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How to Speed Up Your Slow metabolism

Updated on July 31, 2012

A slow metabolism makes it nearly impossible to lose weight. Fortunately, there are a number of natural ways to speed metabolism and make it efficient once again. The benefits of an efficient metabolism are the ability to burn the necessary amount of calories daily, replace fat with muscle and increase energy. It is important to understand what metabolism is, find out what is influencing it, counteract those influences with the correct exercise and diet and the appropriate number of daily meals.

What is metabolism?

Metabolism in the simplest terms is the rate at which the body burns calories. This varies in individuals because of different lifestyles and how those lifestyles influence metabolism. You and someone you know may have the same level of activity, diet, and weight but lose or gain weight at different rates because of different metabolisms.

What influences a Slow Metabolism

There are a number of things that will slow down your metabolism: Going on starvation or low calorie diets - These diets never work because the body holds on stored fat as an energy source when it doesn't get its needed calories from food. If these types of diets are continued for a long period of time, the body will begin to break down muscle tissue for fuel. This releases nitrogen which the body will quickly wash away, causing unhealthy muscle and water loss. The water will quickly be regained and the muscle loss will cause problems with the metabolism for a long time.

Other factors that slow metabolism include lack of daily physical activity, overeating and drinking foods and beverages full of sugar, more body fat than lean muscle (your metabolism will increase as your muscle mass increases) and throwing your metabolism into overdrive because of too little sleep.

Effective Ways to Get a Metabolism Boost

Aerobic exercise - At least 30 minutes a day is needed. This will increase your metabolism for 4 to 8 hours after you stop exercising so you will be burning calories long after you stop exercising.

Weight training - Muscle burns more calories per day than fat does. So the more muscle you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate will be. The more muscle the better because it burns calories 24 hours per day. This is the only way to increase your resting metabolism rate which is responsible for 60 to 70 percent of the calories you burn each day.

Drink lots of water - Lack of water will have a similar effect to lack of food. It will result in the body holding on again and restrict proper metabolism. By drinking enough water the liver will be able to work on metabolism rather than water retention.

A Healthy Diet - A healthy diet (this means avoiding junk food) when combined with the proper exercise training program will eventually turn a overweight body into a lean, muscular body, increasing the burning of calories 24 hours a day.

Determine your resting metabolic rate and adjust your diet accordingly - Determine your resting metalic rate online. Once you know your resting metalic rate you can calculate what your daily calorie intake should be to safely lose weight. For example, if your resting metalic rate is 1800, multiply this by 1.15. Your maintainance intake is 2070. You can count calories by looking up the calories for each food item (check the food packaging, look at calorie tables online or in the appropriate books).

Eat small meals more frequently throughout the day - Eating smaller meals more frequently will avoid starving the body for calories, which will prevent it from holding on to calories and storing them as fat.

The key to effective weight loss, proper weight maintainance and ideal energy levels is to speed the metabolism to a level of peak efficiency. Taking the necessary steps to accomplish this will be well worth the effort in the long run.

For more tips on speeding up metabolism read the article Best Way to Speed Metabolism

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    • profile image

      hmmm 5 years ago

      If starving yourself didn't work..ethiopians would be fat :)

    • profile image

      increase metabolism naturally 6 years ago

      thanks for the link to check resting metabolic rate

    • C-Bless profile image

      C-Bless 6 years ago from Canada

      Lots and lots of excellent tips and pointers. I thoroughly enjoyed the read. Thank you for sharing.

    • OmNaser profile image

      OmNaser 6 years ago from kuwait

      Thats a very useful hub thank you. I used to starve myself to lose weight . It worked a bit but not anymore because when i am starving myself i started to eat more on lunch. So i will try to have several small meals during the day.

      Thanks :)

    • sueroy333 profile image

      Susan Mills 6 years ago from Indiana

      Great information. The metabolism calculator is awesome. I don't like the number it calculates, but it's still awesome.

    • suejanet profile image

      suejanet 6 years ago

      I thoroughily enjoyed this hub. The information is very helpful. I have been trying to lose weight and am walking 2 miles a day. I do eat smaller meals more often, but I will definately use some of your info. thanks

    • milenaamr profile image

      milenaamr 7 years ago

      Great Hub. I will try to follow some of the advises you gave. Thanks.

