Learning how to speed up your metabolism involves hormones, food you eat, your movement and exercise, sleep, stress and more.
Most of us have looked at someone who is naturally thin but has a big appetite and have thought wow he or she must have a great metabolism. (Wish I did!).
But can you master your own metabolism?
We are excited to share everything we learned in the Master Your Metabolism Group we recently attended. MOST ALL OF THE CONTENT in this article is what was presented to us, and can benefit you as well.*
Learning more about how to fuel your metabolism can have a huge effect in your life and your daily energy.
A little heads up this is a LONG article and has info we learned in multiple sessions – so do take your time and bookmark if you want to tackle a little at a time or come back to for reference.
Our #1 mission here on AntiAgingByDesign is to help increase your healthspan – meaning the time in your life that you are healthy. We want that to be the majority of your lifespan.
Even if you aren’t actively trying to lose weight, your metabolism may need some boosting if you are experiencing any of these:
? Feeling extra tired
? Needing an energy boost
? Feeling stressed
? Finding your diet and exercise plan isn’t working as expected (or you gave up on it)
? Needing motivation and accountability
? Ready for a health-and-fitness breakthrough
I feel it is important to say that you don’t need to do all this ‘health stuff’ perfectly, because it doesn’t have to be an overwhelming change you have to make. You just need to decide that your health is a priority and commit to making better choices. We, personally, are far from perfect but still do lots of good healthy things and this has worked for us for over 40 years!
What is METABOLISM?
I thought of it primarily as “how many calories I burn” or “how quickly I burn calories.” What I learned is that is only part of it.
To put it most simply, metabolism is “the chemical reactions that turn the food you eat into the energy your body needs for growth, repair, and more. Your metabolism is working 24/7. Your body needs the energy and molecules produced by metabolism for so many things, such as:
? Circulating blood
? Digesting food
? Growing and repairing cells
? Regulating body temperature
HOW DOES METABOLISM AFFECT YOUR WEIGHT?
Metabolism has a direct impact on weight loss and weight gain. When you take in fewer calories than your body needs, your metabolism will “burn” your stored energy (aka fat) as fuel. When you consume MORE calories than your body needs, the excess energy is stored as fat.
Did you know “calorie” is just a fancy term for a unit of energy? That’s why the relationship between the calories you consume and the calories you burn is called your ENERGY BALANCE.
And guess what? You can manage your metabolism by keeping that energy balance in check.”*
So a healthy metabolism isn’t only about weight. It is supporting digestion, energy levels, and your hormone balance.
How Many Calories Can You Burn?
There are 4 factors that affect how many calories you need and burn each day,
- Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) – the number of calories your body needs for its most basic functions each day, like breathing, circulation, and digestion. 60% to 70% of your energy is used for these functions.
- Thermic effect of food – “Your body uses about 10% of its energy digesting, absorbing, metabolizing, and storing what you eat and drink. Each protein,?carb, and?fat you eat takes a certain amount of energy to be digested. Of all three, protein has the highest thermic effect, meaning your body needs more energy to break it down.”*
Check out these numbers.
? Thermic effect of?fats?= 0-3%
? Thermic effect of?carbohydrates?= 5-10%
? Thermic effect of?protein?= 20-30%
- Exercise – The regular, planned exercise activities that you do can require a range of 5 to 30% of your total energy used each day.
- NEAT – Neat is your daily movements that aren’t your planned exercise – such as walking to and from places or even around the house, or when you are doing activities like housework or gardening or just moving around. NEAT stand for Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis and is attributed to about 15% of the calories you burn each day.
That was a little science lesson, and still pretty easy to follow. Knowing this foundation will help you as we learn more about mastering your metabolism.
Our goal is to keep this simple by making some new changes.
HOW TO BOOST YOUR METABOLISM
? Increase your BMR – base metabolic rate
? Optimizing your diet and calories burned
? Choose the right exercise for a healthy metabolism
? Increase your NEAT – non-exercise activity
SLOW vs FAST Metabolism
You might think you have a slow metabolism because it is hard for you to lose weight.
