For most, women in particular; losing weight or maintaining a fit lifestyle is a constant thought. You may be looking for the quickest way to lose weight, or diet products that promise you unbelievable results. Well, fad diets are a no-no because they are unsustainable. One major issue with them is that they crash your metabolism. This is not good!
Man jogging. Photo credit: Liberal America
Metabolism is a complex biochemical process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. Even when you’re at rest, your body needs energy for functions like breathing, circulating blood, adjusting hormone levels, and growing and repairing cells. The number of calories your body uses to carry out these basic functions is known as your basal metabolic rate. Metabolism is the key regulator of homeostasis, keeping one in a balanced state. Think of your body as an engine and metabolism as the rate at which your engine runs. If this balance is disrupted, it will affect your hormones and the ability to burn off fat or build muscle.
The key to maintaining your metabolism, in the long run, is by paying attention to how much and what you eat. Here are a few ways to boost your metabolism.
Very low-calorie diets may result in fast weight loss and, eventually, fast weight gain. Fad diets are hard to maintain and, instead of staying on the diet, people rebound and gain the weight (or more) back. To maintain your metabolism, it is better to use a slow and steady, consistent approach to your weight loss. Determine the number of calories you’re taking in currently, and compare to the amount you should be taking. Then slowly reduce your calories and up your activity level until your body adjusts and you no longer feel too hungry or too low on energy!
Do you know how many calories you’re taking in? Are you tracking your calories and weighing your food? A lot of times, people say, “I’m gaining so much weight and I hardly eat, what do you think is wrong?” The truth is most people aren’t tracking what they eat. Like that packet of plantain chips at your office desk, the delicious pot of egusi soup your mum made or a “taste” of your children’s leftovers. These “little things” make a huge difference. To optimize your metabolism, make sure you’re tracking your calories to maintain muscle, avoid fat gain and still have enough energy to kill your workouts. It’s important to create a calorie deficit, but too much of a deficit will be damaging. Your body will turn to muscle for fuel and, instead of burning fat, you will start to hold onto it.
Physical activity is by far the most variable of the factors that determine how many calories you burn each day. Exercise affects your metabolism during and even up to 24 hours after you finish your session. It is particularly helpful after the age of 40 when your metabolism naturally begins to slow down due to an inevitable loss of muscle mass.
We want to do everything we can to maintain our health on the outside, but, truthfully, what you see on the outside starts on the inside.