Metabolism is a process that everyone needs to understand to achieve and maintain a healthy existence. It’s how our cells change the food we eat into the energy we need to breathe, move, think, and everything else. It keeps us, all living things, alive. No doubt you’ve heard someone say they can’t lose weight because their metabolism is slowing down. This is not the case. Instead of being grateful for metabolism, we tend to blame it and use it as an excuse for an unhealthy body. Other factors such as age, sex, and body size cause natural variation in resting metabolic rate. But those differences are expected, and they are not usually the root cause of obesity or the inability to lose weight.
In reality, consuming too many calories and not getting enough exercise leaves us with excess energy that we store as fat – plain and simple. The best ways to lose weight and achieve better, more vibrant overall health is staying active, eating a healthy diet, and not trying to change the speed of your metabolism with chemicals or supplements.
Our habits affect our metabolism in several important ways you probably don’t consider. The first is what you eat affects your metabolism. The speed of your metabolism remains roughly the same no matter when or what you eat. And it is essential to highlight the few exceptions to this rule that are not good weight loss strategies.
It is better and safer to focus on how your metabolism works. That means avoiding fried foods, such as potato chips, and refined sugars, such as those found in soft drinks, candy, and many baked goods. These energy sources are the most likely to end up stored as fat. Instead, choose whole grains, lean proteins, vegetables, and fruit, which your body can more readily use to fuel its functions and activities.
Secondly, you must understand how exercise affects your metabolism. You can’t do much to affect your resting metabolism, which accounts for most of the calories people burn daily. But building muscle can help. Muscle tissue uses more energy than fat tissue does, even when you’re at rest. This is a big reason that women, who tend to have less muscle tissue than men, also burn fewer calories. Loss of muscle mass is a normal part of aging, but regularly working your muscles can help combat it.
Lastly, understand how your current weight affects your metabolism. The process of metabolism has two main parts. Anabolism helps you grow new cells, store energy, and maintain body tissues. Catabolism breaks down fat and carbohydrate molecules to release energy that fuels anabolism, keeps you warm, and enables your muscles to contract.
Also, it is essential to understand how your metabolism works with you deprive your body of food. Regardless of your weight, eating too little can backfire by slowing the rate at which your body burns calories. For instance, some people skip breakfast and lunch and just eat dinner. But not eating all day signals to your body that there’s a shortage of food, so your metabolic rate goes very low. And as soon as you eat anything, your body tries to store every single calorie in that food.
Even if you want and need to lose a lot of weight, you should aim to eat three or four small meals a day, mainly vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. It is crucial to ensure you get seven to nine hours of sleep each night. Sleep deprivation can cause your body to produce too much insulin, leading to increased fat storage.
Once you understand how metabolism affects your body and overall health, the solutions are simple to understand but harder to implement. With a bit of discipline and education, you can overcome and achieve a level of overall well-being.