5 Proven Strategies To Jumpstart Your Weight Loss

There are many reasons why you may feel you need to jumpstart your weight loss.

Maybe you’ve been on a diet for a while, but your weight has plateaued and you can’t seem to shed any more pounds. Maybe you’re feeling sluggish and slow and can’t find the motivation to go on a diet or start exercising. Or maybe it feels like, no matter what you do, you keep gaining weight.

There are safe and effective ways to boost your metabolism to help you get out of a weight loss rut. Read on to find out how to jumpstart your metabolism for weight loss.

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What is your metabolism?

Your metabolism, or metabolic rate, is the rate at which your body burns calories. Your metabolic rate is an important factor in weight loss or weight gain.

Metabolic rate is made up of three different components:

  • Resting metabolic rate (RMR) – A measure of the calories that your body requires simply to maintain itself and perform daily functions, such as breathing and circulating blood.

  • Thermic effect of food (TEF) – The amount of energy you use to digest the different types of food you eat. Protein has a higher thermic effect than carbohydrates or fat.

  • Thermic effect of activity (TEA) –  The number of calories that you burn through activity. This includes exercise as well as daily activities, such as getting dressed, grocery shopping, cleaning the house, walking to the mailbox, etc.

By increasing the rate of the three components of your metabolism, you can increase your metabolic rate. The higher or faster your metabolic rate, the more energy your body expends and the faster you are able to lose weight. 

1. Eat more protein

When you eat, you give your body energy. Your body then needs to use energy to digest and absorb the nutrients from your meal. This is called the thermic effect of food (TEF). The TEF can be indicated as a percentage increase in energy expenditure (number of calories burned) above your RMR.

Protein causes an increase in RMR of 15-30%, while carbohydrates only increase metabolic rate by 5-10%, and fats by 0-3%.¹ ²

One study has shown that replacing 17-18% of the carbohydrates in subjects’ diets with protein (either pork or soy) resulted in an increase in energy expenditure of 3% over a 24-hour period.³ This means that the people who ate more protein burnt 3% more calories than the people who didn’t.

Adding more protein to your diet is a simple and easy way to jumpstart your metabolism to help you lose weight.

2. Drink coffee

Drinking coffee is another way you can jumpstart your metabolism to lose weight due to the caffeine it contains. Don’t worry if you don’t like coffee – any form of caffeine will do, such as from green tea.

Studies have shown that ingesting 100mg of caffeine (an average cup of coffee normally contains between 80-100mg of caffeine⁴) increased RMR by 3-4% for approximately 150 minutes.⁵

A review of 13 studies, including 606 participants, looking at caffeine and weight loss found that caffeine reduced body weight, body fat percentage, and body mass index (BMI).⁶

3. Exercise

Exercise is a powerful way to supercharge your metabolism to help you lose weight. Just 45 minutes of vigorous exercise has been shown to increase RMR for 14 hours after completing the exercise.⁷ This activates two components of your metabolism: you burn off calories doing the exercise (TEA), and your body keeps burning calories in what is known as the ‘afterburn’ effect.

4. Drink a glass of cold water

Drinking 500ml of water has been shown to increase RMR by 30% for up to 40 minutes after ingestion, especially if you are drinking cold water. A large part of the thermogenic effect comes from the body heating the cool water up to body temperature after you have consumed it.⁸

An eight-week study in which participants drank 500ml of water over and above their usual water intake before breakfast, lunch, and dinner found that, without making any other changes, they lost a significant amount of weight.⁹

Adding just a few extra glasses of water to your daily routine may give your metabolism the boost it needs to start shedding pounds.

5. Strength training

Since muscle has a higher resting metabolic rate than fat, the more muscle you have, relative to the amount of fat, the higher your RMR will be.

On a calorie-restricted diet, you may lose muscle as well with fat. This can sometimes cause you to hit a weight loss plateau because the muscle loss slows down your RMR and makes it harder for you to lose weight. Doing resistance and strength training while you are losing weight has been shown to counter this effect and preserve muscle while helping you to lose fat at the same time.¹⁰

Adding high-intensity intervals to your resistance training is even better. Doing high-intensity interval resistance training not only has the positive effect of preserving muscle mass but has also been shown to increase RMR post-exercise more than simple resistance training.¹¹

The lowdown

It’s almost inevitable that at some point on your weight loss journey, you’re going to hit a plateau or even get into a rut where you just can’t seem to lose weight. When this happens, there are simple changes you can make to jumpstart your metabolism and get your weight loss back on track. These include adding more protein to your diet, increasing your caffeine intake, exercising regularly, drinking more cold water, and strength training.

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