Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) is the rate that you burn calories in a resting state. The higher your BMR, the more calories you will burn through the day. We are breaking down the information you should know about BMR and how to increase yours to reach your goals.
The 3 best things you can do for your metabolism
- Work out. Exercise has both an immediate and long-term effect on your metabolism. In the short term, working out speeds up your metabolism for up to 14 hours after the exercise; this is known as the afterburn effect. Aerobic exercises, like high-intensity interval training, will increase the afterburn effect the most. The long term effect that exercise has on your body comes from muscle gain. When you increase your muscle mass, you increase your BMR. All that muscle you put on from working out needs energy to sustain itself; this is why lifting is so effective in your weight-loss journey.
- Get enough sleep. Sleeping plays a big role in regulating important hormones. The hormones can affect both metabolism and appetite. Ghrelin signals hunger and prompts you to chow down. When you are not sleeping enough, more ghrelin courses through your body. On the other hand, leptin is your body’s message to stop eating; being tired causes leptin levels to drop. In the end, you will think you are hungry and take longer to feel full when you are tired. Insulin is also impacted from sleep. Insulin [in a short sense] helps process the various macro nutrients into energy. Without insulin processing, your body is more likely to store fat rather than converting it for use. Getting enough sleep will balance out these hormones so you can reach your goals.
- Don’t crash diet. Slow and steady will win the race. It can be very tempting to jump on the next diet fad that promises dropping 20 pounds in 1 month, but steer clear if you want to stabilize your overall BMR thus leading to sustainable weight-loss. Quickly dropping calories will push your body into a panicked why is all the food gone?! state and prompt you to burn calories efficiently. This efficiency that kept our ancestors alive during the hard times creates a challenge for the modern human trying to lose weight. We simply learn to exist on fewer calories without losing weight. Instead of cutting 500 calories out immediately, find the most amount of calories you can eat while still losing weight.
Here is a quick example from Hayley:
Previous cut: 1,050 calories a day. She lost about 8 pounds in 2 months (that is around 1lb every week and quick weight loss). Then she stopped losing weight and dropped to 900 calories a day. She lost another pound before once again flattening out.
Current cut: 1,200 calories a day. After working to slowly increase her BMR she is now losing weight at 1,200 calories a day. Over the 2 months she has lost about 2 pounds. This is a much slower pace, but far more sustainable and much less hangry.
The summary: Eating too few calories drove her to CUT EVEN LESS to continue losing weight. Her body adjusted to maintaining at 1,050. Try to eat as much as you can while still losing weight.
Little things that boost metabolism temporarily:
Increasing your BMR takes time and consistency, but on a daily basis you can up your calorie burn for an extra boost.
- Eating spicy food. We can’t sing the praises enough for peppers, spices, and the hot stuff. Add salsa, chopped chiles, or curry to your recipes. The capsaicin in spicy food may be correlated to metabolic increases.
- Supplements, green tea, caffeine, etc. Drinking black coffee or green tea can help reduce your appetite while ramping up your metabolism. Instead of grabbing a soda for your caffeine fix, make this simple switch! Just don’t add cream or sugar to keep your beverage low-calorie.
- Lowering body temperature. Either by cooling your body down or drinking something really cold. You body needs to maintain a temperature between 97-99 degrees, so when you drive it down you will burn energy to restore that range. Obviously don’t push yourself below 97: just wear a light jacket or turn your thermostat down when you sleep. Fun fact: shivering burns about 400 calories per hour; however I would not recommend it.
It is the small changes and habits that add up to a healthier tomorrow. Work toward an end goal of increasing or stabilizing your BMR so that you can maintain your weight-loss over time.
Stay consistent out there