6 Ways to Reset Your Metabolism for the New Year
You've eaten your body weight in Christmas cookies, now it's time to start the year off on the right foot.
You’ve eaten your body weight in Christmas cookies, enjoyed all the holiday cheer, and now it’s time to buckle down and start the New Year off on the right foot. According to a survey by Discover Happy Habits, 23% of you are vowing to live healthier in 2023, and 20% hope to lose weight.
Metabolism is an important factor in both of these goals. It provides your body with the energy it needs to complete essential body functions like breathing and digestion.
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And we all know it also plays a part in weight loss. You’ve heard people say things like “oh she just has a fast metabolism, so it’s easier for her to lose weight.” While genetics may play a part, you can jump start yours in a variety of ways, without strict diets or exercise regimens.
We’re not saying it’s going to be easy, but it is possible. Here are six ways to reset your metabolism in the New Year.
1. Get pumped up
While a daily jog or walk around the block is definitely helpful when it comes to dropping pounds, it isn’t going to change your body composition or get it running more efficiently. But weight training, will.
One of the best ways to improve your metabolism and support weight loss is by building lean muscle. “Lifting weights can help increase lean muscle mass and help you burn more calories because muscle is ‘hungrier’ than fat tissue and can help to balance your blood sugar, supporting weight loss,” explains naturopathic women’s health, hormone and wellness specialist, BreAnna Guan, M.D.
Dr. Guan recommends weight training in the morning before you’ve eaten breakfast, to get the optimal effects.
2. Intermittent fasting
Fasting doesn’t mean you have to spend the day starving. It can also be happening, while you sleep.
“Make sure you’re getting at least twelve hours of fasting each night while you’re sleeping,” says Dr. Guan. “This will improve your metabolism by allowing the body to utilize its stored glucose. Then you can move into burning fat as fuel.”
Longer fasts can also be a great tool. “Talk with your doctor to ensure the best way to incorporate this potent tool for weight loss. In my private practice, I help personalize a plan to safely utilize this tool, with gradually increasing fasting durations and alternating days throughout the menstrual cycle to ensure balance and not add unnecessary stress on the body,” Dr. Guan adds.
3. Get great sleep
Sometimes just sleeping soundly can be the thing that’s needed to move the needle ahead (or in the case of the scale, behind). Aim for seven to eight hours of sleep regularly to support your metabolism.
“Skipping sleep decreases your insulin sensitivity and can lead to poorer lifestyle choices. Fatigue often causes increased snacking behavior and excess calorie consumption as one seeks it for energy boost,” explains Dr. Guan. “I recommend going to bed before 11:00 p.m. each night to get the most restorative rest.”
4. Take probiotics
Our gut bacteria can greatly influence our food choices.
“If you’re craving sugars and have any symptoms of gut health problems (gas, bloating, constipation or other) a probiotic may be able to help improve the ecology of your gut and change support weight loss,” says Dr. Guan.
If you’re overwhelmed with all the choices, Dr. Guan advises to choose a high-quality product with a variety of species.
5. Eat more protein
Ever wonder why, when you eat that bagel and cream cheese for breakfast, you’re hungry two hours later, as opposed to eggs, which tend to keep you full longer?
“Protein is the most satiating of all the macronutrients (fat, protein and carbohydrates), so if you get sufficient levels of protein you’re less likely to feel hungry or have the desire to eat,” explains Dr. Guan.
Protein also supports blood sugar balance and helps build lean muscle to fuel your metabolism, but Dr. Guan says most of us aren’t getting enough of it. “I recommend my clients to use this equation to help meet their goals: 0.7 x ideal body weight = grams of protein per day,” she suggests.
This one change can have a huge impact on how you feel in terms of energy and satiation. “We also use proteins to make neurotransmitters like serotonin and dopamine, feeling balanced mentally can go a long way in supporting behaviors that lead to improved metabolism.”
6. Kick the sugar habit
Sugar is not just something that gets our kids all hyped up — it can also royally screw up your ability to drop unwanted pounds.
“When blood sugar is high, weight loss is at a stand still. In order to boost your metabolism and lose weight, we’ve got to avoid chronically elevated blood sugars. Cutting back on carbohydrate rich foods can help bring down levels so you can reach your goals,” explains Dr. Guan.
The biggest offenders that bring weight loss to a halt? Sweetened beverages, snacking between meals on carbohydrates, and added sugar/processed foods.
“Carbohydrates need to be modified to meet energy demands so if you’re an athlete vs office worker, the needs are going to be very different. One strategy is to save carbohydrate rich foods for the evening meal, and have more protein and veggies during the day,” says Dr. Guan. “You’ll need to find the right balance for you.”