Have you ever wondered how your colleague stays so thin despite eating the amount of food he eats? You see him eating samosas for breakfast, half a dozen chapatis plus rice for lunch, jalebis for snack, and another three-course meal for dinner. And if ever you do the same, the result will be a bulgier you! Do you know what is helping your friend and showing a villainous approach towards you? Well, its METABOLISM!
Scientifically, it is the chemical process that occurs within a living organism in order to maintain life, and metabolic rate is the rate at which those basic processes and functions of the body occur. Now everyone has a different metabolic rate, the reason why you might put on kilos even after three cheat days, while that friend of yours who keeps hogging on chocolates, ice creams, fried chicken, and almost everything that he can lay his hands on, will continue to remain lean as ever.
So what are the factors that affect metabolism?
Genetics. Yet another thing we can conveniently blame our parents for! Genetics play an important role in determining the rate of our metabolism. Other two important contributors are Age and Gender. Metabolic rate starts slowing down at the rate of 2 – 4% a year, at the age of 25, when the bones stop growing, and rapidly slows down after the age of 40. Generally, men have a higher metabolic rate than women.
But the good news is, just because you have slow metabolism, does not mean you are stuck with it! Remember, every problem has a solution. There are things you can do to improve your metabolic rate. Let’s call them ‘lifestyle changes’.
Here are 11 lifestyle changes which will help you boost your metabolism:
1. Opt for high intensity interval training.
Think intervals of high intensity during endurance/cardio training. For instance, if you walk regularly, add bouts of short sprints to the walk. Walk for 90 seconds and run for 30 seconds followed by walking again. Do this 5 times and you are set. High intensity interval training not only amps up your metabolism but also keeps it going for a longer period of time after your workout.
2. Pick up those dumbbells!
Muscles are metabolically active tissues that need energy to be built and maintained. Building more muscle is advantageous because sustaining one pound of muscle requires thrice the amount of energy as compared to the energy used by fat tissue. Research also suggests that regular weight training can boost your metabolism by 6.8 to 7.8 percent. And more muscle makes you look more toned as opposed to the flabby love handles, thanks to fat. All the more reason to build more muscle!
3. Jump start your metabolism with breakfast.
Research suggests that eating a wholesome breakfast literally jump starts your metabolism and keeps it going all through the day. At night, when you are sleeping, the metabolic rate also goes into a resting rate, eating a nutritious breakfast provides a good lift for the metabolism and keeps it revved up for the day. Since our metabolism is the highest during mornings, you can also very well cheat during this hour of the day. This is when you can have your sweets (limited to twice a week) without worrying it will turn into flab. Finally a good enough motivation to rise up early in the morning!
4. Have small and frequent meals.
Eating every 2 – 2½ hours makes sure there are no spikes in your sugar levels, and that they are steady. Since your body rests assured that it is going to be fed after a while, it will not store any of the digested food as fat, to be burned for energy later (which is what the body generally does during long gaps between meals). Also, the human body burns calories even as it digests food. So, the number of times you give it food (in small quantities, of course), the more calories it will burn in turn. And trust us, this practice alone will help you keep all kinds of night cravings at bay. You will automatically feel less hungry at night, and won’t feel like eating heavy dinners, another brilliant way to lose weight.
5. Say no to crash diets.
Going too low on the total calorie intake to lose weight (fewer than 1200 calories for women and 1500 calories for men) can mislead the body into thinking that times are meager, thus dropping the metabolic rate to prevent fat burning in order to conserve energy. Additionally, the body starts breaking down precious muscle mass for energy further slowing down the metabolism. Trust your intuitions they say, FOODIES NEVER DIET!
6. Go green!
Catechins found in green tea have been shown to augment metabolism for a few hours. However, you might need to drink five 240mL cups of green tea to derive maximum benefit. So, welcome green tea in your life and all the yummier foods will tag along!
7. Pick up that cup of joy.
Caffeine revs up metabolism for a short time after consumption. Just another reason to have that cup of coffee on lazy mornings. However, make sure you do not have your beverages on an empty stomach. Always eat before having your cup of tea or coffee.
8. Ditch the second drink!
Research shows that drinking as few as two drinks can also slow down your metabolism by as much as 73%. Additionally, you’ve got yourself into a double whammy if you wake up with a hangover the next morning. Not only is your metabolism going to be slower, but you’re also going to have several hangover cravings! Besides, drinking less is pocket-friendly too!
9. Get enough protein.
The body needs energy to digest, absorb and assimilate the food that you consume (this is called the thermogenic effect of food). The body takes a longer time to digest protein than carbohydrate and fat. There are two advantages of this; eating a protein-rich meal keeps you full for a longer time, and the body uses more energy to digest and absorb that protein. Research suggests that consuming protein can increase the calorie usage by up to 35% after a meal. Whole unprocessed foods also elevate the thermogenic effect of food as compared to processed foods, utilizing more calories to be digested.
10. Pay attention to your sleep.
Not getting enough sleep confuses the body and unsuitably alters the levels of hormones – leptin and ghrelin which regulate the appetite. Lack of sleep leads to lower levels of leptin (appetite-suppressant) and triggers more hunger. Furthermore, if you’re not getting your zzzzzzs, the body is stressed. This elicits an increase in the levels of cortisol hormone that, in turn, lowers fat burning and metabolism. So let your pillow and quilt also enjoy the privilege of being in your company!
11. Bust your stress!
This is something we often tend to overlook.Protecting your mental health is just as necessary as maintaining your physical health. Because there is no bigger enemy than stress when it comes to maintaining a fit body. Catch up with your friends at least once in two weeks, spend a romantic night with your spouse, meditate every morning for at least 10 minutes before you start your day, pamper yourself with a visit to the spa once a month, and do absolutely anything that makes you happy. Because that’s the whole purpose of being fit and healthy!
-by Team bon happetee