For the most part, the speed of your metabolism is determined by genetics and a few other things that are beyond your control. But there are a few things you can do to speed it up a little or give it a bit of a kick. The great news is that it mostly comes down to living a healthy lifestyle, so here is what you can do:
Get enough sleep
For most people, that is 8-10 hours. Sleeping gives your body and mind the necessary rest it needs to carry on efficiently. While I do think that there may be some people who don’t need as much sleep, these are the best guidelines. If you need less sleep, you will know, if you are well rested after only 7 hours and that gets you through your day fine, that is what your body needs. Not only does enough good quality sleep help with keeping hormones at their best levels to keep your body going (e.g. If you don’t get enough sleep, your body secretes more ghrelin, aka, the hunger hormone than it should, making you want to eat more than usual), it also means you have enough energy to do all the things you need to do during the day, including exercise. It also helps to repair your muscles.
Eat 5-6 small meals a day
As opposed to three large meals a day. Doing this will help regulate your blood sugar provided you eat healthy foods, which will help with energy and hunger, and it keeps your metabolism going. Be sure to include protein (lean meat, beans and nuts, as well as low fat dairy), fruit and vegetables. In fact, eating smaller meals is a great way to up your fruit and veg intake, I know I struggle with getting the recommended five portions (of +/_ 80g or 0.5-1 fruit or vegetable depending on the size, per portion). The more nutritious your meals, the more vitamins, minerals, and protein you get that your body needs. Your protein intake should be around 10-35% of your calorie intake per day. Protein helps build and repair muscles. Vitamins and minerals help keep your body healthy and working properly. An efficient body will have a better metabolism. There are also some spices such as cayenne pepper that may boost your metabolism.
Keep yourself hydrated
Just like vitamins and minerals, your body needs to stay hydrated in order to function at its best. A well hydrated body will absorb nutrients and transport them, produce enough saliva, and give you nicer skin and hair amongst other things. You can also include tea without milk or sugar to help you up your water intake, as well as some juices. You need around 6-8 glasses of water a day. Drinks that contain caffeine like green tea and coffee may also temporarily increase your metabolism.
An extra 4 kg of muscle burns around 50-60 extra calories a day. A women is not as likely to gain as much muscle as a man is, but a little extra muscle still burns more calories. If you as a woman are worried about gaining muscle, or perhaps bulking up, don’t stress. Having strong muscles means you will have a well toned body. The amount of testosterone in your body is not enough to make you look like a man. If you do tend to be more muscular, there are exercises that you can do that will strengthen and tone your muscles without making them too much bigger, like pilates. In my opinion, being healthy and strong is the new sexy.
If you do suspect that something is wrong with your metabolism, go see your doctor. Your doctor will be able to give you the right advise or treatment to help anything that could be causing it. Usually, a problem would be if you are well on your way to becoming obese or already are, despite exercising and not over eating. But for most people, all you need to be doing, is living a healthy life 🙂