Metabolism is a common buzzword when it comes to nutrition and healthy weight loss— but do we really know how it works, and how we can improve your metabolism?
In a nutshell, your metabolism is a system made up of two types of processes:
- Turning what we eat and drink into energy.
- Using that energy to keep us surviving (and hopefully thriving) through these vital functions: breathing, circulation, digestion, and movement
As you can see, your metabolism is about food, but there’s a lot more to it.
You probably know that your age, sex, hormones, and weight can affect your metabolism. But did you know it isn’t the main thing that drives the gain or loss of weight? [That’s all about two things: calorie intake and physical activity.]
But life isn’t just about weight loss—we should all take steps to improve our metabolism, even after we meet our weight loss goals. Here’s what we recommend to keep your metabolism going strong:
- Start Moving: The more birthdays we have, the more muscle mass we lose. Exercising helps you burn fat, build muscle, and keep your metabolism regulated. There are lots of options: some of our clients focus on weight-lifting, others strength training. Some want to tone muscles, others build their endurance. There’s no one-size-fits-all program that works for everyone, but everyone who exercises sees benefits. In short, the more regularly you exercise, the more muscle you build. This not only allows you to keep doing what you enjoy, it means that your metabolism is always working. More muscles mean more calories burned, whether you’re working out, or sitting at rest.
- Stop Dieting: Trendy diets often fully eliminate entire foods—or types of foods—from your diet, and that’s no way to improve your metabolism. So stay away from fads and silver bullet diets, and aim for balanced diets and attainable weight loss goals. Your body needs calories to burn, as long as you keep an eye on your intake, you can still eat foods you enjoy— and meet your weight loss goals.
- Do snack. Don’t skip: It may seem counterintuitive, but snacking is a great way to improve your metabolism. The right snacks can keep your metabolism running smoothly and efficiently. Here’s what the experts say makes the perfect snack for your metabolism:
Up to 200 calories
Every 3 hours
- Snacking—instead of skipping meals—will keep you from being exhausted, and make it easier to lose weight (since your body won’t adapt to functioning on an extremely low caloric intake)
- Don’t forget the protein: If you’re going to be exercising (and snacking) more, protein is your new best friend. It repairs muscles and tissue, and improves your metabolism significantly by keeping your body “fueled up”. So stock up on meals and snacks with some high-protein players like legumes, nuts, seeds, and meats. Just make sure you prepare them in a low-fat, calorie-conscious way.
It’s easier than you think to improve your metabolism— and the same healthy habits can help you meet your other weight loss and nutrition goals.
Got any high-protein meals or snacks you love?