Yes, after 40 your body changes. Your body certainly isn’t the same as it was in your 20s and 30s. Due to hormonal changes and loss of muscle mass, metabolism naturally starts to decline.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is a term that is used to describe all chemical reactions involved in maintaining the living state. In conversation, we use the term to describe how the body turns food (and stored fuel) into energy.
The good news is that there are a few easy things you can do to boost your metabolism.
LET’S JUMP RIGHT INTO THE 6 TIPS TO FIRE UP YOUR METABOLISM AND IMPROVE YOUR HEALTH!
- Ditch dieting
Did you know that dieting actually causes weight gain? People who diet end up heavier than if they hadn’t dieted in the first place.
It’s true! You see your body is wired for survival, and so if you try and starve it from the essential nutrients, minerals that come from eating food… Well it’s not going to be too happy…and neither will you.
And so everything you do eat while dieting is locked in and stored away with even more stubbornness than normal because your body thinks there’s some sort of food shortage going on, and so tries to stock up and make the most of what little scraps are available. And remember, the human body has been using this little survival technique for two
million years now, so there’s no use in fighting it. Diet, and the food you eat burns off slower, it makes sense right?
But that’s not the worst of it; not only is dieting counter-productive, it can also cause:
- Thinning of the hair
- Dry skin and chapped lips
- Hair growth on the body
- Weakened immune system
- Pale Complexion
- Tooth decay
- And more
Frankly dieting is just downright dangerous, and some of the symptoms are very un-ladylike as I’m sure you’ll agree…
And then there’s grumpiness, tiredness, and a sluggish brain to deal with too! It’s simply not worth it (nor is it practical to walk around like a zombie everyday)!
Now, I’m not saying that our food mentality should be ‘eat everything in sight’ just because I can’t; fortunately, there’s a happy middle ground. Learning to listen to your body and giving it what it needs. I know… it may not sound as sexy as “lose 10 pounds in 10 days”. But given the symptoms above that can occur when we do things to the extreme (and then gain the weight back plus more), and the fact that you’ll feel absolutely amazing in a body you love, ditching diets IS sexy 😉
- Relax, and eat
“The key to your hottest metabolism is not to push yourself, and it’s not to make yourself crazy. It’s to breathe, it’s to be aware, it’s to relax, it’s to slow down, and that’s where, paradoxically, our fullest, healthiest metabolism comes through.” –Mark David, Mind Body Nutrition
Yep, Mark’s right (and I highly recommend his book: Mind Body Nutrition). When you’re in a stressed state, blood is shuttled away from the digestive tract, meaning food is not well digested, nutrients are not absorbed, and levels of cortisol increase. Cortisol, by the way, makes you proficient at storing body fat, especially around the midsection (exactly what you don’t want!)
As a side note, you’ll also tend to eat more when you eat in a stressed state. When you’re stressed, you may not even be aware that you’re eating! You’re on autopilot and you shovel down the food until it’s gone, and miss out on the pleasure that we can get from eating food. You finish your meal wanting more because you never received any satisfaction from the eating process.
Here’s what you can do to get started: Each time before you eat (whether it’s a planned meal, sample at the grocery store, or the donut in your office lunchroom) take 5 long, slow breaths. Breathe in through your nose, and let your breath go deep into your belly, allowing for your lower belly to expand. Relax your shoulders and let go of any tension. Your body will start to relax, bringing you to an optimal state to digest your meal and keep your metabolism humming!
- Speak kindly to yourself
I bet you didn’t think that ‘speaking kindly to yourself’ would make my list of top 6 ways to fire up your metabolism. Let me explain. Remember when I brought up cortisol, i.e. the stress hormone?
Cortisol is extremely useful in helping us survive short-term stressful situations. For example, if you’re being chased by a
tiger. That doesn’t happen? Ok, maybe when you’re running to catch a bus. The problem is that most people live life feeling chronically stressed, which means that cortisol lingers in the body (yes, if you remember, causing weight gain, especially around the belly). Some of that stress begins with our thoughts. For example, words like “I’m fat”, “I need to lose weight” or “I’m a failure” puts the body into a stress state.
Start to pay attention to your self-dialogue. When you see your-self in the mirror, what thoughts come to your mind? Often we say to ourselves things that we would NEVER say to someone else- because it would be just plain mean!
I want you to say to yourself “I need to lose weight”. How does it make you feel? Do you feel like getting up and going for a run? Or does it make you feel defeated, hopeless and a bit discouraged? Now I want you to say, “I am strong, healthy and beautiful”. Seriously. Say it aloud. Do you feel a little bit better? Do you feel hopeful and expansive?
