Did you know your lifestyle, what you eat and sadly, your age and hormones can each play a huge role in your metabolic rate or just how quickly your body uses burns energy?
And while your first thought may be that you’re doomed, the good news it’s totally possible for you to take control of your nutrition, increase your metabolism and start burning more fat, creating more energy and feeling good again!
What does it really mean? According to the dictionary, the word metabolism means the chemical processes that occur within a living organism in order to maintain life. Huh? In other words the simple rate at which your body burns calories for energy. Or, in Sam’s elementary terms, metabolism is simply how your body uses what you eat for energy and more specifically for weight management, how it uses food to burn fat. So what does it mean to have a slow or fast metabolism? Simply put, the higher your metabolic rate, the more calories you burn at rest.
As we get older and we see a decline in certain hormone and activity levels, muscle atrophy (loss) is pretty inevitable, which in turn not only causes that dreaded sagging skin, but muscle atrophy is also responsible for a drastic decline in metabolism. The reason why? Muscle fuels metabolism. If muscle fuels metabolism it stand to reason that the less muscle we have, the slower our metabolism will be. It would also stand to reason that one way to improve metabolism would be to build lean muscle.
Consider this: compare a bowl of gelatin to a baseball, each weighing a little over five ounces. Think of the gelatin as jiggly, wiggly and disperses easily…and the baseball? You get the idea. Which would you prefer on your body? Did you know that muscle at rest burns more calories than fat does while at work? This, my friend is why the scales do not matter!
Here are 10 things you can do to increase your metabolism after menopause to help you lose weight and burn fat quicker and easier:
1. Eat every 3-4 hours (do not skip meals!). Our body provides energy to digest food. Energy requires a higher metabolic rate. Increasing the number of times a day we eat will increase the energy need and increase metabolism as a result.
2. Eat breakfast. Your body has been in starvation mode for approximately 8 or more hours. When we don’t feed it, our metabolism intentionally slows down as a way to protect our body and preserve energy. Eating breakfast jumps starts our metabolism first thing in the morning and provides that energy source.
3. Eat more protein. Protein is needed to maintain and build muscle. You’ve heard me say before that muscle fuels metabolism right? So when we build more lean muscle, we automatically increase our metabolism rate and will burn more calories at rest!
4. Do more HIIT workouts and less cardio. Now don’t get me wrong, cardio workouts are absolutely necessary for improving heart health and improving your endurance, but if we’re going to specifically talk about metabolism and fat burn, then we’ve got to focus more on HIIT workouts. HIIT workouts are short bursts of high intensity training with active resting periods. HIIT workouts require more energy, can be done in less amount of time (you don’t have to spend hours in the gym or working out) and can keep your body in fat and calorie burning mode for up to 48 hours after your workout!
5. Do weight training. While you don’t have to become a body builder but listen to this. Increasing lean muscle mass requires more energy to function. So when we use weights to build lean muscle mass our body has to increase its energy production—wait for it—-guess what happens? Your metabolism increases and you start burning fat like crazy! Building lean muscle also improves your bone strength which in general is good for overall health, performing your regular activities of daily living and injury prevention.
6. Eat carbs. Carbs are our energy source (our body can’t survive without them). If we don’t supply our body with that energy, it has to pull the energy from somewhere else: protein. Protein builds lean muscle. If we take protein from muscle, we lose muscle mass and if muscle fuels metabolism, when we decrease muscle mass we decrease metabolism. Get it?
7. Take an Omega 3 supplement. Healthy fats in the form of Omega 3 not only support a healthy heart, but did you know these healthy fats have so many other benefits as well? Omega 3 can reduce inflammation, therefore improve your workout recovery, as well as help balance your blood sugar and decrease the fat storing-causing Insulin. These are both critical factors for weight management.
8. Drink more water. If a power plant requires water to produce energy, it only makes sense your body requires water to produce that same energy. Did you know it only takes about a 2-3% water deficit to cause symptoms of dehydration? And usually, one of the first symptoms of dehydration is fatigue!
9. Take a probiotic. Having a healthy and active digestive system is critical to not only your health but also your weight loss. Probiotics, or healthy bacteria cause an increase in energy expenditure via fat oxidation. Your body is not focused on storing fat; rather, it uses it as fuel. So not only will your gut health improve, but you’ll burn more fat for fuel/energy, too.
10. Get more sleep. It’s no secret that we are a sleep deprived society getting in less an average of less than 6 hours of sleep each night. Studies have shown that people who suffer from chronic insomnia have a decreased ability to manage blood sugar levels and also have an increased craving for higher carbohydrate foods.