What is Metabolism?
This word “metabolism” is thrown around a lot these days.
What exactly is “metabolism” and how does it relate to your health?
Metabolism is 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 function, and without this amazing biochemistry of metabolizing, you would not be possible.
Metabolism includes how the cells in your body:
● Work in junction with the activities you control (e.g. physical activity etc.).
● Work in junction with the activities you can't control (e.g. heartbeat, wound healing, processing of nutrients & toxins, etc.).
● Allow storage of excess energy for later.
It’s all a matter of getting these processes of your metabolism working just right, rather than too quickly or too slowly.
Which brings us to your “metabolic rate."
This is how fast your metabolism works and this is measured in calories .
The calories you eat can be utilized in three ways:
● Work (i.e. exercise and other activity).
● Heat (i.e. from all those biochemical reactions).
● Storage (i.e. extra leftover “un-burned” calories stored as fat).
As you can imagine the more calories you burn through exercise or creating heat, the easier it is to lose weight and keep it off because there will be fewer “leftover” calories to store as fat.
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?
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. Of course too much of a good thing can be bad.
Keeping my thyroid levels balanced has made the world of difference with my metabolism.
Your thyroid is 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 a beautiful thing!
This is why weight training is often recommended as a part of a weight loss program. 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”.
So always remember to include an exercise routine while “dieting.”
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. Protein seems to be the better choice, however the nutrients from your vegetables make a difference too.
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.
Don't forget the mind-body connection...
There is plenty of research that shows the influence from stress and poor sleep have on your metabolic rate.
Here’s a great dinner recipe that will help to keep your metabolism working at its best. Enjoy!
Recipe (Lean Protein):
Lemon Herb Roasted Chicken Breasts
2 lemons, sliced
1 tablespoon rosemary
1 tablespoon thyme
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
4 chicken breasts (boneless, skinless)
dash salt & pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive old
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 olive 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!
It's a blog...
I am a fanatic when it comes to uncovering the truths and the falsities to sound nutrition and good health. When we use a little common sense we can back up anything, yet there is always room for debate.