WHETHER you are eating, drinking, sleeping, cleaning etc. your body is constantly burning calories to keep you going. Metabolism is the amount of energy (calories) your body burns to maintain itself. Although genetics and your age both play a role, recent studies suggest you have plenty of say over how well your metabolism—which involves your body’s ability to break down food into usable energy—functions.
Metabolism is affected by your body composition. By body composition, I mean the amount of muscle you have versus the amount of fat. Muscle uses more calories to maintain itself than fat. People who are more muscular (and have a lower percentage of body fat) are said to have a higher metabolism than others that are less muscular.
It is advised not to skip breakfast as many people do including yours truly. Leaving for work on an empty stomach is like hitting the pause button on your metabolism, in that when your brain senses your stomach is empty, it sends a message to your cells to conserve energy in case another meal is not forth coming. This means that your body holds onto the fat stored in your cells instead of helping you burn it off.
Mark Hayman who is medical doctor and the author of The Blood Sugar Solution, says that breakfast is very crucial in a person’s life because it triggers a process called thermo genesis, where the body signals the brain to activate the metabolic process of turning food into energy. Regular eating of breakfast, keeps your body working and your metabolism running.
Eat small portion but often
Eating small meals after every few hours keeps your metabolism active. The meals should also be selected in that at least the quarter of that meal is protein whether its meat, beans or even dairy products. This was advised after a recent study in the journal Neuron suggests that consuming protein stimulates the cells responsible for switching on the body’s calorie-burning mechanism.
Also, depending with one’s age it is important to watch sugar intake. A lot of sugar in one’s body can mess up your metabolism by causing your body to store extra calories as fat.
Get enough sleep
It is now on record that people who deprive themselves of enough sleep upset the balance of important appetite-regulating hormones. This in turn affects resistance to leptin which is a hormone that regulates body weight—increases, while levels of ghrelin, a hormone that signals to your brain that you are hungry, also increase. The end result is being overweight because your ability to burn calories as it should has been reduced.
Engage in exercise
You cannot over rule the importance of exercise in our day to day life. Did you know that exercise does not just your metabolism while you are it, but you can keep burning calories up to 24 hours after you finish exercising, because your metabolism stays elevated.
The secret lies within us to change our bad habits and try to live up to good habits for a healthier life.