Did you know that diets are a leading cause of slow metabolism? It’s sad but true: the more diets you go on, the more damaged and inefficient your metabolism becomes.
If you’ve been a chronic yo-yo dieter for years, you might feel like your metabolism is broken beyond repair. Some life-long dieters find that they gain weight when they eat anything approaching a healthy number of calories each day. That’s a demoralizing problem, but don’t give up just yet! There is a fast and easy way to get your metabolism back up to speed.
The key to a faster metabolism is more food.
How it that possible? To better understand the reasoning behind this trick, let’s take a crash course in dieting and metabolism.
Everyone has a certain amount of calories that they must consume in order for their bodies to function properly. This is called the Basal Metabolic Rate, or BMR. You can find BMR calculators online, or you can quickly estimate your BMR by using this simple system:
- 12 to 13 calories per pound of body weight will result in weight loss.
- 15 to 16 calories per pound of body weight will result in weight maintenance.
- 17 to 18 calories per pound of body weight will result in weight gain.
(It’s important to note that these estimates assume that you get a regular amount of physical activity each day. If you are completely sedentary or very active, your calorie requirements will vary. Consult a BMR calculator that takes various activity levels into consideration.)
Dieting can lower your BMR by 20 – 30%. Very low-calorie diets, also known as starvation diets, result in the most damage. A healthy, active 150 pound person needs approximately 2,200 calories per day to maintain their body weight. If that same person goes on a low-calorie diet, they will maintain their body weight on a mere 1,870 calories.
Now let’s say that person decides to lose a few pounds. If the dieter has a healthy metabolism, they can lose weight by consuming 1,800 calories a day. But with a diet-damaged metabolism, that dieter will need to drop their daily calorie consumption to 1,260. That’s bordering on dangerously low.
So how does one speed up their metabolism after years of ravaging diets? As stated above, more food is the key. You need to nourish your body to encourage it to heal.
This might sound too good to be true. After all, if all it takes to lose weight is to eat more food, why doesn’t everyone do it?
It’s not as easy as it sounds. When you start to eat normally again, you will almost certainly gain weight. This quick gain scares many dieters, sending them back to the near-starvation diets they’ve grown accustomed to.
But if you can just wait it out, the scale will start to move in the right direction once more. Remember, it took your body a while to reset its metabolic rate to a slower speed. It will take just as long, if not longer, for it to speed back up.
There are some things you can do to minimize the waiting period. First, calculate how many calories you would need with a healthy BMR. Start eating that number of calories each day. It might feel like a lot of food at first, but just remember that your body is repairing itself, so it needs plenty of fuel.
Instead of digesting three large meals several hours apart, allow your body to burn food throughout the day by eating 5 or 6 small meals. Eat foods from a variety of groups. Take at least half of your calories from whole grains, fruits and vegetables. Try to eat some lean protein at each meal.
Be sure to get a little physical activity each day, even if it’s just a half-hour walk after dinner. Add in some meditation and deep, mindful breathing to alleviate stress. Now you’ve got all the bases covered: food, energy, and oxygen. All three are vital for maintaining a healthy metabolism.
It might take longer than you like to see a weight loss with this method, but the loss you do attain will be a healthy and permanent one. Some habitual dieters are able to speed up their metabolisms in weeks. Others take months. Your individual success will depend on age, genetics, and adherence to the plan.
Remember: Diets slow down metabolism, but it can be repaired! Give your body small doses of fuel throughout the day, plus the movement and oxygen it needs. This is a simple, proven trick for getting your metabolism back on track.