Are you suspecting that your metabolism may be slowing down or worse it has already stalled? A slow metabolism is one of the most frustrating things that can happen to you especially if you are on a weight loss journey. If this has been happening to you, and you are wondering how to reset your metabolism, keep reading. In this article we will tackle how to tell if your metabolism has slowed down, and tips and tricks on how to reset your metabolism naturally. For older people, we shall also be letting you know how to reset your metabolism after 50.
What Is Metabolism?
Metabolism is defined as a series of chemical reactions involved in maintaining the living state of the cells and the organism (27). In simpler terms, this is the process by which your body breaks down all the foods and drinks ingested, turning it into the energy it needs to function throughout the day.
When it comes to weight loss and/or weight maintenance, metabolism is important because it determines how many calories you can burn while at rest. Those with a faster metabolic rate are able to consume larger amounts of food without ever gaining weight, while those with a slower one tend to gain weight if they consume large quantities of food. They have to watch their calorie intake and exercise in order to counter this (11).
Signs That Your Metabolism Is Slowing Down
Before learning how to reset your metabolism, you must first be aware of the signs and symptoms that it is slowing down. This will help you realize what is going on and thus, you can fix the situation faster. Here are the telltale signs of a slow metabolism (6, 3):
1. Unexplained weight gain
This is usually the most common sign of a slow metabolic rate. If you have been consistently working out and eating well but your clothes are starting to feel a little tight, it might be time to figure out how to reset your metabolism.
2. You are always tired
If you are resting as much as you can and even going further to get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of sleep but are still waking up feeling slow, sluggish and tired, it could be because your metabolism is slowing down.
3. You have dry skin, brittle nails, and/or your hair starts falling off
When you have a slow metabolism, your cells are not as active as they should be and thus they are not supplying enough blood to your skin which could lead it to becoming dry. In relation to the nails, because the body is not making use of all the nutrients you give to it, it can make your nails feel weak and start breaking off. Without enough blood supply from the cells and lack of nutrient absorption by the body your hair will fail to grow and regenerate making it fall off.
4. Constant and frequent headaches
This is due to an underactive thyroid. Sometimes these headaches could even turn and become migraines.
5. Sugar and carb cravings
If you are constantly reaching for sugary things and refined carbs, then you might be dealing with a slow metabolism. A slow metabolic rate has been linked to insulin resistance which can make you crave sugary and carbohydrate filled foodstuffs.
6. Always feeling cold or depressed
These are symptoms of hypothyroidism, which affects your mood and reduces the amount of heat generated by the body, making you feel cold at all times.
7. Slow pulse
It is said that your pulse rate is directly proportional to your basal metabolic rate. The slower it gets the slower your metabolism is.
If you have noticed that you are going to the bathroom less frequently and when you do, passing stool takes a bit of an effort, then it could be because of a slow metabolism. Because the body takes longer to break down and process food, it takes that much longer to travel through the gastrointestinal tract and it might also not be properly digested which will cause constipation.
9. You are finding it harder to lose weight
If your weight loss rate has been consistent for the past few weeks and once you get on the scale you notice that you’ve hit a plateau, it could be because your metabolism has slowed down and your body is finding it harder to burn calories as fast as it used to.
Although these are all potential signs of a slowing metabolism, they can also all happen for various other reasons. It is important to speak with your doctor before jumping to any conclusions about your health.
How To Reset Your Metabolism When Dieting?
Sometimes even while watching your diet for weight loss, you may find that your metabolism is slowing down and in need of a reset. Below are some foods that you can eat that are thought to help boost your metabolism.
Consuming eggs increases the thermic effect of food – an increase in metabolic rate after ingestion of a meal. Eggs are rich in protein, a macronutrient that the body uses more energy to digest.
One study done on mice showed that these seeds may improve metabolism (17). It is suspected that this is because they are high in protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids, all which are known to help your metabolism.
Legumes, lentils, and pulses
They are all high in protein, fiber, and short-chain fatty acids which can help reset your metabolism even while dieting. One review in 2016 revealed consuming legumes and lentils prevented and helped improve the metabolic alterations associated with metabolic syndrome in animals (7). In 2009, an eight-week study done on humans who consumed a reduced calorie diet rich in legumes, experienced more weight loss and higher metabolic changes (mitochondrial oxidation) than those in the control group (16).
Add more chilli peppers to your meals. Because of the chemical capsaicin found in them they may help increase your metabolic rate while simultaneously increasing the amount of fat that you burn and reducing your appetite. One review done in 2012 revealed that this chemical can help you burn up to 50 calories more a day (8).
