Total Shape is a reader-supported site. Purchases made through links may earn a commission. Learn more.

What Are the Best Ways To Increase Metabolism and Lose Weight?

Isaac Robertson
Published by Isaac Robertson
Fact checked by Donald Christman, BHSc FACT CHECKED
Last updated: August 23, 2021

A person’s metabolism slows with age, depending on genetics, gender, physical activity level, muscle mass, body fat, and other factors.

Then, those over 40 and not lucky enough to inherit a speedy metabolism can do absolutely nothing to rev it up, right?

Fortunately, NO!

However, plenty of popular metabolism-boosting tactics don’t work.

To avoid wasting your time on ineffective tips, we’ve sought professional medical advice and asked experts to filter methods that work best.

That’s how we’ve come up with the list of super-easy, science-backed ways to boost your metabolism, increase daily calorie burn in no time, and speed up weight loss with less effort.

1. Have Regular High-Protein Meals to Burn Calories

High protein meals serving

Many scientists have confirmed that eating protein-rich foods every day helps increase satiety, prevent overeating, maintain muscle mass, and boost metabolism by 15-30% for a few hours after a meal.

That’s because your body burns more calories digesting protein than it does breaking down carbs and fats.

So, ensure chicken or turkey breast, fish, eggs, beans, low-fat dairy products, nuts, and other lean protein sources become part of your balanced diet.

Experts recommend daily consumption of 0.8-1g protein/kg of body weight to support weight loss.

2. Increase Your Fiber Intake

Your body also needs to work harder to digest fiber, so it’s wise to combine it with protein to feel full longer, fight cravings, and burn some more calories.

Foods packed with soluble and insoluble fiber can also help decrease insulin levels, causing your body to store less abdominal fat.

So, make fresh fruits and vegetables, quinoa, oatmeal, brown rice, whole grains, and other fiber-rich foods part of your daily menu.

3. Eat Spicy And Fat-Burning Foods to Prevent Weight Gain

Red chili paste on a bowl

Eating fat-burning foods like protein, spicy peppers, and other spicy foods containing capsaicin has been proven to increase your metabolism and help you maintain a healthy weight.

One study even found that consuming capsaicin helps burn ten more calories per meal.

Although the effect is temporary, the benefits may add up if you spice up your meals often and apply the other effective strategies of boosting metabolism.

4. Avoid Trans Fats

Although recent research shows that eating high-fat foods helps increase your metabolism, you should avoid trans fats and saturated fats because they often cause insulin resistance, cardiovascular disease, and other health risks.

Instead, opt for healthy fats like extra virgin olive oil, avocado, coconut oil, and similar dietary fat that can help your body function properly, absorb fat-soluble vitamins, curb hunger, and speed up metabolism.

5. Drink More Cold Water

Bearded man drinking cold water

Drinking more water to stay properly hydrated is critical for optimal metabolism functioning and losing weight.

Studies show it’s wise to drink a big glass of water first thing in the morning and 30 minutes before every meal to feel fuller, reduce your caloric intake, and enhance weight loss.

Drinking cold water triggers thermogenesis to heat it up to your body temperature, temporarily increasing calorie-burn and basal metabolic rate by 10-30% [1].

Also, ensure you avoid energy drinks, alcoholic and artificially sweetened beverages (yeah, including diet soda with zero calories) as they can slow down your metabolic rate and trigger fat storage, harming your waistline and health.

6. Sip Some Green Tea or Black Coffee

Numerous studies have found that caffeine and green tea extract can significantly boost metabolism and help burn fat, contributing to weight loss and weight maintenance in some individuals [2].

Caffeine, catechins, and other antioxidants from these beverages can also help suppress your appetite, increase energy and exercise endurance, enabling you to exercise harder and longer to burn more calories.

Additional info: Oolong tea may also have similar metabolism-boosting effects.

Just drink no more than 2-4 cups of unsweetened, brewed, caffeinated black coffee or tea per day to avoid side effects.

