Sharing ways to boost your metabolism for my friends who are over 40, but these tips can absolutely help anyone who is trying to improve their metabolism.
Hi friends! How’s the day going so far? The kids are back in school this week (I can’t even believe it) so we’re finding our way into the new school/soccer/dance routine. Our internal clocks are still ticking at Hawaii time (3 hours earlier than it is here in AZ) so that first 6:30 wakeup is going to be REAL lol.
For today’s post, I’m sharing some ways to help boost your metabolism, especially if you’re over 40 (even in your 30s) and notice that results have slowed. Metabolism is the body’s natural process of turning food into energy and your metabolic rate can determine how quickly your body can burn calories. It also affects your body’s ability to lose or gain weight, and is affected by a variety of factors including a person’s age, body composition, hormones, thyroid function, sleep, and so much more. I’ll often hear friends and clients note that metabolism declines as you age, but there are ways you can boost (and repair) your metabolism after you hit the age of 40.
Friendly note here that if you suspect that your metabolism isn’t functioning the way it should (especially if you’re hitting all of the basics like fueling, sleep, hydration, stress management, and fitness), reach out to your health care provider for a personalized action plan. A functional practitioner will help you determine root cause and help you rebalance your body. This is not medical advice and intended for informational purposes only.
Muscle is the best insurance policy for your metabolism. Muscle is *hungrier* than fat and since it has a higher caloric demand, it burns more calories than fat does at rest. Strength training can also help to protect bone density as we age, and from a functional standpoint, so many strength training exercises support our everyday movements as we age. If you don’t currently strength train, meet with a local certified personal trainer to develop a personalized strength routine. If you need help, I have a few 1:1 online fitness coaching spots open for fall! I’m happy to help ya accomplish your fitness and health goals. My application link is here.
It may sound counterintuitive, but pretty much all of my nutrition clients need to eat more and increase their metabolic baseline following longterm dieting and deprivation. (Years ago, I was in this situation myself!) Each time you diet down to a certain weight, you may notice you regain the weight and that the results don’t last. Afterwards, you might even have to take more extreme measures to get the same results because the metabolic baseline has been decreased. The body wants to achieve homeostasis, so each time you cut your calories, it will decrease your metabolism to encourage your body to hold onto what it can. As your weight goes down, your calorie burn per day also goes down! If you know that you’re not currently eating enough to support your needs, try adding an additional 100 calories per day for a few weeks.
Work on stress management
Stress affects so many processes in the body, including immune system function, insulin sensitivity, fitness performance, mood, and hunger levels. Take steps to reduce your everyday stress, including taking time for yourself, meditation, walks in the sunshine, cultivating positive relationships, and hobbies! When we’re stressed, the body enters the sympathetic or flight or fight state. This is when we can do the bare minimum to survive, and fat burning is LOW on the priority ladder. When you can relax and bring your body into the parasympathetic or rest and digest state, this is our body has the capacity to do other things, like rebuild muscle and burn fat.
Sleep like it’s your job
ONE night of poor sleep can decrease our insulin sensitivity. Sleep is when the body repairs itself and if you have serious fat loss or body composition goals, make sleep high on your list. I have tons of tips for better sleep in this post!
Increase your daily steps and everyday activity
When women in their 40s notice that they’re gaining weight without making any changes to their nutrition or fitness habits, it’s sometimes because their daily activity has decreased. They’re sitting more and moving less. An easy way to combat this is to add at least one walk into your day. It’s also a great way to reset your mood and get in some sunshine and fresh air. Walking also has meditative properties. Find little ways to move more throughout the day and increase your NEAT (our non-exercise activity thermogenesis).
Add more fiber in your diet
Focus on fiber intake to help improve digestion, increase your micronutrients, and also help the body process hormones correctly. If we store too much estrogen in the body, this can lead to weight gain. Making sure that your digestion is on par is a great way for the body to remove excess estrogen.
Focus on water quality and reducing everyday toxins
As our body works to process the many toxins in our environment, this can lead to inflammation and affect our metabolism. Obviously, we can’t control every single toxin that we encounter in our lives, but I’m a big believer in controlling the variables we can control. A couple of simple ways: pay attention to ingredients in household products, beauty and skincare. Get a water filter for your house, or a countertop Berkey. (WE LOVE OUR BERKEY.) Pop filters on your shower head and bathtub.
Avoid drinking your calories
It’s easy to forget how many excess calories we can consume in our beverages, especially if you love sweetened coffee drinks, juices, kombucha, cocktails, and smoothies. While a little here and there isn’t a big deal, these things can add up if you’re trying to focus on improving your metabolic function. Focus on water, adrenal cocktails, and zero-calorie drinks (like herbal tea and coffee). Skip the energy drinks and soda.
Eat a variety of protein and track your protein intake
If you notice a decrease in lean muscle definition, pay attention to your protein intake. Aim for at least 4 palm-sized servings of protein per day (more or less depending on your age or goals). I like to hit at least 100g of protein per day. Vary the types of protein in your diet to diversify the nutrients, and don’t forget about fattier cuts of meat (chicken thighs, steak), eggs, fish, shellfish, or anything you particularly enjoy. We need enough protein to build and retain muscle, especially as we age.
Find a health-minded community or tribe in your area
When you feel like you’re losing your mojo, surround yourself with people who have similar goals as you. Community can make an enormous difference as we work towards our goals. Find a local gym, mom group, hiking group, running group, etc. that you can connect with for in-person support. The online world can give you lots of support, too, including this little spot on the internet right here. 🙂
So tell me, friends: how do you get more everyday activity into your life? I LOVE my daily walks with Maisey, and gardening outside is a great way for me to get some sun and extra movement. Laundry is my least favorite everyday activity, but definitely increases my step count 😉