Some women find they have a tough time with metabolism once they reach 40. But it’s not just because of the aging process; there are many other factors that affect your body and how fast you burn calories, including pregnancy, hormone balance, genetics and lifestyle.
That said - I know all too well what can happen when our metabolism slows down without some adjustments in place: feeling tired ALL THE TIME, weight gain, brain fog, and low libido. So today we're going to talk about ways to boost your metabolism so you can feel good from the inside out.
1. Support Your Thyroid
Well, I know that you're going to tell me that you've had your thyroid checked and everything is normal. But has it been checked by a naturopathic/functional medicine doctor ? Our approach may be different from others when it comes down to optimal ranges for hormones like thyroxine (T4) or triiodothyronine (T3). There's really no one-size-fits-all number; optimal ranges can vary based upon age as well! My preference would have them in ranges like these:
- TSH – close to 1.0
- Free T4 – above 1.0
- Free T3 – above 3.0
- Evaluate for TPO and TG Antibodies
- Iodine levels within healthy normal limits
If your ranges are off, consider adding at least 300mcg of iodine to your regimen, and other thyroid supportive nutrients (selenium, zinc, tyrosine). But ideally, you should have these measured so you can track your progress.
2. Intermittent Fasting (IF)
Intermittent fasting is an exciting trend that has been gaining momentum in recent years. The practice of intermittent fasting involves establishing a determined eating window, where you ‘fast’ or do not eat anything with calories for 12-18 hours! I would recommend starting off by having a 12-hour long period without food during your fast. It sounds unintuitive, but IF'ing typically gives you more energy and significantly boosts metabolism. Plus it speeds up the detoxification processes within our bodies as well. There are lots of great resources on incorporating an IF approach into your week, start with one or two days to try it. An easy way to start, make dinner your last meal around 7pm, then don't eat breakfast the next day. Break your fast with lunch and then eat normally. Give it a try, you'll be surprised by how effective and easy it can be!
Case study: I have a 68 year old woman who has been steadily gaining weight over the last 12 years and is now maintaining at 60 lbs over her goal weight. She has tried many types of diets – keto, Whole 30, weight watchers and in the last 5 years has not been able to budge her weight. She is now on an 8 hour eating window, with her last meal being at 4-5pm. Since beginning this 3 weeks ago, she has lost 8 lbs. The foods she is consuming is basically the same as her pre-IF diet.
3. Carb Cycling with Whole30, Paleo, or Keto
The idea of alternating low-carb days with higher fat days can work really well. Typically, you take a program like Whole 30 or Keto, but have specific days during the week where carbs are higher and other days lower. The truth about carbs? They can turn into fat if not monitored closely enough. I've seen success in weight loss on these approaches. It's important when doing intermittent carb cycling to either have fatter meals or protein rich meals every weekend so that your metabolism will spike.
Takeaways: Consider integrating a Whole 30 or Keto approach, with intermittent carbohydrate/lower-fat meals once per week. Focus on eliminating GMO foods, and high allergen food groups (soy, corn, wheat, and dairy).
4. Add 10+ minutes of high-intensity exercise, with weights if possible:
So, you want to get in better shape but don't have the time? Well, I'm here with some great news for you - it can actually be as simple (or complicated) as 10 minutes of exercise! You can easily incorporate these short, high-intensity workouts into your daily routine too. 1) During your normal 30 minute walk, you put in 5 two-minute sprints or fast-walk up the hill in your neighborhood, or 2) You incorporate a 10-minute HITT workout into your day with weights (I absolutely love the NOURISHMOVELOVE channel on youtube – she is badass and super motivating!).
5. Check for Adrenal deficiency:
The adrenal glands are responsible for managing our stress response and regulating hormones. They work in tandem with the brain, reproductive system (among other things), to keep us healthy - especially as we age! If you're feeling stressed out or tired after a normal amount of sleep then it's possible that your lack-luster hormone levels might be due to more than just slowing down metabolism; there could also potentially be something wrong going on with those pesky "adrenals".
We can either order a blood total cortisol, or/and salivary timed cortisol through the day. This is important because I have seen women whose levels are so low, we have actually needed to start with prescription natural adrenal medication. When you’re adrenal deficient, cellular metabolism becomes more difficult. You feel tired, and your cells are tired. After measuring levels, we love also recommending great herbal adrenal combinations, such as rhodiola, bacopa, gotu kola, eleuthro, and ashwaganda, to name a few. We also support B-vitamins and minerals, as these will help with energy production.
6. Take a Daily Packet of Set Point
A well-rounded supplement developed for women who feel their metabolism might be slower due to aging, adrenal or thyroid dysfunction. One daily packet addresses multiple body systems that contribute to weight gain, not just in the body but also in the brain. It includes targeted supplements for healthy thyroid function and metabolism, all in one easy to take packet. Highly recommend checking this out as it can help support multiple systems in one convenient packet.
We know that when you’re feeling tired or sluggish, it can be difficult to think about making a change. But we want the best for your health and would love to help you achieve your health goals!
Until next time, your partner in health,
Dr. Angila Jaeggli ND