    • Carrie.M profile image

      Carrie.M 7 years ago from MI, United States

      A very thorough hub, well done. I like the way that you present the information in a practical, realistic manner without any hype. When will people learn that there is no "quick fix" to weight loss. I have found that running combined with weight training was ver effective for me. Also eating more and not less. I know it sounds strange but it worked. Of course the food I ate more of were vegetables espcially green leafy and complex carbs.

    • korayd profile image

      korayd 7 years ago from Edmonton

      very good advice, ill make a page like this soon, thanks for the inspiration

    • epigramman profile image

      epigramman 7 years ago

      ..I have already 'speeded' up my metabolism - I started reading your hubs!

      And let drop my glass jaw in awe - 2 million followers - and a perfect score - what is left to conquer?????

      Well to review and comment on one of epigramman's epigrams - or find 'another' fountain of eternal youth!!!

    • profile image

      John 7 years ago

      Unfortunately millions of people will spend billions of dollars this year on diets and weight loss programs. Only a small fraction of these will be successful at loosing weight and keeping it off over the long run. The single most important thing you can do to not be one of these people is to increase your metabolism.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin

      Wonderful Hub! I would add eating breakfast, our body is sleeping and grabbing even a handful of something dry will shout good morning get the engines running. My best friend fought me on this until he hired an expensive trainer who stated the same thing - he finally changed his ways.

      Excellent Hub!

    • fucsia profile image

      fucsia 7 years ago

      Very informative hub! I will use the info in this hub

    • SteveoMc profile image

      SteveoMc 7 years ago from Pacific NorthWest

      Thank you, I am always looking for ways to improve my health at this point. I will now strive to improve my metabolism.

    • AllyWally profile image

      AllyWally 7 years ago from Subang, Malaysia

      This is fast read but it contains all the necessary information about metabolism!

    • TheMMAZone profile image

      TheMMAZone 7 years ago from Kansas

      This is fantastic information! I am taking a couple of these and applying them to my daily routine.

    • felicitylovespari profile image

      felicitylovespari 7 years ago

      Green Tea definitely promotes a speeded metabolism in addition to its immune system enhancing properties.

    • profile image

      sophs 7 years ago

      brilliant advice! :-)

    • Hopmoney wizard profile image

      Hopmoney wizard 7 years ago from barak

      hi stevemark thanks for the info about metabolism. it help me understand about weightloss

    • fdoleac profile image

      fdoleac 7 years ago from Hollis, New Hampshire

      Great informative HUB- I have found that my metabolism "cooks" at a higher level for longer periods when I consume less sugar. This is especially true when I have a routine of weight workouts excercising the large muscles in my body. Do you find this to be true?

    • texasdaye profile image

      texasdaye 7 years ago from Castroville, Texas

      I love your articles! I came to this one from the best fat burning one. Really good advice. Thank you!

    • Rob Davis profile image

      Rob Davis 7 years ago from Detroit, Michigan

      I think you gave some great information in this article. If you can, come check out the new article that I just wrote. Im new to hubpages and Ive just wrote my first hub :-)

    • RTalloni profile image

      RTalloni 7 years ago from the short journey

      Excellent reminders for New Year jump-starts! Thanks!

    • Dim Flaxenwick profile image

      Dim Flaxenwick 7 years ago from Great Britain

      Great information. Thank you. Also for writing it in an idiot-proof way so even I could understand it.

    • DeBorrah K. Ogans profile image

      DeBorrah K Ogans 7 years ago

      Stevemark122000, Nice Hub! Great ideas on speeding up your metabolism. Thank You for sharing, Blessings!

    • missmarsh profile image

      Loralie Lyndon 7 years ago from USA

      Excellent hub on speeding up metabolism. I needed this information. Thanks for sharing!

    • profile image

      jacky 7 years ago

      Thanks for sharing all this information.

