Everyone knows one of those girls who is able to eat anything she wants without gaining a pound. No matter how many cookies, pizzas, or french fries she digs into, she still looks like she spent the entire week at the gym. It can be hard not to be envious of her crazy-fast metabolism. How did she get so lucky?
Everyone is born with a “set point” that our body establishes as our ideal weight and metabolic rate. “We often see the set point being increased when we consume more calories than we need without also increasing our level of physical activity,” says Lauren Cornell, RD. “But the set point can just as easily be decreased by making gradual changes to your body composition and eating behaviors."
Although you may not necessarily be able to change your body's innate metabolic rate, you can make changes that require your body to metabolize nutrients more quickly. Though most of us still won’t be able to indulge in whatever we want without paying a price, there are small things you can do to help rev up your metabolism. With the help of Cornell, we’ve listed seven easy ways you can help boost your metabolism.
Muscle tissue uses more energy than fat tissue does, so increasing your muscle mass allows your body to metabolize nutrients more efficiently. As an added bonus, your body will also continue to function at an increased metabolic rate for hours after a strenuous workout.
Drink Green Tea
”Green tea has been shown to have thermogenic effect, which means that it produces heat by stimulating metabolism,” says Cornell. You can attribute green tea’s stimulating effect to its caffeine and antioxidants called catechins, which both cause the body to burn more calories and fat.
Eat When You're Hungry
You don’t necessarily need to adhere to the rules of breakfast, lunch, and dinner when it comes to controlling your metabolism. Eating when you’re not hungry can cause stress to your body and disrupt your metabolism. On the flip side, not eating for long periods of time can put your body in starvation mode, which will cause your body to store nutrients as fat.
“The body will tell you when it’s hungry, so instead of following someone else’s rules, listen to your own,” says Cornell. “This takes practice, patience, and a fine-tuning of your intuition, but it’s more effective than any diet out there.”
Change Up Your Exercise Routine
“Not only do you need to keep your body moving with routine exercise, but you need to keep your exercise routine moving as well,” says Cornell. When your body is accustomed to a workout, the less of that post-workout calorie burning you benefit from. By challenging your fitness level and trying new activities, the more you increase your metabolic rate.
Eat Foods With Omega-3 Fatty Acids
Foods high in omega-3 fatty acids have been shown to increase the functioning of leptin receptors. Since leptin is considered the “satiety hormone,” the better the receptors are functioning, the more aware you are when you’re full. Leptin is also linked to the rate at which your body burns fat. Feel free to load up on foods high in omega-3s such as chia seeds, flax oil, and wild-caught fish to help your body burn its fat more efficiently.
Turn Up The Heat
Pour on that hot sauce, because eating spicy food can help speed up your metabolic rate. Capsaicin, the chemical responsible for the heat in peppers, causes a temporary rise in metabolism. Spicy foods also help you feel fuller, causing you to eat less food.
Eat More Anti-Inflammatory Foods
Chronic inflammation can indirectly slow down your metabolic rate, so avoid foods high in sugar, trans fat, and refined grains and opt for green leafy vegetables and antioxidant-rich foods instead. “If your immune system is not having to produce an inflammatory response to foods and other toxins, it’s getting a break and can instead focus on efficient metabolism and other functions,” says Cornell