Our metabolic rate is the speed at which we convert calories into energy used for essential bodily processes. This energy is needed for growth, movement, cell division and nerve processes. In fact, we cannot do anything at all without energy and we get it from the food that we eat. Everyone has a different metabolic rate. Our own rate is governed by our genetic make-up (inherited from our parents), our gender and our age. Those of us blessed with a fast metabolism do not put on weight easily.
You don’t just have to put up with the metabolic rate that you have right now. If you think your slow metabolic rate is having an effect on your ability to lose weight, do something about it. Fats and carbohydrates not used up for energy are stored in the body as adipose tissue (fat), which collects under the skin and around organs. Try the following tips for raising your metabolic rate and you can cut down on your fat storage. Before you know it you will have dropped a dress size!
Get some exercise – a lot of it!
Exercise has got to be part of any weight loss regime and will really raise your metabolism. It is also great for your cardiovascular health and the strength of your bones and joints. It will even make you feel more positive about yourself as your energy levels rise and you feel more positive about life.
Exercise is as variable as the people who do it and it is vital that you find an exercise regime that suits your physical abilities and lifestyle. You can spend as much or as little money as you like when you exercise. It certainly does not have to involve expensive gym fees. A daily brisk walk around the block costs nothing.
Try ditching the car and walking or cycling instead. Forget the lift – take the stairs. When you exercise, you increase the amount of energy needed by the body, and this then increases your metabolism for a couple of hours afterward.
When you work out at the gym you are lifting weights and putting the muscular tissue under stress. It then repairs itself, which speeds up the metabolism. A woman who exercises with weights at least three times a week over the course of six weeks can accumulate enough muscle to burn between 10 and 32 extra calories per day. If you cannot get to a gym or cannot afford gym membership you can buy weights and lift them at home.
Use portion control
This helps to make sure that we don’t overload our metabolism with excess energy we can’t use immediately. Use a scale or cups to measure your food so you can make sure you are getting the right portion sizes for your body weight. Or you could use your hand as a guide. A portion of fruit is around the same size as your fist, a portion of grains or cereal is about a handful, and a portion of green leafy vegetables is around two handfuls. A portion of meat is around the size of your palm.
Eat small meals frequently
Most experts recommend eating small, frequent meals during the day. Increasing the amount of meals you eat, and reducing the portion size of each meal helps to balance blood sugar levels instead of producing three large peaks, which is what happens when we eat three large meals. Start off by working out the amount of calories that you need each day, and then keep divide this figure into five smaller meals.
Laughing speeds up the metabolism. Researchers have found that subjects who were put into a “metabolic chamber” (a small room that measures the production of heat in order to measure a person’s metabolic rate) and were shown funny videos burned around 10 to 40 calories more than they would normally. This is only a small increase but one that is fun to achieve!