Metabolism is the way your body converts food and drinks to energy, and is usually measured in calories. You can determine how many calories your body burns each day by plugging different information into various formulas. All the various calculations have limitations. The most accurate method is to have your metabolism measured through indirect calorimetry. This method uses a machine to measure oxygen consumption; and in less than 10 minutes you can know your resting metabolic rate (RMR).
Metabolism is a complex process that is affected by what you eat; how much you exercise, and your lifestyle. Some of the lifestyle habits may be having a huge negative affect. Below are some things to consider.
Inconsistent Meals. When meals come at regular intervals, your body uses up the calories for fuel and burns more calories in between meals. If your eating pattern is inconsistent, your body gets confused and isn’t quite sure when the next meal is coming, so it goes into conservation mode. Your calorie burn is reduced and more food is put into storage (fat cells and glycogen stores).
Eating too little. If you are “dieting” to lose weight, eating too few calories can actually backfire because cutting calories too much will put your body into a starvation mode and slow your metabolism to keep you alive.
Skipping resistance work or strength training. Many people do only aerobic work because it burns the most calories. But strength training is important because it is directly related to muscle mass and the more muscle tissue you have, the higher your metabolic rate. You can do strength training by lifting weights, using resistance bands or your own body weight. (High resistance, low repetitions, and slow movements.)
Too much sitting. Even if you exercise an hour a day, if you spend the remaining 23 hours sitting or sleeping, your metabolism will slow down. Sitting more than 20 minutes can put your body into a more relaxed, non-energy-burning state. Regular movement will cause small spikes in your metabolism as well as lower your triglycerides, blood sugar, and cholesterol.
What you drink. Drinking too little water leads to dehydration which can cause you to burn 2% fewer calories. Try to drink at least 8 – 9 cups of water each day.
Not getting enough calcium. Calcium plays an important role in fat metabolism. Low fat dairy is a great source of calcium that also offers an extra benefit to muscles because if contains proteins that help build muscles and prevent muscle breakdown.
Stress. Stress is probably the number-one factor impacting metabolism. It increases the production of cortisol, a hormone that increases appetite and makes us reach for comfort foods. It can decrease our desire for exercise, even though exercise is a powerful stress-buster. Stress slows digestion, causing a lower need to metabolize calories. Plus, stress can impact our quality of sleep and number hours we sleep.
For more detailed information regarding boosting your metabolism, talk to a Certified Health Coach or a Certified Personal Trainer. (Janet Hunt 256-614-3530).
By: Janet Hunt
Janet Hunt is a Certified Personal Trainer and can be reached at 256-614-3530 to schedule an appointment.