Metabolism is the process the body uses to break down food in order to produce energy. As we age, we lose muscle and gain more fat. The more fat you are carrying vs. muscle, the more your metabolism slows down.
Your basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60 to 75 percent of the calories you burn every day. So increasing your metabolism is something that helps you lose weight. (Not to mention you get to eat more food, which is always a bonus.)
Low metabolism causes all sorts of health problems including low energy and fatigue, cold hands and feet (and low body temperature — the kind of person who is always shivering in a sweater), hair loss, low sex drive, infertility, mood swings, anxiety and irritability, hypothyroidism, insomnia, etc.
In this post, I’ll lay out 10 simple tricks you can use to raise your metabolism.
Most Advice on How to Raise Metabolism is Wrong
If you google “how to raise your metabolism,” you’ll find some good information, but most of it is totally wrong. Like this advice for example:
“In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four. To stay hydrated, drink a glass of water or other unsweetened beverage before every meal and snack. In addition, try munching on fresh fruits and vegetables, which are full of fluid, rather than pretzels or chips.” (Source)
Drinking too much water actually lowers your metabolism! And pretzels and chips can actually help raise your metabolism.
Eat For Heat
According to Matt Stone, author of the new e-book, Eat for Heat, we can raise our metabolism by changing how we eat.
Stone says we don’t need to worry about getting enough water and in fact, most of us are probably drinking too much water. He says, “Overhydration is MUCH more common in the water-loving, dehydration-panicked, salt-phobic realm of the modern internet-scouring health nerd.”
Matt says drinking too much fluid also causes low body temperature, cold hands and feet, nausea, vomiting, seizure, headache, migraine, insomnia, rapid or erratic pulse, and anxiety attacks.
I followed Matt Stone’s advice on how to raise metabolism last year and successfully went from an average temperature in the 97s to a steady, stable 98.6.
As a result, I completely eliminated my insomnia. I sleep like a rock every night and no longer wake up at 3 am to pee. I also vastly increased my energy, got my sex drive back, and I swear my hair is thicker and my nails are growing faster.
I also no longer react to caffeine. I used to get heart palpitations from a single cup of coffee, and I’d be unable to sleep at night. Now I can drink up to 2 or 3 cups of coffee with no adverse symptoms.
10 Simple Tricks to Raise Your Metabolism
1. Don’t Drink When You’re Not Thirsty
This sounds like common sense but most of us don’t follow it. We drink too much water because we think it’s good for us. We drink lots of coffee and soft drinks for the stimulant effect. We drink too much alcohol to relax.
None of these things are bad as long as they are done in moderation. You don’t have to avoid coffee or alcohol. Just watch how much you consume. Drinking too much and drinking for reasons other than thirst lowers your metabolism.
Limit the fluid intake, increase your body temperature, boost your metabolism.
2. Monitor Your Body Temperature and Urine
If your body temperature is consistently below 98.6, your metabolism is slow. It’s easy to track your body temperature — just buy a drugstore thermometer and take your temperature.
You can actually raise your body temperature by eating more. When I was working to raise my metabolism, if I noticed my temperature was low, I’d eat some salty crackers or ice cream as a snack.
It is also important to monitor your urine. If your urine is clear, you should drink less fluid and eat more.
Matt writes, “Any time you pee clear, have a particularly strong urge to urinate that strikes you suddenly, urinate several times in rapid succession, or pee an abnormally large amount –- eat a salty carbohydrate-rich snack or meal as soon as possible.”
3. Eat More and Drink Less
Eating more was the single best thing I did to raise my metabolism (second was eating more carbs, and third was getting enough sleep). I’m the type to go all day without eating because I’m too busy working and I don’t have time to sit down and eat a meal.
Matt Stone said to just eat a handful — so I started snacking or eating small meals every few hours. A handful of salty pretzels or nuts, a few bites of ice cream, a slice of leftover pizza, some crackers and cheese.
Matt writes, “When you are cold, especially in the hands and feet, your urine is clear, the urge to urinate is strong, or you are peeing frequently… YOU NEED TO EAT MORE AND DRINK LESS. When you are hot, especially in the hands and feet, your urine is dark or you haven’t peed in a really long time… YOU NEED TO EAT LESS AND DRINK MORE.”
4. Eat Enough Salt
Most people are terrified of salt these days. That’s because everywhere you look, people are warning you not to eat salt. But humans need salt and limiting salt lowers the metabolism.
