If you have been following this blog series, you now know what your metabolism is, the factors that affect it, and how dieting can damage it. There are several biological and physiological factors (gender, age, body composition, genetics) that contribute to the rate in which your body burns calories for fuel and they are typically out of your control. However, hope is not lost. In this blog I will be talking about 10 tips to boosting your metabolism, specifically directed towards bariatric patients.
One of the best things you can do today to start boosting your metabolism is to stop dieting. Constant cycles of dieting where you are significantly restricting your caloric intake tricks your body into thinking it is in starvation mode. Your metabolism is the rate in which your body burns calories and when your energy reservoirs feel threatened, your metabolism will slow to conserve that energy.
Your body is working to maintain the energy balance so you can survive. So those fad diets aren’t really doing anything for you besides ruining your metabolism and likely resulting in you gaining back all your weight when you return to your normal eating habits. Instead of dieting, focus on eating a nutrient dense diet that is rich in protein and non-starchy vegetables.
A healthy and nutrient dense diet does a lot for your metabolism. But as a bariatric patient, you are more susceptible to vitamin deficiencies. Giving you another reason to take your vitamins after bariatric surgery, it will also boost your metabolism (woo-hoo). Studies have found that by taking a multi-vitamin, you are preventing metabolic syndrome as well as contributing to a healthy metabolic rate.
I filmed a whole video about vitamins after Bariatric surgery that you can find on our YouTube channel (p.s. subscribe to see more content like that)!
Our bodies are made up of 60% water and therefore, water is vital for proper functionality. Water helps the body burn calories as it works to flush out toxins and aids in bodily functions such as digestion, absorption, maintenance of body temperature and the transportation of nutrients.
When you are dehydrated, your metabolism actually slows. So, to combat that, be sure you are drinking at least 64 ounces a day of sugar free beverages (preferably water though).
For bariatric patients, be sure you are waiting 30 minutes after a meal to drink your liquids. This is because food, as I mentioned above, aids (speeds up) in the transport of nutrients and the digestion process. With quicker digestion, you are likely to become hungry sooner and not absorb the nutrients as you should.
We already know that eating revs up your metabolism as your body burns energy to absorb and digest the food. Contrary to what you might believe, eating 3 large meals throughout the day will not lead to more energy burn because your body has to “work harder” to digest more food.
In fact, the best way to boost your metabolism as it relates to your eating pattern is to eat throughout the day (but beware of grazing!).
For bariatric patients, we recommend eating 3 meals a day and 2 snacks. This does not mean gorging yourself during meal time. You should still be aware of your macro breakdown and calorie intake.
More muscle mass equals a higher metabolism. This is because muscle is more metabolically active than fat. When you are at rest, your body is still burning calories—this is called your resting or basal metabolic rate.
Studies have found that for every pound of muscle, you burn around 10 calories a day while one pound of fat only burns 2 calories a day.
Similarly, it is proven that weight training can boost your metabolism for up to 38 hours after your training session, aka the afterburn effect. The afterburn effect is a result of your muscles trying to repair themselves after they have been broken down.
HIIT, or high intensity interval training, is a method of working out that involves quick and explosive bursts of activity. Similar to the afterburn effect mentioned above, HIIT gets your heart rate up and keeps you burning calories even after your session. Moreover, HIIT has been proven to help you burn fat as you are combining both cardio and strength training.
A key component of your metabolism is the thermic effect of food (TEF). This is the energy your body burns when you are eating and digesting food. According to scientific research, protein has the greatest increase in TEF. When you consume protein, you increase your metabolism by 10 – 30% unlike carbs and fats which only increase your metabolism 5 – 10% and 0 – 3% respectively. For bariatric patients, it is recommended that you consume 60 to 80 grams of protein a day. Similarly, protein helps build strong muscles and we now know that more muscle mass is a great way to start boosting your metabolism.
Sleep is connected to many hormonal and metabolic processes and is important in maintaining metabolic balance. When you do not get enough sleep, it can throw off your hormones, can lead to inflammation, and dysregulation of your metabolism.
A lack of sleep has also been linked to obesity, increased blood sugar levels, and a higher risk of developing diabetes. When we sleep, our bodies repair themselves mentally and physically. Therefore, a lack thereof results in a decreased quality of health.
To optimize your health, be sure you are getting at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night.
This probably isn’t the first time you have heard this, but coffee has been proven to increase your metabolism by 3 – 11% and is said to promote fat burn. As a stimulant, caffeine activates the nervous system, sending signals to your fat cells telling them to break down the fat. This is a result of an increase in the hormone epinephrine (aka adrenaline).
As your adrenaline increases and the break down of fat is signaled, your metabolism increases. Yet, this metabolic effect has been less prominent in obese individuals. For bariatric patients, if you are drinking coffee (or tea/soda) in an effort to start boosting your metabolism, be aware of the liquid calories! Store bought coffees are loaded with sugar so be sure you are checking the nutrition label and going for the sugar free options.
*Pro Tip: The vanilla Premier Protein shake is a great coffee creamer
Stress affects your hormone levels and causes the body to produce more cortisol. Cortisol helps your body become more effective at producing glucose (sugar) from proteins yet can lead to glucose dysregulation. In many cases, researchers found that increased levels of cortisol in the blood stream led to stress eating and overeating. As we mentioned above, diets (including periods of overeating/binge eating) are a huge hinderance to boosting your metabolism.
Similarly, stress is proven to impact sleep quality, which we also now know can negatively affect your metabolism. So be sure you are practicing stress relieving activities, engaging in regular exercise, and speaking to a therapist (if needed) to reduce your stress.