I knew it was possible to increase your metabolism, but after some more research I realized that you can actually increase it by a significant amount! I thought just eating smaller meals more often would speed it up by a small amount. However, there are more ways than just eating smaller amounts more often throughout the day to speed up your metabolism even more.
...and you don't have to understand any complicated diagrams to know how to relatively control your metabolism.
A slow metabolism means the food you are eating gets converted into calories slower, therefore forcing your body to store the food as fat instead of using for energy. Getting older is the main cause of a slowing metabolism, but there are many other factors: Skipping meals, extreme fasting, lack of physical exercise, excessive dieting, bad sleeping habits and eating too many foods with too many sugars.
Now for some ways to increase your metabolism! I was most surprised by the statistic below:
Increasing your lean muscle mass is the single most significant thing you can do for your metabolism. Muscle burns calories up to 90% faster than fat! That is an incredible difference.
Most people know that metabolic rates increase during exercise, however did you know that it stays up for several hours after the fact? Things like taking the stairs and parking further away in the parking lot are little ways to help keep yourself moving during your daily routine.
Eat more often, and never skip your meals. Your body will go into 'starvation mode' if you skip a meal and store the calories as fat. This takes less energy than keeping up your metabolic rate. This also happens because your body is trying to preserve itself and have food for later when it 'thinks' you are going to be starving still. In the above link, Tom Venuto talks about starvation mode in his blog.
Drinking lots of water encourages your body to burn instead of storing calories. So that your liver focuses on metabolism instead of water retention, make sure to stay hydrated. There are many different hypotheses about how much water intake you need per day. An article from CNN.com explains one way to figure out how much water you should be drinking and cautions about certain complications due to dehydration. Snopes.com is a site which addresses rumors, one of them being the "drink eight glasses of water per day." Drinking the appropriate amount of water can apparently also affect your chances of getting colon or breast cancer!
Eating certain kinds of foods can also increase your metabolic rate.
So for any weight and health conscious people out there, here is one more aspect of your health which you can learn to control...at least relatively!
If you are interested in the science of metabolism at all, Steve here can explain it in pretty simple terms:
ATP=ENERGY (some of that highschool AP Bio knowledge actually comes in handy!)