How To Eat Your Way to a Better Metabolism
We all know that exercise is great for speeding up your metabolism and helping you stay in shape, but if you’re trying to lose weight, exercise alone just isn’t enough. A healthy diet is the key to success – but did you know, it’s not just what you eat that can make a difference? A range of factors, such as portion size and the time of day you’re eating also play a big role in how the food you eat is metabolised by your body.
Understanding how these internal processes work can help you lose weight faster and more effectively than fad diets, by maximising the amount of food you eat that’s converted into energy (instead of being stored as fat) and creating healthy, realistic eating habits that you can stick to in the long term.
If you’re not sure where to start, don’t panic. Here are some inside tips on how to boost your metabolism just by making a few simple changes to your routine:
Frontload your calories
Studies have shown that people who eat larger amounts earlier in the day lose more weight than those who eat later in the day. What’s more, eating breakfast can boost your resting metabolism by 10 per cent1 , making it a no brainer if you’re looking to lose a few kilograms. Make sure you start every day with a hearty and nutritious breakfast in order to kickstart your metabolism and help you avert those mid-morning sugar cravings; follow this up with a substantial lunch to give you plenty of energy to see you through the rest of the day. That way you’re less likely to overindulge at dinner time or snack heavily in the evening – both of which spell disaster for your metabolic function.
- Late night snacks – particularly carb or fat-laden treats like chips, cheese and chocolate
- Heavy dinners – avoid rich, creamy sauces, carb-heavy pastas and fatty cuts of meat
- Wholesome, fibre-rich breakfasts: think fresh fruits, wholemeal bread and porridge
- Nutritious lunches: choose lean meats, legumes and omelettes for a protein-packed punch
- Breakfasts dates, rather than dinner dates
- Light evening meals: get creative with your salads and aim fill at least half your plate with veggies
Sloooow it down!
After eating, your gut releases hormones which tell your brain that nutrients are being absorbed and you’re no longer hungry. This process takes about 20 minutes, which means you need to slow down to let your body do its job properly. Eating too quickly overrides your body’s ‘satiety’ or fullness function, which is why we often feel uncomfortable and unpleasantly bloated half an hour after eating a big meal. Eating slowly will ensure you don’t overeat and minimise your overall calorie intake into the bargain2.
- Bringing all the food from the stove to the dinner table – your eyes will win over your stomach and you’re more likely to pile the food onto your plate
- Rushed meals on-the-go
- Eating in front of the television – eat with family and friends and converse between bites instead
- Portion control – try eating off a smaller plate (and resist the urge to go back for seconds)
- Sips of water during meals
- Put down utensils between bites and chew thoroughly
- Set aside at least 20 minutes for eating a meal
Give your body a B7 boost
Vitamin B7 – also known as biotin – is one of nature’s most powerful metabolism-boosters. It’s made in the small intestine and the body uses it to metabolize fats, carbohydrates and amino acids, however it’s also present in some foods. Try including some biotin-rich foods in your diet to give your body a helping hand or add a vitamin supplement to your daily routine – Bio Organics Metabolic Multi combines biotin with a multivitamin to improve energy production and give your metabolism an extra boost.
- B7-rich fruit and veggies like cauliflower, carrots, bananas and swiss chard
- Wholewheat bread, wholegrain cereals
- Salmon and nuts
Choose the right carbs
The scary “c” word in the weight loss world is often misunderstood. In fact, there are two kinds of carbs: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates (also known as simple sugars) are found in heavily processed food with high sugar content and should always be avoided. On the other hand, our body needs complex carbohydrates to survive – these are easily broken down and used for energy and form the cornerstone of a nutritious diet.
Of course, the usual rules about portion control still apply. It’s important to consume even complex carbs in moderation and as part of a diet that also includes protein and good fats. A ratio of 1:1 of protein to carbs is a great rule of thumb if you want to lose weight and boost your metabolism.
- Sugary soft drinks and alcohol
- White bread, white pasta and white rice
- Sticky pastries and cakes
- Sugary muesli bars and slices
- Green veggies like zucchini, asparagus and broccoli
- Starchy veggies like potatoes (yes potatoes!) sweet potatoes and pumpkin. Again, just remember to eat in moderation.
- Wholewheat bread and whole grains like oats, barley, quinoa and buckwheat
- Beans, lentils and peas