Know the Winning Formula for Weight Maintenance
The winning formula to maintaining your weight is that as long as the amount of calories you consume equals the amount of calories you expend, your weight should remain steady. If you are taking in more calories than your body can metabolize and burn as energy and you want to lose weight, you will have to reduce the amount of calories you take in, increase the number of calories you burn through physical exercise, or most likely do both. It is difficult to lose weight without changing the output side of the metabolism equation; that is, you need to boost your metabolism and increase its efficiency by eating healthfully and by exercising regularly and rigorously.
Determine Your Metabolic Rate
One of the first steps to take when embarking on a health and fitness plan is to determine how many calories your body burns every day. This rate is your metabolic rate, or the rate at which your body burns calories. This number will give you a concrete idea of how many calories you need to maintain your current weight, or how many you need to cut to lose weight. Cornell University offers a Metabolic Calculator that is based on your gender, age, height, weight, and activity level. Check it out on their website.
Understand Why Your Metabolic Rate Drops with Weight Loss
Surprisingly, the more weight you can carry, the faster your metabolism. Having to carry around the extra weight forces your metabolism to fire up. Sounds good, but this creates that infamous weight-loss wall. As you lose weight, your body doesn’t need to work as hard to metabolize food into energy, so it slows down the process. This accounts for the day every dieter experiences when the needle on the scale seems stuck and unlikely ever to move southward again. Unfortunately, the only way to combat this plateau is to stick with the diet and increase the amount and / or intensity of your workout. The slimmer you become, the fewer calories you’ll need to maintain good health – deal with it.
Understand Why Metabolism Slows with Age
Around age thirty, the immune system fights a little slower; the muscular system loses tone; the ratio of muscle to fat declines; fat settles around the stomach, buttocks, and thighs; the abdomen sags – and the metabolism begins to change. With age-related decrease in muscle mass comes a decline in metabolism and a decrease in calories burned. You will gain weight more easily and find it more difficult to lose, and your digestive tract, which used to be able to handle anything you popped into it, becomes sluggish and decidedly more sensitive. At the same time, a decrease in glucose tolerance increases the risk of developing diabetes (especially if you’re overweight), and increased blood pressure puts you at greater risk of heart disease (especially if you add a lot of salt to your food). As you pass your fortieth birthday, the heart muscle may enlarge so it can pump more blood as it tries to compensate for clogged and hardening arteries. At the same time, the covering sheath around the heart may thicken, resulting in an overall reduction in blood output. This decrease leads to a decline in the supply of oxygen to muscle tissue, resulting in a reduction in aerobic capacity. Bottom line: Even minimal exercise hits you harder and tire you more quickly, which slows your metabolism. To boost your metabolism despite your age, stay active – even if it becomes harder to do.
Combine Protein with Carbohydrates
Protein and carbohydrates are meant to go together. Protein helps your body process carbohydrates by slowing down the absorption of sugars and tamping down the production of excess insulin. Eating healthy complex carbohydrates with protein will also help you eat less, particularly if you’re eating high-calorie proteins. Try whole-grain crackers with cheese, yogurt with fruit, or a glass of milk with oatmeal.
Lose 10 Percent of Your Excess Body Weight
We’re sure you have your reasons for wanting to rev up your metabolism or lose weight. But, one of them should be health. Did you know that by losing 5 to 10 percent of your excess body weight, you can lower your blood pressure, cholesterol, insulin, and triglyceride level? Losing weight shouldn’t be just about looking good. It should also be about staying healthy. Also taking vitamins to supplement your diet.