    • Lee Thacker profile image

      Lee Thacker 7 years ago

      I like the way your brain thinks, makes me feel alive listening to what your thinking, very cool...Keep it up ...PS Now I Know Why I bookmarked your page ;-) ...Hope you are doing well,

    • profile image

      AnnieMary 7 years ago from UK

      Great Hub

      It makes sense that keeping the metabolic rate at the optimum level means that calories are burned more efficiently. I agree with the small meal options for continued boosting of the metabolism . Check out the plan which worked for me

      https://hubpages.com/health/The-most-simple-diet-y...

    • howdoiloseweight profile image

      howdoiloseweight 8 years ago

      Great article! Thanks for sharing and for laying this information out in such an easy-to-understand way...

    • michelle.dragon99 profile image

      michelle.dragon99 8 years ago

      Great hub Steve..my opinion to speed up metabolism is through exercises...that's the best way so far...

    • hdvideoreviews profile image

      hdvideoreviews 8 years ago from Australia

      Wonderful Article.. Cool hub.. This will benefits a lot of hubbers.. Thanks and more hubs to come..

    • profile image

      jonty 8 years ago

      Very well written hub .....

      very much informative ......

      Thank you very much for your great hub, for good advice, good wishes and support. Thanks for sharing your experience with all of us.

    • peminatautomotive profile image

      peminatautomotive 8 years ago from malaysia

      great hub

    • BrenLorenz profile image

      BrenLorenz 8 years ago from Atlanta, GA

      Wow! I never heard or read anything about a RMR (Resting metobolic rate). RHR, (resting heart rate) yes, but never RMR. Thats why calorie restriction can actually work against you if you don't know what this number is. Great info!

    • N.E. Wright profile image

      N.E. Wright 8 years ago from Bronx, NY

      Great advice. I love this hub.

      I will be using your advice for myself, and I will start my little son for his health's future.

      Thank you for this hub.

    • Samantha Goodman profile image

      Samantha Goodman 8 years ago from Australia

      Eating to 5 to 6 mini meals a day is definately the key for boosting that metabolism. Thanks for the tips Steve.

    • kallystehouwer profile image

      kallystehouwer 8 years ago

      Thanks for the info. Very helpful.

    • ramkumar45 profile image

      ramkumar45 8 years ago from INDIA

      Nice info.Viewed your other post also. Quiet interesting.Joined your fan club to-day.

    • CelinaMac profile image

      CelinaMac 8 years ago from Philippines

      Your one of the reasons which make hubpages so surprising.

      good info that is easy to read and without subscription =) thanks

    • RedElf profile image

      RedElf 8 years ago from Canada

      Wow! Lots of great information here. Thanks for sharing with us.

    • crizzy profile image

      crizzy 8 years ago from Philippines

      Nice article and has shed a lot of good infromation. I've learned a lot.

    • profile image

      low calorie diet plan 8 years ago

      thanks for the information

    • Kmadhav profile image

      Kmadhav 8 years ago from New delhi

      you wrote on the natural ways which is very good and not harmful for body. This things not only increase our metabolism but very helpful in making live longer and healthy.

    • LeatherBella profile image

      LeatherBella 8 years ago from On Your thoughts.

      Thank you, great hub, very useful information - easy to understand!

    • profile image

      Erick Smart 8 years ago

      Great hub! I used to work construction and so I got plenty of physical activity in my day. Now I am stuck at a desk and I can tell I need to rev up the metabolism to make adjustments to my new lifestyle.

    • profile image

      georgiecox 8 years ago

      Hi Steve

      I'm a newby to hubpages.

      Your article is simple to understand which made it a joy to read; easy on the eyes. I need to lose some weight so will follow your advice and see what happens!

      Will be reading some more of your articles.

      Georgiecox

    • BardScribe profile image

      BardScribe 8 years ago from Iowa

      Cindyvine--I was hypothyroid from birth, and have been on levothyroxine all but the first 13 weeks of my life. You have my utter sympathies. I don't personally know about natural remedies, other than getting LOTS of exercise, which, as a writer and mystic, is challenging for me to do, as I find academia and writing a LOT more personally interesting than pumping iron. :-P

      What you can try at some point, if you can get to a licensed naturopath who works with thyroid patients, is the natural supplement called Armour. You can try getting it through an allopathic (Western medicine) doctor, but many are trained to tout the synthetic stuff as the so-called "gold standard."

