James Lu Courier Contributor and
AWC Personal Trainer
Graphic by Moru Wang
Have you ever wondered why one (or some) of your friends are always snacking or could eat a whole tub of ice cream without gaining a pound? While you are always watching what you eat because whatever you eat will go straight to your waistline? The answer lies in your metabolism.
Metabolism is the rate at which we process the foods we consume and burn calories. It is an important factor in losing weight. You want to have a higher metabolic rate to burn more calories than you consume. Everyone has a different metabolism and it is determined by factors such as gender, age and genetics.
However, we can make changes to our lifestyle to help increase our metabolic rate. As with weight loss, the key to boosting your metabolism is to have a good balance between caloric intake, proper food choices and exercising. Metabolic rate is shaped like an ice cream cone–it is highest in morning and then declines gradually throughout day. Here are some tips to increase your metabolism.
Don’t skip meals, especially breakfast!
When you skip meals, your body goes into “starvation” mode to protect you. It burns less calories in order to conserve some of the fat in case you’re in a famine situation. It is especially important to eat a big and healthy breakfast to kick start your metabolism after going into starvation mode during your sleep.
Drink more water.
Our bodies need water to process calories. Dehydration slows down metabolism and just like food, depriving the body of water will encourage the liver to focus on storing water.
Lift weights to build lean muscle mass as it is more metabolically active.
Studies show that muscles actually burn 90% more calories than fat does, even at rest throughout the day.
Eat more protein and complex carbohydrates such as eggs, lean meats, chicken, fish.
These require more energy for the body to break down, resulting in extra calories being burned. Stick to low glycemic index carbs such as fruits, veggies and whole grains as they take longer to be absorbed, allowing you to feel full for a longer duration.
Avoid refined and processed foods such as white flours and sugars as they tend to over stimulate insulin.
These foods have already been partially broken down through the processing, making it easier and faster for our bodies to digest. This gives our bodies a quick boost of energy for a short duration, so we get hungry again very quickly, resulting in snacking unhealthily.
Get proper sleep.
When you don’t get enough sleep, your body is exhausted and lacks the energy it requires to function normally. Your metabolism is lowered when your body doesn’t have enough energy to burn calories.
Although some of us aren’t blessed with high metabolism from birth, by keeping these tips in mind, we can surely make changes in our lifestyle to trick our bodies into working harder to burn those unwanted calories.