Most of us blame the dreaded “metabolism” monster when we aren't losing weight. We often targeted without truly knowing the factors that play into metabolism—and whether or not we can change them.
What does ‘Metabolism’ even mean?
Metabolism refers to the process of converting the calories you eat into energy. It determines your daily calorie intake to maintain your weight.
What affects your metabolism?
1. Basal metabolic rate (BMR): number of calories needed to maintain your body in a rested, fasting state. It’s affected by your gender, age, size, muscle mass, genetics and health-related factors. Your BMR accounts for 60-70% of the total calories you burn each day.
2. Activity level: number of calories you use up during exercise. Your activity level accounts for about 20% of the total calories you burn each day.
3. Food thermogenesis: number of calories you need to digest and absorb your food. It accounts for about 10% of the total calories you burn each day.
Anything that affects the three major things, mentioned above, would change the amount of calories you need to maintain your body weight. Your BMR is adaptable, and it will increase or decrease to provide for your body’s needs.
Ways to Combat a Slowing Metabolism
These are merely guidelines and do not need to be followed precisely. Incorporating these "ways" into your everyday lifestyle will have a positive affect on your metabolism.
Aim to strength train
Aim to train at least 2-3 times per week (body weighted exercise are great too). Adding muscle mass increases your BMR, allowing you to burn more calories even when you’re not exercising.
Increase your heart rate
Think running, swimming, cycling. Exercising at higher intensities allows you to reap the benefits of “after burn,” a phenomena where you burn extra calories post-exercise. To benefit from this effect, you should move at a pace where it’s difficult to talk. If you can push a little harder, then do so.
Eat enough high quality protein
Legumes, nuts, seeds, poultry, and fish are among some of the best protein sources. These sources supply amino acids to your muscles post-workout so, that they can repair and grow.
Keep well hydrated
Water is important as all the chemical reactions in your body requires water—including the ones that burn calories.
Don’t starve yourself in order to lose weight.
You need to consume a moderate amount of calories in order to lose weight. If you eat a significantly low amount of calories, you’ll lose weight rapidly, however much of it will be from water and muscle loss. Plus, you’ll likely lose hard-earned muscle mass that’s responsible for maintaining a higher BMR.