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It’s the dawn of a new year—the opportune time to start fresh, set positive goals, and do our very best to stick to them. Though I personally love trying to get a bit creative with these, we can’t talk about commitments for the upcoming year without mentioning the one that just never seems to go away:
"I am going to finally lose this extra weight and keep it off for good!"
Let me start by saying that rather than having an actual medical need to lose weight, it’s more likely that you just feel like you overdid it with the vegan apple pie and gluten-free stuffing during the holiday season (trust me, I can very much relate). But sometimes, whether necessary or not, healthfully losing just a few pounds isn’t going to hurt anybody. If healthy weight loss is a positive goal for you, then I say go for it.
So this year, instead of your weight loss intention being to "look better as soon as humanly possible," let’s make it more long-term and more functional. Let’s focus on the continuous and healthy functioning of your metabolism, and allowing your body to get to its ideal, happy weight—all while improving your general well-being in the process.
How do you do this, you ask? Here are six of the most effective tips to feel more energized, lose a little weight, and feel like the best version of yourself in 2018:
1. Determine whether your metabolism is fast, average, or a bit on the slow side.
The speed of your metabolism is dependent on a lot of things, including your genes, eating habits, and how you're moving your body. Some people move very little but still seem to be able to eat twice as much as you (and not always healthfully) and never seem to gain an ounce. On the other hand, you may know someone who exercises all the time, consumes a mostly healthy diet, but still can’t seem to reach their ideal, healthy weight.
If you’re not sure of where you stand on the metabolism speed spectrum, ask yourself if you’re experiencing any of these symptoms:
- Extra weight that won’t budge
- Chronic gas and bloating
- Trouble handling stressful situations that may indicate a hormone imbalance
- Cravings for high-fat or high-sugar foods that may be signs of a blood sugar imbalance
While things like low blood sugar and occasional gas and bloating happen to most of us every now and then, if you’re all too familiar with the symptoms above, there’s a good chance that your metabolism is suffering. Whatever your results, there are plenty of ways you can speed up your metabolism for a multitude of health benefits, so let’s dive into some of these tips and tricks.
2. Enhance your weight loss efforts with the right breakfast.
We always hear that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, and the smoothie below is the breakfast of metabolism champions! Full of fiber, fat, and protein to keep your metabolism humming, this recipe will keep you feeling full and focused for hours.
JJ Virgin’s Metabolism-Boosting Smoothie
Makes 1 serving
- 1 serving clean protein powder, your choice of type and flavor (e.g., pea, whey, etc.)
- 1¼ cups unsweetened coconut or almond milk
- ½ cup fresh greens (kale leaves, baby spinach, or Swiss chard)
- ½ cup frozen organic mixed berries
- ½ small avocado
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- A dash of ground cayenne pepper (optional)
Blend together all ingredients until smooth. You can add ice cubes to thicken your shake or ice water to thin it. For an extra boost of fiber, add 1 to 2 tablespoons of chia seeds or cacao nibs. Enjoy!
3. Eat the top 10 metabolism-boosting foods every day.
To keep your metabolism strong and functioning at its best, what you put into your body makes a huge difference. Refined carbohydrates, processed foods, and sugar will only slow your metabolism and leave you feeling sluggish. The foods that are going to be the most beneficial are those that provide the nutrients (fiber, fat, and protein) you need to fight hunger and keep you feeling full, so you can avoid snacking between meals and making poor food choices. The top 10 foods include:
- Coconut oil
- Green tea
- Wild-caught salmon
- Fresh spinach
Adding these to your diet shouldn’t be hard. Try swapping vegetable oil for coconut oil when cooking, adding some slivered almonds to your salad, shaking a little cinnamon into your coffee, and ditching that afternoon latte for a steaming hot cup of green tea.
4. Try high-intensity interval and resistance training a few times per week.
What you put in your body is super important, but what you do with your body is paramount when it comes to increasing the speed of your metabolism and effortlessly maintaining your happy weight. To get the biggest bang for your metabolism-boosting-buck, high-intensity interval training (HIIT) and resistance-training exercises are going to benefit you the most. For HIIT, things like jumping jacks, burpees, Turkish get-ups, stairs, running, and jumping rope are all great options. Do these in four to eight bursts of 30 to 60 seconds, three times per week. For resistance training, try using some small free weights to train your upper body, core, and lower body. Do three to five exercises per body part, and two to four sets of 8 to12 reps each—shoot to resistance train two to three times per week for maximum effect.
5. Give your body time to reset with intermittent fasting.
Intermittent fasting seems to be all the rage in health and wellness these days—and rightfully so. The benefits of fasting range far and wide, from protecting your brain to slowing aging to boosting energy—and of course, helping you break through those weight-loss plateaus.
A few tips for an effective fast:
- Make sure you have a plan that includes the number of hours you will spend fasting, food consumption windows, and types of food you will consume.
- Make sure you are healthy enough to be going many hours without food. Consulting a physician first is always advised.
- Assess how you feel while fasting and track the progress you’re experiencing. Everybody is different, so tweak your fasts to make them work for you.
6. Incorporate all of these into your daily routine for optimal health and vitality in the new year.
Now that you have the scoop on what you can do to really enhance the health of your metabolism this year, it’s important that you’re sure to establish them as part of your daily routine. What might a typical metabolism-boosting day look like? For starters:
- Try a 12- to 14-hour fast between dinner and breakfast. For example, if you eat dinner at 7 p.m., don’t eat breakfast until between 7 and 9 a.m. the next day.
- Drink a cup of hot water with lemon first thing in the morning.
- Eat breakfast within one to two hours of waking, preferably a smoothie with clean, lean protein powder, a handful of greens, berries, avocado, almond milk, and a dash of cinnamon and cayenne—try the recipe mentioned above!
- Make a quick and easy lunch of sliced turkey roll-ups with red bell pepper strips, fresh baby spinach, and dairy-free almond ricotta.
- Have dinner consist of wild-caught salmon, wild rice, and steamed broccoli topped with grass-fed ghee.
- Do a HIIT or resistance-training workout of your choice, either in the morning or in the evening.
- Drink a lot of water throughout the day.
Feel free to mix it up to best suit your lifestyle, but be sure you're incorporating all of the recommended steps and touching on as many of them as you can on a daily basis.
Whether you’ve made a commitment to lose weight in the new year or you just want to feel more energized, boosting your metabolism with these tips will help you achieve those goals. New year or not, there’s never a bad time to take a few super-simple steps to bring out your best self.
Have questions about your metabolism? We have answers.
And are you ready to learn more about how to unlock the power of food to heal your body, prevent disease & achieve optimal health? Register now for our FREE Functional Nutrition Webinar with Kelly LeVeque.