7. Add High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) to Your Exercise Routine

Man doing speed and agility cone

High-intensity exercise is one of the most effective ways to boost metabolism, burn more calories, promote belly fat burning, and prevent cardiovascular issues [3] [4].

So, join a HIIT gym class or turn running, swimming, cycling, walking, or another aerobic exercise you like into interval training by alternating 30-60-second periods of intense speed (e.g., sprinting) with recovery periods of normal speed (e.g., walking) for ten minutes, gradually increasing the duration of high-intensity intervals over time.

Aim at 150 minutes of aerobic activity per week (e.g., 30 minutes, five days a week) or more if you want to burn extra calories and lose weight.

8. Grow Your Muscle Mass

Our bodies naturally lose muscle as we age. Incorporating resistance training, lifting weights, or any other form of full-body strength training into your regular workout routine helps preserve muscle mass [5].

More muscle mass means a higher resting metabolic rate since muscles need more energy to preserve than fat cells (one pound of muscle burns around six calories per day, whereas one pound of fat burns only two calories a day) [6].

As a result, your body burns more calories just keeping you alive, which can help you lose weight faster.

9. Reduce Stress

A stressed individual showing frustration

Destressing is critical because stress affects your hunger hormones and slows down your metabolism, making you crave unhealthy foods high in fat and sugar and often gaining weight.

According to a study from The Ohio State University, after eating a high-fat meal, stressed women burned fewer calories and had higher insulin levels, contributing to increased fat storage and decreased fat oxidation [7].

Another study found that chronic stress stimulates betatrophin production - a protein that inhibits an enzyme necessary for fat breakdown [8].

So, laugh and do what relaxes you as much as possible to help reduce stress hormones and increase metabolism.

Read More: Does Cortisol Make You Fat?

10. Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Although a full night’s sleep won’t magically boost your metabolism, sleep deprivation will lead to gaining extra pounds due to overeating while struggling with tiredness and lack of energy [9].

Lack of sleep can also cause: 

  • Disrupted appetite-regulating hormones, i.e., boosted secretion of the hunger hormone ghrelin and decreased level of the fullness hormone leptin [10]
  • Increased blood sugar levels and the changed way your body processes and utilizes glucose for fuel, raising the risk of insulin resistance, diabetes, and obesity [11]

“A lack of sleep can cause several metabolic problems. It can cause you to burn fewer calories, lack appetite control, and experience an increase in cortisol levels, which stores fat.” -Seth Santoro, Nutritionist and Holistic Health Coach 

So, ensure you get sufficient sleep - at least seven hours per night - to support hormonal balance, contributing to weight loss and management [12].

And avoid napping during the day, as research suggests it messes with your circadian rhythm and metabolism function, making you burn 50-60 fewer calories than people sleeping at night.

Boosting Your Metabolism - The Verdict

Many people skip meals or drastically reduce their daily calorie intake, hoping to lose weight.

As a result, their body’s trying to conserve energy, so their metabolism slows down. Don’t do that.

Instead, aim to take in enough calories spread out through 4-6 small meals.

Also, adopt healthy habits and trustworthy health information our experts have shared above to help shrink your waistline by adjusting your diet and water intake, sticking to aerobic and strength training regimen, and improving your sleep cycle.

Let us know whether you’ve lost weight after trying out these strategies for a couple of months.


References:

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14671205/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20156466/
  3. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21113312/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8028502/
  5. https://journals.lww.com/acsm-csmr/Fulltext/2012/07000/Resistance_Training_is_Medicine__Effects_of.13.aspx
  6. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2980962/
  7. https://news.osu.edu/weighty-issue-stress-and-high-fat-meals-combine-to-slow-metabolism-in-women/
  8. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26569053/
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2929498/
  10. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1991337/
  11. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/16227462/
  12. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1038/oby.2012.62

About the author

You may also like

Write a Reply or Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *