3 Simple Steps to Increase Metabolism

Learn to Improve Metabolism to Lose Weight Effectively

There are many different ways to increase metabolism, but if you're trying to lose weight, some methods work better than others. Why? Because some metabolism diet tricks actually cause weight gain. Yep, that's right. They cause your body to get bigger instead of helping you to slim down.

So how do you sort through the science to find effective metabolism-boosting strategies? First, it's important to learn what not to do when you're trying to slim down.

  • Keep a food journal

  • Increase your daily activity

  • Enjoy favorite treats as a reward

  • Follow fad diets

  • Take diet supplements

  • Consume energy drinks

How to Increase Metabolism

You've probably seen plenty of articles online and in magazines that teach you how to increase metabolism. Many times they suggest that you eat a hearty breakfast or snack throughout the day to burn more calories.

The problem with those methods is that they boost your metabolic rate and your calorie intake at the same time. In fact, they often boost your calorie intake more than they increase metabolism. So the end result is that your body gets bigger instead of smaller.

There's nothing wrong with eating enough calories during the day. And you should never starve yourself to slim down. But if you want to lose weight, you should use metabolism-boosting strategies that don't encourage you to eat more than you need. 

There are more effective ways to increase your metabolism for weight loss. But they don't involve eating special foods, taking diet supplements or snacking more often. In fact, the best strategy to burn more calories is more simple than that. You need to move more without eating more. 

Follow this three-step plan to increase your metabolism while you keep your calorie intake the same. You'll create the energy deficit needed for weight loss without an expensive diet or hard-to-find foods. Follow the program for 2–3 weeks to increase your energy levels, boost your metabolism and put your weight loss program into hyperdrive.


Know Your (Unique) Numbers

Beautiful days like these just motivate her to workout
mapodile / Getty Images

Your diet numbers are different than everybody else's diet numbers. That's because your body is unique, your schedule is unique and your health history is unique. If you want to increase your body's metabolism for weight loss, you need to rely on your body's unique numbers.

The most important number you need to know is the number of calories you normally eat to maintain your weight. So how do you get that number? You can use an online calculator to estimate your caloric needs. You can also combine different methods to get a better estimate.

But the smartest way to figure out your caloric need is to keep a food journal for a week. This method is more time-consuming, but it takes your unique schedule and lifestyle into account. This method is more likely to give you the best metabolism-boosting results.

When you track your food intake, use a paper notebook or an app to record every food that you eat. Don't change your food intake during this important step. Simply track your calorie intake. This crucial step will give you a starting point for the important work ahead.


Increase Daily Movement

Now that you know how many calories you eat each day, it's time to increase your metabolic rate. You're not going to rev up your metabolism by eating a huge calorie-filled breakfast or snacking more often. You're also not going to fill up on metabolism-boosting foods or sip on energy drinks or special teas. You're going to keep your diet exactly the same and increase metabolism with movement. 

The key to this metabolism diet trick is to start slowly. First, add non-exercise movement to your day. Walk more often, take the stairs instead of the elevator, carry your groceries home from the store or add a few easy exercise sessions to your routine. ​Use an activity tracker to increase your daily step count and increase your total calories burned per day.

After a week or two, your body will adjust to a more active lifestyle. That's when it's time to add workouts that increase metabolism. If you are healthy enough for vigorous exercise add one HIIT or Tabata session per week. Then gradually add one or two more. You can also add up to three strength training workouts per week to increase your metabolism with lean muscle mass. 


Reward Yourself Without Food

As you increase daily movement, your hunger may increase. That's normal. So the last step in this metabolism-boosting program is to manage your food intake.

Compare your current daily diet to the caloric intake that you gathered in Step One. Make sure you're not consuming more calories just because your daily metabolism has increased. 

Replace starchy white foods with small servings of whole grains to boost your fiber intake and curb hunger. And make sure that you eat protein at most meals. Lastly, try to replace empty calorie foods (such as crackers, candy, chips, or soda) with fruits and vegetables that provide more nutrition for fewer calories.

As a result of making these changes, you'll be able to boost the quality of your diet, feel full and satisfied without increasing your total calorie intake as a result.

Lastly, learn to reward yourself without food. You might be tempted to dive into your refrigerator after a workout or a busy active day. But there are other ways to comfort your body without derailing your diet. Take a bath, go for a walk, or relax and watch a movie. 

With smart methods to increase your metabolism, you're more likely to see weight loss benefits in less time.

By Malia Frey, M.A., ACE-CHC, CPT
 Malia Frey is a weight loss expert, certified health coach, weight management specialist, personal trainer​, and fitness nutrition specialist.