The 3 Things an Expert Says to Do If You Have a Slow Metabolism and Want to Lose Weight

Discussing metabolism has become more mainstream over the years, especially in the health and wellness world, which is why it's important to fully understand what metabolism is and how your metabolism works. If you have a slow metabolism (we've got more on how to determine that in a bit), Holly Lofton, MD, director of the medical weight management program at NYU, explained what you can do to lose weight and boost your metabolism. But before you get any further, we've got to break down what metabolism is and how it works.

In its most simplistic form, your metabolism controls your body's ability to produce energy from fat, sugar, protein, and how it stores that energy. Typically, when metabolism is discussed, people are referring to their metabolic rate — how much energy/calories your body burns in a period of time.

It's a common assumption that a slow metabolism is at the root of struggling to lose weight, but before you jump to conclusions, you've got to figure out if you actually have a slow metabolism or not. Dr. Lofton suggested using an online metabolism calculator or an app where you can input your vital statistics (height, weight, age, and gender) to determine your metabolic rate.

Apps and online calculators will give you an approximate number, but in order to find out your exact metabolic rate, you should get a resting metabolic rate (RMR) test. Currently, these tests are offered only at specialized clinics like Fitnescity and cost around $250 (prices may vary depending on your location).

Once you've got your results, Dr. Lofton said there are a few action items you can implement immediately to improve your metabolism.

Increase Your Muscle Mass
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Increase Your Muscle Mass

"You should increase your muscle mass because as your muscles get bigger, your resting metabolic rate increases," Dr. Lofton told POPSUGAR. "As you're sleeping with bigger muscles, you burn more calories than if you're sleeping with smaller muscles," she continued.

Here's a four-week strength training program that will help you build muscle.

Eat More Protein-Rich Foods
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Eat More Protein-Rich Foods

The second thing Dr. Lofton said you should begin doing for a metabolism boost is "increasing the thermic effect of food (how much energy it takes to burn up your food) by increasing your fiber, your carbohydrates, and increasing your protein intake."

Eating protein-rich foods like eggs, meat, and fish have a higher thermic effect than simple-carbohydrates like cereal and low-fiber foods like bananas.

Be More Physically Active
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Be More Physically Active

Last, Dr. Lofton said to increase your physical activity to boost your metabolism. There isn't one perfect workout, but the idea is to move more. The new exercise guidelines say adults should do 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, or 75-150 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, a week.