Are you finding it harder to lose weight as you age? If so, you are far from alone! I have many middle-aged clients who are experiencing the same issue. But, rest assured, it’s no fault of your own. The underlying cause of your unintentional weight gain is likely related to your metabolism. As we age, our metabolisms slow down.
The body’s metabolism is what turns the calories you eat into energy. If you have a slow metabolism, you burn fewer calories per day. Alternatively, if you have a fast metabolism, you burn more calories per day and lose weight faster and more efficiently. Your metabolism speed, especially as you age, can be affected by several contributing factors such as your muscle mass, age, and even your hormones.
It’s essential to keep your metabolism boosted because a slow metabolism leads to more fat storage. If left uncontrolled, increased fat storage can strengthen your chances of getting type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, certain types of cancers, and more.
Combatting a slow metabolism can sound daunting, but I have eight science-backed tips to give your metabolism a boost and make you feel your best.
1. Increase your protein intake
You may be inclined to think that you must cut calories and, thus, decrease protein intake when trying to lose weight. But that’s not always the case! The more high-quality protein you eat, the more calories you burn. Your body works harder to digest protein, which means that you burn more calories. A protein-rich diet burns about 25% more calories per day than a low protein diet.
Protein is also essential for building muscle, and more muscle means a faster metabolism. My favorite healthy protein sources include tempeh, almonds, oats, broccoli, quinoa, lentils, and pumpkin seeds.
2. Consume foods high in mineral content
Foods high in mineral content are crucial for boosting your metabolism! The minerals we eat are categorized as either macrominerals or microminerals. Macrominerals include sodium, calcium, and magnesium. These are all important in a healthy diet, but the most critical minerals for boosting your metabolism are microminerals.
Microminerals that aid metabolism function include iron, iodine, and copper. You can find iron in legumes, dried fruits, and dried leafy greens. Iodine is especially helpful in supporting hormones and the thyroid gland (key players in the metabolism regulation game). Consuming high quality seafood, seaweed, and prunes will give you a healthy dose of iodine. Finally, copper breaks down fat cells and converts them to energy, and is found in foods like legumes, nuts, and seeds.
3. Try high-intensity interval training
High-Intensity Interval Training, or HIIT, is an anti-aging life-hack! A study published in Cell Metabolism found that HIIT can boost mitochondrial capacity, which means cells can produce more energy. Basically, HIIT can give you more energy and reverse aging within your cells!
I know HIIT can sound intimidating, especially if you’re not used to intense cardio-based workouts. But trust me, if I learned to enjoy it, so can you. I am much more of a yoga girl myself, but because of the fantastic benefits that HIIT training offers, I try to work it into my exercise regimen 1 to 2 times per week. You can get the same benefits by using a jump rope and jumping for 20 seconds, followed by two minutes of rest. Repeat that cycle three times, and you’re done!
4. Do bodyweight exercises
Bodyweight exercises support muscle mass, and muscle mass is vital for maintaining a healthy metabolism. One pound of muscle mass burns about six calories at rest, and the more muscle mass you create, the more calories you will burn.
I love to do bodyweight exercises because many of them help me achieve that mind-body connection. Yoga is a fantastic bodyweight option because it incorporates planks, lunges, and squats. And pilates is another excellent way to build muscle using tools like resistance bands.
5. Get adequate sleep
Sleeping enough is crucial for keeping your metabolism strong. According to a research study on sleep and metabolic rates, sleeping only four hours a night can reduce your metabolism by 2.6%. And, sleeping ten or more hours a night can significantly help to restore your metabolism.
I know that sleeping well can be tricky, especially if you’re not following the proper bedtime routine. But there are steps you can take to improve your sleep quality. Exercising during the day and avoiding screens before bed are great places to start. My bedtime routine includes putting my phone away, gratitude journaling, reading a good book, and keeping my room ultra dark.
6. Cut out the sugary drinks
The calories in those sugary drinks add up and do no favors for your metabolism. I recommend choosing water as your default beverage whenever possible. Water can help to boost your metabolism and aid in weight loss by keeping you hydrated and feeling full. Next time you feel hungry, reassess how you feel after finishing a glass of water.
And water doesn’t have to be boring! Try adding some fresh herbs, cucumbers, pineapple, or berries to your water, for an at-home spa kind of vibe. According to a study examining caffeine and weight loss, green tea and oolong tea can boost your metabolism, too. In fact, sipping on green or oolong tea can potentially increase your metabolism by a whopping 17%! These teas are an excellent afternoon pick-me-up that will help keep your metabolism in check.
7. Don’t skip breakfast
Many people think skipping breakfast means you’ll consume fewer calories throughout the day. That can be true for periods of intermittent fasting, but it may not always be the case. People who accidentally forego breakfast are more likely to unintentionally overeat throughout the day. When you’re not consciously intermittently fasting, it’s important to start your day off by fueling your body for the day ahead. Your metabolism slows down at night, so it’s essential to wake it up in the morning with a fibrous and protein-rich breakfast option.
Some of my favorites include my delicious Oatmeal Apple Cinnamon Breakfast Bites, my fiber-filled Chickpea Breakfast Crepes, and my Vegan Chia Seed Pudding. All of these recipes are filled with protein and fiber to help kickstart your metabolism in the morning.
8. Eat more fiber
Speaking of fiber, did you know fiber helps you feel full for longer? It’s true! After eating fiber, it remains undigested in your stomach to make you feel satiated for an extended period of time.Since we can’t digest fiber, we also burn more calories trying. Fiber also feeds gut flora, maintains cholesterol, and keeps energy levels steady. My favorite fibrous foods include oats, avocados, berries, beans, and spinach.
Incorporating these tips consistently can help you naturally boost your metabolism. I recommend trying out each strategy one by one so you can observe which tactics work best for you. For more help on boosting your metabolism, I invite you to schedule a one-on-one session with me!