Your metabolism is the result of all the processes in your body working together to create the energy that keeps you going. Your metabolism can be high, low, or someplace in the middle. This is significant because the rate at which your body burns calories and converts food to energy affects how easily you gain or lose weight. This also determines how much get-up-and-go you’ve got for the day’s activities.

You are not a prisoner of your metabolism. Someone with a super-fast metabolism won’t stay slim eating junk food and remaining sedentary, while people with a slower burn aren’t doomed to be overweight. Much of your metabolic rate is determined by genetics, age, gender and body type. Lifestyle, exercise and good nutrition also greatly shape a person’s metabolism. Here are some natural ways to rev up your metabolism.

Get more sleep. This seems obvious, but research shows that besides leaving you exhausted, sleep deprivation can send your hunger and appetite hormones out of whack. A four- year study at Stanford University found that adults who regularly slept for only five hours a night increased their levels of hunger inducing gherlin by 14% and lowered their levels of appetite-suppressing leptin by 15%. This spells trouble, meaning you’re going to eat more than you need to feel full, resulting in weight gain. Experts recommend 7-8 hours of uninterrupted sleep in a cool, noise-free, uncluttered space.

Wake up earlier and eat breakfast. It may seem like a good option to hit the snooze button and roll over for another 15 minutes in the sack, but this may prove to be counter-productive. Rising earlier and taking time to prepare a healthy breakfast will start you off in a better direction and give you more energy all day long

Exercise every day. Cardio-vascular exercise (walking, jogging, hiking, swimming) stimulates your metabolism, burns calories and even helps curb appetite. Weight training is important because it helps maintain and build lean muscle mass which burns more calories than fat. The more muscle tissue your carry, the more fat and calories you burn daily, even when you’re asleep.

Eat all day and don’t skip meals. Forget about 3 big squares, instead go for 5-6 smaller meals throughout the day. This way your body will receive a steadier supply of energy all day, store less fat and your mental processes will stay clearer and more focused. Never skip meals thinking that you’ll lose weight faster. Starving your body only drives it into a fat storing mode which is counter-productive to your goals. Often, when you feel hungry and tempted to grab some quick junk, all you need is a glass of water because you’re a bit dehydrated.

Add some spice to your diet. Eating spicy foods like jalapenos, chili peppers and spices (curry, turmeric, cayenne) may raise your body temperature. This in turn can raise your metabolism and help you burn stored fat. Spices also increase feelings of satiety, making you feel fuller, faster.