Possibly you have heard people blame their weight loss struggles on having a slow metabolism. But is metabolism really the main culprit? And if so, can you rev up your metabolism to increase the rate of burning calories?
Metabolism indeed has an impact on how your body burns energy and fat. However, it is important to mention that a slow metabolism is not the main culprit for excess weight gain, although it influences how the body burns energy. Instead, your calorie intake and physical activity level are what determines your weight.
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More about Metabolism and Its Relation to Weight Loss
Metabolism is a broad term that incorporates all major processes in the body, but in simple terms, it is the process by which the body converts what we eat and drink into energy for body processes. During this process, energy from food and beverages combines with oxygen to power body cells.
Even when you are resting, your body still requires energy to carry out different functions such as blood circulation, breathing, balancing and adjusting hormone levels, repairing cells, etc. The number of calories your body needs to carry out its essential functions is called basal metabolic rate, which many call metabolism.
Several factors determine your basal metabolism, including:
- Your sex. Men bodies usually pack more muscles and less fat than women bodies of the same weight and body, which explains why men tend to burn more calories
- Your age. As we get older, our muscle mass tends to decrease, and this is compensated by more fat, thereby slowing down the rate of burning calories
- Your body composition and size. People with larger muscle mass tend to burn more calories, even at rest
In addition to your basal metabolism, two other factors determine the number of calories your body burns every day;
- Physical activity and exercises. Your daily physical activities such as walking to and from work, chasing after your dog, and any other movements account for the calories your body burns every day. Physical activity is the most variable factor that dictates the number of calories your body burns each day
- Food processing. Also called thermogenesis, these are the calories needed to facilitate digestion, food absorption, transportation, and storing food. A significant percentage of calories from the protein and carbohydrates you eat is used during digestion and absorption of nutrients
Overall, a fast metabolism ensures that most of the calories in the food and drinks you take are used up quickly, making sense why you should boost it a little bit if you want to stop fast weight gain.
Here are practical ways of increasing your metabolism;
Increase Your Muscle Mass and Activities
As we said earlier, our bodies burns calories, even when we are resting. This number of calories our body burns when at rest is much higher in people with more muscle mass.
It is said that every pound of muscle mass in the body uses six calories a day to sustain itself, while every pound of fat deposit in your body burns just two calories daily. This may seem a small difference, but over time, it can add up.
That’s why you are advised to engage in strength training to build more muscles for your body to raise its average daily metabolic rate.
In addition, you should also increase aerobic exercises. These exercises may not build big muscles, but they can boost your metabolic rate considerably.
In addition, high-intensity exercises can help boost your resting metabolism than low-intensity workouts. Therefore, try more intense activities such as having short bursts of sprinting in your jogs.
Eat Protein-Rich Meals
A high-protein diet requires the body to use more calories to digest and absorb nutrients in protein diets. This increases your resting metabolic rate as the body spends more energy digesting protein than it does fats or carbs.
In addition to this, a protein-rich diet increases satiety, which can reduce your daily calorie intake. However, this does not mean that you overeat protein as excess protein is stored as fat. Also, make sure you eat good protein sources such as eggs, Greek yogurt, lean meats, nuts, cottage cheese, fish, poultry, and beans.
Avoid Crash Diets
Crash diets are detrimental for anyone who is looking for ways to quicken their metabolism. Crash diets are diets that involve eating fewer than 1,200 calories for women or 1,800 calories for men.
Although these diets may help you shed some pounds, they come at the expense of healthy nutrition. Plus, they cause muscle loss, which in turn slows down metabolism. As a result, your body tends to gain weight at a faster rate.
If you are to follow a diet, make sure to follow sustainable diets that doesn’t recommend extreme measures of losing weight.
Eat Whole Foods
Research suggests that whole foods such as whole grains, vegetables, and fruits demand more energy to be digested and absorbed than processed foods, such as processed cheese and white bread. Although research is limited in this area, it is still enough to indicate that whole foods can boost your metabolism.
Not to mention that a diet with whole foods is healthier and can help you maintain or lose weight naturally.
Whole foods also tend to be rich in fiber and thus will fill you up fast without eating too many calories. In addition, they are also all-natural and deliver vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that often lack in processed foods.
Therefore, aim to eat plenty of fruits and vegetables and whole grains in most of your meals.
Eat Spicy Foods
Studies suggest that eating spicy foods such as those with Chilean pepper can help increase metabolic rate considerably. Chile peppers have capsaicin, an antioxidant that is known to boost metabolism slightly.
While the metabolic boost you get by adding Chiles to your diet may not melt away fat, some studies suggest that it does help to make you feel satisfied.
Therefore, add spices such as pepper and chili to your foods to boost metabolism.
Drink Cold Water, Coffee, and Green Tea
If you are trying to lose weight, you should drink calorie-deficient beverages. Here are the three drinks you should take regularly;
Green tea has several organic compounds, including caffeine, which may help boost metabolism and thus make the body burn more calories. This is why many nutritionists recommend green tea to people who are struggling with weight loss.
Research findings published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition showed that consuming green tea can help boost the rate of burning calories, especially when combined with moderate-intensity workouts.
However, as promising as the research sounded, there were no results of green tea having a significant effect on metabolism.
While the research continues, it doesn’t hurt to drink green tea regularly. For example, if you are used to drinking energy drinks or sugar-laden coffee at midday and want to cut down on calories, why not replace them with a cup of green tea? This will help cut down on calories and give you a good dose of healthy antioxidants. Even if this doesn’t boost your metabolism, it will be good for your weight loss.
Drinking plenty of water can help you lose weight fast. The reason for this is that water temporarily boosts metabolism.
One study found that water increases your metabolism (rate of burning calories) through thermogenesis (the process of heating body cells). Since thermogenesis increases your body’s rate of burning calories, you should drink more cold water to force the body to use more calories to warm its cells. This will help boost metabolism.
However, it is important to mention that there is minimal research to support claims that ice water can help boost metabolism, but it doesn’t hurt to drink a glass of ice water after a good session at the gym.
The best way to lose weight would be to replace sugar-sweetened beverages with cold water. This will cut down your calorie intake and keep you hydrated and help boost your metabolism. Drinking plenty of water also helps to reduce the chances of excessive snacking.
Research shows that caffeine has metabolism-boosting abilities and helps boost the rate of burning calories.
If you are into exercises and workouts, caffeine can help you get the most out of your efforts by increasing your fat-burning rate. Drinking coffee before exercises also helps you burn more calories.
However, avoid sugar-laden coffee as this would negate the benefits you would get from coffee to boost metabolism.
Also, remember to keep your caffeine content to under 400mg a day.
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Boosting metabolism is one of the ways of increasing your weight loss rate. Some people inherit a fast metabolism, but for many, you have to take measures to boost it.
Although many factors such as your gender, physical activities, age, body composition, etc. influence your metabolic rate, the above methods we have discussed can help you boost your metabolism considerably.
Exercise and build muscles (the most effective method), eat protein-rich foods, drink coffee, and eat spicy foods.