Coffee and tea
If you are wondering how to reset your metabolism in 24 hours, then consuming more caffeine could be the answer to your problem. This can be done by drinking coffee and several teas such as oolong and green tea.
One clinical trial done in 1995 showed that consuming just 200mg of coffee induced thermogenesis increasing metabolic rate by 3-11% for up to 3 hours after consumption (10). In 2011 another review revealed that consuming caffeine alone or catechin-caffeine mixtures can help you burn around 100 extra calories a day (24).
One clinical trial in 2003 saw oolong tea and green tea increase resting energy expenditure by 10% and 4%, respectively in Japanese women (18). Another review in 2010 discussed that thermogenic ingredients such as those in green, white, and oolong tea may increase energy expenditure by 4% to 5% and fat oxidation by 10% to 16% (25).
Drink more water
Other than acting as a natural appetite suppressant, drinking just 500ml of cold water can help you burn 2 to 3% more calories over 90 minutes (9).
Eat/drink more ginger
In 2013, one small study showed that drinking hot water with about 2 grams of ginger powder dissolved in it with a meal may enhance the thermic effect of food and reduce feelings of hunger (14).
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Can Fasting Boost Your Metabolism?
Maybe. Especially through intermittent fasting. Several studies have suggested that intermittent fasting has multiple possible benefits, including (4):
- Supporting brain health
- Reducing your risk of cancer
- Helping the body repair cells
- Preventing heart disease by improving blood pressure as well as lowering total and LDL cholesterol, blood triglycerides, inflammatory markers and blood sugar levels in the body
- Reducing inflammation and oxidative stress in the body which can put you at risk of many chronic illnesses
- Reducing insulin resistance which in turn lowers your risk of type II diabetes
- Extending your lifespan
So how does it affect your metabolism? It all goes back to insulin levels in the bloodstream. The longer you go without eating or snacking, the lower your insulin levels drop. This prompts the fat cells in the body to release their stored sugar which is then used as energy by the body (15).
The body also looks for energy from different non-carbohydrate sources through the process known as gluconeogenesis. This process goes further to increase the levels of certain metabolites in the blood which may prompt positive metabolic changes in the body (12).
How long do you need to fast to reset your metabolism? If you are considering intermittent fasting as an option of how to reset your metabolism naturally, there are different kinds of IF including (1, 21).
Fasting for 16 hours and having an 8-hours eating window.
The 5:2 diet
Eating normally for 5 days of the week and restricting your calorie intake to 500 cals (women) and 600 cals (men) for two (nonconsecutive) days.
Alternate day fasting
It involves fasting every other day and on the fasting days, you can opt to avoid all solid foods or only consume up to 500 calories.
It involves fasting for 24 hours once or twice a week.
If you are not willing to try intermittent fasting, some studies have shown that short-term fasting bursts (anywhere from 12 to 84 hours) can increase your metabolism.
One study done in 2000 on 11 healthy subjects showed that resting energy expenditure increased significantly from day 1 to day 3 of an 84-hour fast, possibly related to an increase in norepinephrine in the early stages of starvation (20). In 1994 a comparative study was done to see how resting metabolic rate reacted to fasting. While the resting metabolic rate was elevated throughout the fasting period, it was highest at the 36 hour period (17).
How To Reset Your Hormones And Metabolism After 50?
After the age of 20, your metabolism starts to drop by 10% with each passing decade (28) and thus by the age of 50, it may end up dropping by 30 to 40%. This can make weight gain increase rapidly with the passing years and losing weight can be a nightmare. Here are some ways on how to reset your metabolism after 50 or older (2).
1. Eat more protein
Protein has a thermic effect of 30% which means that for every 100 calories you consume, 30 of them are automatically burned through digestion and you only have to burn 70 of them through exercise.
2. Eat often
Instead of eating the usual 3 meals a day, try breaking them down into 5 to six meals a day. A counter-view to fasting for increased metabolism, some experts believe that taking longer breaks between meals could slow down your metabolism while eating more often will keep it up and going throughout the day.
3. Sleep more
When you do not sleep enough, you are more liable to make bad food choices and will end up craving more refined carbs and sugary foods. When you do not sleep enough, your body opts to slow your metabolism to conserve energy. To prevent this and hopefully reset it, try getting at least 7 hours of sleep every night.
4. Workout more
Exercising is one of the fastest and easiest ways to reset your metabolism. Since older people are not as strong as younger people and may have more health issues, it is suggested that they do more low-impact exercises instead of HIIT exercises. The best workouts for 50+ year old’s include (13).
- Aerobic workouts such as swimming, walking, dance, and jogging. Try doing either of these for about 20 minutes three to four days a week.
