You don't have to spend hours in the gym to burn calories, even though some may say the opposite. An important part of becoming healthy is found in your metabolism, which is different for every person. If you’re over 30, you may have noticed it’s harder to drop a few pounds. The foods we enjoyed and indulged in now stick to our waistline a little tighter. Personally, I noticed it immediately when I hit my 30s, but as mentioned, everyone is different.
Why does this happen? As we age, our metabolism starts to slow down. The good news is that we can train our body into burning calories with simple diet changes and some exercise. We can turn our bodies into calorie burning machines with a few easy to implement tips. Here’s what I’ve used to get my metabolism boosted and consistent.
1. Keep eating
You need to cut calories to lose weight. But when you cut too much, your body begins to conserve energy and your metabolism will slow right down. Eat several small meals a day to keep your metabolism chugging along. During the day, I eat 6-8 times and include what I call “metabolism boosting foods.” Here are some of my favorites.
Avocado - I absolutely love avocados and eat them every day, mainly because they are high in “good” fat. The fat in avocados helps to raise your metabolism and will give it an instant boost.
Raspberries (or any berry) - Just about any berry will boost your metabolism but this berry is my favorite and can always be found in my fridge. A handful at a time will often do.
Salmon - Salmon is served weekly at my place and would be on the menu more often if the kids allowed it! It’s full of great oils and is loaded with Omega-3 Fatty Acids.
Greek Yogurt – Packed with protein and calcium, this snack will keep you feeling full and get your metabolism moving.
2. Breakfast, breakfast, breakfast
Believe it or not, breakfast really is the most important meal of the day. Within one hour of waking up, have breakfast. One of the biggest mistakes I often hear people say when they’re trying to lose weight is that they skip breakfast. Eating breakfast jump starts your metabolism and keeps you going all day. Choose foods that will boost your energy like eggs or yogurt if pressed for time. But whatever you do, try very hard not to skip breakfast.
3. Pile on the protein
Lean protein sources like chicken and turkey require more energy for your body to break down, which means you burn more calories. Good quality protein will keep you full and feeling satisfied longer. Try to have a serving of protein whenever you eat, even at snack time with some nuts, a can of tuna, or a low-fat yogurt.
4. Get moving & think strong
Exercise helps your metabolism work well. If you’re walking, running or riding your bike, try increasing the intensity for one minute. These “sprints" of work will jump start the fat and calorie burning. Try to squeeze in some strength training a few times a week too. Not only will it get you toned, but it will boost your metabolism. Don’t be worried that lifting weights will “bulk” you up if you’re a woman. What you’re doing is toning your body, not going head to head with Arnold Schwarzenegger. A small amount of muscle you build by training will add shape and curves.
5. Add some spice to your life
Spices like cayenne and chili ignite your metabolism and will make your meals a bit more exciting. I add chili peppers and hot sauce to almost everything I eat which gives my metabolism a quick spike. Add a little spice to your next meal and turn your body into a fat-burning machine!
6. Stand up
Sitting too long is bad for your health. I sat at my desk job for years and didn’t realize what it was doing to me. Try to stand up and move throughout your day to burn a few extra calories and wake up your metabolism.
These are just a few habits you can embrace to start revving your metabolism right away. Remember, every little bit counts and these small habits can make a big difference over time. Give them a try and reignite your metabolism.
Julie has a passion for health and fitness and is on a mission to help others be the best they can be at any age. Follow her on Instagram @julescropper.