Thursday, March 3, 2016

Five Steps to Kickstarting your Metabolism

I attended a work sponsored presentation on "Kickstarting Your Metabolism" presented by the good folks of the Virginia Hospital Center.  While most anyone with a passing interest in health & fitness has heard most of this before, it was helpful sitting down and being walked through it again in a classroom setting.  There's enough literature on this topic that there's no point in repeating it all here, so here are the highlights:

1.  Burn more calories than you take in.
This is so basic yet so frequently ignored.  Weight maintenance or weight loss depends on understanding your Resting Metabolic Rate (RMR) and determining how many calories you should be taking in depending on your RMR, your current weight, age, and level of activity.  Then, taking control of your diet accordingly.  This is the impossibly simple secret to maintaining a healthy weight.

2.  Drink water.
For every 2 pounds (~1 kg) you weigh you should be consuming 1 oz (30 ml) of water per day.  Aside from being fundamental to your basic biological functions, this is crucial to weight loss since without sufficient water intake, your body will attempt to obtain it's water from food, and will spike your appetite to compensate.

3.  Eat breakfast.
Within 30 min after waking eat something, even if it's small.  Ideally something with a good blend of protein, fats and carbs, like a handfull of nuts or a small bowl of granola with yogurt.  Not doing this causes the metabolism to go into starvation mode, where your body will prioritize storing calories as fat rather than burning them as energy.

4.  Eat smaller, more frequent meals.
It's a little counterintutive but maintaining a continuous level of food intake is better than going hours without eating and then getting stuffed on a huge meal.  Five small meals, or three normal meals and a couple snacks, provide a continuous flow of fuel that keeps your engine running.  Of course, what you eat for these five meals needs to be measured against your daily caloric intake.

5.  Get sleep.
Sleep deprivation crashes your metabolism.  Your body handles a lack of sleep as it would any crisis situation where it needs to conserve calories as much as possible.


That's about it.  I hope to log some of my experiences trying to put these principles into practice in future posts.





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