      In the meantime, all you can do is the common sense stuff described above--but double it because of the lack of natural thyroid hormone, which can lead to diabetes and other issues.

      Now, to go take my own darned advice on exercise. ;-)

    • Wingswriter profile image

      Wingswriter 8 years ago from Nebraska

      Steve,

      I like the way you take sometimes confusing information and explain it in understandable and concise terms. Great advice that I intend to practice.

    • cindyvine profile image

      Cindy Vine 8 years ago from Cape Town

      hey Steve, I've had my thyroid removed and am on thyroxine. Is there a natural remedy I can take as well to stimulate my metabolism as the thyroxine doesn't seem to be doing it for me

    • profile image

      issues veritas 8 years ago

      Steve,

      Great hub and on the course.

      Metabolism, I believe is controlled by the primitive part of the brain. That part was good at taking food that was hit or miss (literally) and not knowing when the next meal was coming, stored it in the fat bank which is referred to as the bread basket.

      Great in the ancient times but not in modern times. Unfortunately, we never got the last upgrade to the brain-ware.

      In modern times the metabolism has been compromised by stress. Stress triggers another primitive brain response, that of flight or fight. However, stress is virtual rather than real but perceived by the brain as real. Food acts as a stress reliever making the threat dull. The increase in food is captured as fat to help us when the next stress attack occurs and we need energy.

      It would be nice if we could control these primitive protection mechanisms directly, but until we find a way to do that, all your suggestions work just fine.

      Thanks

    • Juliet Christie profile image

      Juliet Christie Murray 8 years ago from Sandy Bay Jamaica

      Great hub Steve I followed your link and calculated my resting RMR. Now I will know how to planb my reducing diet. I actually knew how to workit out but I keep forgetting the formula. Thanks for this hub.

    • midnightbliss profile image

      Haydee Anderson 8 years ago from Hermosa Beach

      excellent hub, thaks for sharing this information and advice.

    • naunette morrow profile image

      naunette morrow 8 years ago

      Thank you. Water was a new one to me. Plan on starting that tomorrow.

    • perfectweight profile image

      perfectweight 8 years ago

      Great information! Metabolism is something we all want to speed up. Thanks for bringing this great information so we have the tools we need.

    • Scott Powhatan profile image

      Scott Powhatan 8 years ago from Panama City Beach, Fl

      Great hub. I just wanted to add some things too. The things in your hub are awesome and need to be done for anyone to lose fat properly and in a healthy way. For the readers that are already doing these things and are looking for advanced ways to speed up metabolism I have some tips that work well and are healthy. Spicy foods that are spiced with red pepper and cheyenne pepper, green tea extract, and celery are also great metabolism increasers. Again healthy diet and portion control are vital and should be the first steps taken. There is no substitution for diet and exercise. Thanks for the hub and information.

    • tonks21 profile image

      tonks21 8 years ago from V-Town

      this is an excellent article. I know from experience that these tips work. I started to get back into shape and lose some weight a couple months ago by exercising everyday for at 30 minutes (sometimes more) and eating better foods. I would drink protein shakes for the small meals in between (snacks). Protein is great for the body and because it gets burned fast it needs to be replaced and helps us to build muscle instead of store fat. I was able to lost 11 pounds and 4 inches in two months. I definitely feel healthier.

    • profile image

      John 8 years ago

      What, no magic pill I can take to lose weight? What a bummer! Seriously though, great article and good advice for anyone wanting to lose those extra pounds.

    • livelovecoffee profile image

      livelovecoffee 8 years ago from Georgia

      Great Article! thanks for all the usefull information.

    • Eyes2YourSoul profile image

      Eyes2YourSoul 8 years ago from World Wide

      Great Hub...Im always interested in ways to keep my body healthy and will be practicing some of these techniques.

    • mulberry1 profile image

      mulberry1 8 years ago

      A lot of these seemed to come naturally to me as a younger person but once I was well into my 40's I became more sedentary...and I've had to be much more conscious of what I do and return to more routine physical activity. I recently began doing just a little weight lifing to try to rebuild a bit of muscle. It's not something I enjoy! Great overview.

