I swear I put in my best efforts but I still can’t lose weight because my metabolism is so slow.
I eat all these metabolic-boosting foods, but my metabolism refuses to budge.
Thanks to the internet, metabolism has become a buzzword for anyone on a weight loss program. And when they don’t lose the flab despite putting in their best efforts, they blame their metabolism.
First, let’s understand what metabolism is and what are the factors that affect it.
Metabolism is like the engine of your body: when you eat food, this engine uses it either for energy, or stores it as reserve i.e. fat. The higher your metabolism, the more calories you’ll burn and stay skinny. A slow metabolism means more food will be converted into fat; so you’ll be plump.
Your metabolism is based on age, height, genetics and gender. For example, women have a slower metabolism than men and with age, their metabolism decreases.
But before you feel that you’re stuck, there’s good news.
You are in charge of your metabolism. By tweaking your lifestyle, you can rev up your body’s fat burning engine and get into the LBD or pair of jeans you’ve been longing for!
- Grab your calorie quota –
Your body needs a certain amount of calories every day for its activities. Many diet plans recommend eating 600-800 calories a day, which is far less than what your body requires. Drastically cutting your calories puts your body into a generator mode; it starts storing all the food you eat in the form of fat. This holds true especially when you skip breakfast. By skipping this morning meal, you put a huge speed breaker to fat burning. Hence, eating breakfast is non-negotiable.
And for those who are on a diet spree, the constant weight loss-gain-loss-gain cycle halts your fat burning. Clearly, nothing is worse than skipping meals and excessive dieting for your metabolism.
A quick fact: Women and men need to eat at least around 1200 and 1400 calories, respectively, every single day.
- Eat small, frequent meals-
Digestion is like an internal gym; your body burns some calories to digest the food you eat. By eating at frequent intervals, your digestive system is constantly working and as a result burning calories.
Eat every 2-3 hours; a small snack like a fistful of roasted chana with peanuts, a glass of milk, or a fruit between meals is all it takes to boost your metabolic rate. Gaps of more than 4 hours between two meals create havoc with your fat burning.
- Become best buddies with protein and fibre –
To digest proteins and fibre, your body needs to use up more calories than carbohydrates and fats. These two nutrients increase the caloric burn during digestion.
An interesting fact: Foods high in fibre and protein raise your metabolic rate by 10% and 30%, respectively.
Also, when you run low on proteins, your body breaks down muscle to get its protein quota to carry out its functions. This muscle loss decreases your metabolic rate since muscles burn more calories than fat. Thus, fibre and proteins are a sure-shot way to fire up your metabolism.
Eat 0.8-1 grams of protein per kilogram of your ideal body weight and 25-35 grams of fibre every day.
- Get moving to start losing-
Exercise is a calorie-burning activity. When you lift weights, run, jog, swim, walk, climb stairs or even clean your closet, your body uses the glucose stored in your muscles for energy. Also, your body burns a significant number of calories to replenish the glucose stores in those muscles after exercise.
And lightweight training twice a week is a great idea to build the metabolically-active muscle and cut fat. Plan a 30-minute exercise five times a week and soon, you’ll see the pounds melt away.
- Pep up your food –
Apart from making your meals tasty, spices trigger your metabolism. Also, the smack of spices allows you to eat generous servings of protein and fibre-rich foods. Get the flavour back to your food; and feel the high metabolic rate kick in.
- Don’t underestimate water-
Drinking less water lowers the metabolic rate. When you don’t drink enough water, the liver focuses on retaining water instead of burning fat. Glug down at least 12 glasses of water every day to keep your metabolism at its peak.
Though you have now learned to boost your fat burning, you might still struggle to weave these habits into your lifestyle. For example, you may skip a meal, drink less water or face trouble in calculating how much fibre or protein you should eat.
Don’t lose hope, there is a magic wand that will make your extra weight and slow metabolism disappear: the bon happetee app. This super app plans your daily diet based on your taste buds. It recommends dishes that are tasty as well as takes care of your protein and fibre needs. You’ll get exercise challenges and reminders to drink up your daily quota of H2O.
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Vishruta is a nutritionist by profession and a writer by heart. Content writing and menu planning have become her passions over the past few years. Love food, love life — is her mantra.