25 Jun Striving For A Healthy Metabolism
I often hear from clients that they have a sluggish metabolism which is why they’re struggling to lose weight. While there is such a thing as a slow metabolism, it’s unlikely it to be the main cause of your weight gain. Your genetics, diet, physical activity and medications are more feasible factors than your metabolism itself.
If you thought your metabolism is what’s holding you back from reaching your health and fitness goals, you’re not alone. It’s one of the most commonly misunderstood processes. The reality is, you should focus on supporting your body so all the physical and chemical processes responsible for producing energy are working at their optimum. The healthier you are at a cellular level the more functional your metabolism will be.
The basics of metabolism
Your metabolism isn’t just one process; it’s a collection of processes that naturally occur for you to remain alive. The food and fluids you consume are needed to be converted to energy to keep you thinking, talking and moving. While you’re resting, your body still needs energy to help circulate blood, repair and maintain cells and even breath. The rate your body uses up calories during these processes is referred to as your basal metabolic rate.
Your basal metabolic rate is influenced by a number of factors, including:
Your weight and composition – the more you weigh and the greater the amount of muscle you have the more calories you will burn, in particular at rest. Therefore, the heavier you are, the faster your metabolic rate will be.
Your gender – men usually will have a faster metabolic rate as they tend to have less body fat and more muscle than women of the same age.
Your age – as you age, you tend to loss muscle mass which results in your metabolic rate slowing.
Can you increase your metabolic rate?
You can speed up your metabolism, but doing so may not have the greatest effect on weight loss as you may think. This is because much of the energy you consume is churned up by simply by existing. In fact, 60-70 percent is used for vital functions like breathing and your heart rate. 15-30 percent is used up when you move throughout the day and 10-15 percent helps run your digestive system.
Consuming food more frequently is the common perception of how to speed up your metabolism. However, the quality and quantity of the foods you’re consuming will have a much greater impact. Your sleep, sun exposure and exercise are also factors which are just as important when it comes to the health of your metabolism.
Tips to support your metabolism
You may have been told to eat chilli or drink coffee to speed up your metabolism. There are even supplements designed to quicken your metabolism so you can burn more energy (I don’t recommend them, but they are out there!).
That’s not a myth, those foods do have that effect because their stimulants, but it isn’t long lasting. You’ll be much better off focusing on maintaining a healthy diet and lifestyle than searching for a quick fix.
Here are my tips on how you can support a healthy metabolism:
Consume a wholefood diet
Increase your fruit and vegetable consumption for a good dose of nutrients and fibre
Limit your intake of processed and refined foods including sugars, flours and takeaways
Limit the amount of soy products including those which are organic.
Boost up your protein
Eat lots of good fats from nuts, olive oil, coconut oil and fish
Consume more selenium to assist your thyroid function including brazil nuts, tuna, mushrooms
Replace sugary soft drinks with water
Eat mindfully, keeping an eye on your portion size and eating slower to ensure you don’t over eat
Spend time out in the sunshine to ensure you’re getting plenty of Vitamin D
Increase your sleep quantity and quality
Move more! Up your exercise, in particular weight-bearing to increase your muscle-to-fat ratio
Walk more. You can’t beat walking. If in doubt start here.
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