Many people suggest or believe that a slow metabolism is the reason behind weight gain and linked to being the main culprit. Is this the case, and if so, is it possible to rev up your metabolism to burn more calories?
It's true that metabolism is linked to weight, but a slow metabolism is rarely the cause of excess weight gain. Your metabolism influences your body's basic energy needs, it's your food and beverage intake and physical activity that ultimately determine how much you weigh.
Metabolism is very important because it is literally the powerhouse of the body, providing energy to keep the body going. In fact, many science and biology dictionaries describe metabolism as a process which is necessary to sustain life. Without metabolism, living organisms will die, and errors in metabolic processes can cause health problems such as diabetes, in which the body fails to metabolize blood sugar properly.
What is Metabolism?
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function.
Even when you're at rest, your body needs energy for hidden functions, such as breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells.
The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate — what you might call metabolism. Several factors determine your individual basal metabolic rate, including:
In addition to your basal metabolic rate, two other factors determine how many calories your body burns each day:
Metabolism and Weight
It is easy and tempting to blame weight gain on metabolism, but this is true only in rare cases, such as Cushing's syndrome or having an under active-thyroid gland (hypothyroidism).
Weight gain is complicated. It is likely a combination of genetic makeup, hormonal controls, diet composition, and the impact of environment on your lifestyle, including sleep, physical activity and stress. All of these factors result in an imbalance in the energy equation. Simply put: you gain weight when you eat more calories than you burn — or burn fewer calories than you eat.
Increasing Your Metabolism
1. Drink plenty of water
Drinking at least 6 cups of water a day will keep your body hydrated and stimulate your metabolism. Try drinking a big glass of water first thing in the morning. It will hydrate your body and kick your metabolism into gear after having fasted all night.
2. Get moving first
Instead of going from bed to a seat at the breakfast table, try to get your body moving a little first. A 10 minute power walk or a little bit of yoga can wake your digestive system. This will prepare your body for your breakfast and kick start your metabolism.
3. Eat a substantial breakfast
You should never force feed yourself but if you are in the habit of not eating in the morning, consider breaking that habit. You have been fasting all night and breakfast will provide your body the energy you need to be at your best. Aim to eat a high protein, low GI breakfast that is balanced and rich in nutrients.
4. Build up your muscle
The more muscle you have, the more calories you will burn. Even the most basic muscles in the body require energy to function. So, the more working muscle you have, the more energy you need. Work on building your body’s lean muscle mass and you will improve the functioning of your metabolism. A quick trick to using muscle mass to burn calories if really building up your biggest muscles: legs and chest.
5. Improve your fitness
High intensity cardio is the best way to elevate your resting metabolic rate. Don’t be afraid to push yourself outside of your comfort zone. For example, if you power walk regularly, try adding some sprints into the mix. Push yourself and you will notice the changes.
6. Drink green tea
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants but it also makes for a great metabolism booster. The caffeine in the tea helps to stimulate the metabolism, heating your body and burning calories.
While it is true that some people seem to be able to lose weight more quickly and more easily than others, everyone will lose weight when they burn up more calories than they eat. Therefore, to lose weight, you need to create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories or increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity or both.
What are your thoughts on metabolism and weight?
Khyrunnessa Rabbani - I am perfectly imperfect! I am passionate about health and fitness but lack the bod and six pack to prove it! .Love your body and yourself and the rest will fall into place.