Self-talk is very powerful. When you say the same thoughts over and over, your mind starts to believe them as truths. By repeating the same thoughts over and over, the mind actually comes to believe they’re true. Then we act in ways that are in line with our beliefs. For example, if you tell yourself every day that losing weight is hope-less, it will be. If you tell yourself that positive self-talk is silly and doesn’t work, it won’t. However, if you fill your mind with positive dialogue, you will move toward your goals.
I don’t expect your inner dialogue to change overnight, and neither should you. I do want you to start positive self-talk each day. It can be as simple as “I can do this”, or “Fitness is an investment in myself, and I am worth it!” Personally, I practice positive self-talk first thing in the morning as it sets the tone for the rest of the day, and it’s the only time of day I can guarantee to get it done!
- Strength Train!
Back in the day we naturally did a lot of muscle-building activity. Women washed clothes by hand, churned butter, and did heavy gardening. Men did manual labour jobs. Times have changed! Nowadays, we spend a lot of time sitting, and we have great inventions like washing machines to take away any heavy lifting. If you want to maintain a healthy body and wellbeing for years to come, and enjoy the added bonus of firming up your body, you need to start strength training. For many, especially women, the word strength training can be downright scary. You may not know what to do, or perhaps are fearful of ‘bulking up’. Let me tell you- you won’t bulk up by accident. As a female, you’ll need to try incredibly hard (likely with the help of illicit drugs) to become overly bulky. If you do legitimately want to lose weight (and have weight to lose), strength training is especially important. Without it, you run the risk of losing body fat and muscle mass (not ideal!) Building lean muscle helps you to burn more calories, increasing your metabolism, and most importantly, being strong simply feels good.
- Eat more fat and protein
Before I get into ‘what to eat’, I feel I need to back up. Learning what to eat is important, but do not use these guidelines as any more than guidelines. If you get into an ‘all or nothing mentality’ with healthy eating guidelines, you’ll repeat the same on again off again yo-yo diet mentality that you’ve probably done before. The ‘why’ you’re eating and ‘how’ to eat is much more important and frankly more complicated than the ‘what to eat’.
Ultimately your thinking and your relationship with food and your body is much more important for long term success than the nitty gritty of what you eat. We go into all of this in much more detail in our training programs. With that being said, knowing what to eat to best nourish your body is important.
If you start your day with a bowl of Special K, skim milk and a glass of orange juice, you’ll be having a tough time resisting that blueberry muffin during your 10am coffee break. Why? Your blood sugar is low and you need a pick me up!
Meals that are very high in carbohydrates (especially simple carbs like processed grains) result in a blood sugar spike. The hormone insulin rushes in to shuttle the sugar away from the blood. Insulin does a lot of important functions in the body but by design it is a storage hormone. So instead of signaling our body to burn fat, our bodies actually get the signal to store fat whenever we eat a lot of carbs.
Because insulin is so effective, it takes away a bit too much blood sugar. Ever feel like you want to take a nap after lunch, or ‘hangry’ because you’ve waited too long to eat, or feel like you desperately need to eat every 2-3 hours?
The solution? Swap some of the carbs for protein and fat. Protein and fat are absolutely paramount for proper nutrition. From a weight-loss perspective eating more protein and fat will cause you to be “fuller” faster (so you end up eating less). It also helps support muscle growth which you need as you go through all of the workouts. This is beneficial as that increased muscle will give you a more toned look (NOT bulky for women) and increase your metabolism as more calories are needed to support muscle tissue instead of fat.
For each meal and snack, add some protein and fat. Examples include meat, fish, eggs, beans, legumes, nuts, cottage cheese, plain yogurt, kefir, protein powder and tofu. Enjoy scrambled eggs for breakfast, or add full-fat, plain Greek yogurt to your smoothie. Snack on veggies and hummus, or an apple with some peanut butter.
Enjoy chicken, fish, steak or beans with lunch and dinner.
- Get enough R & R.
When it comes to metabolism, less can sometimes be more. Rest and relaxation go right back to minimizing stress, the thief of a rockin’ metabolism. Get some sleep, rest when you need to rest, and make sure you get adequate recovery from your workouts. Doing too much exercise will actually increase the level of stress in your body.
Being relaxed doesn’t necessarily mean sitting on the couch in front of the telly. Relaxation can be spending time with loved ones in a calm, happy state. Relaxation could be going for a walk in nature, or working on a project that you’re passionate about. Whatever relaxes you, make sure you do it!
I want you to know how it feels to get up in the morning and feel EXCITED for the day. To feel good in your body, to have more energy and to feel stronger.
Ready to take the next step to look and feel your best? We have put some time aside in our calendar to learn more about you and your goals. Simply go to www.ascendfitnesslifestyle.com and click on “Get Started Now” at the top of the page. Fill in your details, and we’ll take it from there!