Have you ever wondered why some people seem to stay slim and never gain weight? Are they born that way or do they know a secret to keeping weight off you don’t? With the latest report just last week from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) stating the prevalence of obesity among adults in the United States passed 30% for the first time ever, we need all the help we can get. One area to consider is our metabolism and how the ups and downs of it can affect weight gain.
In order to keep us alive and functioning, your body has millions of chemical processes taking place in your cells which is known as your metabolism. Metabolism may determine whether you easily gain weight or if you can eat whatever you want without gaining much weight. Some people do seem to have a more accelerated metabolism than others. However all of us, starting around the age of 40, will have a slowed decline in our metabolism of about 5 % per decade -unless we do certain things to prevent it.
There are several factors we can’t control affecting metabolism – age, gender and genetics. Fortunately, other factors affecting metabolism are within our control so you don’t have to feel doomed when your metabolism seems to be crawling at a snail’s pace.
Here are 9 factors you can do something about to help rev up your metabolism keeping you at an ideal body weight meant for you:
1. Intensify your workout
Aerobic exercise is a very effective method of increasing your metabolism. But if the aerobic exercise has become routine and practiced at a more leisurely pace, it’s time to step it up. Push yourself to include more high-intensity exercise to bring about a rise in your resting metabolic rate. Walk faster, incorporate jogging or sprinting into a regular walk, dance to a fast-paced song, just do whatever it takes to workout harder than usual.
2. Increase muscle mass
During the day even when we are doing nothing, our body is busy burning calories. The more muscle mass you have, the more calories you’ll burn than someone with less muscle mass. For each pound of muscle your body burns about 6 calories a day while a pound of fat burns only 2 calories a day. You may think “that’s not much” but every little bit helps and the more calories burned even at rest means less weight gain.
3. Drink more water
Many people walk around mildly dehydrated which can slow down metabolism. In order to burn calories, your body needs water. Adults who drank 8 -10 glasses of water each day burn more calories than those who drink less. Total water intake can include foods with a high water content such as fruits and vegetables. Keep track of your water intake during the day. One way to assess if you are adequately hydrated is your urine should be a transparent yellow to a pale straw color.
4. Spice up your meals
Spicy foods not only heat things up but they also have natural chemicals boosting your metabolism. When used frequently, spicy foods such as red or green chili peppers used in cooking will give a surge to your metabolism. Red pepper flakes are another spice to increase metabolism easily added to chili, stews, or pasta dishes.
5. Eat often throughout the day
It may sound counterproductive, but it helps to eat often. If you only eat one or two large meals and go for long stretches during the day without eating, your metabolism slows down. Think of it like this – in order to keep a fire burning you have to keep adding wood. If you don’t, the fire dies out. The same thing will happen with your metabolism if you fail to eat for long periods of time. Eat about every 3 to 4 hours having a small meal or snack of healthy foods so your metabolism keeps burning calories.
6. Increase protein
When you eat a food rich in protein, it requires more calories to digest than it does to digest carbohydrates or fat. At each meal have a lean protein source such as chicken, eggs, fish, lean beef, nuts, beans, and low-fat dairy.
7. Drink black coffee
We all know coffee helps us feel more alert, awake, energized and ready to take on the day. One other thing it does is to cause a short-term rise in your metabolism. Up to 3-4 cups of coffee each day can be enjoyed by most people.
8. Drink green tea
Green tea may not look like a metabolism-charged beverage but drinking it or oolong tea provide caffeine and catechins that speed up metabolism. Drinking 2 to 4 cups of green or oolong tea can give an energy boost increasing metabolism by burning around 17% more calories.
9. Stay away from crash dieting
Crash dieting may result in weight loss initially but it also results in loss of muscle mass and ultimately slowing down your metabolism. Crash diets are defined as any diet providing less than 1200 calories (if a woman) or 1500 calories (if a man). Once you go off the diet and back to eating normally, the weight comes right back on and since your metabolism has bottomed out, you’ll be burning fewer calories.
Make metabolism work to your benefit
Everyone’s metabolism is different and for many individuals, very frustrating when it doesn’t work in our favor. Keep a positive attitude and do what you can to set you on the path towards revving up your metabolism. When we practice the healthy lifestyle choices mentioned in this article, the rate at which we burn calories are more likely to work to our benefit.