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Rev It Up! Reboot Your Metabolism to Melt Your Fat

Did you know that if your metabolism is slow, you are more at risk to be “fat” and unfit compared to other people with faster metabolism? Also, it is a well-known fact that a person’s metabolic rate cannot be calculated just based on his/her physical appearance. For instance, you and your sister could very well be the same height and weight and even share the same BMI (body mass index) but her calories could burned faster than the speed of the light while you are still struggling and battling to keep all those extra weight off your body. However, if that scenario sounds familiar, don’t worry as you can boost your metabolism.

In simpler words, metabolism is the total number of calories your body burns every day. Before knowing how we can speed up our metabolism and lose weight faster, it is important to understand how calories are used in our bodies. About 65% of those calories are used up for the functions that take place in the human body every minute of the day for activities such as breathing and blood circulation.

Top energy burners include your brain, liver, heart and kidneys while 10% of calories are specifically devoted to the process of digesting foods that might have contributed to your unpleasant-looking “muffin top” spilling over the waistband of your jeans. Meanwhile, the remaining 25% of the calories you burn is for the physical activities you do in a day, which includes every single move that you make such as standing in line, typing, walking, running and dancing.

If you’re wondering whether a particular activity is a calorie-burner, here’s a guideline: The more sore your body/limbs are during the activity, the more muscles was used and thus, the more calories you will burn.

This is due to the fact that, on average, lean tissues (including organs and muscles) burn 14 calories a pound (0.5kg) a day, while fat only burns about three calories per pound. In other words, it’s the amount of muscle in you that determines the overall speed of your resting metabolism and subsequently determines if you’ll have the body of the stick-thin supermodel Twiggy or the curvaceous Nigella Lawson.

While some people are blessed with good genes that contribute to faster calorie-burning, others are not so lucky in that department. According to Andrew G. Swick, PhD, director of obesity and eating disorders research at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Nutrition Research Institute in Annapolis, among the most important aspects when it comes to ultimately determining your weight is your environment which includes the food you eat and the activities that you take part in.

The good news is that you are spoiled for choice as there are plenty of things that you can do to not only add muscle but also maximise your metabolism at the same time. And although your metabolism may slow as you age over time, rest assured that it won’t happen all of a sudden. According to health experts, your metabolism will drop off 2-4% every decade as you lose muscle mass. Say that you burn about 2,000 calories every day when you’re in your twenties but you could be burning as few as 1,920 calories a day 10 years later when you are in your thirties. That’s basically how your metabolism works.

Having your weight cling to you stubbornly can be a very frustrating, not to mention emotionally draining. There are several reasons as to why you have been having a hard time shedding those excess pounds off, one of it being your off-balance metabolism. Those with metabolic problem can breathe a sign of relief as there are three foolproof rules that will reset your metabolism to make it optimal for weight loss. If you are keen to reboot your metabolism, just follow this 3-step plan by the very popular American doctor, Dr. Mehmet Oz, or more commonly known as Dr. Oz (you may have seen him being a regular guests on The Oprah Winfrey Show) as a sure-fire way to get your metabolism back in full swing:

Boost metabolism every three hours with a “Power 3” plate

According to Dr. Oz, one of the best ways to keep your metabolism working well is to eat a small meal every three hours. The plate should have three small portions of protein, carbohydrate/fat and unlimited vegetables. The simple act of eating stimulates your metabolism by triggering digestion. Every time your body digests food, it ramps up your total metabolic rate.

Turn up your metabolic thermostat

Dr. Oz further explains that your thyroid glands act as a metabolic thermostat. It releases hormones that play a major role in controlling your body’s temperature and the rate that your body burns calories. When your thyroid is working at its max, your metabolism will be sky-high. If your thyroid’s function is impaired, your metabolic rate slows down and leads to weight gain. The key to keeping your thyroid working hard is in eating good carbs like whole grains, root vegetables and beans. Believe it or not, studies have shown that cutting out carbs from your diet completely can reduce thyroid function by 50%. So, make sure to keep complex carbs in your diet.

Build your metabolic muscle

The number-one consumer of calories in your body is muscle. The more muscle mass you have, the more your body works toward burning calories—even when you’re asleep. It’s extremely important to maintain muscle during any weight-loss endeavour. A great way to build muscle is by doing cardio with light weights. This will keep your heart rate up while sculpting your body to be more lean and muscular.

As you age, your metabolism WILL slow down whether you like it or not. It is only a matter of time until your metabolism started to work less and less unless you know how to maintain it. It is hard work, but of course it can be dealt with. It is very alarming to know the fact that your metabolism is declining, especially if you’re over 40 and struggling with your weight. Your calorie-converting engines are at their peak until you reach the age of 20, and then they gradually slow as you age. The main reason for the deceleration is that you lose muscle and you decrease your levels of physical activity.

