Many of my clients tell me they want to have a faster metabolism. But what exactly does that mean? Basically, metabolism turns what you eat and drink into energy (and a high metabolism helps burn more calories). More importantly, having a good metabolism optimizes all the functions of your body.
Metabolism essentially refers to your basal metabolic rate (BMR). It’s the rate at which you burn calories while you’re at rest. It accounts for 60-75 percent of your total calorie burn each day.
The good news is, you can boost your metabolism by making a few simple changes in the way you eat and how you think.
Eat In Harmony With Your Circadian Rhythm
Simply put, when we eat is as important as what we eat. There are clocks for every organ in the body, and these organs have been following the circadian rhythms and switching on and off for millions of years of evolution. Even though we’re all nutritionally different, there is some simple science behind eating rhythms that can be applied to speed up your metabolism.
Early in the morning, around 6 am your body begins to heat up and your metabolism rises. This is why it’s important to have breakfast. If you don’t eat breakfast your brain senses trouble with the food supply and slows down your metabolism to conserve energy. Your body stores fat and won’t build muscle. For good breakfast ideas read my blog 15 Breakfasts to Balance Hormones, Boost Metabolism and Reduce Cravings.
Your energy and metabolic power peak between noon and 1:30 pm. This is why eating your biggest meal of the day for lunch maximizes nutrient absorption. Your calorie burning ability is optimized when the sun is highest in the sky.
According to Ayurveda, meals should be larger in the middle of the day and smaller in the evening. Both modern science and ancient wisdom say there are many health benefits that come from eating a big lunch and a light dinner. Europeans eat 60% of their food before 2 pm, and lunch is their largest meal. They have less obesity and better cardiovascular health.
As the day goes on your metabolism slows. By 10 pm your digestive system wants to shut down so your body systems of detoxification, cell rejuvenation and tissue repair can do their job. This is why it’s not good to eat a heavy dinner or eat late at night. If you eat a big meal late in the day your body needs to focus on digestion. Your cells don’t get rejuvenated, metabolism slows down and you wake up feeling sluggish.
I understand it can be challenging to eat a big lunch and light dinner. For starters aim to eat dinner no later than 7 pm and eat a little less.
One of the practices in the Nourishing Foods Winter Cleanse is having a light dinner to detox and boost your metabolism. The cleanse is a good way to start the practice of eating a lighter dinner.
Even though we are all different, following your body’s natural rhythms does improve your metabolism. It’s a great way to begin.
When stressed, your digestive system shuts down. Your body can’t be digesting food when it feels like there’s danger. Did you know thoughts like I shouldn’t be eating this, or I’m being bad cause anxiety and put your body in low-level stress response?
This stress response slows your metabolism, inhibits digestion and increases cortisol, the “fat storage hormone” and compromises your immunity.
The first step is to calm your body and mind before eating.
The easiest way to do this is with your breath. A few seconds of deep breathing before each meal relaxes your nervous system and turns on your digestion and boosts your metabolism. This Before Eating Breathing Process transforms your body chemistry and boosts your metabolism.
Add some relaxing activities that bring you pleasure each week. Go for a hike with a friend or take a hot bath. Meditation is one of the best ways to relax your body and mind. Read more about how to properly meditate.
Being in a state of joy and appreciation boosts your metabolism.
Eat With Awareness
Do you notice what you’re eating? Are you aware how your food looks, smells and tastes? You optimize your metabolism when you sit down and experience the food you’re eating with awareness.
There is something called the cephalic phase digestive response. It’s a huge part of the digestive process that occurs when secretions get released into your gastrointestinal tract way before the food enters your stomach. The secretions result from the sight, smell, thought, and then the taste of your food.
Start by noticing the way your food looks, the beautiful colors of the berries. Take a moment to smell the delicious aroma of your roasted chicken. Chew your food a little more. Notice how the taste of arugula changes as you chew it a few times. Pay attention to the sensation on your tongue as your dark chocolate bar melts in your mouth. This is pure joy. As you become aware of your food your brain receives it, you metabolize it better and experience more satisfaction.
Become aware of your self-talk and emotions. Are you saying this chocolate bar is going to make me fat and feel guilty or if you’re eating a salad do you think I never get to eat anything good and I feel deprived? When you hear the negative commentary pause and take a breath. Honor how fabulous you are for noticing. You can then transform the belief or emotion into something more positive.
Reach for a better feeling thought like chocolate is full of nourishing magnesium, I love every bite and my body is digesting it well. Acknowledge how fresh and crispy the lettuce is, feel the texture as you chew and tell yourself how fabulous you are for giving your body the nutrients it needs for strength and energy.
Enjoy whatever you are eating without judgment and you’ll metabolize better.
There are other things that affect your metabolism like, how much you move, how much muscle you have and your thyroid function and they are all good. But these tips are some of the easiest ways to boost your metabolism. You can start doing them today. You can also check out my Healthy Eating Tips.