By Henry Smith | Food Envy
Sometimes, there’s nothing we can do. Despite the best efforts of our cleanses, our diets and our stringent, celebrity-endorsed workout routines, one of the most devastating obstacles to effective weight loss is also its most inevitable: time. After a while, your body simply can’t process nutrients or burn fat as effectively as it used to, and you slowly but surely begin to expand.
Why have you forsaken me, O once glorious body? It might be because you don’t have time to stick to the regimented rules you put out for yourself anymore, but more likely, it’s down to your slowing metabolism. Fortunately, there are ways to keep that natural occurrence at bay, slowing the sands of time for a little while. Here are a few ways to boost your metabolism, even as you start to get on in years.
1. Eat your breakfast!
It might be super tempting to cut down on your prep time in the morning by not eating breakfast, but eating within half an hour of waking up is imperative to keeping your metabolism at its finest for as long as possible, says Matt Tanneberg, a sports chiropractor operating out of Phoenix, Arizona. “This will replenish your body from the night’s sleep and set all of your systems up to function properly throughout the day,” he reveals, adding: “When you’re hungry, your body stops burning calories—and that’s a signal that your metabolism has dramatically slowed down.”
2. Get plenty of protein
In the pursuit of effective weight loss, many of us will decide to ditch meat to fit into those new jeans. Most of the time, that’s a great idea, but make sure that you’re finding an effective way to make up that lost protein – adequate protein, among other things, is vital for keeping your metabolism going as you move into your 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond. In an illuminating study, researchers asked 16 healthy adults to follow a high-calorie diet for eight weeks—some with low protein (around five percent), some with moderate protein (15 percent), and some with high protein (25 percent). All of the subjects gained weight, but those on high protein diets gained more of that weight as muscle, while those on low protein stored 95 of their weight as fat.
3. Drink tons of water
Making up as much as 70 percent of your body, it’s no surprise that your body needs a steady supply of water to be at its best, and we’ve talked before about the effects dehydration can have on your wellbeing. “All of your cells need water to operate,” says Tanneberg, and academia is inclined to agree: a study from the University of Utah says that you actually burn two percent fewer calories just by being dehydrated, while those who drank 12 glasses of water a day saw a massive amounts of weight loss compared to those who only drank four.
4. Make sure you eat enough
As any weight loss guru or nutritionist will tell you, a massive part of an effective diet is simple portion control: you might be eating the right foods, but if you’re not eating them in the right quantities, then all your good work could be going to waste. Whenever you stop eating, your body slows your metabolism down to conserve what food you have, says Tanneberg: “When you’re not eating enough, you’d think your body would just burn through your excess, but in fact, it does the opposite. Your metabolism slows way down and it actually starts breaking down metabolism-boosting muscle for energy.”
5. Drink more tea
For an easy way to boost your metabolism while doing all of the other things on this list, have a nice green or oolong tea in the morning. Just a few sips of the hot stuff can improve your metabolism by as much as five percent, by helping your body to burn fat more effectively. Of course, the jury’s still out on the overall effect of these teas on your metabolism, but why not err on the side of caution and drink them anyway?
6. Spice things up
While jalapeños and Sriracha aren’t exactly everyone’s cup of tea, by incorporating more spicy food into your diet, you too can feel the burn of weight loss alongside that much more tangible burn in your mouth and down your throat. One study of capsaicin (the active ingredient in your spicy foods) found that simply eating spicy foods accounts for a weight loss of 10 calories per meal. Over six-and-a-half years, this could add up to an entire pound of weight loss for the average male. Just by eating spicy foods! A pinch of salt, however, with this spicy meal; these effects were only observed with an adequate amount of spice, so sprinkling extra pepper on your steak simply won’t cut it.
7. Cook with coconut oil
Whether you’re sautéeing potatoes or preparing an omelet, using oil is vital to creating delicious meals, and depending on which kinds of oils you use, they can be pretty healthy too. Olive oil, used effectively, is pretty great, but by switching your to-go oil to the coconut variety, you could be helping out your metabolism, big time. Unlike most other saturated fats, coconut oil contains a lot of medium-chain fats, which one study says could increase your metabolism by as much as 12 percent, compared to long-chain fats like the ones found in fish, avocados or soybeans.
There we go, friends. Time and tide wait for no man, but by sticking to your diet and adding in these nifty metabolism boosters, you can turn back the hands of time, and end up with a look and body that belie your vast years. Like this 64-year-old Sports Illustrated swimsuit model.