Now that the holiday season has returned, many people are gearing up for some pretty substantial indulgence! From large family meals to drinks with friends, the festive season revolves largely around social food and drink. But while all this decadence can feel good in the moment, it’s not that great for your health or waistline.
That being said, there are ways you can mitigate the potential negatives of the holiday season when it comes to eating and drinking too much. One such way is working on speeding up your metabolism – the bodily process that converts food and drink into energy. But how do you speed up your metabolism fast? Read on to learn all you need to know about how to boost your metabolism before the holidays.
How can I quickly speed up my metabolism?
Metabolism and personal metabolic rate are terms that are often used interchangeably; however, the reality is that they’re two different things – and to boost your metabolism, you will have to increase your metabolic rate, which is how many calories you burn. There are various ways you can do this.
Eat protein with every meal
The simple act of eating can actually boost your metabolism for a few hours because of the thermal effect of food. This is the term used to describe how many calories your body burns by consuming, digesting, absorbing, and processing all the nutrients in your meal.
Eating protein with every meal causes the largest increase in thermal effect, which leads to an increased calorie burn. In fact, your metabolic rate can increase by as much as 30% by adding protein to every meal. Eating protein also helps keep you fuller longer, which leads to lower overall food consumption.
Hydrate with cold water
The often sugar-filled drinks that are staples of holiday fare are hard to stay away from, but if you’re going to indulge, make sure you’re also staying hydrated with cold water as much as possible. Drinking water can lead to an increase of metabolism by up to 30% for an hour after you take the last sip.
Temperature can play a role here too. Drinking cold water has actually been shown to increase that metabolism boost even further because the body has to use more calories to heat the water up to body temperature. Drinking water 30 minutes before a meal can also reduce how much you eat, so you can still indulge without going overboard.
Move more often
If you spend most of your time sitting, you’re doing your metabolism a disservice. While it can be difficult to move around if you work a desk job (or are relaxing at home with your loved ones during holiday get-togethers), standing up and moving around more often burns more calories than sitting does. This can help to keep weight gain over the holidays at bay.
Add green or oolong tea to your diet
Both green and oolong tea have been shown to help boost metabolism. Drinking a serving of each can lead to a modest increase in calorie burn (roughly 4–5%).
Drinking more green and oolong tea can also help to convert fat stored in your body into free fatty acids, which in turn helps to increase your fat burning rate by an additional 10–17%.
Eat more spicy food
Not everyone can handle spicy food, but if you’re one of the lucky ones who isn’t too bothered by that extra kick, adding spicy food to your diet can boost your calorie-burning abilities. This is because spicy peppers such as chili or jalapeno peppers contain a substance known as capsaicin, which has been shown to help boost metabolism.
While the effects of spicy food on metabolism boosting are modest, when combined with other tips on this list, it can make a real difference in how many calories you’re burning this holiday season.
Can I exercise to increase metabolism?
Not everything you do to boost your metabolism has to revolve around food. While getting moving during the busy shuffle of the holiday season may be the last thing on your mind, it’s crucial to boost your metabolism so all that overindulgence doesn’t catch up to you in the new year.
The trick is knowing what types of exercises are best to do when it comes to boosting your metabolism. All exercise is good, but some types are better than others at increasing calorie burn.
Muscle burns more calories than fat when the body is at rest. Lifting weights can be a great way to build more muscle on your body, thus increasing the amount of calories your body burns this holiday season. This means that even when you’re sitting around a fire enjoying holiday snacks, your body will be burning more calories than it did when you had less muscle mass.
Do high-intensity interval training
High-intensity interval training, or HIIT for short, is a type of exercise that involves short and intense bursts of activity cycled by short periods of rest. When you participate in regular HIIT exercises, your metabolic rate increases because it can help you burn more fat. What’s more, HIIT exercise can actually lead to higher fat burn even when you’re finished working out.
The holiday season is meant to be enjoyed, so don’t be hard on yourself if you do happen to overindulge in the delicious aspects of this festive time! All you have to do is add in a few metabolism-boosting activities and you can help your body burn more calories and avoid that holiday weight gain.