Traditional weight loss methods can lead to permanent metabolic damage. One study on the "Biggest Loser" contestants who followed a low fat, very low calorie, very high exercise diet protocol found that even YEARS later they still suffered from significantly lowered metabolic rates and ended up gaining back most, if not all of the weight.(1)
If you’ve dieted in the past using these traditional low calorie methods, it’s important to help restore the metabolism. Today I’m sharing 4 science-backed tools to help fix your metabolism before it’s too late.
#1. Increase Ketones
Research from scientists, such as Dr. Ben Bikman, have found that increasing ketone production in the body can boost the metabolic rate by as much as 300 calories per day. Ketones are naturally produced when the body uses fat as fuel and there are a variety of methods to naturally boost production.
Thankfully, you can also easily track your ketone levels with an at-home ketone and blood sugar monitor like THIS one (pictured above). Ideally, the goal is to hit between .5-3 mmol/L ketones. The best time to test for ketones is after fasting overnight or right before you go to eat your first meal. If you follow Intermittent Fasting, then you can test your ketones before you break your fast.
Below are simple, science-backed tools to naturally boost ketones in the body:
Intermittent Fasting ~ Intermittent Fasting helps to naturally boost ketone production by allowing the storing hormone insulin to dip down during the fasted state. The low insulin level triggers the body to burn fat as fuel and boost ketone production. Not sure where to start on your Intermittent Fasting journey? Checkout my Complete Intermittent Fasting Bundle with the step-by-step, meal-by-meal details to help you achieve your weight loss and wellness goals HERE.
Coconut oil ~ Coconut oil is rich in medium chain triglycerides (MCTs) that are easily used by the liver and converted into ketones. Try cooking with coconut oil or making my keto coffee recipe that uses coconut oil with THIS recipe.
10 minute post-meal walks ~ Walking after meals helps to absorb excess blood sugar, which in turn makes it easier (and faster) for the body to switch back to a fat burning state.
Less sugar ~Eating less sugar in general can result in less insulin spikes that shut off ketone production. Checkout my complete list for what to eat instead of sugar (plus meal ideas!) with THIS blog post.
Psssst... curious how long YOUR Intermittent Fast should be? Take my FREE Intermittent Fasting Schedule Quiz by clicking the button below!
#2. Increase Muscle
Increasing muscle mass (even slightly) can help to increase the metabolic rate and improve insulin sensitivity.(2) And upping your cardio won't do the trick. In order to reap the metabolic benefits of increasing muscle, you need to add exercises that actually focus on increasing muscle. The best types of exercise for increasing muscle mass include any type of resistance training: body weight/calisthenics, free weights, cross fit, group bootcamp classes, etc.
Aiming for 3-5x/week of resistance training, 20-40 minutes per day is ideal. You can create your own program if you have the experience or you can hire a personal trainer, opt for a fitness app or follow my 21 Day Intermittent Fasting Program workouts HERE.
#3. Eat More Protein
Without adequate protein, you'll ultimately lose muscle from your workouts (which will make the metabolism even worse). Plus, higher protein intakes have been found to be better at reducing body fat and losing weight than traditional calorie restrictive diets.(3) Most people need around 30 grams of complete protein at each of their three meals (and no, peanut butter doesn't count). However, this amount will vary depending on your current weight, goal and activity level. You can find out exactly how much protein you need to eat per day with my super short video below.
Finding it difficult to hit your daily protein needs? An easy hack is to incorporate a high quality, zero sugar protein powder into your smoothies, chia puddings or grain-free oatmeal. Test out one of my favorite high protein smoothie recipes HERE.
#4: Get 8 Hours Of Sleep
Poor quality (and quantity) sleep is directly tied to weight gain around the belly. In fact, just one night of poor sleep can increase insulin resistance the very next day. Being in a state of insulin resistance can shut off ketone production, making the first tip in this blog post difficult to achieve. So to help improve your metabolism, sleep must be part of the picture. Below are simple tips to help improve sleep quality:
Set a bed time: Let's get back to the basics. If you know you need to wake up at 6am, that means you need to be asleep by 10pm. But this also means you need to start winding down well before that. Most people can't get into bed and instantly fall asleep. Make sure to account for wind down time (reading, getting ready for bed, shower, etc.) when determining your "bed time". For example, I get up at 5:30am every morning, which means I need to be asleep by 9:30pm. With this in mind, I get into bed around 8:45pm to allow for time to read and wind down so that I will naturally fall asleep by (or before) 9:30pm.
Experiment with magnesium: Magnesium has been found to help improve sleep quality.(4) I use 500mg of magnesium taken 30 minutes before bed. THIS is the magnesium supplement that I personally use. Some medications might interact with certain supplements, so make sure to check with your doctor before adding magnesium into your routine.
No "tech" 60 minutes before bed: Watching TV or scrolling through your phone can cause your body to shut off melatonin (our sleep hormone) production. Aim to not use any tech 60 minutes before bed to allow for melatonin to naturally rise.
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Autumn Elle Nutrition