Health & Fitness

7 things you didn’t know about your metabolic rate

International Women’s Day may be over earlier this month, but ladies, we haven’t forgotten about you!

This articles celebrates women in their glory. Their concern with beauty and the ever-so-consistent quest for the ideal body and body weight. Thus the frustrations of sluggish metabolism when they have been diligent on their weight loss diet but the scale is on a standstill (or horror of horrors!) – it reflects an increase in weight

Ladies, this is probably the question you’ve been asking yourself on a daily basis:

I have been dieting and starving myself but yet I can’t seem to lose my fat weight.

It is because your metabolic rate is slow?

Let us take you through some metabolism killers and enhancers:

1.Under-caloric consumption of food = metabolism killer

Ladies, please eat between 1500 to 1800 calories depending on how active you are (if you are pregnant or breastfeeding, use the higher range). Caloric restriction signals starvation to the brain. The body will naturally gear into a survival mode by slowing down your metabolism to ensure survival with scarce food.

Photo: Mother Nature Network

2. Do not yoyo diet = metabolism killer

Did you notice that you only lose weight during the initial 1 or 2 weeks of “dieting”.  Thereafter, even though you have eaten the same number of calories, your body tends to pack on more weight.

Initial weeks will reflect weight loss on the weighing scale. Two or three weeks down the road, your weight loss plateaus. Once you eat normally, you will notice weight gain seeping in.

Yo-yo dieting makes weight loss efforts worst.  Most would end up with double weight gain with yo-yo dieting.  Do not miss meals and do not eat below 1200 calories per day.  Just target a deficit of 500 calories per day for a week and you will have lost 3500 calories per week — and your body is not on a sluggish metabolism survival mode.

  1. Eat small and frequent = metabolism enhancer

Eat 5 meals a day! That is why smaller meals are encouraged at regular intervals so that your metabolism will be active.  Not only that, with regular feedings, you will keep your energy level high.

4. Sleep 7-8 hours per day = metabolic enhancer

If you are a listless sleeper or could not clock in the hours at a go – have cat nap during the day. Lack of sleep creates havoc with your hormones of hunger and satiety, ghrelin and leptin.

Photo: Terlep chiropractic

5. Eat breakfast = metabolism enhancer

Eating breakfast is important to jumpstart your metabolism after having an empty stomach while you sleep (this is a state of “fasting”). Break your fast by “break-fasting”.  You will be alert and not be sluggish by mid-morning.  Research has shown that those who eat their breakfast tend to eat lower number of calories for the day and will be less likely to binge as compared to those who miss their break of the day.

6. Consume nutrient-dense food = metabolism enhancer 

Practice the habit of consuming nutrient-dense, natural foods while also choosing some of the foods that have a lower caloric density and a higher thermic effect of digestion.

Please remember that ALL foods are “thermogenic” because the body must use energy to digest them. This is known as the “thermic effect of food”.

Eat the “magic” food group – protein at every meal seating. Protein generally increases feeling of fullness to a greater extent than carbohydrate or fat. Eat your salmon, nuts, tofu, tempe, chicken breast, turkey breast, very lean red meat, shellfish and other seafood and egg whites (whole eggs in moderation).

  1. Exercise = metabolism enhancer

Muscles are metabolically active and uses energy even at rest, whereas fats does nothing at rest. Thus increasing muscle tone, through exercise with bodyweights and resistance will dramatically increase your metabolism.

Here are two exercises for you to help boost your metabolic rate. These workouts use compound movements involving endurance, strength and flexibility.

Remember to warm up for 5-10 minutes and stretch at the end of your exercise!

Exercise 1: Knee Up

From a standing position, move one knee up until your thighs are parallel to the floor, the hip flexors are the primary movers. These muscles are responsible for flexing the hip, pulling your thigh toward your torso.
The rectus abdominis is also involved in this exercise as well as the quadriceps.  It stretches the hip extensors including the glutes.
Do 30 repetitions for 1 set with 1 minute rest in between. Then move to the second, third, fourth, and fifth set. This exercise develops strength and endurance the thighs, and it also works for efficient running.
Exercise 2: Chest Press Up on Bridge 
Tighten your core, squeeze your butt, and lift your hips as high as you can with the added complexity of balancing one leg up – both knees parallel to each other, while maintaining neutral posture in the pelvis. Breathe in at rest and breath out upon exertion.
Apply the 30-second rule; do not rush through the movements. Hold butt lift for 30 seconds, leg up for 30 seconds and chest press up for 30 seconds. This 30-seconds works an extra deep cotraction through the glutes and core as well as the pectorals (chest muscles).
Do 10 repetitions for 3 sets with 1 minute rest in between. Shorten the rest in beween sets to 30 seconds rest as you get stronger.

Good luck and be careful while trying this at home!

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