Your metabolism determines many calories your body burns to maintain basic function. The higher your metabolism, the more calories your body burns at rest and during exercise and the fewer extra calories your body stores as fat.
Genetics and age are factors in metabolism, but there are ways to boost your metabolism that are safe and effective.
Know Your Resting Metabolism
It helps to know how many calories your body burns at rest (called your basal metabolic rate or BMR). This is the number of calories your body burns at rest—not the total number of calories you need each day. Your daily calories needs increase depending on how active you are. Moderately active people need up to 1.2 times the calories of their basal metabolic rate, while very active people need 1.9 times the calories. Find your BMR here.
It’s science—muscle burns more calories than fat (one pound of muscle burns 50 calories at rest) Strength training a few times a week not only builds more muscle, but actually burns a comparable number of calories to cardio.
Every time you eat, you stimulate your metabolism for a short period of time. The more frequently you eat, the more spikes in your metabolism. Eating a reasonable amount of food every three hours maintains your metabolism and ensures that your body doesn’t think it’s starving. Try this:
- Morning – Breakfast
- 10 a.m. – Snack
- Afternoon – Lunch
- 3 – 5 p.m. – Snack
- Evening – Dinner
And a final tip: try not to eat after 8pm or too close to bedtime. Chances are you won’t have much activity that late at night when your body’s metabolism is lower. Need help putting together a diet plan you can stick to, see what we have to offer with a Beaumont Health and Diet Plan.
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Eat High-Metabolism Foods
Your body burns twice as many calories digesting high-protein foods and fiber as it does simple sugars and fats. Vegetables, eggs, fish, chicken and nuts are all great sources of protein, while foods that are high in fiber also challenge your metabolism.
Eat 100 – 200 Calories Fewer a Day
Cutting too many calories with crash diets causes your body to panic. Your body thinks it’s starving and slows down your metabolism to keep you alive on the desert island it thinks you’re shipwrecked on. Gradually cutting your daily intake of calories will allow your metabolism to stay high, while also forcing you to use more of its stored energy—fat. A win-win situation!
Get Some Sleep!
Sleep deprivation can change your metabolism, decreasing the number of calories you burn at rest. A lack of sleep can also send signals to the brain and lead to stress eating, like those extra cookies at lunch or comfort foods instead of a home-cooked meal.
A body in motion tends to stay in motion. Even if you’re stuck at your desk all day, try to schedule regular periods of movement to get the blood flowing and keep that metabolism in high gear. Extended periods of rest (like sitting on the couch for too long) slows your metabolism since your body doesn’t need as much energy to watch a football game or The Bachelor.
Need more help boosting your metabolism and achieving a New Year, New You? Check out some of the resources available at Beaumont’s Digestive Health Center for Excellence, including weight loss solutions, diet plans and information on other topics like bariatric surgery and acid reflux.