What increases metabolism? It's a questions a lot of my clients will ask me. Well, it’s not really a big secret that your diet is the most important part of seeing significant changes physically, whether you are trying to lose weight, lower your body fat percentage, or try to increase your deadlift. There are good and natural things to do that will help you out to maximize the effect of your diet. As workouts, sleeping patterns, and daily life all change, your nutritional needs change as well, so making sure that you are getting the most out of all you are eating and drinking will help you meet those goals you set yourself.
HIT AND MISS: SEE WHAT INCREASES METABOLISM SPECIFICALLY FOR YOU
We’re all different, you’ve been told this since you were young and the same holds true in nutrition. How your body reacts to food will be completely different from how it will react to other people’s bodies. For example, nuts have a bit of a “roofie” like effect on me. Don’t ask me why, all I know is that I feel like the guys from The Hangover and I can’t remember passing out (minus getting hit by Tyson for stealing his tiger). But nuts are a good healthy source of fat wth a good amount of protein in them. I found this out through trial and error. At one point I was eating a lot of almonds, but I was always feeling tired and within the first 20 minutes of eating them, I would fall asleep unless I was walking or moving around on my feet. I started looking at my diet and writing down what I was eating everyday and finally started ruling out what the culprit might be until finally I came to find that it was all the almonds that I was eating. It got me thinking if any of the others types of nuts had the same effect so I waited a couple of days and started testing it with other ones, come to find that most of them had the same effect. I had to find another alternative to getting a good source of unsaturated fats so I looked more to avocados and seeds, and after testing each source out and not passing out, I was able to make the substitution without the side effects. You can always find another healthy source of what your diet needs, the key is finding out what each food does for you.
Most people will stay in their safe zone and stick with what they know. Try thinking outside the box (I’m not talking about Taco Bell, there are no fourth meals allowed here) and try things you haven’t tried before, or never really liked before. Don’t miss out on something that is good and could be amazing for your progress. Think about the last time you actually tried a FOOD that was different than you are normally used to. I’m not talking about getting another type of chicken dish from your favorite restaurant. And I don’t mean going out there and eating scorpions or beetles, but when was the last time you tried something you haven’t tried before? Experimenting with fruits and vegetables is something safe enough that you can break habits and possibly plateaus through a simple change of pace. By mixing it up, you can also make sure that you get a wider, fuller range of vitamins, meaning you won’t have to rely on multivitamins or other supplements. Not only will they be satisfying, but you will get a more complete array of vitamins, absorb more of them, and use them more thoroughly. You give yourself an edge by knowing how your body reacts to different foods so when you do reach a plateau, you’ll have an arsenal to attack and break through it.
GOOD AND NATURAL: MOTHER KNOWS BEST
Mother Nature grows all kinds of food for a reason; they all have their own taste. Not only is the food good and natural, whether it is sweet, salty, bitter, tart, or whatever other ways food tastes, she has something that can fulfill that description. Some food may taste similar, but they each have a distinctive taste. However, not as many people enjoy the natural taste of food anymore, everyone is looking to make things taste “better”. We’ve conditioned our taste buds to NEED seasoning and salt and all sorts of other additives. One way for us to become more adventurous in our diets is to de-condition our taste buds. In reality, this will also keep us from becoming bored with our diets because our palates will have a wider range of food we enjoy.
The lifespan of a taste bud is anywhere from 7 to 14 days and you will start noticing changes in your actual sense of taste within about 20 days give or take. So say for example you don’t like Greek yogurt. If for the next 20 days, you eat it not because you like the taste of it, but because you know that it is really good for you, before you know it, you’ll actually LIKE the taste and other yogurts will start tasting TOO sweet. After this period, other foods will start tasting the way they’re supposed to. Fruits will be sweeter, simply adding things like onions and bell peppers will flavor your food perfectly, and you will be able to starting enjoying tastes as Mother Nature intended, good and natural.
SPIT IT OUT
I don’t mean that literally, actually, you should keep your food in your mouth longer than you probably are. Most people don’t realize the important role saliva plays in digestion, a factor in what increases metabolism. Between how busy people are today, how long people wait to actually eat, among a bunch of other factors, we tend to inhale our food like we’re not getting our next meal for another year. We have to remember to chew our food thoroughly to allow it to mix with our saliva. It contains digestive enzymes that help you absorb your food better, in fact most carbohydrates will start breaking down in your mouth even before you swallow it. That means if you’re eating enough of each macronutrient, your body will use each one for their principle purpose. It also means that your body will actually use a bigger percentage of what you eat. Right now your body might only be absorbing and utilizing 20-30% of what your consuming because only so much of it is being broken down by your hydrochloric acid (stomach acid) to use before it passes through your body, your body only gives you a certain amount of time for digesting and processing food before it stores or excretes the rest of it out. So chew everything at least 20-30 times (depending on how much food you put in your mouth), from your chicken to your vegetables, even your protein shakes.