    • MomK profile image

      MomK 8 years ago from Rural Arkansas

      Great discussion! I never knew that too little sleep would contribute to a slow metabolism.

    • Kulsum Mehmood profile image

      Dr Kulsum Mehmood 8 years ago from Nagpur, India

      Good write-up steve. Great hub.

    • reagu profile image

      reagu 8 years ago from Los Angeles

      I've not confirmed this, but supposedly, eating hot food such as chili also increases your metabolism.

    • tinyteddy profile image

      tinyteddy 8 years ago from INDIA

      dear steve,

      i am an endocrine surgeon and i am happy about your hub. i validate it . what ever has been hyped up in the media is farce about calorie watch and dieting. dieting is a wrong concept.

      good hub

    • Bruce Elkin profile image

      Bruce Elkin 8 years ago from Victoria, BC Canada

      Great hub. Clear, engaging, informative. I'm off to learn about stoking my immune system. Thanks!

    • hubby7 profile image

      hubby7 8 years ago from Chicago

      I enjoyed reading your hub. It was very informative. I will come back to read more of your other hubs.

      hubby7

    • stevemark122000 profile image
      Author

      stevemark122000 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Denise! I'm not sure why you find it difficult to eat breakfast. If it is because you are not hungry a simple solution is to make a meal replacement smoothie. They are great for speeding the metabolism and I find I enjoy them whether or not I have an appetite. They are also great for weight loss. I wrote a hub about smoothie meal replacements that you may find interesting.

      http://hubpages.com/hub/Nutritious--Meal-Replacmen...

    • denise mohan profile image

      denise mohan 8 years ago from California

      I've been told that eating breakfast is greatfor speeding metabloism. Do you find this to be true. i have the hardest time eating breakfast on the days I am home.Any suggestions?

    • oxi_z profile image

      oxi_z 8 years ago from Northern Cyprus

      Great Hub. I loved your advice of eating smaller meals more frequently. Overeating is probably the most common problem for people. What do you think of a glass of water with apple cider vinegar before meal? I heard it enhances metabolic rate.

      Cheers.

      -Oksana

    • The Phantom Blot profile image

      The Phantom Blot 8 years ago

      Very sensible advice, thanks for your hub.

    • RGraf profile image

      Rebecca Graf 8 years ago from Wisconsin

      Thanks for the reminders. I knew most of that but it is so easy to forget.

    • JJC13 profile image

      JJC13 8 years ago from Liverpool

      These article can help a lot of people who have either problems gaining or losing weight.

    • billnad profile image

      billnad 8 years ago

      I love your tips. Isn't it funny that almost no one is doing any of these things at all. If people would just starte ating small meals, doing a bit of cardio and weights then they would be healthier all around

    • stevemark122000 profile image
      Author

      stevemark122000 8 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for your comment Sascha! As long as the body is getting enough calories per day for its energy needs it won't hold onto stored fat. So decreasing calories can be effective but only to a point.

    • Sascha H profile image

      Sascha H 8 years ago from The Netherlands

      Very informative hub! My advice to most of the people is; Determine your resting metabolic rate. Drop 200 calories in your intake, wait until you stop losing fat, and drop another 200 calories. Just keep on doing this, or add some cardio.

      What's your opinion about this approach?

    • profile image

      Rakshitha 8 years ago

      this hub is great

    • profile image

      DeniseDH 8 years ago from Texas

      Thanks for this. It's really helpful!

    • Mark Salinas profile image

      Mark Salinas 8 years ago

      A wealth of solid information. Often people think avoiding food is the solution to weight loss....wrong! Eat wise and stay active! Nice Hub!

    • Mezo profile image

      Motaz 8 years ago from Egypt

      thanx alot for the useful info

      keep hubbing :)

    • profile image

      bgomes 9 years ago from Portugal

      wow, nice post, very informative, i like it alot.

      keep going ;)

    • DougsHub profile image

      DougsHub 9 years ago from Australia

      What i like most about this Hub is that it has motivated me to try your tips. Starting with drinking more water. I mean that can't be too hard can it?

