increase metabolism

9 Habits That Kill a Metabolism and How To Increase It

March 16, 2021

Metabolism. We have all heard this word over and over again. Most of us have “blamed” our metabolism for our weight or wished we could increase metabolism so we could maintain our goal weight. 

Well, what really is metabolism, what are the habits that kill it, and how to increase metabolism? 

What Is Metabolism and How To Increase It

Metabolism is how our body converts what we eat and drink into energy. We need this energy for our body to function. 

Obviously, we want our body to function to the best of its capability. We want it to be a well-run machine. We want our metabolism boosted and working for us to burn more calories, maintain weight, or lose weight to get to a healthier Body Mass Index

How To Increase Your Metabolism


Eat Protein-Rich Foods

Meat, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds, dairy, and legumes will use a lot of energy to breakdown and digest them. Capsaicin found in chili peppers is also known to increase metabolism and burn more calories daily.  Ginger and cayenne pepper may also have the same effect - so spice it up!  Other foods that are thought to increase fat burn are seaweed, coconut oil, apple cider vinegar, and cacao. 
Goal:  Consume protein with each meal.



No couch potatoes here. Keep it moving. Start your day off with a good stretch.  If you are sedentary (sitting) at work for more than 1 hour, get up and walk. Get a glass of water or use the bathroom. Try a standup desk or a ball chair at work to improve your posture and work your core during the day. 

Watching a good Netflix series? Do squats, pushups, planks, or lunges during the show. HIIT or High-intensity interval training is proven to burn fat and increase metabolism. Increase your muscle mass!  
Goal:  30 minutes, 5 days a week.



Sleep is underrated. It is the time that your body can relax, recover, and prepare for the next day.  Lack of sleep is directly related to increasing your risk of obesity. Improving your sleep can help keep hunger hormones in check, and help you feel full and satisfied to prevent snacking. 
Goal:  7 hours minimum of sleep a night.


Reduce Stress

Stress can cause the body to breakdown food more slowly. High stress may affect hormone levels that make your body produce cortisol. Cortisol is the hormone in charge of helping your body regulate appetite. It is a chain reaction. High stress increases appetite, which makes us want foods that are usually high in fat and sugar. Which leads to weight gain. High stress can also cause restless nights of sleep or broken sleep. 
Goal:  Smile and laugh!  Adopt relaxation and/or meditation techniques into your daily routine. 


Reduce Trans Fats In Your Diet

Trans fats slow down your body’s ability to burn fat. Where do you find trans fats? Most pre-packaged foods contain them since they make foods have a longer shelf-life. Trans Fats can raise your bad cholesterol (LDL) and lower your good cholesterol (HDL). They also can increase your risk of heart attack and stroke. Trans Fats hide on food labels using other words that we don’t recognize. 

Beware of partially hydrogenated oil (PHO’s). Examples of foods high in trans fats:  fried foods, anything battered, margarine, shortening, cakes, pies, fast foods, etc. Replace high Trans Fat foods with healthier versions (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats) such as skinless chicken or fish, low-fat dairy, safflower oil spray, avocados, almonds, pecans, and flax, pumpkin, or sesame seeds.
Goal:  Limit Trans fats to 1% of your daily calories, equal to 20 calories or 2 grams per day.



Water is essential to maintain weight and help your body function optimally. It helps transport nutrients and carries waste.  It helps moisten the eyes, mouth, nose, and hydrates skin. It ensures adequate blood volume. Water also carries medicines to the proper places in your body. 

Not a water person? Try flavoring it with lemon, lime, or a cucumber slice to give it a crisp taste. Remember, beverages with caffeine do not count towards hydrating daily fluid.  So, lay off the caffeine. 
Goal:  Consume 64oz minimum daily.


Stay Away From Crash and Fad Diets

Yo-yo dieting can make your body break down muscle and use it for energy.  Lower muscle mass means a slower metabolism.  Fad diets are just that.  Here today and gone tomorrow.  They leave us feeling out of control, and hopeless.  Extremely low-calorie diets are not balanced and can leave your body deprived- hence lowering your metabolism. 
Goal:  Maintain your healthy lifestyle, discuss a sustainable meal plan with your Dietitian.


Plan Your Day

Before you leave for your day, know your plan for eating. What will your three meals be? Leave no room for error. If you do not have a plan, it is not easy to make good choices. 

Promise to feed your body 3 meals a day that is evenly spaced throughout the day. Breakfast within 1 hour of waking up and Lunch and dinner 5-6 hours apart. This will promote a good metabolism and keep blood sugars steady. 

Working nights or shifts that change daily? No worries. Meal 1 is within one hour of waking up from your main sleep. That way, each day, you are off to a good start. Be confident in your plan. 
Goal:  Consume 3 meals daily.  Know before you go!


Eat Protein-Rich Foods

Just like we need enough money to pay our bills. We need enough energy (or good metabolism) to navigate our hectic and busy days. Track your energy level daily. Be mindful of the days you feel you can conquer the world and think about what you ate, slept, and how you moved around that day. 

Feeling sluggish? The same thing goes. Do a personal inventory of your day.  Did you skip a meal or have a more stressful day at work?  Use your daily intake to improve the next day.  Set yourself up for success.  Go to bed 15 minutes earlier or sleep a few minutes later. 
Goal:  Be aware of your energy level daily.

Always remember that you are in control of your choices. You decide how to plan your day and choose what foods will work best for you. Try not to compare yourself to others and what they “get away” with eating. Be your best version of yourself. Sleep well, hydrate, exercise, and make good choices and your metabolism will surprise you!

increase metabolism


Sharon George, MS, RD, CDN received her B.A. in Psychology from Syracuse University. She completed a second Bachelor’s degree in Nutrition at L.I.U.C.W. Post and received her Master’s degree in Community Counseling from Hofstra University. She has been published in OH Magazine and Bariatrics Today. Sharon has dedicated her career to Bariatric Nutrition for the past 15 years at the New York Bariatric Group.
Read more articles from Sharon!