Slow vs fast metabolism is actually a description of how little or how much energy your body burns at rest – your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR).
Here is what affects your BMR and why yours is unique to you.
- Age – BMR tends to decrease with age as muscle decreases and fat, but you can increase your muscle mass.
- Body composition – lean muscle mass is more metabolically active than fat, so the more muscle you have, the more calories you burn at rest. This is a good reason to build that muscle!
- Sex – Men often have a higher BMR than women due to having less body fat, more lean
muscle, and being larger. Good news for women, though, is that both men and women can increase metabolism by increasing muscle.
- Body Size – Larger people generally have a higher BMR than smaller people because
they require more energy for basic body functions.
- Genetics – Some people may have a naturally higher or lower BMR than others. Your
genes can also influence your muscle size and ability to build muscle mass. People who
are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.
- Hormones – Hormones affect a lot in our bodies including metabolism. Thyroid hormone increases BMR, and cortisol can decrease it. More about hormones later.
All the different body processes are so interesting to learn about, and metabolism does not disappoint. All the factors above along with what you eat and the amount of exercise and movement you get influence how fast your metabolism will be.
While you may not be able to control the above factors, it is very good to know – although it can negate the excuses you might make! – that you do have control over many parts of your metabolism.
If you want to learn about how many calories you burn at rest and expend throughout the day, check the bottom of this article for links to get that information.
What You Can Control to Speed Up Your Metabolism
We will be sharing more in depth info on all of these. This list is posted directly from the communities session.
? How You Eat – Fuel your metabolism with a balanced diet that is HIGH in lean protein, fiber, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats––and low in
saturated and trans fats and highly processed, low-nutrient foods. Eating regular meals and avoiding skipping meals can also support your metabolism.
? Physical Activity – While you can burn calories with regular exercise, you can burn
calories, build lean muscle, AND boost metabolism with strength training, highintensity interval training (HIIT), and other weight-bearing activities.
? Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis (NEAT) – Increase your NEAT by moving more in everyday life––from standing during work meetings to parking your car farther away.
? Sleep – Getting enough high-quality sleep is crucial for supporting your metabolism.
? Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night and get a regular sleep schedule going.
? Stress Management – Because chronic stress can negatively impact metabolism, it’s helpful to practice stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, yoga, and deep breathing exercises.
? Other Lifestyle Factors – Staying hydrated can prevent overeating and ensure your body’s metabolic processes can function efficiently. Exposure to early morning light can also support metabolism.
The takeaway is that even if you have always thought that you have a slow metabolism, it is empowering to know that you can influence your metabolism by making some small changes. And just as important and beneficial to realize is that the good effects you get in your body by making these changes also helps improve other areas of your health.
Getting on a healthier path is something you FEEL pretty quickly. For me, these kinds of benefits give me incentive to stick with it.
Two things that helped me most were making some changes in my nutrition, including eating habits, and getting regular exercise. I feel like I have a lot of NEAT in my life but didn’t have enough planned exercise. I am still working on that!
Start to think about which controllable you want to improve.
Hormones and Metabolism
Maybe because I am a woman, but I have always thought hormones are huge. Whether you are male or female hormones do play a role in many body processes.
The way that hormones affect your metabolism is that they can affect your appetite and how you use the calories that you eat.
The hormones that control appetite are leptin and ghrelin, and affect things like sleep, protein, fiber, and water.
Leptin helps regulate energy balance by affecting your appetite in order to decrease your calorie intake.*
Ghrelin stimulates appetite and food intake.*
The hormones that affect how you use calories are catabolic and anabolic hormones, and they play a role in physical movement and stress/destressing.
