Your Metabolism and How to Effectively Boost it
What is Metabolism?
Your metabolism is the amount of energy in calories that your body burns in order to maintain its weight. Whether you’re sleeping, running, sitting, standing, riding in a car or eating a bowl of chocolate fudge ice cream, your body is constantly burning calories in order to keep you going. Think of it as a fire within you, burning your fat and food away. No, sorry but you won’t burn enough calories chewing your chocolate fudge ice cream to cancel out the calories you just took in by eating that bowl of ice cream. It would be nice if it worked that way, but it doesn’t.
Get any group of women together, and even some men, get them talking on the topic of their metabolism and you’ll hear moaning and groaning and complaining about how their metabolism is so slow, that when they were younger they could eat anything they wanted to and not gain weight but now if they simply *think* about a piece of cheesecake they put five pounds on.
It’s a sad but true fact of life that as we age our metabolism slows down. It doesn’t stop (although at times we might feel as though it has) but it does change. The reason for this is because we have more lean muscle mass at 20 than we do at 70, and lean muscle mass is what helps burn calories.
Some people have higher metabolisms than others and are able to burn off the calories they eat and never gain an ounce. Others have metabolisms slower than a slug and everything they eat seems to stick with them and not get burned off. No two people are alike in the calories they burn and the rate of their metabolism.
Having said that, is it possible to boost your metabolism in order to burn more calories and be able to lose weight? Evidence suggests that there are a number of ways to help maximize our metabolism in order to more efficiently consume the food we eat, whether we’re walking, reading or even sleeping. Boosting your metabolic rate is possible and I’ll show you how.
1) Don’t Diet
When we see beautiful models in magazines and svelte actresses in movies, we are tempted to cut down on our eating in order to lose weight and look more like them. We decide to stop eating as much so we can drops some pounds. Less food taken in should mean you’ll lose weight quickly, right? Not necessarily. Our bodies are very efficient at storing food as fat as a defense against starvation. When you cut your calories, and if you do it drastically enough, your body panics. Think of it in terms of an army and its rations.
Body: “Danger! Danger! There’s not enough food! We’re starving!”
Metabolism: “Cut down on production, girl. We’re going into survival mode! Slow and steady! Emphasis on the slow!”
Body: “Just make sure we have enough fat stores to get through this famine”
Metabolism: “Aye Aye Captain!”
Orders have been given and voila’, thunder thighs are born. Or Jelly Bellies, saggy arms, double chins, saddle bags and any number of fat stores are created in order to make sure that your body doesn’t starve. Think of it as the general of an army, laying in stores for a very long winter. When your body is in survival mode, it takes fewer calories to sustain itself, to maintain its current weight. Excess calories are stored as fat and the stores are parceled out to the soldiers reluctantly and very s l o w l y in order to make sure the resources last as long as possible.
Severe restriction of calories is a sure fire way to cause your metabolism to slow down to a crawl. If you’ve been crash dieting for years without exercising then your metabolism has been affected. Dieting like this burns muscle and the less muscle mass you have, the less calories you burn and the slower your metabolism. You will now need fewer calories to maintain your current weight. This means that if you consume more calories, your body won’t need to use them for energy and will store them. Helloooo belly fat.
When you put the weight back on, and you will if you’ve been crash dieting, then it will be put back on as fat. This means that your metabolic rate has probably dropped a little bit each time that you’ve crash dieted. Putting on more fat and losing muscle will cause your metabolism to slow down even more. It seems like a cycle of doom, doesn’t it? It can be if you don’t break that cycle. I’m about to show you just how to increase your metabolism in order to burn the most calories possible, even when you’re sleeping.
2) It’s Going to Take Some Sweat, Soldier!
Yes, it’s true. If you want to boost your metabolism, the very best thing you can do is to start moving your body. Some exercise is good for building muscle and some is good for just plain sweating and giving you a good cardio workout.
While aerobic exercises like running, jogging, playing tennis or riding a bike will help you tone your body and maintain your weight, they don’t do a whole lot to increase your muscle mass-which is what you need to do in order to boost your metabolism.
Weight training and strength training help build muscle tissue and this is a good thing. Think of your body, again, in terms of an army. Too much fat means too many soldiers are weak and wounded, not able to carry on the fight.
Body: “Sir! Our numbers have been depleted! We’re not efficiently fighting the incoming calories, I mean missiles!”
Metabolism: “Recruit new soldiers, FRESH soldiers! Put them on the front lines and let them take on the calories! I mean missiles!
Body: “Sir, yes Sir! Commence lifting weights NOW!”
As you increase your muscle mass, and decrease your fat stores, your metabolism speeds up. It burns more of what you eat. Your body will require more calories to maintain itself, so if you increase your soldiers, I mean muscle mass, through weight training and strength training, and consume a lower calorie amount, you will lose weight. Just don’t lower your calories so drastically that it sends your army into survival and hoard mode again.
