You’ve probably heard people blame their weight on a slow metabolism, but what does that mean?
Is metabolism really the culprit?
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 contrary to common belief, a slow metabolism is rarely the cause of excess weight gain.
Although your metabolism influences your body’s basic energy needs, it’s your food and beverage intake and your physical activity that ultimately determine how much you weigh.
Metabolism: Converting food into energy
Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex biochemical 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 all its “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:
- Your body size and composition. The bodies of people who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.
- Your sex. Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, burning more calories.
- Your age. As you get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.
Energy needs for your body’s basic functions stay fairly consistent and aren’t easily changed. Your basal metabolic rate accounts for about 70 percent of the calories you burn every day.
In addition to your basal metabolic rate, two other factors determine how many calories your body burns each day:
- Food processing (thermogenesis). Digesting, absorbing, transporting and storing the food you consume also takes calories. This accounts for 100 to 800 of the calories used each day.
For the most part, your body’s energy requirement to process food stays relatively steady and isn’t easily changed.
- Physical activity. Physical activity and exercise — such as playing tennis, walking to the store, chasing after the dog and any other movement — account for the rest of the calories your body burns up each day. Physical activity is by far the most variable of the factors that determine how many calories you burn each day.
While you don’t have much control over the speed of your basal metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. In fact, some people who are said to have a fast metabolism are probably just more active — and maybe more fidgety — than are others.
You can burn more calories with:
Eating more often can help you lose weight. When you eat large meals with many hours in between, your metabolism slows down between meals. Having a small meal or snack every 3 to 4 hours keeps your metabolism cranking, so you burn more calories over the course of a day. Several studies have also shown that people who snack regularly eat less at mealtime.
Spice Up Your Meals
Spicy foods have natural chemicals that can kick your metabolism into a higher gear. Cooking foods with a tablespoon of chopped red or green chili pepper can boost your metabolic rate. The effect is probably temporary, but if you eat spicy foods often, the benefits may add up. For a quick boost, spice up pasta dishes, chili, and stews with red pepper flakes.
Power Up With Protein
Your body burns many more calories digesting protein than it does eating fat or carbohydrates. As part of a balanced diet, replacing some carbs with lean, protein-rich foods can boost metabolism at mealtime. Good sources of protein include lean beef, turkey, fish, white meat chicken, tofu, nuts, beans, eggs, and low-fat dairy products.
Recharge with Green Tea
Drinking green tea or oolong tea offers the combined benefits of caffeine and catechins, substances shown to rev up the metabolism for a couple of hours. Research suggests that drinking 2 to 4 cups of either tea may push the body to burn 17% more calories during moderately intense exercise for a short time.
Avoid Crash Diets
Crash diets – those involving eating fewer than 1,200 (if you’re a woman) or 1,800 (if you’re a man) calories a day – are bad for anyone hoping to quicken their metabolism. Although these diets may help you drop kilograms, that comes at the expense of good nutrition. Plus, it backfires, since you can lose muscle, which in turn slows your metabolism. The final result is your body burns fewer calories and gains weight faster than before the diet.
Regular aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is the most efficient way to burn calories and includes activities such as walking, cycling and swimming. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to increase the time you spend on physical activity even more. If you can’t set aside time for a longer workout, try 10-minute chunks of activity throughout the day. Remember, the more active you are, the greater the benefits.
Strength training. Strength training exercises, such as weightlifting, are important because they help counteract muscle loss associated with aging. And since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.
Lifestyle activities. Any extra movement helps burn calories. Look for ways to walk and move around a few minutes more each day than the day before. Taking the stairs more often and parking farther away at the store are simple ways to burn more calories. Even activities such as gardening, washing your car and housework burn calories and contribute to weight loss.
Supplement to help increase metabolism
The Manna FAT away supplement was formulated with specific ingredients which can help to increase metabolism in a natural way to help burn fat. Take the Fat away with the Manna Diet to get real, healthy and sustained results.
The foundation for weight loss continues to be based on physical activity and diet. Take in fewer calories than you burn, and you lose weight.