I ate a lot of salty foods when I was raising my metabolism. I ate lots of chips, salty crackers, cheese, pizza, hash browns, French fries. Not only does food taste better, but my body temperature is warm, my sex drive is up, and I have tons of energy.
5. Eat Enough Carbs
Increasing my carb intake really helped me increase my metabolism. If you are on a low-carb diet and you have symptoms of low metabolism (low energy, low sex drive, thinning hair, cold hands and feet, low body temperature, food allergies, etc.), you may want to add some starch and sugar to your diet — such as potatoes, rice, and ice cream.
Matt writes, “In my experience a low-carb diet can be very metabolically-suppressive regardless of fluid and salt intake. The glucose seems necessary in order to take advantage of the salt itself, and there are known glucose transporters involved in the process, which is why rehydration drinks always contain glucose.”
6. Exercise, But Not Too Much
Exercise is good for your metabolism. If you have more muscle and less fat, you will burn calories faster.
But you can overdo exercise — it’s stressful and can lower your metabolism.
Matt Stone explains, “…too much exercise can interfere with your ability to produce a great deal of body heat at rest. Don’t become dependent on it to keep your hands and feet warm. Doing too much of it may actually be keeping you from feeling warm and toasty when you aren’t doing it!”
7. Get More Sleep and Rest
Stress and exhaustion lower the metabolism so you need to sleep enough. When I was working on raising my metabolism, I tried to sleep 10-12 hours per night. I know, it sounds like a lot in our sleep-deprived culture.
When I was on Matt Stone’s plan, I would start dimming the lights around 7 pm (dark really helps you get sleepy) and I’d get into my jams. By 8 or 9 pm, I’d hit the sack, and sleep until 7 or 8 in the morning.
Nowadays I only get about 8 hours a night, and my temperature is stable at 98.6.
Snacking can actually help you to increase your metabolism.
Stone says, “The most important use of the snack is to lift your body out of an active stress event. It takes a surprisingly miniscule total amount of food to do this. Signs that your body is having a stress event might be cold hands and feet, a sudden urge to urinate, frequent urination, a sudden crash in mood or energy levels, abnormalities in your pulse rate, a headache, nausea, a funky taste in your mouth or dry mouth, a loss of the pink color in your tongue – all kinds of things.”
He goes on to say, “In terms of what kind of snack to eat, think back to one of the rules I mentioned earlier -– eat a salty, carby snack. I tell people ‘the airlines got it right’ when it comes to de-stressing foods and keeping passengers calm and at ease. A handful of salty pretzels or peanuts and a little cup of a sugary soft drink is a pretty good combination. Sugar, starch, salt, fat.”
9. Pizza, Ice Cream and French Fries Are Your Friends
Matt Stone says some foods are more “warming” than others. I found this to be true when I was raising my metabolism. Some of his “superstars” are: cheese, coconut, chocolate, flour, red meat, potatoes, soy sauce, ice cream, and other desserts.
I ate a lot of hash browns fried in coconut oil, waffles with syrup, pizza, potato chips, French fries and ice cream when I was raising my metabolism. These were foods I had avoided for years because I was trying to go low carb and lose weight. These are the foods that people are afraid of and avoid so they don’t get fat.
Best of all, since I raised my metabolism, I continue to eat these foods and I don’t gain weight.
10. Go Easy on Coffee, Tea, Soft Drinks, Juice and Fruit
It’s easy to drink too much water but many of us also overdo it with coffee, soft drinks, diet drinks and juice. Remember, only drink when you are thirsty.
If you want to drink coffee, make sure you add some cream and sugar.
Coffee is like water on steroids, making people crash and become even more diluted it seems. It’s a tough topic too because most people don’t drink coffee because they are thirsty, which overall is my biggest issue with coffee. What I recommend is really going heavy on the half and half – maybe even making or ordering something like a breve latte, which is made with half and half instead of milk. Half and half functions more like a warming food than a cooling beverage, so it really helps to counteract the coffee. Adding plenty of sugar and even a little salt (much tastier than it sounds) can actually make for quite a warming drink. I don’t think many people will need to avoid coffee to have good health. But don’t drink it in excess and balance it out properly with the warming substances – fat, sugar, and salt. At least drink it with food if you can’t manage to do that.
Fruit also has a high-water content, so don’t eat too much when you are trying to raise your metabolism.
Get a Copy of Eat For Heat
If this post intrigues you, you can learn more in Matt Stone’s e-book, Eat for Heat.
Photo credits: http://www.flickr.com/photos/traviswiens/
Disclosure: cmp.ly/4 and cmp.ly/5