How Metabolism Affects Weight

The Truth Behind Slow Metabolism and How to Burn More Calories.

You've probably heard people blame their weight on a “slow metabolism”, but what does that mean? Is metabolism really the culprit? And if so, is it possible to rev up your metabolism to burn more calories?

While it's true that metabolism is linked to weight, it may not be in the way you expect. In fact, contrary to common belief, a slow metabolism is rarely the actual cause of excess weight gain. Although your metabolism influences your body's basic energy needs, it's your food and fluid intake and your physical activity that ultimately determine how much you weigh.

Metabolism: Converting food into energy

Metabolism is the process by which your body converts what you eat and drink into energy. During this complex biochemical process, calories in food and beverages are combined with oxygen to release the energy your body needs to function. Even when you're at rest, your body needs energy for all its "hidden" functions, such as 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 — what you might call metabolism. Several factors determine your individual basal metabolic rate:

Your body size and composition. The bodies of people who are larger or have more muscle burn more calories, even at rest.

Your sex. Men usually have less body fat and more muscle than do women of the same age and weight, burning more calories.

Your age. As you get older, the amount of muscle tends to decrease and fat accounts for more of your weight, slowing down calorie burning.

Energy needs for your body's basic functions stay fairly consistent and aren't easily changed. Your basal metabolic rate accounts for about 60 to 75 percent of the calories you burn every day.

In addition to your basal metabolic rate, two other factors determine how many calories your body burns each day:

Food processing (thermogenesis). Digesting, absorbing, transporting and storing the food you consume also takes calories. This accounts for about 10 percent of the calories used each day. For the most part, your body's energy requirement to process food stays relatively steady and isn't easily changed.

Physical activity. Physical activity and exercise — such as playing tennis, walking to the store, chasing after the dog and any other movement — account for the rest of the calories your body burns up each day. Physical activity is by far the most variable of the factors that determine how many calories you burn each day.

Metabolism and weight

It may be tempting to blame your metabolism for weight gain. But because metabolism is a natural process, your body generally balances it to meet your individual needs. That's why if you try so-called starvation diets, your body compensates by slowing down these bodily processes and conserving calories for survival.

Unfortunately, weight gain is most commonly the result of eating more calories than you burn. To lose weight, then, you need to create an energy deficit by eating fewer calories, increasing the number of calories you burn through physical activity, or both.

Metabolism and weight loss: How you burn calories

A closer look at physical activity and metabolism

While you don't have much control over the speed of your metabolism, you can control how many calories you burn through your level of physical activity. The more active you are, the more calories you burn. In fact, some people who are said to have a fast metabolism are probably just more active — and maybe more fidgety — than are others.

You can burn more calories with:

Regular aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is the most efficient way to burn calories and includes activities such as walking, cycling and swimming. As a general goal, include at least 30 minutes of physical activity in your daily routine. If you want to lose weight or meet specific fitness goals, you may need to increase the time you spend on physical activity even more. If you can't set aside time for a longer workout, try 10-minute chunks of activity throughout the day. Remember, the more active you are, the greater the benefits.

Strength training. Strength training exercises, such as weightlifting, are important because they help counteract muscle loss associated with aging. And since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue does, muscle mass is a key factor in weight loss.

Lifestyle activities. Any extra movement helps burn calories. Look for ways to walk and move around a few minutes more each day than the day before. Taking the stairs more often, parking farther away at the shops or even using the upstairs loo are simple ways to burn more calories. Even activities such as gardening, washing your car and housework burn calories and contribute to weight loss.

10 Ways to Speed Up You Metabolism

1 The first thing you need to do is add breakfast to your daily meal planner. Although many people don’t like eating breakfast, it gives your body the rev up it needs to launch your metabolism. A 250 calorie snack is all it takes to boost your metabolism in the morning.

2 Get active - it's a sure-fire way to increase the amount of muscle you have, which in turn will speed up your metabolism. Do a mixture of aerobic and resistance training for best results. And don't forget to be more active in your daily life too.

3 Eat little and often - there's evidence that eating small, regular meals throughout the day, rather than one or two large meals, may help to keep your metabolism ticking over. Because around 10 percent of the calories we use each day go on digesting and absorbing food, the more times you eat, the greater this effect is likely to be.

4 Eat plenty of protein-rich foods - research shows that around 25 percent of calories in a protein-rich meal may be burnt off. But make sure you choose low-fat protein foods such as lean meat, skinless chicken and low-fat dairy products.

5 Spice up meals - it's not an old wives tale after all! Spices like chilli are thought to raise metabolism by up to 50 percent for up to three hours after eating, due to increasing your heart rate. But before putting the local Indian takeaway on speed dial, work out which curries have the lowest calorie and fat content.

6 Swap you daily cuppa for green tea - there's evidence that it contains antioxidants that speed up metabolism.

7 Chill out - research shows that being very cold can increase metabolism by up to 20 percent.

8.Have a sauna - being very hot is also thought to boost metabolism by about 20 percent (but check you don't have any underlying medical problems that mean you shouldn't go in saunas or steam rooms).

9 While you’re planning your meals, you may want to add kiwi fruit to your diet. Kiwis pack a lot of vitamin C, but if you add 500 mg of it to your day, you can burn up to 40 percent more fat when you’re exercising. Don’t get too much C, though, because once you get to the 2,000 mg mark, you can start experiencing adverse effects like bloating, gas, and diarrhoea.

10 Another metabolism boosting measure is to watch what you drink. Adding ice to a drink makes your body work harder because it has to heat it up in your stomach, which increases your metabolism. Also, drinking coffee or tea can raise your heart rate and increase your metabolism, but do remember to also drink water, in order to counteract caffeins dehydrating effects.

In The News

One or two interesting stories already in the news so far this year.

Hypnosis is the Fast Route to Weight Loss according to the Express, who also point out that Hypnosis Gastric Procedures carry a higher success rate then the real thing! Click the link below;-

Women Warned Against Cut-Price Gastric Surgery reports the Independent, as more and more people are seeking cheaper procedures overseas. Click the link below;-

There was a very interesting story this week about a mother who lost six stone, whilst being completely unaware that the Gastric Band she’d had fitted was broken! Click the link below;-

You may have noticed the Mum in that article is now a keen Zumba fan. In terms of an enjoyable way of speeding up your metabolism, Zumba is probably amongst the very best of activities and is gaining in popularity, fast. In fact, Zumba Fitness for consoles such as PlayStation and Wii are continuing to outsell conventional games. Click the link below;-

More next month, when we'll also be revealing how some of the first Client Experiences of 2012 are shaping up!

Best wishes



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