Catabolic hormones – Use energy to break down large, complex molecules into smaller, simple ones (think digestion). Often activated under stress, they include glucagon and cortisol. Catabolic workouts like cardio burn calories but can also break down muscles over time if not balanced with recovery and anabolic workouts.*
Anabolic hormones – Use energy for growth and building. Includes insulin and adrenaline. When you do anabolic workouts, you can lose fat and keep or build muscle. Because muscle weighs more than fat, the number on the scale may not go down drastically, but that doesn’t matter: you look (and are) more fit.*
Hormones that control metabolism are thyroid hormone.
Thyroid hormone – Helps control and increase your metabolism through an intricate feedback loop involving the hypothalamus, pituitary gland, and the thyroid gland. This is a lot of information, but did you find it helpful? Can you see how hormones impact not just how your body uses calories, but also your appetite, cravings, and therefore calorie consumption?*
FOODS AND METABOLISM
Why Protein is Important
What you choose to eat each day can have a huge effect on your metabolism.
The best diet for you is one that keeps you feeling full, controls hunger, reduces cravings, supports energy, and is filled with nutrient-dense foods. One easy way to support all of those things? Get enough protein!*
Protein is essential for weight management because:
1. It helps you build and maintain lean body mass––and the more lean body mass you have, the more calories you burn at rest! Protein is critical for your longevity, metabolism, and quality of life.*
2. It significantly increases satiety, which means you feel fuller despite eating less. Eating more protein often causes people to eat less overall.*
3. Just by eating more protein in your diet, you burn more calories. Remember how we talked about the thermic effect of food? Your body has to work harder to digest protein than fats or carbs, so it has more potential to burn calories and body fat when you eat protein.*
Think about ways to get more protein in your diet.
We have some great recipes to share – message us to get those!
How Much Protein Should You Be Eating?
Did you know that the minimum amount of protein you should aim for each day is 0.36 grams per pound of your body weight? But then we found out that if you are trying to build muscle, you want to eat closer to 1 gram of protein per pound of body weight (or ideal body weight).
Bottom line? If you’re active, try to consume 20-40 grams with each meal and snack.
? For most active men: 6-8 palm-sized servings of protein per day.
? For most active women: 4-6 palm-sized servings per day.
How to eat more protein.
If this is a lot more protein than you are used to, here are some tips:
? Start your day with a protein-packed breakfast.
? Try a protein-based smoothie made with Greek yogurt, fruit, greens, (and we use Life Shake – more about it at the end of the article).
? Consider an omelet filled with veggies like spinach, mushrooms, and peppers.??
? Fill a third of your lunch or dinner plate with protein.
? Add a scoop of chickpeas or a chicken breast to your salad.
? Swap your standard pasta for a higher-protein variety (such as lentil or chickpea-based noodles).??
? Add more protein and crunch to plant-based side dishes, by topping them with a
spoonful of pumpkin seeds or nuts. Or sprinkle some cheese on vegetables before
popping them into the oven.
? For snacks, enjoy grab-n-go protein sources (our favorite is the Shaklee protein snack bar).?
? Convenient snack choices include hard-boiled eggs, protein bars, or yogurt.
? Consider keeping celery or carrot sticks on hand to dip in nut butter or hummus.?
? For busy lifestyles running to kids (or grandkids) activities or travel, we also love the Shaklee Meal Bars that have 20 grams of protein and other nutrition included to make a full meal.
How Fiber Can Help
Fiber is another food that is satiating and keeps you full for longer. Plus getting enough of it is essential for a healthy diet that supports metabolism.
Think of your food as the fuel to run all of your body’s functions. The better quality and more nutrient-dense it is, the better your body will run. Fiber is a big part of this story.*
Here are some ways how to get more fiber each day:
Have a Fiber-Rich Breakfast
? Try a berry-bran parfait: alternate layers of oat bran (or oats or another high fiber cereal) with Greek yogurt and a sprinkle of berries and nuts.?
? If cereal is your go-to breakfast, choose cereals with at least 3 grams of fiber per serving, such as shredded wheat, oatmeal, or bran-based cereals.?
