Your metabolism can be complex. It determines how fast and efficiently you burn calories and how much food you can eat per day without gaining weight. Scientists are still discovering new information about how your metabolism works. Scientists are still trying to understand how your metabolism works. But they do know that becoming a stronger and healthier woman can improve your health, mood, slow the effects of aging, and help you lose weight.
Experts share the latest findings as well as what you need to know to make all this good stuff happen.
Some aspects of your metabolism are out of your control
Although we tend to think of “metabolism as one bodily process,” there are actually three. Each type expends energy, or calories, at a different pace. Your resting metabolic speed is what determines how much energy you use to maintain your organ function while you’re sitting down. It accounts for the majority of metabolism, around 60-75 percent in a normal workday with very little activity.
You can’t do much about it. Contrary to what people may believe, the resting metabolic rate of thin people is not faster than those with more muscle or fat. Martica Sheaner, Ph.D., adjunct associate professor of Nutrition at Hunter College in New York City says that the more you weigh, regardless of whether it is muscle or fat, your resting metabolic rate, will be higher. Your active metabolism (which is about 10 to 15% percent of the calories that you burn each day) determines how much energy and exercise you do. This type of metabolism is more manageable than others. It’s based on the fact that the more you move, and the more calories you consume. Diet-induced thermogenesis is another option. It’s the energy your body needs to consume and digest food. This bonus burn can be as high as 8% to 12% of your daily calorie consumption.
TRY THIS TRICKSpicy food can be delicious, and it’s not hard to believe green tea can also stimulate diet-induced thermogenesis. Have a cup or two of hot tea, or some hot sauce with your meal. “You will see a small increase in metabolic rate for about an hour. This is about a 1 percent bump. These tiny changes add up over the long-term,” says Polly de Mille. She is also the clinical director for the Tisch Sports Performance Center at New York City’s Hospital for Special Surgery.
A pound (or more) of muscle burns seven to ten calories each day. While a pound (or more) of fat burns two to three times as many calories. All of us lose muscle as we get older, beginning in our 20s. With this loss, our ability to burn calories decreases. “Your resting metabolism might be 15 percent slower in your 70s than in your 20s,” de Mille said. De Mille states that this means you have 15 percent less food to eat while not gaining weight. Wayne L. Westcott, Ph.D., is an exercise science professor at Quincy College in Quincy. You must challenge your muscles by strength training. They go through a process called “destruct and repair” or remodeling. This means that you will burn calories while exercising and continue to lose them once you have finished lifting weights. Keep at it, and your resting metabolism speed will rise, even though your muscles remain roughly the same.
TRY THIS TRICKEach week, you should do at least two to three 20-minute sessions each of resistance training (12-20 sets). You will notice a 6 percent increase in your resting metabolism within three months. Exercise should be focused on the major muscle group. You shouldn’t be afraid to lift heavier weights. Start by lifting a half-weight of the biggest weight you can lift. As you become more proficient, you can move to weights between 60 and 75 percent of your maximum lift.
You can slow down your metabolism if you don’t have enough protein
If you’re not on the protein wagon, it’s time to get on board. Even though the USDA suggests that 5 ounces of protein be consumed daily as part of a 1,600-calorie intake, experts argue that this recommendation is too low for people over 50. Your body needs amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins, to stay functional. Wayne W. Campbell (Purdue University nutrition science professor in West Lafayette) says, “If you don’t eat a diet high enough in amino acids your body will be forced to tap your muscle, which has a great reservoir.” Your resting metabolism will suffer when you lose valuable muscle.
TRY THIS TRICKGet protein into every meal, snack, and snack. 15g of protein (about two eggs) is a good starting point. You should also remember whey which is one of two proteins found in milk. It’s rich in the amino acids your body needs and can help you recover from your workouts.
No matter how sensible or effective a weight-loss plan is, it will affect your metabolism more slowly than if you were heavier. The reason is that while you lose weight, you also lose muscle and fat. However, when you lose weight and gain it back, the extra pounds are stored as fat. You will have to eat fewer calories than you did before to maintain your new weight. You’ll be disappointed to learn that the part of your brain responsible for managing your metabolism doesn’t care about whether or not you can fit back in your favorite jeans. It cares about whether or not you have the energy necessary to survive. Your metabolism will plummet if you try to cheat your body of the calories that it has grown to depend on.
TRY THIS TRICKTake it slow if you are trying to lose significant weight. Laura J. Kruskall is the UNLV Dietetic Internship & Nutrition Center’s, director. She says it’s best to lose 10 percent of your body weight, keep that weight for three to six more months, and then you can lose more if needed. This allows your body to adjust to physiological adaptations (like a slower metabolic rate) and helps you learn healthy weight-maintenance practices. To find the magic number, simply multiply your body weight in pounds by 10.
Your metabolism loves to sleep
According to Uppsala University research, check these metabolism pills online and cause weight gain. According to de Mille: Lack of sleep causes a slowing in metabolism. This happens because your body repairs itself which helps burn calories.