diet hacksIs your metabolism running slow down or has your weight plateaued despite all the diet hacks you’ve tried? This can be the frustrating reason you can’t shed those last few stubborn pounds. Even when you eat right and exercise regularly, there are some times when your weight just won’t budge—or you even gain a few. The good news is, by adopting a few new habits and tweaking some old ones, you can rev your metabolism and get the results you want.

Metabolism is your body’s biochemical process for converting what you consume into energy. We require energy every minute of the day—even when we’re at rest. Our body uses energy to breathe, circulate blood, repair and grow new cells, and balance hormones. Even if it’s not the cause of weight gain, it’s important that your metabolism functions optimally at all times.

Try these diet hacks to boost your metabolism and improve your overall health.

1. Manage stress better

When we are too stressed, this impacts our thyroid and can slow the metabolism. Stress also increases production of the hormone cortisol, which regulates the metabolism. When we produce too much cortisol, it can cause muscle loss, rapid weight gain and increased belly fat. Find ways to cope better with stress, such as meditation, relaxation techniques and exercise. Schedule a counseling session, get outside and walk, watch a funny movie, read a book. The point is to find something that appeals to you and do it regularly.

2. Work it out

Regular exercise is key—especially for helping with #1 since it boosts those feel-good endorphins and raises serotonin levels. Anything that gets your blood going, from a walk or jog around the neighborhood to hitting the gym, taking Pilates or boxing will rev your metabolism. However, if you switch up what you’re doing and mix it up as well, you’ll get even better results. Your body won’t be used to what you’re doing and will respond positively. If you currently work out four days a week, add in another day or two to shake things up further.

3. Eat on a schedule.

When you eat at a certain time each day, your body expects that it will receive energy at that time. It uses most of the energy from your earlier meals by your expected mealtime. When you skip meals or eat at irregular times, your body conserves energy instead, which can lead to fat storage. Try to eat at regular times at three to four hour intervals so your body knows how to use what you consume efficiently.

4. Become a morning person.

Being awake when the sun comes up helps regulate the body’s sleep-wake cycle and lets your body know it’s time to get up. This signals your metabolism that it can start using energy. You don’t need to rise with the roosters but going to bed early and waking up at a decent hour will significantly impact your weight, health and overall well-being.

5. Regulate iron.

When our bodies are iron-deficient, our muscles struggle to use oxygen efficiently and we get fatigued easier. Regulate your iron levels by eating iron-rich foods on a regular basis. Some excellent sources include spinach, eggs, beans, turkey, beef, oysters, shrimp, lentils, chickpeas and pumpkin seeds.

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