People often blame slow metabolisms for their weight gain. They have reduced their calories and are more active but not losing weight. Could it be a slow metabolism that is the actual culprit? Metabolism – It is the process of chemical transformations that provide life-sustaining chemicals within living organisms. It is so complex that you may feel like it is beyond your control. However, It’s not true.
Before we talk about how to increase metabolism, lets first understand what is Metabolism.
What is Metabolism
People often claim that they cannot lose weight because they have a slow metabolism and are looking for ways to increase their metabolism. Many of these people don’t really understand the concept metabolism. According to Wikipedia:
“Metabolism is a set of chemical reactions that occur in living organisms in order to maintain life”
These chemical reactions are fueled by the food we eat. When people talk about a fast or slower metabolism, they usually mean the average number of calories that their body burns per day. There are three main factors that affect your metabolism:
1) Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR)
This is the amount of energy you use to perform the basic functions that keep you alive e.g. if you lied in bed all day and burned 1000 calories then your BMR would be 1000 calories per day. You can roughly estimate your BMR by multiplying your weight in pounds by 14 if you are male and by 12 if you are female e.g. if you are male and weigh 150lbs your BMR will be about 2100 calories. You can also use this BMR calculator. BMR has the biggest influence on your metabolism and normally accounts for 60% to 65% of the calories you consume. Your BMR is largely down to genetics but there are a number of things that can affect it:
- Building muscle: This can increase your BMR as muscle requires more calories to maintain than fat.
- Dehydration: This can contribute towards a low BMR as it prevents your body from performing a number of basic functions.
- Illness: Illness can significantly affect the way your body works and therefore influence your BMR. Thyroid conditions in particular can have a major influence over your BMR.
- Supplements: Certain supplements can slightly influence your BMR.
- Vitamin or Mineral Deficiency: This can reduce your BMR if it stops your body from performing basic functions properly.
- Weather: This has an impact on your BMR because your body will have to use extra calories to warm you up or cool you down depending what the weather is like outside.
2) Physical Activity
Some people are more active than others. People who are more active will burn more calories by doing physical activity than those who are less active. Your metabolism is second-largest influence by this activity, which can burn between 25% to 30% of all calories consumed.
The amount of physical activity you do each day is something that you can directly influence. You won’t burn many calories if you sit at your desk for long periods of time, drive to work, then go home and watch TV before going to bed. If you make physical activity a part of your daily life and get a little bit of exercise each day, it can help to burn a lot of calories.
Read also: Ten Minute Exercise Routines For Busy People
3) Thermic Effect Of Food
Food cannot digest itself. This requires calories. Your metabolism is influenced by your digestion, which uses approximately 10% of all calories consumed You cannot hugely increase the amount of calories you burn through the foods you eat. However, certain foods do have a better thermic effect than others:
Fibre: Complex carbohydrates that are high in fibre such as fruits, vegetables and whole grains burn more calories during digestion than simple carbohydrates such as white bread, white pasta and sugary foods.
Protein: Protein is thought to burn two to three times the amount of calories that carbohydrates and fats do during digestion. Furthermore, according to a study from McArdle et. al (1986)  when eating a meal that consists of pure protein up to 25% of the calories consumed can be used during digestion and absorption.
Spicy Foods: Spicy foods can temporarily increase the amount of calories you burn. This is because certain spices are thought to stimulate fat burning. On top of this spicy foods temporarily raise your body’s temperature after you eat them meaning you burn more calories.
So there you have it. There are three main things that affect your metabolism; your BMR, your physical activity and the thermic effect of the foods that you eat. While you can influence your metabolism and increase the calories you burn, there is no way to dramatically increase it. Unless you exercise a lot every day. How much and what you eat have a greater impact on how much weight you gain/lose. To maintain or lose weight:
“The Calories you Consume <= BMR + Physical Activity + Thermic Effect of Food”
Ways To Maximise Your Metabolism
1. Eat High Fibre Carbohydrates
High-fibre carbohydrates are more difficult to digest than simple carbs and have a greater thermic effect. Foods that are high in fibre also contains less calories (since fibre itself does not contain any calories). These foods also lower your appetite and provide many additional benefits.
High fibre foods include beans, broccoli, apples, nuts and whole grain products. Try to take your most of the dietary carbohydrates come from these sources. They will help you lose weight and burn more calories. You should be careful not to eat too much fibre. Excessive fibre intake may cause constipation, bloating, abdominal pain and more.
Read also: Fibre – What You Need To Know About It
2. Eat Vitamin Rich Foods
Vitamins and minerals are essential for the body to function properly. You may have a reduced ability to perform certain functions, which could lead to a decrease in your BMR. Vitamin-rich foods include fruits, vegetables and eggs as well as nuts. You need to ensure that you get the recommended daily allowance (RDA), for all vitamins in the foods you eat. This will help you maximize your metabolism. It will keep your BMR at its optimal level and also promote good overall health. You must be careful not to overdose, just as with fibre.
3. Drink Enough Water
Your body may not be able perform vital functions if it isn’t properly hydrated. This could lead to a decrease in your BMR. You need to ensure you’re drinking enough water to maximize your metabolism. But again don’t over hydrate yourself.
4. Get Enough Protein
You will feel fuller for longer if your body takes longer to digest protein than carbs or fats. But protein may also give your metabolism a boost thanks to a process called thermogenesis, where your body uses about 10% of its calorie intake for digestion. Your body will use more energy to absorb the nutrients from a high-protein diet because it takes longer for protein to be burned than fat or carbs. You can quickly get more protein by adding whey protein to your smoothie.
5. Add spices in your diet
Your BMR can temporarily be increased by eating spicy foods. Spicy foods can temporarily increase your BMR. They raise your body temperature for a brief period of time after consumption. This means that your body will burn more calories trying to regulate it. Second, cayenne and other spices are believed to have thermogenic qualities. This means that they temporarily increase your body’s ability to burn fat. As with all the other foods in this article, you should be careful when eating spicy foods. Too much spicy food can cause side effects like heartburn, stomach ulcers, and irritable bowel syndrome.
6. Do Strength training
Muscles burn more calories than fat so increasing muscle mass can help you lose weight. Do muscle-strengthening exercises that target all major muscle groups (legs and hips, backs, abdomen, chests, shoulders, arms, stomach, chest, shoulders, and backs) at least 2 days per week. Lifting weights and engaging in intense exercise are two examples of muscle-strengthening activity. You might also be able to do the job by heavy gardening.
7. Start a Cardiovascular Exercise Routine
Cardiovascular exercise is beneficial in two ways. Cardiovascular exercise can help you lose additional calories. Second, your cardiovascular workout will continue to burn calories for several hours after you are done. By going for a walk, jog, run, bike ride, swim (or whatever other cardiovascular exercise takes your fancy) a few times a week you can burn extra calories and boost your metabolism.
It is possible to increase your metabolism by eating smart foods and following a structured exercise program. But, metabolism is not the only key to weight loss success. While you can increase your daily calories by following these tips, there are limits to their effectiveness. Although increasing your metabolism won’t make you eat less, it can help you lose weight. However, if you control your food intake and follow the advice above, metabolism can be an effective tool for weight loss. These tips will help boost your metabolism, burn calories more efficiently, and improve your overall health.