“My metabolism is too slow!” Does this phrase sound familiar?
If you have a few extra pounds and you’re having trouble getting rid of it, your metabolism is responsible, true – but only in part!
Defined simply, your metabolism is the minimum energy that the body needs to stay alive (breathing, digesting, repairing tissues, etc.), representing an average of 1650 calories for men and 1300 calories for women. Your metabolism is also responsible for the speed at which you burn calories and gain or lose weight, which varies from one person to another.
Heredity, gender, age and size of muscle tissue are all factors that influence metabolism. Occasionally, a dysfunction of the thyroid gland can slow it down, but this is rare. Did you know that it is possible to speed up your metabolism? Here are six simple ways to boost your metabolism and lose your extra pounds, once and for all!
When you walk, run, play tennis, and so on, you not only burn calories, your metabolism speeds up. It operates at full capacity for a shorter or longer period depending on the intensity of your activity.
In short, you continue to burn calories even after you finish a game of tennis, a brisk walk or a session of aerobics. These calories are often “forgotten” in the calculation of total burned calories but are still important, especially if it repeated three or four times a week.
Do Weight Training
Muscle tissue plays an active role in the functioning of metabolism. The higher your muscle tissue, the higher your metabolism is fast. Unfortunately, the older you get, the more your muscle tissue decreases and, consequently, the higher your metabolism slows down.
Researchers have estimated that the metabolism slows down 2% or 3% per decade from the age of twenty. In contrast, if you do strengthening exercises regularly, you preserve and increase your muscle tissue and, by extension, your metabolism. For example, if you train your muscles two or three times a week, you can increase your calorie consumption by about 50 calories per day, which is not bad!
Ladies, are you afraid of becoming too muscular? Be reassured. A woman cannot have muscles as big as those of a man, even if she does weight training regularly, as there is much less testosterone in the blood of women. This hormone, used by the body to make muscle tissue, is indeed the virtual monopoly of men.
Have a Good Breakfast Every Day
Breakfast is the most important meal of the day, isn’t it? Indeed, it is proven that people who eat breakfast every day are more efficient, are leaner and are less likely to overeat later in the day.
When you skip breakfast, your brain sends the message to your metabolism that you are fasting, because you have not eaten for 18 hours (dinner the night before to lunch the next day). Because the body is unsure when its next meal is coming from, it slows down your metabolism to conserve power.
Eat More Often and Control Your Portions
Eat smaller meals more often throughout the day. This way, your blood sugar will remain stable and provide energy to your metabolism all day. Careful not to overeat and accumulate unnecessary calories though! Control your portions, it really is easy.
Examples of one serving of various foods:
- A serving of meat or poultry is equivalent to the size of a deck of cards.
- A serving of fish is equal to the size of a checkbook.
- A portion of butter is equivalent to the size of the tip of the thumb.
- A serving of cheese is the size of three dominoes.
- A serving of cereal, pasta or rice is equivalent to the size of a baseball ball.
- A serving of salad dressing equals the size of a ping-pong ball.
Drink Plenty of Water
Your body needs water to process the food you eat into energy. When you do not drink enough, and you are somewhat dehydrated, your metabolism will see another good reason to slow down. To make sure you drink enough, take a glass of water before each meal. Choose fruits and vegetables as a snack, they are filled with water and are good for your health.
In 2004, Dr. Maciej Buchowski, a researcher at Vanderbilt University, Tennessee, assembled a group of people in a metabolic chamber and showed them funny videos. After several minutes of laughter, Buchowski perceived that their metabolism was higher. The conclusion: laughter sustained for 10 to 15 minutes increases caloric expenditure by 10 to 40 calories per day. This isn’t big, you say? This still represents a loss of about four pounds per year!
- Len Kravitz, Ph.D., “Controversies in Metabolism” and “Water: The Science of Nature’s Most Important Nutrient” University of New Mexico, 2005
- ACSM Fit Society Page, American College of Sports Medicine Summer 2004.