LISTEN! No, really listen to your body, it will give you subtle cues to tell you it’s full even before you FEEL full, your body is full 20 minutes before your brain tells you that you are and your body reacts to that response. Think about when you’re eating, it stays fairly consistent and you don’t take a significant break. But at some point during the meal, you sit back and take in a deep breath. Some people say they’re “getting their second wind” but this is one of the ways your body tells you, you’ve had enough. If you’re still eating when you start feeling full, you’ve been eating 20 minutes too long. The deep breath isn’t necessarily the only cue though. One of my dad’s cues is as he’s eating, after a certain point, he loses the taste of the food he’s eating, it starts tasting bitter and his tongue starts to get that "asleep" feeling that your arms and legs get, so not only does he stop because he knows his body is full, he physically cannot eat another bite because of the bitterness and feeling. While we all wish out body would signal us as blatantly as my dad’s, your body WILL let you know in some way that it is full. You’ve just got to figure out what it is, so pay attention, yours may be more apparent than you realize.
SLOW DOWN! While you are trying to find what increases metabolism, you should slow down, chew your food, and keep paying attention to your body. Know that it takes 20 minutes from the time your body is full until the time your brain relays that information, you should focus on slowing down as you’re eating. Following some of the aforementioned tips, like chewing your food properly, will help with the prevention of overeating. You can also make sure your food lasts longer by “playing” with the food in your mouth, meaning move the food from one side of your mouth to the other (keeping your mouth closed to keep its contents in). A majority of your bite will settle on one side, focus on chewing 5 times on one side, then move the food over to the other. Do that back and forth around 5-6 times and you’ll have chewed 25-30 times already. Make sure you swallow your food before putting in another bite. If you swallow the food and feel like you need water to chase it down, you didn’t chew your food enough, so either take a smaller bite or sit there and chew some more, count them out if you have to.
You’ve seen it and most likely have done it; pile your plate with food so it pretty much looks like Mount Everest. The problem is that this is probably a lot more food than you need. But even if you start feeling full, you feel obligated to finish because either “there are starving children in the world…” or “my parents always made me clean my plate and now I’m used to it.” It isn’t a problem having this mentality, the problem is how much you actually put on there to clean off in the first place. No one LIKES throwing away food so instead why not put an amount you KNOW is not enough to fill you. Think about it, you finish that portion and it wasn’t enough, now here’s the crazy part, you can put a little more on your plate. So you won’t only be saving food from being thrown away, but it will give your body enough time to relay the message that it is full. The fact that there is less food on your plate may also cause you to take smaller bites to make the food last longer. The smaller portion means a likelier chance that your food will mix with your saliva properly. The smaller portions let you finish everything you put on there so you don’t have to be wasteful. Depending on the size of the portion, you can trick your body if you go back 3 or 4 times into thinking you’ve already had a lot, but if you keep properly plan out your portions, you stay within your limits.
Your plate isn’t the only place you should be careful about piling on food. You should also pay attention to each bite you take. Most people will put too much food in their mouth so they finish it fast. They end up going to get more food and they don’t give enough time for their body to create that physiological response of feeling full. Again all of which will lead to overeating and putting more fuel in your system than you will actually use. A lot of the time people take those huge bites when they are extremely hungry. All they are worries about is making that hungry feeling go away or they really like the taste of the food they are about to eat so they stuff in as much as possible, but what they don’t realize is they’re not getting as much flavor as they think they are.
The most important plate or serving that you have is that first portion that you eat. You hear people say that they only need a “taste” of something and then they’re good, they don’t need to eat anymore. The truth is you get the most flavor anywhere from the first bite you take to the third bite. Those bites kick start your taste buds, anything beyond that is just an after thought. But don’t just take my word for it, try it, eat something that normally tastes really good to you. Really pay attention to the first 10 bites you take. Notice the difference from how much more satisfying that first bite is compared to the 9th or 10th one. The first three bites are for flavor/satisfaction, the rest are fuel for your body, so really savor those first few bites.
PLEASE DO TRY THIS AT HOME
Reading this, I'm sure most people believe this is for simply losing weight, but EVERYONE should be trying these tips. Finding what increases metabolism for people losing weight can be applied for people who are fine with their weight but are looking to decrease their body fat percentage. Making sure that you are utilizing the most of all that you are intaking is going to not only keep you from gaining any unneccessary weight or mass, but you give your body all that it needs without having to worry as much about as many deficits in nutrition. Even if you ARE taking any sort of supplement, like any sort of vitamins, you are only using a percentage of it, so you should really try to get all the nutrients you can out of what you are eating already. The better the start quality of the food, the more you will have the chance to absorb, the more good you are doing for your body, so make smart decisions right off the bat so you can get as much benefit from your food beyond just the taste.
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