      Thanks and regards,

      Doug

    • stevemark122000 profile image
      Author

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks marisue! Hopefully the increased metabolism will give us all so much energy we will reach financial independence long before then. LOL

    • marisuewrites profile image

      marisuewrites 9 years ago from USA

      Information to live by!! way to go again, Steve, we should soon be living longer with your good tips...uh o, look out Social Security!! LOL

    • profile image

      CaseyE 9 years ago

      I picked up a couple of great tips from somewhere! Tip #1 Drink cold water: your body has to use energy to warm it up. It doesn't send cold water through your system because it would throw your homeostatis way off! It has to warm it up before sending it on from the stomach. Tip #2: Chew gum after eating. I swear by this one. See when you are chewing (even if it's gum) you are setting the whole digestive process in motion. Chew gum after you eat (for about 15 or 30 minutes) and your body thinks it's getting more food so it works hard to digest the food you've already eaten in anticipation for more.

      Hey, I'm a girl and every calorie counts! Gotta do what you gotta do!

    • mahasson profile image

      mahasson 9 years ago from Georgia

      Thanks for your expertise. I could use a speedier metabolism! I've always heard these kinds of tips and I should really start trying them!

    • stevemark122000 profile image
      Author

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      Thanks for all the great comments everyone. Much appreciated!

    • Andromeda10 profile image

      Andromeda10 9 years ago from Chicago

      Good call on the Mocha Fraps, jreuter. They are my addiction as well. Thank you for the insights, Steve. I tend to forget to eat and after a while start to gain weight. It seems backwards and now I know why. Thanks again, Andromeda

    • jreuter profile image

      Jason Reuter 9 years ago from Portland, Oregon

      excellent hub, now I just to need to cut down on the mocha frappucinos.

    • RachelOrd profile image

      Rachel Ord 9 years ago from Palm Coast

      great hub. I really despise those diets that restrict calories to near starvation. They give people false hopes! It really important to keep a balanced diet and lifestyle. Thanks!

    • stevemark122000 profile image
      Author

      stevemark122000 9 years ago from Southern California

      THanks for your comment Tyhill27. There is no quick answer to your question of how to increase calorie intake in a cost effective manner. I have been planning to write a hub on this topic later this week so stay tuned.

    • Tyhill27 profile image

      Tyhill27 9 years ago from Red Deer, Alberta

      Excellent! I learned a lot about Metabolism that I did not know before! Why I am ready this though is not because I want to lose weight. I want to learn more about the Metabolism so that I can gain weight. At the moment I only about 135 lbs and have never been over 145 my entire life. To gain 10 lbs I had to do much weight training and eating! I guess because I have like no fat on me that my muscle content burns much more calories, with my active lifestyle. Do you have any suggestions to high but cost effective calorie intakes? Or healthy way to slow down the Matabolism a little bit?

    • Lynn Byrne profile image

      Lynn Byrne 9 years ago from Daytona Beach Florida

      This is really good information. I've heard that working out in the morning will increase your daily metabolism.

    • Chloe Comfort profile image

      Chloe Comfort 9 years ago from Long Island

      Great Hub! Very informative with lots of sound advice. Works for me! Kudos.

    • Om Paramapoonya profile image

      Om Paramapoonya 9 years ago

      I've heard that drinking green tea can also speed up your metabolism quite a bit. Not sure if it's true or not, though. Nice hub, by the way.:-)

    • MummyAnn profile image

      MummyAnn 9 years ago from UK

      Great advice, thank you.

    • flutterbug77 profile image

      flutterbug77 9 years ago from USA

      Great post. Also, Hyper or Hypo thryroid can affect your metabolism. I have hypothryoid, which slows my metabolism down. Bummer!

    • starnymph profile image

      starnymph 9 years ago from Bonnie Scotland

      Great info I really will think about this. Thanks for sharing.

    • Marlene_OnTheWall profile image

      Marlene_OnTheWall 9 years ago from Singapore

      Great information. I'll have to put some of your suggestions into practice.

    • James 0608 profile image

      James 0608 9 years ago from Southern Ontario

      Great job on this hub. I'll be visiting often to view your others.