The Metabolism Challenge!

Metabolism is an unfaithful foe. When you are young you don’t think about it, but metabolism seems to do its job allowing you to enjoy a food-carefree life. Somewhere in your late 30s and early 40s, metabolism seems to enter its own ‘mid-life crisis’, becoming temperamental, lethargic and uncooperative.

When I turned 40, I was not able to eat what I could the year before, and maintain the body shape and weight that I desired. Metabolism is a variety of bodily processes that convert food and other nutrients into energy and other substances used by the body. How quickly your unique body burns calories, or uses the food you eat to create energy depends on genetics, your general activity level and what foods we choose to put into our bodies.

So what can we do to maintain our metabolism? The reality is you can’t control your metabolism. If you notice drastic changes to your weight after age 40 (either direction) it may signal a more serious medical condition and you should check in with your physician and have tests done. If all those test come back with no medical-based issue, then there are some things to encourage your systems to work most efficiently for your age:

1. Make an exercise plan that is realistic and stick with it. Many people make sweeping declarations in January that fade by February. Weight training and cardio are metabolism boosting furnace burners. Weight training keeps burning calories hours after you’ve moved on with your day. Both fitness methods help increase bone density and blood flow as well as helping fight a variety of medical concerns.

Evaluate the workout plan that best suits your financial, scheduling and motivational aptitudes. Are you a class-driven exerciser? Are you better working one-on-one with a trainer? Can you do DVDs at home or do you need a gym environment?

2. Drink more water. The body needs water to process calories. If you are even mildly dehydrated, your metabolism may slow down. In one study, adults who drank eight or more glasses of water a day burned more calories than those who drank four. To stay hydrated, drink a glass of water or before every meal and snack. Stop drinking soda and move toward flavored waters (mint, lemon, lime, cucumber, berries), or green tea.

3. Don’t skip meals. It doesn’t help and it doesn’t fuel your systems to work most efficiently. When your over-hungry you actually communicate to your body to protect itself from starvation so it slows all the systems down to protect itself.

Add vegetables to all your meals. It adds nutrients while reducing calories, and building higher food-density.

Be more mindful about your eating habits. Don’t eat your meals while watching TV or working in front of your computer. You will consume a lot more calories (unknowingly), and will feel less satisfied with your eating experience.

Look at metabolism as a beast that you must try to manage. Re-evaluate your process yearly and make needed changes.

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