Throughout your 20’s, it feels almost like you can eat whatever you want and sit at a desk all day and not see or feel the real effects this has on the body. However, when we reach our 30’s, the consequences from our diet and lifestyles start to show in how we look and feel.
To start off our metabolism, changes as we get older, and this is the focus of the article: how this change really affects you in your 30’s, and how we can keep it humming along to feel healthy and amazing as we age?
Firstly, what is metabolism and how does it change in your 30’s?
Put simply, metabolism is the chemical reactions in the body’s cells that turn food into energy. It encompasses three key elements: the breakdown of food into energy, the conversion of food into building blocks e.g. protein into muscle, and the removal of metabolic waste products from the body. The efficiency of these key elements dictates how many calories an individual needs each day.
As we age, our metabolism starts slowing down (a natural aging process) and it’s usually when we hit our 30’s that we start to see and feel those changes in the body. A slow decline and slowing of metabolism can go hand in hand with stubborn weight gain around the abdominal area, gas/bloating and digestive complaints, hormonal imbalances and blood sugar imbalances. This may lead to changes in mood, sugar cravings, energy levels, the ability to concentrate and much more. Which underlines the importance of boosting metabolism not only to support a healthy weight but also for your entire health and wellbeing.
Here’s how to get on top of your health and start implementing healthy habits to make you feel amazing throughout your 30’s and beyond.
Nourish with food
Nutrition is the key to supporting a healthy metabolism as you age. Throughout your 30’s, it’s time to become more aware of what you’re eating on a daily basis (if you haven’t done so already) and ditch the fad diets and calorie restrictions you may have dabbled in throughout your twenties.
Your metabolism increases whenever you eat, digest and store the right balance of foods, so the best place to start is to prioritise your protein intake throughout the day. Protein consumption increases the body’s basal metabolic rate (the energy your body needs to maintain homeostasis) to 20-30 per cent and therefore supports an increase in metabolic function. (1)
Try to include a quality source of protein in every meal and balance your meals with a variety of fresh fruits and vegetables, healthy fats and complex carbohydrates.
Also, focus on meal timings throughout the day and eating the right foods (e.g. ditch processed and packaged foods that are high in refined sugar) often to keep your body and metabolism functioning at their best.
Stay active & prioritise strength
Naturally, when you hit thirty, your muscle mass starts to decline and it’s harder to shed the unwanted kilos that start to build up. Physical fitness is crucial no matter how old you are and it’s important to make time to stay active.
When it comes to exercise, what you choose can make a huge difference in your metabolism. Resistance training supports lean muscle mass and overall strength to ensure efficient metabolic health. Circuit training, HIIT classes and bodyweight exercises targeting specific muscle groups help to shift metabolism to use fat for energy. An additional benefit of high-intensity training is that it promotes an active metabolism beyond the training session.
If jumping into a new training regime sounds a bit much consider implementing calorie-burning habits throughout the day that will help boost your overall metabolism. For example, use a standing desk or an exercise ball as a chair throughout the day, take the stairs instead of the lift and go for a walking meeting when you can.
Get your sleep
Research suggests that a lack of sleep can alter glucose metabolism and the hormones involved in regulating metabolism, which in short can contribute to an individual’s metabolism slowing down. (2)
This is often due to a result of the disruption of the body’s hunger hormones – ghrelin and leptin – which help to regulate appetite. Disruption of these hormones may lead to hunger and cravings throughout the day.
Just one night of poor sleep can affect the way your metabolism functions along with a myriad of other effects on overall body function. Over a sustained period, poor sleep may contribute to weight gain, digestive issues, cardiac problems, congestion and of course an ongoing state of fatigue. Start by prioritising your sleep health and aim to go to bed earlier to ensure 7-8 hours of quality each night.
Support your body where it needs it
The daily demands of balancing work and life can be stressful and overwhelming especially during your 30’s which takes a toll on the body. The effects of ongoing stress can contribute to essential nutrient depletion and this is where supplements can be used to support the body where it needs it. Common supplements I see my clients in this age group taking include an activated B-vitamin complex, vitamin C, omega-3 fatty acids, vitamin D, magnesium or a broad spectrum probiotic (depending on the individual’s health goal, supplements differ)*. Overall these nutrients help to boost vital body functions including metabolism function.
*Please note it is important you speak to your healthcare practitioner before you start supplementing so they can provide a personalised supplement regimen to suit you and your health goals.
Adaptogenic herbs are another great way to provide gentle support to the body. Adaptogens help to moderate vital functions such as the body’s stress response, immune function, hormonal health and glucose metabolism to name a few – which as a result supports metabolic function. Adding adaptogenic herbs into your daily routine for ongoing support can be an easy ritual. Beams Co. coffee elixirs are super-charged coffee capsules infused with adaptogens to support the body’s overall function.
Self-care practices are so important to make your mind and body more resilient. Self-care practices look different for everyone but can be in the form of meditation, breathwork, journaling or simply going on a relaxing walk or aiming to practice healthy eating.
Your 30’s are a great time to work out what self-care practices work for you, and which one is sustainable. Your metabolism is influenced by so many different factors and with the recent abundance of research shining a light on the mind-body connection, it makes sense to invest in self-care practices that work for you.