- Strength training – Weight lifting is not only for bodybuilders or younger people. Strength training can help you build muscle, improve posture, increase bone strength, and lower the risk of fractures. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn while working out and even at rest.
- Stretching – It may not burn many calories or build as much muscle, but it will help with maintaining flexibility and range of motion in joints.
How To Reset Your Metabolism With Raw Foods?
If you are wondering what raw foods can help boost or reset your metabolism, there are no specific raw foods that are said to help do this. However, if you are wondering how to reset your metabolism with some superfoods, here are some that are said to help with just that (5).
It contains Vitamin C and thiamin (B1) which contribute to healthy cell function and metabolism.
Due to its high fiber and protein content, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that may improve blood pressure, cholesterol, circulation, inflammation and even increase energy.
All berries are rich in fiber which is known for not only helping with bowel movement but also for increasing your metabolic rate.
This is a Japanese green tea powder that has gained popularity in the West in the last few years. Matcha like green tea and oolong tea is full of catechins and caffeine which as mentioned above will help reset your metabolism.
5. Maca root or powder
It is packed with high levels of iron and iodine that promote healthy cells and help keep your metabolism on track.
6. Whey or plant-based protein
As mentioned above protein is one of the best ways to reset your metabolism. Consume more protein through adding protein powders to your smoothies.
Such as chia, flax, hemp, sunflower and pumpkin seeds are full of protein and healthy omega-3 fatty acids that can do wonder for your metabolic rate.
How To Reset Your Metabolism To Lose Weight?
Manage your stress levels
Being stressed out causes a hormonal imbalance that triggers your body into holding on to more fat instead of burning it for energy. Take a day off work and go on a staycation to destress. If this is not possible for you, you can try meditation which can help you reduce your stress.
As it is, many people do not get the recommended 7 to 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep every night. Go to bed earlier than you normally do and switch off your electronics which will help get more hours of sleep.
Add probiotics to your diet
In 2008, one study done on mice showed that probiotic can cause a positive metabolic change in the body (19). Probiotics can be found in fermented foods such as kefir, yogurt, kombucha, sauerkraut, pickles, miso, tempeh, kimchi, sourdough bread and some cheeses.
Eat more foods with protein
Dedicating one day to consume a high-protein diet is one of the ways of how to reset your metabolism in 24 hours as part of a weight loss journey. Add foods such as legumes and lentils, eggs, lean meats, and fish to your everyday diet.
Eat 5 to 6 times a day
This helps to keep your metabolism churning all day burning more and more calories throughout the day. Remember to keep within your recommended calorie intake or else your efforts will go to waste.
Whether you will go out for a walk, jog, swim or opt for a HIIT workout, make sure to workout for at least 30 minutes a day.
Get a cup or two of coffee or tea
As stated above, the caffeine and catechins found in coffee and tea can rev up your metabolism albeit temporarily.
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How To Reset Your Metabolism In 72 Hours?
Here is a weekend routine that you can follow to ensure that you boost your metabolic rate.
- Make a meal with spices such as ginger and red chili peppers.
- You can drink a hot ginger drink or have some low fat yogurt as a snack before bed.
- Go to sleep before midnight to ensure that you get enough sleep.
- Wake up early and make a pre-workout smoothie with whey protein.
- Go for a 20 minute run or do a 30 minute HIIT workout from the comfort of your home.
- Make a post workout meal that incorporates a protein source like eggs
- Divide up your meals to ensure that you eat at least five times a day
- Go to bed early.
- Wake up early and take some time to meditate. Once you are done, stretch and go for a hike or walk around the neighbourhood.
- Once you are back home, make a high protein breakfast.
- Meal prep your meals for the day, making sure to include at least one protein source for every meal.
- Drink some tea during the afternoon during or after lunch and be sure to keep up with your water intake.
- At the end of the day get to bed early to maximize your sleep hours
Remember to keep up with your water intake throughout the 72 hours by having at least 8 glasses of water.
How Long Does It Take To Reset Your Metabolism?
Please note that your metabolic rate will not change overnight. It might take up to 3 months for you to see some changes. Be patient and continue to put in the necessary changes.
The Bottom Line
The answer on how to reset your metabolism lies mainly on how much you sleep, your food choices, and how much exercise you get in a day. If your metabolic rate seems to be stalling, take a step back and take a closer look at these three main points. You may find that your solution to this issue lies in one of all three factors.
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This article is intended for general informational purposes only and does not address individual circumstances. It is not a substitute for professional advice or help and should not be relied on to make decisions of any kind. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any medical conditions. Any action you take upon the information presented in this article is strictly at your own risk and responsibility!
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