Saturday, April 28, 2007

The Secret to a Fast Metabolism

Do you ever wonder how your friend can eat whatever she wants and not gain a pound, while you seem to gain weight by simply looking at food? The answer is in your metabolism—the way your body burns up all the calories from food.

Some people have a fast metabolism which helps keep weight off, and others have a slow metabolism, putting on weight very quickly.

What is Metabolism?

Metabolism is the rate at which your body’s internal engine operates as it performs its bodily functions. The largest component of your metabolism, approximately 70%, is your basal metabolic rate (BMR), which is how many calories you burn just sitting around. In other words, it is the energy used by your body to perform basic functions, such as breathing, keeping the heart beating and maintaining body temperature. As you age, your BMR decreases. Basal metabolic rates differ from person to person due to:

Genetics: A slow metabolism (you burn calories more slowly) or fast metabolism (you burn calories faster) can be inherited.

Amount of lean muscle: Muscle burns calories faster than fat. The more muscle you have, the more calories you burn, even at rest.

Sex differences: Males generally have a 10 to 15% faster BMR than females because the male body has a larger percentage of lean muscle tissue.

Age: Younger people have faster metabolisms due to increased activity of cells.

Other components of your metabolism include physical activity, which accounts for about 20% of calories burned, and dietary thermogenesis, which is the number of calories required for digesting and processing the food you eat. This accounts for the remaining 10% of energy needs.

How Does This Affect My Weight?

Simply put, your metabolism affects weight management because it determines how many calories you need per day. If you have a high BMR (fast metabolism) it takes a lot of calories for your body to function; eating calorie-laden foods may not pack on the pounds for you. On the other hand, if you have a low BMR (slow metabolism), your body needs fewer calories to function. Unfortunately, for your sluggish metabolism, eating
Follow these tips to naturally boost your metabolism:

Eat Breakfast.

Breakfast is truly the most important meal of the day, especially for you weight loss seekers. Research shows that those who eat breakfast lose more weight than those who skip breakfast. Your metabolism slows down while you sleep and it doesn’t speed back up until you eat again. If you don’t eat until lunchtime, your body won't burn as many calories as it could during the morning period. Kick start your day with a balanced breakfast such as omega-3 eggs and toast

Eat smaller meals throughout the day.

Eating five or six smaller meals rather than three large meals helps to keep your metabolism revved up! It also helps to fill you up over the course of the day, making a binge session less likely.

Don’t starve yourself.

Fasting, cutting calories and skipping meals will all help put weight ON not OFF. Your body needs a certain number of calories to function. If you don’t meet this need, your body will switch into survival mode, slow down the metabolism and promote the storage of energy (calories) in the form of fat to protect itself from starvation.


Both cardiovascular exercise and weight training help to improve metabolic rate and keep weight off. Cardiovascular exercise, such as walking, running, biking, swimming and aerobics, allows your body to burn a lot of calories at one time. Weight training will increase muscle mass, which burns more calories than body fat. Weight training also puts the metabolism into overdrive, so your burn calories for up to two hours after the workout.

Drink Green Tea.

Research by the University of Geneva shows that green tea appears to increase metabolic rate and speed up fat oxidation. Compounds in green tea, catechin polyphenols, appear to speed up the rate at which calories are burned and therefore increase overall energy expenditure leading to weight loss!

Drink water.

Not drinking enough water can slow down your metabolism. Be sure to drink at least six to eight glasses of water per day. Add a lemon slice to water for a tangy, fresh taste.

Eat hormonally balanced meals.

Eating in hormonal balance includes:

  • Energy-dense carbohydrates, such as whole grains, beans, vegetables and fruits that contain fiber to help regulate your metabolism by having less impact on insulin levels.
  • High quality protein, such as fish, poultry, lean meats, soy, tofu and lowfat dairy products to help build metabolism-boosting muscle mass.
Essential fats for good health such as olive oil, avocado and nuts.

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