Rev Your Metabolism

Author: Shannon Miller Lifestyle

Walk-Fit Shannon Miller

Your metabolism is defined as the amount of energy, or calories, your body needs to function without moving.

So, while you are lying in bed or sitting around, your metabolism is burning calories. The other stuff that you do burns extra calories on top of the normal metabolism.

Do I have a “slow” metabolism?

Not many people suffer from a natural illness that slows the metabolism, but there may be circumstances in your life that are keeping you from having the optimum metabolic rate.

Some things that can keep you from your optimum metabolic rate:

  1. Obesity. When the body carries too much weight, especially around the middle, it cannot use calories efficiently.
  2. Insulin resistance, pre-diabetes, or diabetes: When the body cannot use insulin effectively, it cannot use energy effectively.
  3. Immobility or being sedentary: The more immobile the body, the less energy the body cells will use during the day. This is a reduction in ATP, the powerhouse in the body cells that produce bodily energy by using calories.
  4. Hormonal changes: every hormone plays a role in metabolism, especially progesterone, estrogen, testosterone, and thyroid. A change in any of these hormones will act on the overall metabolism.
  5. Age: Yes, as we get older, our metabolism changes. It’s usually only about 1% every year after 35, but that 1% compounded with the body’s inefficiency in exercise or problems in mobility can make it feel like the metabolism has gotten a lot slower.

What can I do right now, today, to change my metabolism and get my body back on track?

For all of that bad news about reduction in metabolism, there are plenty of ways to make your metabolism work better for you!  To increase your metabolism, you can:

  1. Move. Move often, and move well. How long have you been looking at this computer screen? Get up and walk around. Come back in a few minutes and read the rest. The more we move our bodies, the more awake and alive our cells are to produce ATP. The more ATP you have, the more calories you burn. Think of it as being a little ATP factory. Every time you move, that little factory builds more ATP for you.
  2. Exercise. So, beyond getting up and moving a little, get an exercise routine going. Cardiovascular exercise and resistance exercise build up that ATP fast, and increase metabolism fast.
  3. Increase muscle. Use resistance exercise, weight lifting, or any exercise that will put muscle on your body. Muscle is highly efficient; It likes to burn up lots of calories, though the exact number in the research available is cloudy. But if every muscle cell burns up as little as 15% extra calories, your metabolic rate improves drastically.
  4. Eat right.  If you eat too few or too many calories, your body cannot efficiently use them. When people diet, they tend to go on the too-low end of the spectrum, which in effect lowers metabolic rate. This is compounded after the spell of the diet is over. Extra weight is put on due to the reduction in metabolic rate, and then the body is heavier still and less efficient. Instead of a diet, eat great foods full of vitamins and minerals, like fruits and vegetables, nuts, legumes, and lean sources of protein. Eat throughout the day. Do not starve yourself. Finally, get a registered dietician or a good lifestyle coach to help you with a good eating plan.
  5. Eat breakfast. That’s right. Your body will conserve energy until you energize it with some food. It doesn’t have to be a big breakfast. That first calorie in the morning sparks the body to start burning more calories.
  6. Include green tea in your diet. There is no substance with more evidence of helping a variety of bodily issues than green tea, including improving the metabolism. Get plain green tea bags and brew them yourself. The bottled kind usually does not include a lot of real green tea.
  7. Eat spicy foods. Hot peppers have a chemical in them called capsaicin. This wonderful little chemical is known to enhance the body’s metabolism. Don’t overdo it or you may have some digestive issues!

SML TIP: If you are doing all of the right things, and you think your metabolism is not working for you, see your doctor or a specialist, such as Dr. Sejal Shah or Dr. Caroline Cederquist.

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