Our metabolisms get blamed for a lot. "Metabolism" is a word that is bandied about in our frustrated conversations with girlfriends. Our inability to mainline chocolate without putting on weight? Metabolism. Those seven pounds that just won't budge? Metabolism. Our general fatigue? Metabolism. But do you know what your metabolism is and what it even does?

According to the NHS website, "metabolism describes all the chemical processes that go on continuously inside the body to keep you alive and your organs functioning normally, such as breathing, repairing cells and digesting food."

Our bodies need energy to carry out all those metabolic processes, and it's our basal metabolic rate (BMR) that is the number of calories our body uses to just keep us alive. Whether you refer to it as your BMR or your metabolism, at the end of the day, we all just want to know how to lose any excess weight, right?

Keep reading for easy-to-follow tips on how to boost your metabolism.

Build lean muscle tissue

Nutritionists and dietitians recommend us not only doing aerobic activity, but also strength training, and there's a good reason for that. The more lean tissue you have, the more calories you burn, which is why strong people burn more calories just sitting around. One of the best ways to build lean muscle is resistance training. Every two pounds of increased muscle on your body will burn an additional 90 calories a day, increasing your resting metabolic rate. Aim to do three strength training workouts a week. Doing yoga can also increase muscle mass.

Get your heart pumping

Burning about 3,000 calories per week through voluntary exercise is a healthy goal for achieving a healthy metabolism. That's the equivalent of walking about four miles a day. If that's too daunting, follow exercise guidelines by doing 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activity five times a week. And don't forget to move more throughout the day, taking brief walks after meals or two-minute walks every half hour.

Eat more fibre

Studies show that people get only 15 grams of fibre a day, even though dietary guidelines recommend that women get at least 25 grams and men get 38. Plants are really the only source of fibre, so by eating more plants, you'll naturally get more fibre. Fibre slows digestion and may prevent some glucose from being absorbed through digestion. It also supports a healthy microbiome, which has a strong impact on metabolic health and inflammation. Some of the richest sources of fibre include chia seeds, basil seeds, flax seeds, beans, lentils, avocado, and some fruits, especially raspberries.

Eat less sugar

Time to rein in that sugar intake if you want to boost your metabolic health. In the short-term, excess sugar can lead to mid-day energy crashes, cravings, and anxiety. Long-term, it can lead to damage and inflammation that contributes to issues like heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer's, and dementia. To remedy this, eliminate foods that contain more than two to three grams of added sugar per serving, though zero is better. Then avoid overconsuming foods with refined white flour, which turn into sugar in the body. Sadly, that includes pastries, cookies, cakes, tortillas, pastas, and bread.

Sip water

You've heard it a million times, but there's good reason to drink two litres (or eight eight-ounce glasses) of water a day to stave off dehydration. That can slow metabolic rate by not allowing sugar and fat to reach muscle where it would otherwise be metabolised.

Seek morning light

By getting direct sunlight first thing in the morning (and avoiding excess artificial light near bedtime), you'll be aiding your metabolism. It signals to the brain what time of day it is and sets your body up to time genetic and hormonal signals that appropriately regulate metabolism. Every morning, go outside for a few minutes (even if it's cloudy – although you might have to stay out a little longer for optimal effects).

Make sleep a priority

Your health – and your metabolism – depends on proper sleep. Even one night of short sleep, or just going to bed at a different time than normal, can decrease insulin sensitivity and contribute to higher stress hormones and glucose spikes the next day.