INCREASING YOUR METABOLISM: PT. 1
Have you ever felt that you lost something that you once had due to the aging process? What is the one thing you would like to get back if you could?
I find a lot of my clients would like their metabolism back, please! Our metabolism is our “metabolic rate” or the rate at which your body burns calories and converts what you eat and drink into energy. The good news is that there are other factors that control your metabolism rather than just aging and “good” or “bad” genetics.
There are four elements that can make a difference in your metabolism at any age:
Building Muscle, Daily Movement, Eating Protein, & Healing Your Hormones
1. BUILDING MUSCLE
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat, approximately three times more. Dr. Church says that, “Estimates suggest that every pound of muscle burns roughly six calories per day at rest. That’s about three times as many calories as a pound of fat, which burns roughly two calories per day.”
So how does that play out? If you have two people who weight exactly the same – say two 160 pound women, but one has 10 more pounds of muscle and the other is carrying 10 more pounds of fat (remember they weigh exactly the same) and they are doing the exact same activities, the person with more muscle will burn 40 extra calories per day. Over time, that’s a difference of 4.2 pounds a year; almost 10 pounds in two years, or 42 pounds in a decade. This is just by having more muscle – not including the cost of working out. Pounds are real creeps, as many of us know. They creep up on you over time. Building muscle keeps those creeping pounds away.
We are naturally losing muscle. After the age of 30, our muscle mass begins to significantly decline unless you are intentional to build it. According to WebMD, “Physically inactive people can lose as much as 3% to 5% of their muscle mass each decade after age 30. Even if you are active, you’ll still have some muscle loss.” Muscle is what really burns the calories and keeps our metabolism high. If we combat muscle loss by building muscle, our metabolism will continually burn more calories for us.
2. EVERYDAY MOVEMENT
Daily physical activity and exercise, such as playing tennis, walking to the store, chasing after the dog and any other movement, account for most of the calories your body burns up each day. Physical activity is by far the most variable of the factors that determine how many calories you burn each day. Depending on the intensity and duration of your workout, you can continue burning more calories for several hours after your activity. For example, you could be in a high calorie burn from two to fourteen hours after a long run or cycle.
3. EAT YOUR PROTEIN
Feelings of fullness - Eating protein helps you to feel fuller and can prevent you from overeating. One small study found that people were likely to eat around 441 fewer calories per day when protein made up 30% of their diet. This is roughly one pound a week, which is healthy weight loss. Protein also reduces your level of the hunger hormone, ghrelin. When ghrelin is reduced you don’t have that horrible feeling of being hungry. Protein also boosts the satiety hormone peptide YY, which makes you feel full.
Preserves muscle mass – Protein helps preserve muscle mass. Muscle burns more calories and increases your metabolism. Eating plenty of protein can help increase muscle mass and strength. Keeping protein high also helps prevent muscle loss when your body is in a "catabolic" (breaking down) state, such as weight loss. Normally, loss of muscle is a common side effect of dieting. Eating more protein can reduce the drop in metabolism often associated with losing fat.
According to the University of Georgia’s Department of Kinesiology, in a 12-month study of 130 overweight people on a calorie-restricted diet, the high-protein group lost 53% more body fat than a normal-protein group eating the same number of calories.
The Thermogetic Effect of Food – This is the amount of energy or calories that it takes to digest and absorb the food you eat. Out of all the macronutrients, protein takes the most energy / calories to break down food and digest.
“Protein causes the largest rise in TEF. It increases your metabolic rate by 15–30%, compared to 5–10% for carbs and 0–3% for fats.” – R.D. Helen West
4. HEAL YOUR HORMONES
Our hormones play a HUGE part in our metabolism, our weight and our health. Four hormones that have a significant effect on how we metabolize calories and how our weight stays on or off are: insulin, leptin, ghrelin, and inflammatory hormones such as cortisol.
Stay tuned for PART II. In the next blog, I’m going to delve into what these hormones do and discuss seven ways that of our lifestyle can either clog these hormones so they work against us, or heal our hormones so they work for us.