Are your tried and tested post-winter weight loss tactics not quite as effective as they used to be? A slow and ageing metabolism could be to blame! The good news is your metabolic rate isn’t fixed, meaning there are measures you can take to speed it up. Dr Leon Massage from the Body Metabolism Institute (bmiweightloss.com.au) and holistic medical doctor and author Dr Cris Beer (drcris.com.au) explain how…
Metabolism is integral to the bodies’ weight loss process - but why? 'Our metabolism determines how much energy we burn in a day from the food we eat,' explains Dr Beer. 'When our metabolism is unable to keep up, this leads to weight gain. Alternatively when our metabolism burns more energy than what we are consuming, then we lose weight.' As we age, it’s inevitable our bodies’ metabolic rate slowly reduces. However a bigger contributor to this decline is a loss of muscle mass caused by a decrease in our physical activity levels. 'When we lose muscle, we reduce our energy burning ability and this in turn reduces our metabolism,' Dr Beer says. The bottom line is that if you want to efficiently lose weight, your metabolism needs to be firing. Here’s how to give it a boost…
1. Have Breakfast
Skipping your first meal of the day is a metabolism nightmare. It signals the body to conserve energy and slows down the body’s ability to burn fat. 'Eating breakfast kick-starts the metabolism for the day,' Dr Beer explains. Try eating a nutritious breakfast within an hour of waking.
2. Graze Regularly
'Eating small portions of food at regular four hour intervals will keep the metabolism firing throughout the day,' Dr Beer explains. Rather than three monster mains, Dr Beer recommends smaller meals. 'This allows the body to burn the food we are consuming rather than storing the excess as body fat.'
3. Choose Protein
A healthy balanced diet laden with fresh, whole foods (and limited processed foods) is essential to maintain metabolic rate. In addition, Dr Massage stresses the importance of consuming proteins to encourage 'healthy muscle tissue development – which is necessary for improving metabolism.' Get your protein fix from eggs, fish, lean meats, nuts and legumes.
4. Embrace Weight Training…
Grab those dumbbells! 'Muscle is our most metabolically active tissue,' Dr Massage says. Because our muscle tissue declines as we age, it’s crucial to make an effort to build it up. 'Weights and resistance exercises are essential for maintaining healthy muscle tissue.'
5. ...And Cardio Too!
While weights build muscle, aerobic exercise plays a more direct role in increasing metabolism speed. 'Aerobic exercise can increase metabolic rate by 300% to 500% during the workout – and it remains mildly elevated for several hours afterwards,' Dr Massage explains. 'Try 20 minute bursts of interval training such as fast paced walking, jogging, cycling,' Dr Beer suggests.
6. Get Up
'If you have a sedentary job, you should make an effort to stand up and walk around at regular intervals,' urges Dr Massage. 'Thirty minutes of walking per day is the minimum target you should be aiming for in order to maintain health, wellness and a healthy metabolism.'
7. Drink Smart
Staying hydrated is essential to a well-functioning metabolism. 'Stick to water, rather than sugar-laden drinks and keep alcohol to a minimum,' Dr Beer says. Meanwhile, coffee has a reputation for spiking metabolism, however Dr Massage says this effect is only temporary and recommends no more than a few cups per day.