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How to increase your metabolism

What is Metabolism?

This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.

You know that if yours is too slow you might gain weight. But what exactly does this all mean?

Well, technically, “metabolism” is the word to describe all of the biochemical reactions in your body. It’s how you take in nutrients and oxygen and use them to fuel everything you do.

Your body has an incredible ability to grow, heal, and generally stay alive. And without this amazing biochemistry YOU would not be possible.

Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:
●  Allow activities you can control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
● Allow activities you can’t control (e.g. heart beat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
●  Allow storage of excess energy for later.

So when you put all of these processes together into your metabolism, you can imagine that these processes can work too quickly, too slowly, or just right.

Which brings us to the “metabolic rate”.

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What is the Metabolic Rate?

This is how fast your metabolism works and is measured in calories (yup, those calories!).

The calories you eat can go to one of three places:
● Work (i.e. exercise and other activity)
● Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions)
● Storage (i.e. extra leftover “unburned” calories stored as fat)

As you can imagine the more calories you burn as work or creating heat, the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store for later.

There are a couple of different ways to measure metabolic rate. One is the “resting metabolic rate” (RMR) which is how much energy your body uses when you’re not being physically active.

The other is the “total daily energy expenditure” (TDEE) which measures both the resting metabolic rate as well as the energy used for “work” (e.g. exercise) throughout a 24-hour period.

What affects your metabolic rate?

In a nutshell: A LOT!

The first thing you may think of is your thyroid. This gland at the front of your throat releases hormones to tell your body to “speed up” your metabolism. Of course, the more thyroid hormone there is the faster things will work and the more calories you’ll burn.

But that’s not the only thing that affects your metabolic rate.

How big you are counts too! Larger people have higher metabolic rates; but your body composition is crucial! As you can imagine muscles that actively move and do work need more energy than fat does. So the more lean muscle mass you have the more energy your body will burn and the higher your metabolic rate will be. Even when you’re not working out.

This is exactly why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. Because you want muscles to be burning those calories for you.

The thing is, when people lose weight their metabolic rate often slows down which you don’t want to happen. So you definitely want to offset that with more muscle mass.

Aerobic exercise also temporarily increases your metabolic rate. Your muscles are burning fuel to move so they’re doing “work”.

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The type of food you eat also affects your metabolic rate!

Your body actually burns calories to absorb, digest, and metabolize your food. This is called the “thermic effect of food” (TEF).

You can use it to your advantage when you understand how your body metabolizes foods differently.

Fats, for example increase your TEF by 0-3%; carbs increase it by 5-10%, and protein increases it by 15-30%. By trading some of your fat or carbs for lean protein you can slightly increase your metabolic rate.

Another bonus of protein is that your muscles need it to grow. By working them out and feeding them what they need they will help you to lose weight and keep it off.

And don’t forget the mind-body connection. There is plenty of research that shows the influence that things like stress and sleep have on the metabolic rate.

This is just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to metabolism and how so many different things can work to increase (or decrease) your metabolic rate.

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Enjoy this recipe. A delicious way to add protein to your dinner.

Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts

(Serves 4)

Ingredients:

  • 2 lemons, sliced
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
  • 4 organic chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
  • dash salt & pepper
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil

Preheat oven to 425F. Layer ½ of the lemon slices on the bottom of a baking dish. Sprinkle with ½ of the herbs and ½ of the sliced garlic.

Place the chicken breasts on top and sprinkle salt & pepper. Place remaining lemon, herbs and garlic on top of the chicken. Drizzle with avocado oil. Cover with a lid or foil.

Bake for 45 minutes until chicken is cooked through. If you want the chicken to be a bit more “roasty” then remove the lid/foil and broil for another few minutes (watching carefully not to burn it).

Serve & enjoy!

Tip: You can add a leftover sliced chicken breast to your salad for lunch the next day!

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If you are ready to increase your metabolism through the power of nutrition and fitness, consider joining the THRIVE program {your one-stop wellness program}. Combining the expertise of a certified personal trainer + a certified nutritional therapy practitioner, you will have everything you need to start THRIVING in your health and wellness! Learn more here. 

 

References:

http://www.precisionnutrition.com/all-about-energy-balance

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Three Ways to Avoid Overeating at Meals

Sometimes those holiday feasts are just amazing. And it’s not just the abundance of delicious food but also the people, the decorations, and the ambiance. It is way too easy (and common) to indulge on those days and to do a little overeating.

But it doesn’t always stop there. Sometimes we overeat on regular days. Or at regular meals. Or All. The. Time.

Here are three tips to avoid overeating at meals.
(Psst, turn these into habits and ditch the willpower!)

TIP #1: START WITH SOME WATER

When your stomach is growling and you smell amazingly delicious food it’s too easy to fill a plate (or grab some samples with your bare hands) and dive into the food.

But did you know that it’s possible to sometimes confuse the feeling of thirst with that of hunger? Your stomach may actually be craving a big glass of water rather than a feast.

Some studies have shown that drinking a glass of water before a meal can help reduce the amount of food eaten. And this super-simple tip may even help with weight loss (…just sayin’). Not only will the water start to fill up your stomach before you get to the buffet, leaving less room for the feast, but drinking enough water has been shown to slightly increase your metabolism. Win-win! I recommend drinking water 30 minutes prior to eating any food and not chugging right before a meal. Drinking too much before eating could dilute your digestive juices.

TIP #2: TRY EATING “MINDFULLY”

You’ve heard of mindfulness, but have you applied that to your eating habits? This can totally help you avoid overeating as well as having the added bonus of helping your digestion.

Just as being mindful when you meditate helps to focus your attention on your breathing and the present moment, being mindful when you eat helps to focus your attention on your meal.

Do this by taking smaller bites, eating more slowly, chewing more thoroughly, and savouring every mouthful. Notice and appreciate the smell, taste and texture. Breathe. This can help prevent overeating because eating slower often means eating less. This will also put you in a parasympathetic state which is our “rest and digest” state. What’s the use in eating delicious and nutritios food if you can not digest it! Ya know?

Also when you eat quickly you can easily overeat because it takes about 20 minutes for your brain to know that your stomach is full. So take your time, pay attention to your food and enjoy every bite.

Bonus points: Eat at a table (not in front of the screen), off of a small plate, and put your fork down between bites. For reals!

TIP #3: START WITH THE SALAD

You may be yearning for that rich, creamy main dish. But don’t start there. (Don’t worry, you can have some…just after you’ve eaten your salad).

Veggies are a great way to start any meal because they’re full of not only vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and health-promoting phytochemicals, but they also have some secret satiety weapons: fiber and water. Fiber and water are known to help fill you up and make you feel fuller. They’re “satiating”. And these secret weapons are great to have on your side when you’re about to indulge in a large meal.

To recap – Have your glass of water, eat mindfully, and start with your salad to help avoid overeating at meals.

Here is a great idea for making water delicious…

If you’re not much of a plain water drinker or need your water to be more appealing to your senses here are five delicious (and beautiful looking) fruit combos to add to your large glass of water:

● Slices of lemon & ginger
● Slices of strawberries & orange
● Slices of apple & a cinnamon stick
● Chopped pineapple & mango
● Blueberries & raspberries

Tip: You can buy a bag (or several bags) of frozen chopped fruit and throw those into your cup, thermos, or uber-cool mason jar in the morning. They’re already washed and cut, and will help keep your water colder longer. ENJOY!!

References:
https://authoritynutrition.com/7-health-benefits-of-water/

http://summertomato.com/the-science-behind-mindful-eating-what-happens-to-your-body-during-a-mindful-meal