? Make a chia breakfast bowl: mix ¼ cup chia seeds, 1 cup milk of choice, a dash of pure maple syrup, and 1 tsp vanilla. Refrigerate overnight and add toppings like bananas, berries, kiwi, almonds, or walnuts.*
Fill Half Your Plate with High-Fiber Veggies at Lunch and Dinner?
? Include plenty of high-fiber vegetables like carrots, broccoli, Swiss chard, beets, and artichokes at lunch and dinner.
? Roast veggies to keep in the fridge: Toss thyme or rosemary, olive oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper with vegetables, then spread evenly on a sheet pan. Roast 35 –
40 min or until veggies are browned, stirring every 10 min.? Prepare a Fiber-Rich, Whole-Grain Side Dish?
? Substitute brown rice, quinoa, amaranth, spelt, or chickpea-based pasta for the usual white rice and white pasta
? Choose snacks that have at least 3 grams of fiber per serving? (choose High-Fiber Grab-n-Go Snacks)
? Consider dry-roasted chickpeas or edamame
? Look for high-fiber snack bars with minimal sugar or kale chips (look for low sodium options if you’re watching your salt)?
? Try a single serving of hummus with whole-grain crackers or carrots
? Top celery sticks with a nut butter*?
We can share some recipes that include fiber in some new meals.
Do you have a favorite high-fiber snack?
Moving for Your Metabolism
Remember, you can keep this easy – it’s just important to get moving!
? Start your day with exercise?
? Take an early morning run or brisk walk
? Yoga class or strength-training workout – try to include small amounts of cardio?
? Spin or dance class
? Group exercise of any kind low impact or your choice
? Active gardening or yard work, house cleaning, car washing all count as NEAT physical activity.?
? Build short walks into your day – take a 10-minute walk before work, a 20-minute walk at lunch, and a 10-minute walk at the end of your work day.?It adds up!
What is your favorite way to add more physical activity into your day?
TIP: Did you know another perk of being part of the Shaklee family is there are free strength, yoga, Pilates and more classes? Link is below but also ask about the new option of working out with our Chairman and CEO Roger Barnett, his wife Sloan and their personal trainer three times per week. I can’t wait to start this!
What Are the Best Workouts for Your Metabolism?
Do you already consistently exercise? Are you getting the results you hoped for?
You might be surprised to learn which workouts are best for boosting your metabolism and burning calories.
How many of us have spent hours on the treadmill thinking we are burning fat? Most people think that more cardio equals more weight loss. Cardio burns calories, but that doesn’t mean your body is burning fat. Your 30–60 minute workout accounts for only 5-30% of your daily calorie burn.*
To boost your metabolism, you want to prioritize weight training or weight-bearing activities that build and maintain muscle. Why? Because this maximizes your BMR––your body’s ability to burn calories at rest, which accounts for 60-70% of your daily calorie burn!*
You can’t out-train a bad diet, but you also can’t diet your way to healthy muscle tissue.
You have to strength train! Without it, muscle mass decreases around 3–8% per decade after the age of 30. After 60, the rate of decline is even higher. So as we age, it’s important to do weight-bearing activities not only for strength and mobility but also to help maintain our metabolism.*
Weight training may not burn as many calories DURING the workout as cardio, but did you know:
During weight training, you burn calories, and in the hours and days after the workout, your body burns more calories during recovery. This leads to even MORE calorie burn as your body adapts by creating stronger ligaments, tendons, and muscles.
