We’ve all heard the basics: If you want to revive a tired and inefficient metabolism, eat a hardy breakfast and get a full night of sleep. But sometimes even taking these steps may be “easier said than done.” And other parts of your everyday life are actually working against your metabolism, slowing it down leaving you frustrated.
Many of us are just working against ourselves by doing things we don’t even know are making our metabolisms sluggish. The truth is that if you recognize this, and make a few simple but meaningful changes, you can increase your metabolism and make dropping those extra pounds and inches a whole lot easier.
Your Metabolism: What You Can Control (and What You Can’t)
Let’s first address the reality that there are factors that impact a healthy metabolism that have nothing to do with your behavior. Your age, sex and, to some degree, your genes all impact your body’s ability to efficiently process and utilize the calories you consume. But for most people, everyday behavior and lifestyle choices account for the lion’s share of all metabolic health outcomes.
By addressing one or more of the 5 metabolic issues I’m about to cover, you will significantly tilt the odds in your favor for good metabolic wellness.
1. Stop thinking blood sugar balance doesn’t apply to you
Too many people think that if they don’t have diabetes, they don’t really have to pay much mind to blood sugar balance. But nothing could be further from the truth.
And this goes a lot deeper than the typical advice to avoid excessive sugar intake. Over time, we’re vulnerable to higher blood sugar because our cells are susceptible to developing resistance to the way your cells respond to insulin in order to remove sugar from the blood and utilize it—causing unhealthy blood sugar levels.
The CDC reports that more than 100 million Americans suffer from blood sugar imbalance – and most don’t even know it. They simply chalk up the symptoms – fatigue, blurred vision, brain fog, weight gain, bloat and more – as a part of “normal aging”. But they’re not.
These symptoms are likely signs that your metabolism is out of whack. And once you reign in the imbalance, many of those annoyances will simply vanish before festering into something even more serious! You’ll feel a surge of energy, the brain fog will lift, and your skinny jeans will fit again.
And if left unchecked, this can lead to insulin sensitivity – debilitating how your cells respond to insulin to remove sugar from the blood and utilizing it – making it easy for your blood sugar to get out of balance. In addition, other factors such as stress or lack of physical exercise can impact how your cells respond to insulin.
2. Don’t Overwhelm Your Liver
Your liver is a master metabolic maestro, coordinating the metabolism of sugar, fat, protein, and other nutrients. In order to optimize your liver’s functioning so that you can detoxify and function more efficiently and effectively, you need to limit how much you give your liver to process and detox in the first place.
As we’ve discussed, your liver functions best when you consume the basic nutrients we’re designed to consume: a healthy balance of protein, plant nutrients, vitamins, minerals, and good fats. Without diversity and balance in your diet your toxic load increases and your liver gets bogged down and sluggish, slowing your metabolism and facilitating insulin resistance.
3. Engage in Muscle-Strengthening Exercises
Building or maintaining healthy muscle mass takes a good bit of caloric fuel; it’s why we notice our metabolism skyrocket when we start any type of meaningful strength training program.
As we move into our 40s and beyond, we naturally lose a little bit of muscle mass year over year. And if you’re in any of the stages of peri or post menopause, the woes of a slowing metabolism will be even more pronounced. And due to significant shifts in hormonal balance during these life stages, women lose on average about 15% of lean muscle mass by the age of 50.
And, unfortunately, for us, the body’s response is not to move on to bigger and better things to burn. Instead, the metabolism learns it can slow down and simply grow more sluggish. What’s known as your resting metabolism—the calories needed to just run your body every day—decreases while our caloric intake stays the same, or in some cases increases compounding the problem.
Women (and men) of all ages can combat this cause of slow metabolism by focusing on exercises that build and support healthy muscle maintenance. And this doesn’t call for hours at the gym to have a meaningful impact. One six-month study found that just 11 minutes of focused strength training exercise three days a week helped participants burn an additional 125 calories per day, on average, and increased resting metabolic rate by 7.4%!
This is one reason why I do a combination of resistance and cardiovascular training at least 4-5 times per week to support both my physical and mental wellbeing, and I encourage you to do the same.
4. Stop Putting Your Stress and Mental Health on the Back Burner
Experiencing waves of stress is perfectly normal, acceptable and, these days, even expected. We’re all in the thick of it. But—as any good friend would tell you—leaving your stress unaddressed for too long is a dangerous game that can have lasting serious health consequences.
Not addressing the ramifications of stress is not only terrible for your emotional stability, it causes metabolic changes that signal your body to store more fat instead of burning it. And unfortunately, this response to stress is hard-wired into our beings.
It evolved from way back in our hunter-gatherer days when events like drought were a matter of life or death and converting calories to fat then storing that fat was essential to sustaining life. The metabolic response to stress today is the same as it was then: to store all the fat possible to weather the crisis.
As Dr. John Morton, Professor of Gastrointestinal Surgery at Yale School of Medicine explains, “When you’re stressed, your body will sense it, and it will not give up any calories when it thinks it might need them.”
To address this harmful “stress-weight gain cycle” I developed GloSlim, a nutritional supplement that combines nutrients which are scientifically shown to help reduce the stress hormone cortisol, with a West African SpiceFruit which is clinically proven to promote healthy weight loss.
5. Boost your metabolic “Master Switch”
Increasing protein-rich foods and healthy fats with coconut and MCT oil can help give your metabolism a boost, but what few people know is that certain antioxidants, nutrients and spices have demonstrated impressive calorie-burning effects in multiple scientific studies.
These powerful nutrients have the ability to naturally boost your metabolism and help you burn calories more efficiently while and helping you shed both excess pounds and inches.
Let’s dive a little deeper. In a healthy adult of normal weight, the AMPK enzyme, often referred to as the metabolic “master switch” remains active and efficient. But if you’re carrying extra pounds—a risk factor for cardiovascular troubles – AMPK does not work at optimal levels.
Berberine – one of my favorite antioxidants - has been shown to flip AMPK into action, turning on thermogenesis to encourage the body to burn more fat and help block the formation and growth of new fat cells. In another other clinical trial, berberine was shown to decrease body mass index (BMI) and waist circumference significantly.
Boosting AMPK activity with berberine can get your weight under control and reduce dangerous midsection fat, while balancing blood sugar levels. In fact, a widely prescribed medication for regulating blood sugar works by activating AMPK.
By making a few simple behavioral changes and including potent nutritional supplements like my GloSlim and Berberine into your daily health regimen can help you rejuvenate your metabolism and make it much easier to lose excess weight and inches.