Feeling like you’ve hit a plateau in your weight loss journey? Try these metabolism boosting tricks to help get out of your rut and a bit closer to your pound-shedding goals.
1. Lift Weights
Weight lifting is a great way to help speed up your metabolism, but it’s important to lift weights the right way. New research suggests to lift heavy weights and go slowly, with resting periods between sets. Longer resting period between sets may promote more muscle growth because when muscles work harder, they need to do more post-workout rebuilding. This post-workout rebuilding burns calories and increases levels of metabolism-boosting hormones, said study author Antonio Paoli, M.D., of the Università degli Studi di Padova in Italy.
2. Drink More Water
Drinking more water helps your body burn more fat. According to a study published in the Journal of Clinical Endocrinology and Metabolism, drinking about 17 ounces of water increased the metabolic rate by 30 percent in both men and women. Even mild dehydration could slow down one’s metabolism, so it’s important to keep hydrated.
3. Eat Protein
Muscles burn calories, but they need protein in order to do so. In particular, protein is important for muscle growth and preventing the breakdown of muscle tissue that happens as people get older. However, it’s also important to spread out your protein intake throughout the day. “You can utilize only 4 to 6 ounces of protein at a time,” said Caroline Cederquist, MD, an obesity specialist in Naples, Fla., and the author of The MD Factor Diet. “If you consume more than that at one sitting, it will get stored as fat.”
4. Ingest Some Caffeine
Caffeine can help your body burn extra calories. According to a review published in 2011 in Obesity Reviews, caffeine increases the body’s energy expenditure and boosts energy levels, which may be why the body is able to burn extra calories. The study also found that consuming caffeine with catechins, which is found in green tea, significantly increases fat oxidation that can help when you’re trying to shed a few extra pounds.
5. Sleep in Colder Temperatures
Sleeping in colder temperatures increases the body’s production of brown fat, which can help burn calories. Brown fat is also referred to as ‘good fat’ because it’s metabolically active. By taking sugar out of the blood stream to burn calories, brown fat is able to keep the body’s core temperature constant.
“When people were placed in a colder environment, they were able to burn what they ate faster,” Dr. Rahul Dhawan, an internal medicine specialist, told ABC.
6. Add Some Spice
If you love spicy food, then you’re in luck — it may help you lose weight. According to recent research, eating chili peppers can aid in weight loss due to thermogenics, which is the process of creating heat from burning fat. Capsaicin, an active component found in chili peppers and other spicy foods, was found to prevent weight gain by turning on thermogenesis in the body.
“One of the most well-known health benefits of spice is its ability to raise metabolism, and thus burn extra calories,” Rene Ficek, Registered Dietitian and Lead Nutrition Expert at Seattle Sutton’s Healthy Eating, told Medical Daily. “Eating a spicy food can temporarily boost your metabolism by up to eight percent. In addition to a metabolism boost, spicy dishes have more of a chance to leave you satisfied while encouraging eating slowly.”
Danielle Tarasiuk is a multimedia journalist based in Los Angeles. Her work has been published on AllDay.com, Yahoo! Sports, KCET, and NPR-affiliate stations KPCC and KCRW. She’s a proud Sarah Lawrence College and USC Annenberg alumn.