This occurs mostly because life takes over and drains you of your energy. Certain people crave carbs and sugar when they’re tired, and sugar becomes a source of fun when life gets hectic busy. But this only adds to the problem: Sugar turns into metabolic disasters. Too many carbs and too little activity result in slow metabolism and excess body fat. Don’t lose hope too soon because you actually have far more control over this process than you think. Did you know that you can burn calories as you sleep? Turn your sleeping metabolism into a fat-melting raging machine with this advice from Lisa Lynn, a member of Dr. Oz’s panel of experts and a specialist in metabolic disorders:

1. Drink a whey protein shakes every day for breakfast

By doing so, you’d boost your metabolism by 25%. This is one of the best things you can do to give the metabolism a boost. The protein shake not only nourishes the body but it also allows you to begin losing weight while you’re learning how to eat for fat loss. Shakes make breakfast easy. The calories that you save by drinking one when you wake up allow a cushion for those food slips-ups that happen to all of us, usually later in the day. Some celebrities do this to maintain their hard-earned physiques. However, do bear in mind that not all protein shakes are created equal. Whey protein is the best option, as soy or milk-based proteins are inferior sources that don’t boost your energy-burning capabilities in the same way.

2. Fire up your metabolism through exercise

Try to squeeze in moderate exercises for an hour every day. You can also use a pedometer to track your steps as you make it a goal to reach 10,000 steps a day, every day. For the ultimate metabolic boost, schedule a weight-lifting session 2-3 times a week in which you train your whole body using a circuit-style workout.

Choose one workout a week where you increase your weights to build muscle (you can consult a trainer to find what weight levels work best for you). Keep in mind that you don’t want to push yourself to the point of injury, so lighten up or stop at the first sign of pain. Our bodies are losing muscle every day, so we need to counterbalance this by trying tobuild muscle.

If you’re convinced you’ve gained some weight, take a hard look at what you’re eating. That’s often where the problem lies. Lifting weights will tighten and tone your body and also strengthen your bones. These metabolic-boosting workouts can be done at home and should only take you about 30 minutes. It’s perfect if you have a busy schedule.

3. Remember to eat your greens

Greens offset the high-calorie foods we eat and kill cravings before they can develop. Digesting leafy green vegetables makes your body work harder and causes your metabolism to speed up. Not eating enough vegetables every day is one of biggest mistakes people make because this can cause them to overeat.

4. “Clean” protein can help you get lean

“Clean” protein refers to protein low in fat (containing less than 5-7 grams per serving). Choosing highest quality proteins will allow your body to use it as energy rather than store them on your hips and thighs. The best sources of clean, lean proteins are protein shakes, egg whites, all fish and seafood, turkey breast, non-fat cottage cheese and high-quality protein bars that have at least 15 grams of protein (do watch out for bars with excessive sugar and sodium). These are excellent ways to nourish your bodies and replace lost nutrients.

5. Fibre helps you stay full

You should be eating 25-30 grams of fibre every day. This is the key to staying full so that you won’t be tempted to munch and nibble. Fibre will also keep your blood sugar in check. Always aim for veggies whenever you can and remember that 10 half-cup servings of vegetables should be your daily goal. If you struggle to get enough fibre, get some calorie-free fibre packets and add them to your water to help you with portion control and regularity. Konjac fibre is one of the best sources of fibre and will help balance your hormones.

Remember the rule – do your homework of any of the 5 tips mentioned and your metabolism should go up. Once it does, you can say goodbye to those extra pounds but make sure that you stick to the routines, or else that ‘goodbye’ won’t be for long!

Some facts about metabolism to better understand your body and get that results you desire:

• Underweight people have slower metabolisms. According to Pamela Peeke, M.D., Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the University of Maryland and author of Fight Fat After Forty, the more you weigh, the harder your body has to work to burn calories, making the entire process a lot faster.

• Supplements that promise to speed up your metabolism don’t really deliver that well as it claimed to be. Even the supposed boosters, such as green tea and caffeine drinks, will only increase your RMR (resting metabolic rate) by a mere amount. Also, remember to not consume the controversial herb ephedra which can cause harmful side effects including death, although it can give you a 5-8% spike in your metabolism.

• Miriam Nelson, Ph.D., Director of the Physical Centre for Activity and Nutrition, estimates that between ages 40 and 80, an average person’s RMR slows down by 25-30%.

• As soon as you restrict your calories, your RMR goes down. Then, to make matters worse, as your body gets lighter, it requires less energy to move and maintain itself. Instead of worrying about it, get up and go. Increasing your activity level seems to decrease appetite. And even modest resistance training can keep your RMR from dropping as you lose weight by building, and helping you hold on to, your lean tissue mass. You don’t have to lift huge hunks of iron; reasonably strenuous training with machines or bands, or activities like Pilates, should work just fine.

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