3 Tips to Get Your Metabolism Going
By Melanie Beasley, RD, LD
January 7, 2020
As a nutritionist, I have heard new clients say time and time again things like, “I just can't seem to lose weight.” Or, “What is wrong with my metabolism?” Or “Seems like all I have to do is look at food and I gain weight.”
Let’s start the New Year with some good news. Trust me; there a way to lose weight and stay healthy. First, let’s clear up some common misconceptions about metabolism and learn how to kickstart yours.
Recent research shows that metabolism is much more complex than the old model of “calories in versus calories out.” You cannot simply cut back on calories and start working out two hours a day and expect to lose weight for the long-term. In fact, this approach may damage your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight in the future. In a nutshell, when the body is placed on a very low calorie/starvation-type diet, it is put under excess stress. Over weeks or multiple attempts/periods of perceived starvation, the body will compensate by slowing your metabolism and holding onto weight.
How to Kickstart Your Metabolism
When it comes to fueling your metabolism, the real secret is eating quality FOOD in balance. It’s very simple; real food supports your metabolism. Here’s how to do that in three steps.
1. Eat Real Foods
The best way to create a strong and healthy metabolism is to start with the basics – eat real foods. This means replacing processed carbohydrates (granola bars, cereal bars, bagels, muffins, high sugar coffee drinks, cereal, etc.) with real carbohydrates (fruits, vegetables). The processed carbohydrates and frozen meals that lurk in the middle of the grocery store are quick and easy, but also contain factory fats and refined sugars that can lead to weight gain and other health problems.
2. Eat Enough Food
When we supply the body with adequate nutrition in a balanced combination of protein, carbs and fats, it keeps our blood sugar balanced. Overeating carbohydrates (usually due to extreme hunger) causes high blood sugars, which results in fat storage. Remember excess carbohydrates equals excess sugar equals more body fat.
Just like the myth of calories in, calories out, the low-fat message that was prevalent for years has confused whole generations of eaters. The truth is you need to eat a variety of natural fats to lose body fat. Include healthy fats such as olive oil, avocadoes, nuts, seeds, coconut oil and butter in your diet. These healthy fats help you stay satisfied and play an important role in overall health.
Eating sufficient protein is critical because protein stimulates your metabolism by up to 30% for several hours. So, how much protein is ideal? A good amount to start with is 3-4 ounces of protein at each meal and 1-2 ounces with snacks. Enjoy a variety of animal proteins, such as fish, turkey, lamb, chicken, grass-fed beef, eggs and pork. Another benefit to eating protein is that it makes you feel satisfied and helps prevent cravings
3. Eat in Balance
The final nutritional secret to good metabolism lies in eating real food in balance. This means eating a serving of protein, lots of vegetables and healthy fats at every single meal and snack. Eating this way keeps blood sugar balanced, which in turn results in sustainable weight loss.
As a bonus, we’d add tip #4, Get Support. Weight loss and changing habits isn’t as easy as 1, 2, 3. You’ve got to put in the time and have the knowledge of what to do, but your health is so worth it. We find that when our clients experience weight loss, but they also reap a multitude of benefits beyond the weight loss, such as sleeping sounder, healthier joints and range of motion, decreased heartburn, increased energy and mood, and more clear-headed thoughts. If you want to learn more, or want more support to reach your goals I encourage you to check out our 12-week Nutrition 4 Weight Loss series, available in-person or online, through which 96% of participants experience better health!
Meeting with me, or a fellow nutritionist, in person or via phone/video visit is always an option, too. We’re here to help you with your specific metabolism and weight loss challenges because what works for someone else may not work for you. We listen and problem-solve solutions so that you are successful.