If you are anything like me, when you were in your twenties, you could eat anything you wanted with very little physical activity and still stay trim. Now I really have to watch what I eat and make a serious effort to exercise. This is because your metabolism slows down as you age, approximately 5% each decade. To maintain your weight, you either have to cut your calories or increase your metabolism.
Metabolism in a nutshell is how your body burns all of the calories from the food you eat. It includes all of the reactions that occur in your body to keep your organs working. Your metabolic rate is the speed at which you burn calories. The faster your metabolic rate the more calories you’ll burn and, in turn, the less likely you will gain weight.
There are no magic foods that will help you increase your metabolism, but the way you eat can definitely help or hinder your metabolism. First of all, drink plenty of water!! Even mild dehydration can slow your metabolism by up to 3%. As I said in tip #1, if you are dehydrated the liver will begin to focus on retaining water instead of turning stored fat into energy. Try to drink eight 8 oz. glasses of water each day and up to a gallon if you’re more active.
Second, do not skip meals!! If you deprive your body of nutrients, it will go into survival mode and your metabolism will slow. The body will store what energy it has in the form of fat during this survival mode. Your body will actually turn to muscle to break down for energy before fat. This is especially true during times of nutrient deprivation like skipping meals or fasting.
Muscle is more metabolically active than fat so increasing muscle will speed up metabolism. The best way to build muscle is by strength training. A few sessions with a good personal trainer may be all you need to give your metabolism a little boost. Strength training is by far the best way to raise metabolism revved up so you can lose weight faster.
Another good way to keep your metabolism running efficiently is to cycle calories on a daily basis. Choose your ideal calorie intake, and on the days of the week when you are less active, eat 200 calories less than your ideal intake. On the days when you are more active, eat 200 calories more than your ideal intake. This method keeps your metabolism from slowing down due to it processing the same number of calories each day. If you eat the same number of calories every day, your body adapts and learns to process then more efficiently, thus burning less calories than when your first adjusted your caloric intake.
We don’t have to sit by decade after decade watching our metabolism slow and our bodies get bigger. There are simple things that you can do to keep that from happening, and I hope this article has given you a place to start.