done can give a good overall picture of your total thyroid health. The labs I like to run to help pinpoint thyroid issues are thyroid peroxidase antibodies, thyroglobulin antibodies, TSH, free T4, free T3, and reverse T3.
9. Chill out.
When it’s cold, you shiver, which is your body’s way of raising your internal temperature. But even when you are not actively shivering, your body is still working to keep warm. Your body has multiple types of fat – white fat, which accumulates mostly in response to storing excess energy, and brown fat, which actually burns more energy and speeds up your metabolism. Studies have shown that being regularly exposed to colder temperatures can increase your brown fat percentage and actually speed up your metabolism. So next time you want to rush inside to escape the cold, stay out a little longer!
10. Heal your gut.
Science is finally starting to recognize the importance of your gut microbiome and the role it plays in your overall health, including your metabolic rate. An unfavorable balance of gut bacteria can lead to a slowed metabolism and increased weight. In one study, researchers took microbiome samples from both lean and obese mice and placed them in the gut of neutral mice. The mice with the obese microbiome sample actually extracted more calories from the same portion of food and gained more weight, even though they weren’t eating any more than the mice with the lean microbiomes. These mice also developed insulin resistance. To make sure you have enough good bacteria in your gut, eat more probiotic-rich foods like kefir, sauerkraut, and kimchi. You could also try probiotic supplements.
If you want to learn more about your own health case please check out our free health evaluation. We offer in person as well as phone and webcam consultations for people across the country and around the world.
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