If you’ve eating the same foods but noticed that you’re starting to gain weight, it’s probably because your metabolism slowed down. The truth is, your metabolism didn’t slow down on its own, your lifestyle changed, and your metabolism changed with it. That doesn’t mean it’s impossible to reset your metabolism to burn fat like when you were younger — It just takes some effort.
What is Metabolism Reset?
Metabolism is the process by which your body turns the food you eat into the energy you need. It is continuously working and converts your food and nutrients into the energy required to support all of the necessary functions to survive. From breathing to cell repair, your metabolism plays a vital role in weight-loss.
4 key factors control the rate of your metabolism:
- Resting metabolic rate (RMR) – Calories burned while resting or asleep
- Thermic effect of food (TEF) – Calories burned through digestion and food absorption
- Exercise – Calories burned through exercise
- Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT) – Calories burned through non-exercise activities (ex: standing or household chores)
Some of these processes can slow down as you age. For example, your resting metabolic rate is determined by a chemical reaction occurring inside your body. Sodium-potassium pumps and mitochondria drive this. Both of these components are shown to lose efficiency with age, reducing your resting metabolic rate. A study showed that older adults (average age 69) had 20% fewer mitochondria and that these were almost 50% less efficient at using oxygen to create energy than younger adults (average age 39).
Although our metabolism slows down over time, there are ways to reset the efficiency or your metabolism. This is what we call a metabolic reset. Here are a few ways you can start to reset your metabolism to burn fat like when you were younger.
High-intensity interval training
Resetting your metabolism means getting your whole body working again. High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a form of training that alternates between intense exercise and periods of rest. While a traditional workout, at a steady pace, will burn calories, the effects it has on your metabolism will end quickly once you’re done your work out. One of the best benefits of high-intensity interval training is that, not only do you burn calories while exercising, but you continue to burn calories long after.
This is called the Afterburn effect and is a result of post-workout oxygen consumption and muscle repair. This is where your resting metabolic rate (RMR) works on converting your stored carbohydrates into energy to repair muscles. A study by Appalachian State University showed that after High-intensity interval training, the resting metabolic rate stayed elevated for over 14 hours. This is an excellent method for boosting your metabolism and calorie conversion. You can also achieve similar results by adding weight lifting into your workout. Because weight and resistance training are so taxing on your muscles, it causes your metabolism to kick into overdrive to fuel the repair to your damaged muscle tissues.
Get better sleep
Ensuring you get a good night’s sleep can have a substantial effect on your metabolic rate. As you become sleep deprived, your metabolism will naturally slow down to conserve resources. A study from Pennsylvania State University showed that after five nights of reduced sleep (5 hours), the lipids from a high-fat meal were being stored rather than metabolized as energy as compared to when they were well-rested.
Poor sleep can also cause muscle loss. A study from the Annals of Internal Medicine found that when on a low-calorie diet, 50% of the weight loss by participants sleeping 8.5 hours a day was fat. However, on 5.5 hours a day, even though the amount of weight loss was equivalent, only 25% of the weight lost was fat. As muscles burn more calories while resting than fat, your resting metabolic rate will decrease with your muscle mass.
On top of these effects, even a little sleep deprivation can increase your ghrelin hormone by up to 20%. Ghrelin is known as the “hunger hormone’ as it stimulates appetite. It can also decrease frontal lobe activity, which is responsible for self-control and decision making.
Lack of proper sleep also contributes to brain fog, memory loss, depression, anxiety, mood swings, and several other serious side effects. So remember to snooze if you want to lose.
Drink coffee or green tea
A hot cup of coffee or tea is a low-calorie beverage and a great way to help ease your hunger when sticking to an eating window, but they also have other benefits. Studies have shown that caffeine can increase your resting metabolic rate by up to 11%, and focuses specifically on fat burning.
Green tea will give the benefits of caffeine, but it also contains epigallocatechin gallate, a type of catechin polyphenols. Studies have shown that over 24 hours, there was a significantly increased energy expenditure, and that promotes fat oxidation. Drinking plain green tea and black coffee can also help to suppress appetite without causing your body to release excess insulin, which helps to maintain a fasting schedule and avoid overeating.
By merely adding coffee or green tea, some high-intensity workouts, and sufficient sleep to your routine, you have three easy ways to reset your metabolism to burn fat like when you were younger. For more tips, recipes, blogs, and more, check out our Facebook page.
If you would like to find out precisely what is missing from your biochemistry, call the Dr. K. Guiding Wellness office at 519-745-1600 to book your initial consultation and get started on your health journey today or come to one of our free workshops in Kitchener. Book your tickets HERE.
As a registered functional medicine and naturopathic doctor in Kitchener Waterloo, my focus is on hormone imbalance and metabolic repair. Contact me today for personalized testing to identify your individual needs and create a sustainable approach to your health.