Ask A Health Coach: How Can I Kick-Start My Metabolism?

October 14, 2015
by Michelle Pellizzon for Thrive Market

I've heard a million times before that I need to eat breakfast in order to get my metabolism working in the morning. But sometimes I'm not hungry for breakfast and eating it actually makes me a little nauseated, or I'm kind of hungry but don't have time to make a huge meal before I rush off to work. I'm trying to lose a few pounds, and I want to make sure I do everything I can to rev my metabolism. Help!

—Sarah P.

Oh, boy. Breakfast. So many of the delicious foods that tempt us in the morning—chewy bagels, hot pancakes, sweet waffles, cheesy omelettes—aren’t always so great for you.

It's crazy that one meal can create so much anxiety. You don’t want to start your day off on the wrong foot by stuffing your face with carbs and fat (hello, chocolate croissant). But the idea of making a wholesome chia pudding for breakfast isn’t always appetizing or easy, even for me!

And so many of us are just like you, dear reader—not hungry when we wake up in the morning, and the idea of shoveling down some sustenance just because we’ve been told “it’s good for us” definitely doesn’t make the idea of breakfast sound more appealing.

We’re all unique; our likes, dislikes, and nutritional needs naturally vary. So eating a huge breakfast might give some people incredible energy for the rest of their day, but for others it might really ruin their digestion or mood. Not worth it.

My advice—listen to your body. If you wake up and the last thing you want to do is eat an egg sandwich for breakfast, skip it! When you feel yourself getting hungry, maybe around 10 or 11 a.m., eat a light snack to help you make it to lunch, or eat your breakfast at this time and have a smaller meal around 2 p.m.

Waiting a few hours to eat is not going to drastically change your metabolic rate; if you really want to get your metabolism burning in the morning, go for a run or a spin class. Studies show that working out in a fasted state—before you’ve eaten—will help you burn more fat in your workout.

I realize that not everyone has the luxury of eating whenever they feel like, and if you know you won’t be able to for at least eight hours after waking, I recommend eating something in the morning to keep your blood sugar levels from dropping too low and to maintain your energy through the day.

A smoothie can be just the thing. But beware. Some smoothies—especially fruit-heavy recipes—contain a ton of sugar. Sugar is converted into body fat by your liver, spikes your blood sugar and energy levels, and causes more cravings throughout your day.

So we gave a typical fruit smoothie a fat-burning makeover. Here's the recipe:

  • equal parts coconut water and almond milk
  • a handful of ice
  • half an avocado
  • a spoonful of MCT oil or coconut oil
  • a scoop of collagen powder
  • small scoop of maca
  • pinch of cinnamon
  • vitamin C

This version has way less sugar but more protein and healthy mono- and polyunsaturated fat thanks to avocado, coconut oil, and MCT oil, which will give you sustained energy. These fats support brain function, boost your mood, and will keep you full and satiated, so if you’re trying to lose weight, adding fat to your smoothie can keep you from eating more calories later in your day.

While healthy fat is the key ingredient in our fat-burning smoothie, you can add a few more ingredients to pump up the health factor of your easy morning breakfast. Collagen is a clean protein source that helps skin, hair, and nails repair themselves, and you can’t taste it at all in your drink! I also add maca (which tastes a little like butterscotch) for an extra energy boost, cinnamon for it’s belly-fat burning capabilities, and vitamin C to help reduce stress and cortisol levels, which can contribute to stubborn fat gain.

If you want, throw some greens into the mix—kale, spinach, or parsley all work!—along with coconut water or almond milk. Sometimes if I’m craving something a little sweeter, I’ll add a vegan protein powder too, because it tastes like a chocolate milkshake… if a chocolate milkshake had coconut oil in it.

What’s your favorite go-to breakfast food? Tell us in the comments below!

Michelle Pellizzon received her bachelor's degree from New York University and is certified through Institute of Integrative Nutrition and the National Academy of  Sports Medicine. Check out her story here!
Video credits
Produced & Directed by: Liza Glucoft
Director of Photography: Naeem Munaf
Editor: Megan Stone

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This article is related to: Ask a Health Coach, Breakfast, Diet, Metabolism, Nutrition, Smoothie

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  • DEE

    Are you seriously telling people to lower their fruit intake? Not the best health advice. A smoothie with oil in it isn't a healthy. Oil is not a health food. Eating a whole piece of fruit is not the same as adding processed sugar to a smoothie.