Most of us have heard of metabolism and roughly know that it’s connected to weight loss and weight gain. You may have even seen various adverts persuading you to buy super amazing products that promise to boost your metabolism, turning you into a fat burning goddess. So, should you be trying to raise your metabolism in order to lose weight?
Let’s start by looking at what metabolism actually is…
Putting it simply, metabolism is a nonstop group of activities working in balance to complete essential jobs in our body. There are two main activities that work together to form our metabolism; one works on storing energy and building tissues, known as anabolism, and the other converts food and drink (calories) into energy to use for our daily lives, this is called catabolism. They make quite a team!
The rate at which your body does this calorie to energy conversion varies from person to person and determines whether you have a fast, slow or average metabolism.
Your metabolism is affected by a few things;
Does snacking or eating more meals per day really speed up metabolism?
Not necessarily. Numerous studies have shown no difference in the metabolism when people ate the same calories spread over 5/6 meals per day than they did over three meals per day. So just by spreading your daily food over 5/6 meals per day instead of 3 wouldn’t automatically raise your metabolism speed.
What other things could affect my metabolism?
Hormones – Hormones released by the thyroid can alter the speed of chemical reactions in metabolic activities that’s why people with an underactive thyroid find it harder to lose weight.
Also, remember the two main activities, anabolism and catabolism? The pancreas releases the hormones needed to send these two out to work at the right time. For instance, if your pancreas senses glucose, it will fire out some insulin as a signal for more anabolic activities to start. Remember anabolism is much about storing rather than burning…Not great if you are looking to lose excess weight and it can lead to diabetes so it’s best to avoid high calories foods that cause these insulin spikes, or at least keep to a minimum. They mess with your hormones and your figure!
Calories are mentioned a lot when discussing metabolism, should I be counting them to improve health and lose excess weight?
It’s true that if you burned more calories than you ate during the day, you would lose weight for sure. However, counting calories takes our focus back off of health and back onto diet/restrictive mode, giving us more mental pressure and work to do. Many of us become so focused on how many calories, we forget to think about how much protein, carbs, or fat we should be having. I wouldn’t drive yourself mad worrying about counting them everyday unless you find it really works for you.
So points to remember is that yes you can speed your metabolism up, albeit only slightly, not vastly like some marketers will have you believe. So if you really want to lose excess weight, it’s not necessarily to focus on raising your metabolism as a quick solution. Just ensure you are eating plenty of whole natural foods to give you the right amount of energy and regular exercise to burn off any extra calories. Remember if you burn off more than you eat, you will be provoking catabolic activities and losing body fat. Weight loss doesn’t have to be complicated, in fact, if you forgot all about losing weight on the scales and trying to raise your metabolism, you could give more attention to being the healthiest version of you. That is really when the magic happens…