Get Your Metabolism Back on Track

By Jolene Carlson, MaEd, MS, LN
January 11, 2022

metabolism.jpgAs a nutritionist, I have heard clients say time and time again things like:

  • “I just can't seem to lose weight”
  • “Something is wrong with my metabolism”
  • “Will I ever be able to lose weight again?”
  • “Must I starve myself to get thin?”

I’ve helped many people recover their metabolisms after years of abuse. There is hope for repairing yours as well.

Metabolism: Not as Easy as “Calories In, Calories Out”

Current research shows that metabolism is more complex than the popular “calories in verses calories out” model. You cannot simply cut back on calories and start working out two hours a day and expect to lose weight. In fact, this approach will damage your metabolism and make it harder for you to lose weight in the future.

Jill Coleman, an online fitness and nutrition professional who has healed her own metabolism with a more real food, moderation type approach that we agree with, describes it in this helpful way: “Chronic dieting is to the metabolism like putting miles on to the tires of your car. There’s less traction the more miles you go. The tires wear down, just like your metabolism, and it WILL NOT respond the same or as well as it did the first time you did some extreme diet.”

Your metabolism is energy and requires nutrients to be fully functional. We can help you restore and recover your metabolism.   

Nutrition 4 Weight Loss
For group support while boosting your metabolism, take our online or virtual version of the 12 week Nutrition 4 Weight Loss class.

Take Steps to Strengthen Your Metabolism

What creates a strong and healthy metabolism? Here are a few steps to get you started:

Start with the Basics 

Eat nutrient dense foods that feed your metabolism. This means replacing processed carbohydrates (granola bars, crackers, chips, cookies, cereals, etc.) with real carbohydrates (fruits and vegetables). The processed carbohydrates and frozen meals that lurk in the middle of the grocery store are quick and easy, but contain damaging bad fats and refined sugars that can lead to weight gain and other health problems. 

One way to practice this tip is to choose one meal in your day to add some real veggies and fruits when you normally wouldn’t. Maybe for breakfast, you add a veggie hash of your choice, for example, sweet potatoes with onions and peppers or cauliflower rice with peas and carrots. Or for lunch, you could add a side salad with your sandwich. A great snack option may be some raw veggies with some guacamole or a homemade green veggie dip. For dinner, try zucchini noodles in place of your pasta in this Garlic Veggie Noodles with Chicken recipe

Our resident chef and culinary nutrition educator, Marianne Jurayj, suggests exploring the greens section of the store and find the interesting bagged and clamshell mixed greens to always keep on hand in your fridge. The great thing about them is that if you can’t use them all in a salad, you can throw them into soups, stews or just sauté them up.  

Eat a Variety of Fats to Lose Body Fat

We’ve all heard the low-fat message for years, but the truth is you need to eat a variety of fats to lose body fat. Include healthy fats such as olive oil, avocadoes, nuts and seeds, coconut oil and butter in your diet. These healthy fats help you stay satisfied and keep your blood sugar balanced, which reduces that rollercoaster of cravings that happens with wild blood sugars. What might this look like? Cook your eggs in butter, roast your veggies in coconut oil, have some olives for a snack, eat your apple with a little nut butter, top full fat cottage cheese with tomato, basil, and some balsamic vinegar, or try our delicious and satisfying Pumpkin Custard recipe with brain-boosting fats.

Nutrition Counseling
Set up a nutrition counseling appointment with one of our nutritionists or dietitians to brainstorm ways to incorporate more healthy fat into your specialized meal plan.

Eat Enough Protein

Eating sufficient protein is critical because protein stimulates your metabolism by 30% for several hours. Another benefit to eating protein is that it makes you feel satisfied and helps prevent cravings. 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 and pork. A high quality protein powder in a smoothie is a great option for a meal or snack (and an easy way to sneak in more veggies and healthy fats!). Here is a whey protein and a paleo protein I really like that tastes great and has quality ingredients.

Healthy Snack Idea

For a great balanced snack, take a two-ounce piece of turkey and spread it with one tablespoon of cream cheese. Then wrap it around a slice of zucchini, cucumber, or a pickle. For a dairy-free balanced snack, whip up some chicken salad to serve in a lettuce wrap.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep!

Get a good night’s sleep! Isn’t it great news that you can boost your metabolism while you sleep? Being sleep deprived makes it challenging to eat well, keep cravings at bay, and have the energy to do other healthy habits like exercising, meditating, or cooking. Optimal amounts of quality sleep are 7 ½ to 8 hours most nights (although some folks do better with 9 hours!).

Just like the veggie carb tip, start with baby steps. Make your bedtime 10 minutes earlier than normal for a couple weeks. Or maybe get blackout curtains or a white noise machine. Consider eating a bedtime snack to help stabilize your blood sugar and feed your brain through the midnight hours. What sleep hygiene step feels the most doable and start there.

Getting A Good Night’s Sleep
Struggling with sleep? Check out this online class Getting a Good Night’s Sleep for only $25!

Changing nutrition habits and your mindset about metabolism can take some time, but the more you practice, the better you’ll become. Just remember that the nutritional secret to good metabolism lies in eating real food in balance. Isn’t it a relief to not count calories? The next time you eat, focus on have a serving of lean protein, lots of vegetables and healthy fats. Add in some more quality rest and your body will feel nourished, rather than starved, while your metabolism gets revving!

For more information, check out these resources:

 

About the author

Jolene recognizes that health is individualistic and aims to collaborate to develop a health plan unique to her clients' goals and priorities. She aims to help clients understand that “functional nutrition is nourishing your body in a way that allows you to live the life you desire.” 

View all posts by Jolene Carlson, MaEd, MS, LN

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