If you’ve been trying to lose weight unsuccessfully – yet believe you’ve been doing all the right things – you may be wondering if a slow metabolism is to blame. Although a faster metabolism can definitely contribute to a lower number on the scale, sometimes there are factors beyond your control that may be working against you.
The best thing you can do is learn how a healthy metabolism works, so you know what changes youcanmake to start seeing the results you want. This article will explain what metabolism is and how you can potentially improve its workings within your body, going into detail about why it may not be functioning as optimally as it could.
First: What is Metabolism?
Your metabolism is an intricate, natural process within your body that turns everything you consume into usable energy. Specifically, the calories within the food and drinks you have, combined with oxygen, gives you the energy you need to function.
Even when you’re not actually moving about, your body still needs energy for all of the complex internal processes going on inside you – breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells.
Your basal metabolic rate is the number of calories your body uses to carry out these functions – basically, how many calories your body uses while you’re at rest.
How Does Metabolism Affect Weight Loss?
As you may know, the faster your metabolism is, the more calories you will burn both at rest and during physical activity. Especially if you’re trying to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight, it would be wise to do as much as possible to try to boost your metabolism.
However, there are also factors to keep in mind that may make the process harder for you, leading you to need a more personalized plan. In this case, you should speak with your doctor to determine the best and safest path to weight loss for you. In addition, there are natural factors that simply make it easier for some people to lose weight than others.
Factors That Influence Your Metabolic Rate
- Your age– As you get older, you naturally start to lose muscle, which slows down your calorie-burning processes; As a result, you start to gain more fat.
- Your sex– Men typically have a higher metabolic rate than women. That’s because they naturally have less body fat and more muscle than women of the same age and weight –burning more calories.
- Your body size and composition– People who are a heavier weight, having more fat or muscle, burn more calories during activity and at rest.
- Health problems– Certain health conditions, such as those that affect your thyroid, can also affect your metabolic rate. If you have an overactive thyroid, you could end up losing weight at a rapid, dangerous pace; Whereas, if you have an underactive thyroid it could result in a slow metabolism, and you may gain weight.
- Menopause– When women go through menopause, their estrogen levels drop, which can lower their metabolic rate – and potentially cause them to gain more belly fat. In short, it can lessen the body’s ability to burn calories.
5 Ways to Speed Up Your Metabolism
Even if some aspects of a fast metabolism are beyond your control, there are quite a few that arein your control. Keep reading to learn what those things are and how you can start applying them to your life, today.
Eat More Protein
When you eat protein, it increases your metabolic rate, so your body burns more calories. Of all the food types, protein causes the largest rise in “the thermic effect of food” or TEF. This means that it requires a lot more calories to be burned in order to digest, absorb and process the nutrients in your meal.
One of the best and easiest ways to get more protein in your day is with meal replacementshakes, as the best, high-quality protein powders will contain 15-20g of protein per day. In addition, many contain optimal fiber, vitamins, minerals, superfoods and even probiotics for gut health.
Plus, meal replacement shakes are incredibly easy to mix and take with you on-the-go, and just 1-2 per day can help you increase your protein intake to reach the recommended 30% of your diet for weight loss.
Say No To Simple Carbs
If protein is the super-hero when it comes to boosting your metabolism, simple carbs (white bread, doughnuts, candy), are definitely the villains. When you eat sugar-packed foods like this that get digested quickly in your body, it causes a blood sugar spike, and a slowing down in your metabolism.
In addition, levels of this important hormone rise in order to keep glucose (sugar/carbs) out of your blood. This also encourages your body to store the sugar for later use, as fat – leading to potential weight gain and slower weight loss.
Stop Skipping Meals
The best way to maintain a healthy weight is not to stop eating, but to make healthy choices and select proper portion sizes. You should aim to eat a healthy breakfast, lunch and dinner along with healthy snacks. What you shouldn’t do is skip a meal and then “make up for it” by eating a ton of calories all in one setting.
In a 2015 study in the Journal of Nutritional Biochemistry, mice were given their daily allotment of food in one large meal – and developed more metabolic problems and gained more abdominal fat than mice that were fed several times per day; This was even though the first group ate less food overall!
Increase Muscle Mass
Keeping your body toned by building and maintaining muscle mass is also a great way to keep your metabolism going strong – as more muscle mass increases your basal metabolic rate. That means, having muscle enables you to burn more calories, even when resting.
Get Your Vitamin D
Though it may not be the first thing you think of to boost your metabolism, getting enough vitamin D is actually very important when it comes to internal processes and weight loss. A 2013 study in the European Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that being deficient in vitamin D was a risk factor for becoming obese.
The best place to get vitamin D is from the sun, which sparks vitamin D synthesis in your body. Try to get about 10-15 minutes of direct sunlight each day to ensure you get enough of this nutrient.
The bottom line is, a healthy metabolism is an indicator of a healthy body in general, and when you focus on a clean diet, exercise and health-enhancing lifestyle practices, you’re already ahead! Though some people may have a tougher time boosting their metabolism, following the suggestions in this article is one way to ensure your success.