By Cathi Stack
A common block to weight loss for many individuals is a low functioning metabolism. We have all heard about our metabolism – and many have complained about it – but do we actually know what it is or how we can affect it?
A simple test of how well a person’s metabolism is working is to assess how he or she feels physically. If someone is energetic and feels good, then the metabolism is probably fine. But if they feel sluggish upon waking or have a tough time getting through the day without the help of caffeine or energy drinks, then a metabolism tune-up may be in order.
Keeping this in mind, here are a few ways to optimize the metabolism:
Drink pure, filtered water. Metabolism depends on water in the bloodstream to carry nutrients and oxygen to the cells of the body where they metabolize into energy and build new cells. Over 80 percent of the bloodstream is water.
An average of 2 liters, or 8 cups, of water is lost daily through breathing, perspiration, digestion, elimination and other bodily functions, and this needs to be replenished. This amount is an average, as body size, activity level and nutritional habits all affect how much water each individual needs on a daily basis. A good rule of thumb is for a person to drink half their body weight in ounces of water each day. Water also plays a very important role in fat metabolism. This easy and inexpensive tip is one of the key ways to increase metabolism.
Eat breakfast. A simple analogy would be to expect a car to take us to work in the morning without putting gas into it. If we don’t eat breakfast, we slow down our metabolism and send the body into “fat-saving mode.” The body thinks it is starving when we go eight to 10 hours or more without food.
Get enough sleep. The body does its best work of restoring, repairing and recharging (metabolizing) while we sleep. Nothing runs well if the batteries are drained.
Exercise. Muscle cells have more mitochondria than fat cells. When you strengthen your muscles, more mitochondria are created. More mitochondria equals more energy production, which is the same as saying a “better metabolism” or better fat burning.
Breathe deeply. Get more oxygen into the lungs and body. Metabolism requires oxygen, so deep breathing (relaxed and natural, not forced) is definitely one of the ways to increase metabolism. Practice taking a deep breath or two often throughout the day, and get outside around some plants (they give off oxygen) if you can.
Don’t starve. Most of my overweight clients go well into the day before they even eat for the first time. A comment I frequently hear is “but I hardy eat anything.” This is a metabolism in trouble for sure. Dropping calorie intake below 1,000 calories a day will signal to the body that a person is in starvation mode, and will slow down metabolism.
Eat smaller meals more frequently. Smaller, more frequent meals every three hours keeps the blood sugar stable and provides a steady source of energy to fuel metabolism. Also, do not eat after 7 p.m.
Beneficial Supplements. A few supplements to include are B-Complex, B-12, CoQ-10, ginseng and green tea extract. While supplements may help, know they will not take the place of a nutritious diet.