Why does it seem that some people can eat anything they want without gaining an ounce while others struggle to keep off excess weight? There is not just one answer to this question. It is a combination of genetics, lifestyle, medication use, diet, exercise and metabolism. The bad news is you could have inherited the tendency to put on weight from your ancestors. The good news is you do not have to surrender to your genes since all the other factors contributing to body weight can be changed.
Most people know that diet and exercise are important components to weight loss, with diet accounting for nearly 80% of body composition. However, metabolism plays an extremely important role in determining how efficiently your body burns calories for fuel. Therefore, increasing your metabolic rate is important if you want to maximize your weight loss efforts.
Consider the following points:
- Stick to a regular eating schedule. Research has shown that people who adhere to regular meals at regular intervals lose weight easier than those who eat sporadically. It is theorized that this trains the body to burn more calories between meals.
- Stay away from starvation diets. This causes the body to slow down your metabolic rate since it believes there is a famine and energy must be conserved. Severely limiting caloric intake only defeats the purpose of losing weight since you slow down your metabolism causing you to gain weight when you return to normal eating. The worst part of this is you will tend to not only gain back any weight you have lost, but will also pack on additional pounds!
- Try not to remain seated for long periods. Sitting down for more than 20 minutes at a time is all it takes to begin to slow you metabolism. This is an easy enough fix. Simply set the timer on your watch or phone to alert you every 20 minutes to stand up and move around a bit. The added benefit to doing this is this habit will help to increase and improve blood circulation and you will also help to avoid the feeling of stiffness that many feel after sitting too long.
- Get plenty of sleep. Sleep deprivation is a major contributor to decreased metabolism. People who sleep less tend to move less during the day. Additionally, when you don’t get enough sleep your body burns fewer calories during the day.
- Increase calcium intake. A high calcium diet assists you in burning more fat since it increases fat metabolism. For those who are lactose-intolerant or vegan, there is a variety of non-dairy sources that are high in calcium including broccoli, spinach, soy milk and calcium supplements.
- Choose organic produce. People who are exposed to the most toxins have a greater than average dip in their metabolic rates than those whose toxin exposure is minimal.
- Drink plenty of water. Dehydration accounts for as much as a 2% decrease in metabolism.
- Eat breakfast. It’s not referred to as the most important meal of the day for no reason. You have been “fasting” all night and skipping breakfast sends the body a signal to slow down energy burn. People who skip the morning meal are 5 times more likely to be overweight and/or obese.
A healthy diet and active lifestyle are certainly required for getting in shape and/or staying in shape. Make it a bit easier on yourself by incorporating these simple steps to make your metabolism work for you rather than against you.