is an important component
of Weight Loss
and A Healthy Balance
Nourishing Your Body. Tuning Your Life Force.
Metabolic rate increase is one way to lose weight without cutting calories.
However, you must beware of false claims on “metabolism increasing products” that are trying to prey on unsuspecting consumers. Many people seek the easy way out to achieving weight loss—just take a pill and eat whatever you want. Sad to say, but that never happens.
Sometimes it’s difficult to separate the myths from the science. All information contained on this site is research based and should be helpful to you in making wise lifestyle choices which lead to A Healthy Balance.
What is metabolism?
Metabolism is your body’s process of converting food into energy. The normal functions of your beating heart, brain function, breathing and digestion all consume lots of energy. Metabolism is measured as the rate at which your body burns calories.
Why is this important if you want to lose weight? A Healthy Balance. Weight loss depends on burning more calories than you consume. Higher usage rates can help use up energy your body has stored as fat.
There are several factors that impact your metabolic rate:
- Weight: the more cells in your body, the higher rate at which you burn calories.
- Muscle mass: muscle cells burn more calories than fat cells. So two people that each weigh 150 lbs can have different metabolic rates if one has firm muscles and the other is carrying stored fat.
- Age: your rate decreases 3% per decade after age 40 as a result of normal muscle loss.
- Sex: men generally have higher rates than women because they tend to have more muscle tissue.
- Overall health condition: healthy bodies have higher metabolism than ones struggling with illnesses.
- Regular aerobic exercise: not only burns calories it also increases your basic metabolism.
- Heredity: you can inherit higher or lower rates from your genetics.
- Time of day/diet: there is a normal cycle of decreased metabolism during the evening and night. Starting the day with a good breakfast kicks in a higher metabolic rate earlier in the day. Exercise later in the day can keep it up longer.
- Adequate sleep: sleep is recuperative. People who do not maintain normal sleep cycles have been shown to reduce metabolic rates.
- Thyroid disorder: people with higher or lower thyroid activities also have higher or lower metabolism, however, this tends to affect only about 5% of people.
There are actually two different aspects of your metabolism, your resting rate (RMR accounts for the calories burned by your body functioning throughout the day) and the extra energy requirements (EER accounts for the added energy burned during exercising or strenuous activities.)
Calculating YOUR metabolic rate
A good way to estimate your RMR is using the Miffin-St Jeor equation: RMR = (4.54 X weight in lbs) + (15.88 X height in inches) – (4.92 X age in years) + (+ 5 if male, - 161 if female). The normal caloric intake to maintain weight = 115% of your RMR.
In other words, a 150 lb, 40 year old male who is 65 inches tall = (4.54 X 150) + (15.88 X 65) – (4.92 X 40) + (5) = 1521 RMR. His normal caloric intake should be 1750 calories/day, plus calories used for exercise.
A woman with the same height, weight and age = 1355 RMR. Her caloric intake should be 1558 calories/day, plus calories used for exercise.
Knowing your specific RMR is a missing link in helping you develop a personalized weight loss plan. Once you know the calories you will burn, you can plan for the calories to consume that will yield weight loss.
Steps to increase your metabolic rate
While some of the factors are predetermined (your height and age), many other factors are under your control. The following steps can help you ensure your metabolic rate is as high as possible to aid you in weight loss:
- Drink at least 8 cups of water a day: 90% of the chemical reactions in your body occur in water and when there is not adequate hydration your systems slow down their normal function.
- Eat small, frequent, healthy meals: the longer your body goes without digestion, the quicker it slows down your metabolism to conserve energy. Never skip meals. Having four to six mini meals a day keeps your systems humming all day long.
- Ensure adequate consumption of protein: Protein helps to stabilize the secretion of insulin in your blood stream, which can positively impact your metabolism.
- Get at least 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day: raising your heart rate temporarily increases your metabolism.
- Build muscle mass with strength training: Every healthy muscle cell in your body is like a little oven that is constantly burning energy, even when you sleep. By lifting weights or doing push-ups/sit-ups at least 3 days a week helps tone and build your muscles.
- Discover opportunities to increase movement: The more you move the more you burn. When you choose to take the stairs instead of the elevator or park a little further away from the door, these small opportunities help you can add up to a lot of increased activity. Just an extra 100 calories burned a day adds up to losing an extra pound each month.
- Get adequate sleep: a sleep deprived lethargic body will naturally slow down its rate of activity and bodily functions.
What doesn’t work?
Stimulants such as caffeine, ephedrine, nicotine and other “fad potions” have NOT been clinically proven to increase metabolic rates. Excessive amounts of these stimulants produce stress which reduces normal body functions and negatively impacts health and leads away from A Healthy Balance.
Metabolism and weight loss success
Recognize that as you are effective in losing weight, your metabolism will naturally slow down! When you are fat, your body burns extra calories just to carry around all that extra weight on your frame.
However, when you are effective at losing a significant amount of weight, your RMR will decrease. But that’s the goal, right?
Just be aware that when you reach the stage of approaching your target weight, if you reduce your dieting and perhaps at the same time cut back on some of the exercise, you will need to decrease your caloric consumption or you will quickly start to regain weight.
Decide to live a healthy Balanced lifestyle and retain the newfound vigor that a healthier body provides.
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