Most people understand metabolism to be how quickly your body burns calories. While this is true, it also includes how all the processes in your body work together to create the energy it needs to get through the day. How much you eat and how much energy your body needs will determine if you maintain, gain, or lose weight.
While it is true that some of us are born with a slower or faster metabolism, or even have better genetics, it does not stop us from being able to increase and regulate our metabolism (of course, excluding such health conditions as Hypothyroidism, etc.)
There are several things you can do to jump-start your metabolism. One of the easiest is by eating breakfast. Your body has not had any food for typically 6-8 hours and as a result your metabolism slows down. By eating a healthy, balanced breakfast you can quiickly jump-start your metabolism. Another simple thing to do is drink ice water as it forces your body to burn calories by bringing your body temperature back to normal. Ginger (in fresh or supplement form) can also aid in digestion and boost your metabolism. It’s easy to slice some fresh ginger root and incorporate it into what you are cooking.
Regulating your metabolism is also extremely important. An excellent approach is to eat 5-6 small, low calorie, high protein, low carb and low fat meals throughout the day. Your body’s energy supply will be constant while keeping your metabolism working hard burning calories. Without sufficient food, your metabolism slows as your body adjusts and figures out how to function with less energy and then begins to store fat. A lot of people worry that if they eat a lot they will gain weight, but as long as you are eating small, low calorie, high protein meals you will be keeping your blood sugar stable, reducing cravings and keeping your metabolism high. A high protein diet allows our body to digest protein more slowly than fat or carbs, so you feel full longer. Protein also helps preserve muscle mass, which burns more calories.
Exercise is another extremely important way to regulate your metabolism. I suggest strength training several times per week for at least 30 minutes to build muscle. As you increase muscle mass you burn more calories and raise your metabolic rate. Every pound of muscle burns 35 calories while every pound of fat burns 2 calories. Exercise is even more important as we age because our metabolism slows down due to muscle deterioration. If calorie intake is equal to the energy used by your body, you will maintain your weight, if your calorie intake is higher, you can gain weight, and of course, if it is lower you can lose weight.
Remember don’t give in to the idea of a slow metabolism. Look at when and what you eat and what level of exercise you choose. With some attention in these areas, you can have more energy, feel better, perform better, and manage your weight better.
Note: Please consult with your doctor before starting any new nutrition or exercise program.