Maybe your favorite jeans feel a little tighter than the last time you put them on. Perhaps the numbers on your bathroom scale have crept slightly higher recently. You aren’t eating any more than usual, so what’s going on?
As we age, our metabolisms start to slow, particularly in our 30’s. Although time and heredity make a difference, how fast your body burns energy is also influenced by your lifestyle. You can’t change your genes, but you can do a few things to keep your metabolism in the best possible shape. Here’s how:
1. Thinking of skipping breakfast? Think again! If you eat within an hour of getting up, your metabolism wakes up too and gets ready to do more work. If you wait too long to eat and get over hungry you may eat something you had not planned (think donuts or bagels in the break room).
Kick-start your day with at least 20-30 grams of protein, like two hard boiled eggs, or some Greek yogurt and sliced almonds. Besides a higher metabolic rate, eating enough protein evens out your blood sugar for the rest of the day. This extra bonus keeps you from eating the morning donuts, afternoon cookies or hitting up the vending machine late in the day.
2. Get up and get going! Exercise most days in the morning. If you are not a morning person and the thought of exercise first thing in the day is unthinkable, exercise anytime that will work. However, a morning workout boosts your metabolism for the reminder of the day. In addition, those who exercise in the morning are more likely to stick with their programs as a schedule change is less likely first thing in the morning than later in the day. Incorporate consistent exercise 4-5 times a week for best results.
3. Don’t go more than four hours without food. This may seem like a no-brainer, but I cannot tell you how many clients I see going hours without food. Eating regular meals throughout the day not only keeps your metabolism strong, but also helps prevent overeating in general. Going long periods of time without food sets you up for overeating or binging.
4. Get your ZZZs. Getting rest keeps your stress levels down by keeping away the stress hormone called cortisol. Increased levels of cortisol can increase the hormone insulin that stores fat.
Going to bed on time helps you get consistent sleep, which means you will be ready for breakfast and a workout before you’re off to work.
If you are skimping on sleep, the two hormones that control appetite — ghrelin (which grows your appetite) and leptin (which lowers your appetite) — get out of whack. This keeps your body in a hungry, stressed state which indirectly affects your metabolic rate.
Following these steps can keep your metabolism healthy and strong. Becoming older does not mean you have to let nature takes it course. A little positive interference goes a long way!