Whenever there is talk of fitness and diet, one often hears the word metabolism. While we do know an increased metabolism helps one loose calories and be as fit as possible; there is a lot more to the term than just that. So, before one gets into the weight loss gear; it is important to get your basics right and understand some fundamental facts about metabolism and its significance in maintaining a fitter and healthier you.
Exercise and diet for weight loss are focused towards one objective – increasing metabolism. Weight loss is a major issue in the present world and the percentage of obese people is growing at an exponential rate. Healthy weight loss can be gained only if you adopt ways by which your metabolism increases.
So, what exactly is metabolism? Simply put, metabolism is a biological process which converts calories into energy in the body. Fewer calories lead to lower weight. However, there are a lot of misconceptions and metabolism myths that people believe and end up following wrong means of weight loss.
Drinking lots of water increases metabolism, according to German researchers
Eating foods that are high in protein and low in carbs and starch speed up metabolism because proteins are tougher to digest
Here are some metabolism facts to be aware of before one starts a weight loss regime:
- Metabolism consists of two reactions – catabolism and anabolism. Catabolism refers to breaking down of calories and anabolism refers to storing calories in order to keep the body functioning. When these two processes are balanced, metabolism is said to be at its optimum
- Crash dieting or fad dieting leads to lowering of metabolic rate. When you diet, your body assumes that you are starving. It switches mode and saves calories to keep the internal organs running. Therefore, although you lose weight, you end up losing muscle mass, which is highly undesirable and unhealthy.
- Different body types have different natural metabolic rates. People who have low rate of metabolism or low basal metabolic rate (BMR) can improve their calorie burning capacity by eating very small meals every three hours. This keeps the metabolic system active and prevents weight gain.
- The number of calories that you consume should be calculated based on your BMR
- Exercises shoot up metabolism because the muscles are made to work harder and so, they demand higher supply of blood and oxygen. Heart and lungs have to work harder to meet this demand. Subsequently, catabolism is triggered into high gear. However, your body only burns a fixed number of calories and does not touch the calories that it stores to keep vital organs running in case of emergencies. If you over exercise, your muscles are burned, which is why excessive exercise is always discouraged
- Hormonal imbalances in the body, especially of thyroxin and insulin, cause metabolism to fluctuate.
- It is a myth that people grow fat due to slow metabolic rates. In fact, the converse is true. Muscles require more energy to function when compared to fat. Since overweight people have more fat stored in the body, metabolism reduces. You put on weight when you consume more calories than you burn. So, even if you eat very little but lead a largely sedentary life, you will put on weight
- As people grow older, they lose muscle mass and gain fat. This is the reason why metabolism reduces with age.
- Metabolism is the most active in the morning. Breakfast should be your heaviest meal of the day if you are trying to lose weight.
So, understand your basal metabolic rate and plan your weight loss program accordingly.