Metabolism and Weight Loss: How they relate and how you can shed those kilos
When it comes to weight loss the word ‘metabolism’ is thrown around a lot. From foods to boost your metabolism to how resistance exercise burns fat, it seems to be involved in everything. With so much information available on weight loss, if can be hard to know what to believe and what to ignore and metabolism is definitely something to take notice of. But what exactly is metabolism and how does it help you lose weight?
What is metabolism?
In very simple terms, your metabolism is like a furnace. When properly fuelled, a furnace burns well but when starved, slows and starts to burn out. Your metabolism is the same. Your metabolism is how your body burns calories and energy and is affected by many things.
Just like a furnace, when your metabolism is regularly fuelled by food (i.e. small regular meals), it burns brightly, constantly burning calories and fat. But if your metabolism is not fuelled properly or regularly, it burns more slowly and becomes inefficient at burning calories and fat. So what does this have to do with weight loss I hear you ask? Quite a lot actually.
Metabolism and Weight Loss
Metabolism is the key to weight loss. Your weight loss efforts will often come down to how well your body burns calories and fat. Back in our cave dwelling days, storing body fat was necessary to survive and when food supply is limited, our bodies are very good at slowing our metabolism to limit the amount of calories that are burned. These days of course, we have an abundance of food in the western world, yet our bodies can still be fooled into thinking we need to preserve fat.
Whenever you go on a diet, especially a low calorie diet, you are telling your body that food is hard to find. Your body then believes it needs to hold onto fat for survival. Obviously this is not what you want to happen when trying to lose weight but your body doesn’t know that. When you go off the diet and increase your calories, your body will keep your metabolism running at a slightly slower rate in an effort to hold onto your body fat for the next diet. Because your metabolism is running more slowly, you need fewer calories each day, so much of what you eat will be stored as fat as protection. This is the main reason why, when you have been on a diet you will put on the weight you have lost plus some extra! Thankfully it doesn’t have to be this way.
Boosting your metabolism to lose weight
Even if you have been dieting on and off for years, you can boost your metabolism to help you achieve your weight loss goals. In fact, with a few simple tips, you can greatly increase your body’s ability to burn fat and calories to achieve your goals.
1. Eat regularly
As mentioned earlier, your metabolism is much like a furnace and performs much better when regularly fuelled. By eating regularly, you will keep your metabolism elevated and burn more calories overall. Six small meals a day are much better for your metabolism and your weight loss efforts than skipping meals or eating two or three large meals.
2. Eat breakfast
One of the best ways to help your weight loss efforts and boost your metabolism is to eat breakfast. This will kick start your metabolism for the day, stop the mid-morning sugar cravings and help you stay on track for the rest of the day.
3. Add some exercise
Regular exercise burns calories and fat, and increases your metabolism. Any exercise is beneficial when you are trying to lose weight but if you really want to increase your fat burning abilities, then there are certain types that are better than others. High intensity cardio (such as running) burns more calories and really boosts your metabolism, as does resistance training – the more muscle you have the more calories and fat you will burn.
4. Drink plenty of water
Dehydration is your enemy when it comes to losing weight. It is easy to mistake the early signs of dehydration for hunger and when you are hungry it is easy to fill up on unhealthy food. Buy yourself a one litre a bottle and regularly sip it throughout the day, aiming to drink at least one and a half to two litres a day.
Boosting your metabolism and losing weight go hand in hand. No matter how many times you have tried to lose weight before, you can still boost your metabolism and increase your fat burning abilities to reach your weight loss goals.