Weight training is the workout that keeps on giving!*
What about HIIT? HIIT can also be great for supporting your metabolism – in moderation:
? Research has shown that HIIT can help you burn calories for hours after exercise, even more so than cardio and weight training. It can also help your body use fat for fuel instead of carbs. HIIT has been shown to decrease body fat, resting heart rate, and blood pressure. HIIT may also help lower blood sugar and improve insulin sensitivity.*
? While HIIT can deliver some amazing benefits, be sure to do it in MODERATION. Without proper recovery, too much HIIT can lead to elevated levels of cortisol and symptoms of physical stress, even when you’re not working out. Which means that too much HIIT could negatively impact your health and your metabolism, as is seen in people who over-exercise.*
Depending on your fitness level, you might aim to do weight-bearing exercise or weight training 2-3 times a week and 1-2 HIIT workouts a week, plus lots of non-exercise movement (NEAT).*
*Important tip: if you are just starting out, start slow! Start with 1-2 days of exercise a week and lots of walking.
Has this made you reconsider your workout plan? What questions do you have?
*We recommend that you consult with your physician or health care professional before
starting this or any other fitness program.
NEAT is Amazing
Increasing NEAT activities is one of the easiest things you can do to increase your calorie burn and metabolism?
Studies suggest NEAT is the most important factor to predict whether you lose weight
and keep it off. What??!
Read that again! It is worth repeating. Studies suggest NEAT is the most important factor to predict whether you lose weight and keep it off.
NEAT stands for “Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis.” It is the calories you burn moving throughout the day when you’re NOT sleeping, eating, or exercising. In other words, all of your movement (even fidgeting or standing), walking, shopping, cooking, cleaning, and taking the stairs. Even small increases in this activity can account for hundreds of daily calories!*
If you are wondering: “Why can’t I just work out really, really hard in the gym for one or two hours?” – please know that research shows that people who move throughout the day are more likely to reach or maintain weight-loss goals in comparison to those who are sedentary throughout the day and have one vigorous exercise session.*
I know, we thought it was crazy to learn also.
The percentage of calories per day burned through NEAT is different for everyone, but on average it’s between 15% and 30% of total calories burned. That is a significant amount! (For comparison, a 120-pound person burns only 342 calories with a 30-minute run.)
So how can you increase NEAT? Check out the graphic below.
Does that give you an idea about how you are going to increase your NEAT activity? Do you have a favorite NEAT activity not on this list?
Water – so very important!!
Let’s talk about why H2O is a true friend to your metabolism!
Water is essential for many of your body’s metabolic processes, including digestion, absorption, and nutrient transportation. If you’re dehydrated, it can slow down these processes, which can slow your metabolism. Having enough water helps prevent this dehydration-caused metabolic slowdown!*
Staying hydrated can also help you prevent overeating in two ways: 1) You’ll avoid mistaking thirst for hunger. 2) If you drink water before meals, it helps promote feelings of fullness.*
As a general rule, adults should drink at least eight glasses of water per day. However, your personal need can vary depending on things like activity level, climate, and overall health status.*
Bottom line: To support your metabolism and overall health, pay attention to your body’s thirst signals and drink water throughout the day.*
Stress and Your Metabolism
Do you think stress can be keeping you from seeing success with your metabolism and overall health?
Calories are not all that matters in weight loss or weight management.
Most people think of metabolism and weight loss as a calorie counting game, but other factors can affect it too, including stress.
Think of it this way: Your metabolism is a complex biological thermostat that senses and responds to stress. So stress plays a huge role in your in health and whether you get the results you want.*
For example: Stress doesn’t have calories. Sleep doesn’t have calories. BUT excess stress and not getting enough sleep can certainly affect what and how much you
eat and HOW your body uses those calories.*
Stress can be one of the biggest metabolism suppressors. This includes emotional and
mental stress, not just life-threatening or physical stress. When the body experiences stress, it releases hormones like cortisol and adrenaline.*
How Do Stress Hormones Affect Your Metabolism?
- Higher blood sugar: Cortisol can cause an increase in blood sugar levels (by releasing stored glucose). When your cortisol and blood sugar are constantly amped, it can lead to insulin resistance and contribute to the development of metabolic disorders such as diabetes.
- More fat storage: Because excess cortisol triggers glucose release, and excess glucose is usually converted into fat, chronic stress can translate to more fat on the body. Excess fat is associated with an increased risk of metabolic disorders such as diabetes, hypertension, and cardiovascular disease.
