Strange stuff started happening at about the time I turned 26.
I began to notice that my body started changing – and not in a good way. Suddenly, I couldn’t eat pizza every night at 3am, and losing weight became that much harder.
I also started feeling more bloated, developed IBS and became very sluggish. Certain foods were difficult to digest, I wasn’t going to the bathroom that often, and I had developed a horrible habit of hiccupping after every meal.
Yes, the unthinkable had happened – my metabolism had started slowing down, and at such a young age.
I went to nutritionist after nutritionist, and nothing they suggested helped. It was only after discovering clean eating that I managed to get myself back into shape, with a boosted metabolism to boot.
And here’s how you do the same.
The Sweet Clean Living Guide: How to Boost your Metabolism
Just as with clean eating, the key thing to remember here is that everything should be natural. You should listen to your body’s rhythms and needs, and if something doesn’t feel good, you should moderate it (if it’s something healthy) or cut it (if it’s something unhealthy).
Don’t Starve Yourself
As I’ve mentioned before, calorie counting is a double-edged sword. Yes, it’ll help you lose weight, but it won’t speed up your metabolism – in fact, you could be doing more harm than good.
A typical (!) woman needs minimum 12000 calories a day in order for her body to function. Drop below that (and even that amount, for some women, won’t be enough to sustain them), and your body stops metabolizing food. Even worse – not only will you lose weight in the short-term, but in the long-term you are losing muscle tissue, as that’s what your body will be eating first, to keep its energy levels up. So it’s goodbye those gorgeous arm muscles you’ve been working so hard to shape, and hello slower, sluggish metabolism.
What’s more – it’s all about eating at the right times of day too…
Eat That Breakfast
Even if you’re not hungry in the morning, you should be eating breakfast.
When you wake up from sleep, your body has undergone 4-9 (or more, if you’re lucky) hours without any food – and boy, does it need food to function! I have some great, healthy, clean eating plans here, which take very little effort to prepare and all of it including foods to boost your metabolism. Plus, women who skip breakfast are 4.5 times more likely to be obese than breakfast-eating women. Put that on your plate and eat it!
The keyword here is ‘some’ – nobody should turn themselves into a shaking wreck, just because!
Caffeine is a stimulant – it’s why we experience that awesome rush of power since we’ve had a cup of coffee! But, even better, having just even one cup or coffee with tea (caffeinated, mind you) is one of the best ways to boost your metabolism by as much as 8% – burning up to 174 calories a day more than you would have done otherwise.
It’s All About Fiber
Here’s a cool trick I learned to boost your metabolism – increasing your fiber intake. Keeping your fiber levels up will make sure your bathrooms schedule stays regular, and you’ll feel less bloated. You should be eating around 25g a day, which is the amount you find in tree servings of fruit and vegetables – and even better reason to fill your plate up with veggies! Note – too much fiber isn’t good, and can actually reverse all of these great effects.
As I’ve mentioned possibly hundreds of times before on this blog, water is your friend. You should drink as much as can (note – too much water can drown you, but you’ll know before you get to that point), and can help you boost your metabolism too, as it keeps everything in your body ticking over nicely. Plus, it keeps you refreshed, alert and less tired. My tip is to keep a water bottle with you everywhere you go.
You body needs that good protein stuff to feed your muscles. Weak muscles mean a weaker, more tired you – so aim to eat at least 3 ounces of lean meat, 8 ounces of yogurt or 2 tablespoons of nuts a day. The stronger your muscles, the more calories they burn – so get proteining!
What really changed things for me was when I realized I was anemic – that is, I didn’t have enough iron in my body, and felt exhausted the whole time. Women are especially likely to be anemic as they lose iron during their period, which more often than not isn’t replaced. Ask your physician for some blood tests to see if you need more iron, and generally, it’s a good idea to make sure your plate is stacked with lean meats, shellfish, beans and spinach (yes, like Popeye).
Because it’s not all about what you eat – it’s about how you move. You don’t need to go from the sofa to a marathon, but moving slightly more than you are used to – especially if you have an office job or are stationary all day – is a good way to kick your metabolism’s butt. A happy body is a working body, and getting that blood pumping around your body is a great way to rejuvenate it. Even just standing up on the bus, or walking a short distance instead of driving it, are great ways to get started. I also have a great little guide for you here.
No Bedtime Snacks
If you’ve ever ever woken up in the middle of the night because you were too full, you’ll know why eating before bedtime is not a good idea. Scientifically speaking, flooding your body with energy before bedtime is not only going to make you feel heavy and uncomfortable – it’s also going to slow down your metabolism for the next day. This is because at bedtime, your body is slowing down to rest, while eating is something we do to feed our bodies and give them energy. You’re therefore confusing your body by giving it energy when you want to rest for the night!
Watch Your Alcohol
You know how you feel after a few too many drinks? It’s because your body is dehydrating itself. Plus, when you drink alcohol, your body uses it as fuel – which is not going to end very well. Allowing your body to run on alcohol fuel instead of healthy protein, iron and more is a recipe for disaster – and a slowed metabolism. Feel free to have a drink or two – but remember that it alcohol and metabolism boosting do not best friends make.
And there you have it. Everything above is quick and easy to do – and your metabolism will definitely thank you for it – I know mine did!
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Also published on Medium.