Last week, I wrote about whether you need a calorie deficit to lose weight when keto or intermittent fasting. I was thinking about my post wishing I had talked more about your metabolism. Then, I decided there was enough to say to write a whole post about how to reset your metabolism.
Why Does Your Metabolism Matter?
Did you ever notice that some people seem to be able to eat anything they want whenever they want and remain slim, while it seems others gain weight just by looking at food? Your metabolism, or your metabolic rate, plays an important part in how much energy (or calories) your body needs to maintain its basic functions.
How Your Body Burns Calories
Your body burns calories in several ways:
- While performing basic functions at rest: That’s your resting metabolic rate.
- While performing daily activities. Your activity level will impact how much energy your body needs.
- When exercising. Exercise will increase your energy need during and after your workouts.
Your metabolic rate is largely genetic, but not completely outside your control. Let me share how you can change reset your metabolism.
How to Reset Your Metabolism
How to reset your metabolism in the context of this post simply means how to help your body do what it’s supposed to do efficiently. There are some simple lifestyle practices that will help you improve your overall health and lose weight by resetting and/or increasing your metabolism:
- Fasting: It’s not a secret that I am a huge fan of fasting. Whether you practice intermittent fasting or just start with a 5-day modified fast or 10-day modified fast, fasting can be the key to making you feel better and getting rid of the stubborn weight. My post How to Decide Which Intermittent Fasting Method Is Best for You will help you decide how to get started.
- A good night’s sleep: Sleep is connected to various hormonal and metabolic processes. It’s important that you strive to get 7-8 hours of sleep each night.
- Drinking cold water: Believe it or not, drinking about half a liter of water increases your resting metabolic rate by 10-30% for about an hour.
- Exercise: Exercise burns calories during and after. It increases your lean mass, which also helps burn more calories. Building muscle mass is super important to increase your metabolism as well.
- Avoid processed foods: Did you know we absorb more energy from process foods than whole foods? Whether it’s fats or carbs, it doesn’t matter. You will gain more calories from these foods. Moreover, you will want to eat more of it.
- Replacing carbs with healthy fats and a moderate amount of protein: Most women do better with 100-150g of carbs each day. A calorie is not a calorie. Foods have different thermal effects and digesting food cost energy. Protein takes the most energy to digest, then carbs, then fat. However, I still recommend you consume fewer carbs and more fats because fats help keep you satiated. Some of you might want to consume fewer carbs and more protein. You can find out for yourself what is your optimal macronutrient ratio by keeping track of your food intake temporarily using a tool like My Fitness Pal or Cronometer.
Here’s what a typical day looks like for me:
Some people will also recommend you drink coffee and/or green tea to increase your metabolism. I am a big fan of both because they also help minimize hunger when fasting but just use caution. Not all of us do well with caffeine. Read my post 7 Most Effective Ways to Curb Hunger Cravings When Fasting for more info.
Reset Your Metabolism After Starvation Mode
Unless you are new to the world of weight loss, you probably have heard of what we call “starvation mode.” When you consume fewer calories than what your resting metabolic rate requires for an extended period, your body starts reducing the number of calories it needs. It’s a natural response to long-term calorie restriction. Here’s how you can mitigate starvation mode:
- Find out what your basal metabolic rate is by using an online calculator and make sure you don’t go more than 200-300 calories below that.
- Build muscle mass: Strenght training and high-intensity interval training (HIIT) are two of the best ways to maintain a healthy metabolism.
- Cycle through times of eating and fasting: The best way to not reach a weight loss plateau through continuous calorie restriction is by changing things up. Intermittent fasting, particularly alternate-day fasting is an effective approach. Intermittent fasting as actually been shown to increase your metabolic rate.
It’s important to realize that your body needing less energy as you lose weight is natural. You have less weight to carry around and many of your organs function more optimally. Once you reach your goal weight, don’t expect that you will be able to start eating as much as you were before. It’s just not realistic.
How to Change Your Metabolism Set Point
Many women find that their body seems to want to be a certain weight. They do all the “right” things, yet the weight won’t budge. When they finally manage to slowly lose a few pounds with great difficulty, they gain the weight back within a week if they eat a tiny bit more.
That used to be me! I can relate to that! It that’s you too, I recommend experimenting with fasting. That’s how I was finally able to conquer weight loss. Again, don’t forget to check out my post How to Decide Which Intermittent Fasting Method Is Best for You and take my quiz What Is Your Fasting Personality? You will receive 3 free Quickstart Guides to help you get started.
Why You Need to Stop Worrying About Slowing Down Your Metabolism
I understand that you enjoy eating. I do too! Weight loss is a lot harder when you have to constantly deprive yourself. However, you need to understand that an important aspect of the process is your mindset. Having a slower metabolism isn’t a disease. In fact, it has been shown to help slow down aging and those who have a slower metabolism tend to age better.
Cutting down your calories by 5-15% can slow down your metabolism by up to 25%. It’s your body’s normal response to protect itself. This slow down from continuous calorie restriction may last up to 7 years, but we don’t know for sure. To avoid this slowdown, again you may opt for a form of intermittent fasting. Just remember that a slower metabolism has some advantages and calorie restriction has many health benefits.
How to Reset Your Metabolism Video
When it comes to learning how to reset your metabolism, it’s pretty simple: stay active, eat whole foods, drink enough water, eat fewer carbs, and most of all, experiment with fasting. Understand that when you weight less, you need less energy. It’s just natural! Don’t expect to go back to eating as much as before, you will gain the weight back if you do! Enjoy the journey, savor your foods, and learn to improve your mindset when it comes to not needing to eat as much. Intermittent fasting will definitely help with that.