- Breakdown of muscle mass: Cortisol can also cause the breakdown of muscle tissue,
which can affect your metabolism because lean muscle uses more calories than fat
- Feeling hungrier: Stress can cause an increase in appetite and cravings for highcalorie, high-carb foods, which can lead to weight gain and metabolic dysfunction.*
As if that weren’t enough, chronic stress can lead to poor sleep quality, decreased physical activity, and unhealthy eating, all of which can also negatively affect your metabolism.*
We don’t want to add to your stress! There is Good News:
While we can’t eliminate all the stressors in our life, we can help our health and metabolism by reducing our stress LEVELS.*
How? By managing our RESPONSE to stress through simple techniques like the ones listed
Takeaway: Just by using destressing techniques in your daily life, you can help keep your hormone-triggered calorie intake down. And by resetting your nervous system and grounding yourself throughout the day, you can improve your mood, digestion, hormone balance, well-being, and overall resilience. The benefits of stress management are endless!*
It’s also worth thinking about what causes stress in your life and what you can change to reduce the amount of stress your body goes through.
Stress and Your Diet (Inflammation)
Speaking of reducing the effects of stress, did you know you can also lower cortisol in the body with an anti-inflammatory diet?*
What do we mean by anti-inflammatory diet? We’re really just talking about eating fewer processed foods and more whole foods.
That may be the very easiest thing you can do, or maybe it is the hardest. It is huge for many people to let go of processed foods, but if you think about the fact that they are creating inflammation in your body that interferes with different body processes that might be causing you ongoing troubles – not only metabolism related.
Inflammation is a topic for another day because we are discovering more and more about it, and it’s not good news for our body.
Sleep and Your Metabolism
We aren’t quite done with everything that can affect your metabolism. Sleep has a big impact on it too.
- APPETITE: Lack of sleep can affect your appetite-regulating hormones, leptin and
ghrelin. This can make you feel hungrier than normal, which can affect weight gain.
- ENERGY IN/OUT BALANCE: Because sleep deprivation can make you hungrier and less
physically active, it can result in weight gain and metabolic dysfunction.
- BLOOD SUGAR BALANCE: There’s evidence that a lack of sleep can lead to insulin
resistance, making it more difficult for your body to regulate blood sugar levels. Over time, this may increase Type 2 diabetes risk.
- FAT METABOLISM: Research has shown that inadequate sleep can lead to an increase in fat storage, especially around your abdomen (which is also associated with an increased risk of metabolic disorders).
- IMMUNE HEALTH: When you don’t get enough zzzz’s, it can weaken your immunity. And
if you’re sick all the time, you’re not likely to exercise, which could affect your
These are big reasons why it is highly recommended to prioritize your snooze time!
Aim for 7-9 hours of sleep each night. (Children and teenagers may need even more.)
Of course sleep can be challenging but these tips may help.
We have covered a comprehensive look at how we can fuel our metabolism to be able to get more of the benefits that a healthy metabolism can provide.
We hope that you can use this information to make a personal plan for yourself. Whether you take notes and then choose a couple areas to start making some small changes, or be a little more aggressive and tackle a few extra for some quicker, bigger results, we tried to give you a choice of where to begin and actually FEEL a difference in your life.
*Information in this article is shared from Shaklee’s recent Master Your Metabolism communities group. Shaklee scientists share this information to help us on our natural health journey, and the do give the following required disclaimer on content.
*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration, and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease.
There are links below that we mentioned in the article, and we welcome the opportunity to connect with you if you have any questions or want to discuss anything you have learned here.
Remember to contact us if you would like additional resources we didn’t have room for here and/or some delicious recipes we can share.
Find out your BMR here:
Total Daily Energy Expenditure:
Check out the free strength, yoga, Pilates and more classes at the Wellness on Demand site!
Thanks so much for making it to the end of this information packed post.