Boosting your metabolism through exercise is just one way to light up those calorie burning fires within you.
3) Start Eating
Yep. Eat. You have to eat in order to keep your metabolism running in an optimal manner. Are you skipping breakfast in order to cut back on calories and lose weight? Bad battle plan, soldier. Let’s work out a battle plan together here and I’ll show you just why you need to eat, when you should eat and what you should eat.
Remember that not eating sends your army into survival mode, right? It believes you are starving and so slows down it’s metabolism in order to conserve its stores. Let’s say you’ve been asleep for 8 hours. You didn’t have anything to eat for two to three or more hours before you went to bed last night. Now your body has been without food for about 11 or 12 hours. If you skip breakfast, you’re adding more time and your body is starting to whimper and wonder where its fuel is and if it’s ever going to come and should it start conserving now because starvation is just around the corner? You’ve got your little soldiers all up in a lather and that’s not a good thing.
Now, what happens if you go to bed, get up and eat a healthy breakfast? You have, in essence, broken your fast. You’ve been fasting for ten or more hours and now it’s over. Your little soldiers can relax and get back to their normal duty, which is burning calories instead of storing them.
Eat small meals and eat them often during the day. Research has shown that breaking down the traditional three meals a day into six smaller meals, spaced evenly throughout the day will result in a boost to your metabolism.
No this does not mean you can go out and have a Mcbreakfast meal in the morning, a steak and fries two hours later, five Twinkies and a ho-ho next, then tacos with sour cream and guacamole for your next meal, BBQ ribs with mashed potatoes for your fifth meal and a trip to that all-you-can-stuff-into-yourself-buffet at the mall for your sixth and final meal of the day. Sure, you might be boosting your metabolism a bit, but you’re overcompensating with too many calories and losing the Battle of the Bulge in a BIG way. Your soldiers will be so over-run with calories that they will be forced to store them as fat.
Break down your meals into six smaller and HEALTHIER meals during the day. Lower your caloric intake in a healthy manner and your little soldiers will not only win the battle, you’ve given them the right weapons to win the entire war.
Also, avoid white in your diet. Simple sugars, rice and refined flour are all absorbed quickly by your body and are turned into fat stores. Eat more complex carbohydrates. They take a longer time to be absorbed into your body and this enables your blood sugar to remain level. Try eating brown rice instead of white rice, whole grains in your breads and pasta made from wheat flour instead of white refined flours.
Avoid caffeine and drink green tea instead. Caffeine is known to bock absorption of vitamin C, create a bit of unhealthy acid in your system and stimulate sugar cravings. If there’s one thing you don’t need when you’re trying to lose weight, its sugar cravings. Green tea has antioxidants and doesn’t have all those nasty side effects that coffee can give you.
Drink at least 8 glasses of water a day. Water flushes out all the toxins that are set free when you’re losing weight. If you are dehydrated, your metabolism slows down. Try drinking very cold wate when you’re pushing the H2O. Your body has to remain warm and it will boost your metabolism a bit each time it has to warm up after your glass of ice water.
4) Chill Out and Heat Up
Do you enjoy a nice long soak in a hot tub full of water hot enough to blister your skin? Who doesn’t? How about spending time in a steamy sauna with sweat pouring off your body?
Maybe you like turning your thermostat down in the winter till it’s so cold you can see your breath in the house when you talk?
If these activities appeal to you then slap yourself on the back (yes that will burn calories too) because heating yourself up and chilling yourself down have been shown to boost your metabolism by about 15%-20%.
Speaking of heat, add a bit of spice to your life and your food. Studies have shown that eating spicy foods, those with cayenne pepper, or jalapeños or chili peppers will give a boost to your metabolism as well. Ole’!
You thought that getting a good night’s rest was just to avoid getting those matching bags under your eyes, didn’t’ you? Well, think again. Research has shown that if you get enough sleep at night, up to 8 hours or more (if you need more) it will keep you from gaining weight. People who do not get enough rest are more prone to gaining weight. So get some rest.
While you’re resting, you’re avoiding stress. Stress is known to increase your chances of gaining weight. Stress releases a steroid called cortisol which depresses your metabolism, thereby encouraging your little soldiers to conserve calories as fat. Avoid stress at all costs.
In the battle of the bulge and the fight against fat, boosting your metabolism is one of the best weapons you can have in your arsenal (together with Varène Beauty™ Ultrasonic device). Learn that increasing your metabolism means not starving yourself, it means getting out there and putting on some lean muscle mass, eating small meals throughout the day to keep your blood sugar level and it even means avoiding stress.
Getting your internal fire burning will help you lose weight and feel better about yourself. Who could ask for more?