by Keila Chaliotis, Staff Writer
We all tend to blame our lack of weight loss on our metabolism, and because honestly, it is the easy thing to do. But, for how much longer are you going to allow yourself to be fooled and start taking matters at hand, instead?
If you are carrying some extra pounds and are having a hard time losing them, it is easy to see why you would put the blame on a sluggish metabolism. But, is it really the reason why it is hard for you to lose weight? Well, the most important question here should be, is there anything you can do about it?
I made some research on the subject and came up with some facts and myths about metabolism. And guess what? There is good news! There are things that you could do to help boost your body’s calorie-burning power. But first, let us fill ourselves with information on what exactly is metabolism and in what it helps our body.
What Is Metabolism And What Is Its Purpose In Our Body?
Some experts say your metabolism is consisted of a complex system of hormones and enzymes that not only transform food into fuel but also affect how efficiently you burn that fuel.
The process of metabolism, sets the rate at which you burn calories and, ultimately, how quickly we gain weight or how easily we get rid of it. But, of course, not everyone burns calories at the same pace. Your metabolism is influenced by your age in which metabolism naturally slows down about 5% per decade after the age of 40, in sex, by which men generally burn more calories at rest than women, and proportion of lean body mass, through which the more muscle you have, the higher your metabolic rate tends to be. And heredity makes a difference, too.
Fact: Some people burn calories at a slower rate than others.
A malfunction in the thyroid gland can slow down metabolism, though this problem is relatively rare in some people. As a matter of fact, here is something that may surprise you: The more weight you carry, the faster your metabolism is likely running. How? Well, the simple fact is that the extra weight propels your body to work harder only to sustain itself at rest, so in most instances, the metabolism is always running a bit faster.
It is the reason why losing weight at the start of a diet is always easiest and harder later on in life as we grow old. When you are very overweight, your metabolism is already running so high that any minor cut in calories will end up in an immediate loss. Then, once you have lost considerable amounts of body fat and muscle, your body will need fewer calories to sustain itself. This my friend, is what helps explain why it is so easy to regain weight after you have worked so hard to lose it.
If two people that both weigh 250 pounds, and one got there from 350 by keeping a diet and the other one was always at 250, the one who got there by cutting calories is who will have a slower metabolism and this in turn means that they will require fewer calories to maintain their weight than the person who never went past 250 pounds.
Now, how do we work on revving your body’s engine?
Even though many of the factors that affect the metabolic rate can not be changed, there are ways to enhance the metabolism you are naturally born with, even when your are on a diet. One of the best ways is exercise. In the short term this includes aerobics to burn more calories, and in the long term, weight training to build the muscles that will increase your metabolism.
Even while at rest, your muscles burn more calories than fat. The more muscles you have, the higher your resting metabolic rate is, which in turn means the more calories your body will be burning only to sustain you. You should also know that every pound of muscle in our body burns 35 calories a day, while each pound of fat burns only 2 calories per day. And while 30 minutes of aerobic exercise may burn more calories than 30 minutes of weight training, in the hours to come after exercising, the weight training has an effect that lasts longer in boosting metabolism.
You can also eat more while having muscles and gain less. My advice is not only to tell you to exercise while dieting to burn calories, because you should also know that exercise builds muscle and that is what will help you burn more calories and maintain the weight loss you work so hard to obtain. And for those women that fear you will bulk up, don’t worry, you don’t have the hormones necessary to develop those huge muscles that men do, so you can feel good about doing weight training.
Eating More To Burn Calories Better
Did you know that eating more often can help you lose more weight? Small, but frequent, meals help keep your metabolism in a higher gear, and that means you will burn more calories more than anything.
When you leave too many hours between meals, your metabolism actually slows down to compensate. If you eat a huge meal at the same time your metabolism is functioning, as if you were starving, your body will want to hold on to every calorie.
A study reports that when athletes eat snacks totaling about 250 calories each, three times a day, they have greater energy output then when they do not snack. This study also finds that snacking helps athletes eat less at each of their three regular meals. The final result of this is, a higher metabolic rate, a lower caloric intake, and reduction in body fat.
Foods That Burn Fat
Many have claimed that, red peppers and green tea increase metabolism, but do either of them work? The truth is that, they do, but so do many other foods, mostly in the first hour after you eat. Due to the fact that this is when your system is the most revved.
Some studies have even shown that hot peppers and very spicy foods can increase metabolism by up to 20% for just about 30 minutes, but no one really knows if the extra burn lasts any longer than that.
And this also appears to be true for green tea, which contains a substance called EGCG, epigallocatechin gallate, a powerful antioxidant that some believe can bring about the same kind of calorie-burning effect as hot pepper.
After all being said and done, the bottom line is this: All these foods may have a slight impact on metabolism, but the increase is still insignificant compared to what you need in order to lose weight. So, your best bet for keeping metabolism revved is to build muscles, snack on low-calorie, high-protein foods, and keep yourself active!