No matter how healthy you eat, a sluggish metabolism will still limit the amount of calories your body burns for energy, slowing down weight loss.
Some people are lucky to have a super-speedy metabolism, but for those of us who don't, it's important to give things a kick start whenever we can.
You don't need to make any drastic changes to boost your metabolism – a few small things here and there will get things moving nicely!
Here are a few tricks to keep in mind…
1. Get a good cardio workout
Some tough aerobic exercise two or three times a week for 45 minutes is all it takes to keep your metabolism ticking along. Your body will keep burning calories at a higher rate for up to 14 hours after one exercise session – you can't say no to a perk like that! So head out for a run or a cycle or hop up on the treadmill to get your pulse racing!
2. Add intervals to your workout
Switching up the intensity of your workout can make a huge difference to your body's calorie-burning power. Run or cycle at a solid speed for two minutes, with a minute's slow running in between, and repeat. Increase the length of the faster intervals as you get fitter. This way, you're really getting the most out of that 45 minutes of exercise!
3. Eat breakfast!
There is just no excuse to skip breakfast – even a piece of fruit on the go is better than nothing. Your metabolism slows down over night to conserve energy while you're not eating, so a meal within an hour of waking will get things going again.
4. Eat something small before bed
We know late-night eating goes against all the weight loss propaganda, but a small snack is enough to regulate your blood sugar before you sleep. Many nutritionists recommend eating a teaspoon of almond butter just before sleep, so that you wake up feeling energised the next day.
5. Add some spice to your food
Cayenne pepper is the weight loss wonder food – a sprinkle over your meal is all that's needed to raise your body's temperature and in turn kick up your metabolic rate. Other warming spices like cinnamon serve a similar purpose!
6. Eat more dairy
The calcium in dairy products like yoghurt and cheese really helps your body's calorie burning efforts. A couple of portions of low-fat dairy each day are all you need.
7. Take a stroll
Sitting still for an hour or more at a time is a surefire way to reduce your metabolic rate. A lunchtime stroll outside or even moving from your desk to get a glass of water is enough to get things going again.
8. Drink more green tea
Skip the Barry's and go for some green tea instead – it's full of fab antioxidants called catechins which can raised your metabolic rate by up to 4% per day. It's a proven weight-loss tool too. If you don't like the taste, opt for a lemon or mint flavoured green tea instead.