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Why You Need to Understand Metabolism For Weight Loss

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Metabolism is a mystery to some when trying to set weight goals. Everyone has a metabolism, and it is an essential process for your body to produce the energy it needs to function. What you eat and drink is the fuel the body uses to produce energy, so it is important to be mindful of what you’re putting in your body. Several factors can determine the speed of one’s metabolism.

What is a Metabolism?

Your body is continuously working, even at rest. The processes needed for basic functioning, such as breathing, blood circulation, growth, and cell repair, are called the basal metabolic rate. The thyroid is the manager of the metabolism. The thyroid helps to regulate the metabolism through hormones produced by the pituitary gland that tells your body when to speed up or slow down.

Your basic rate varies based on age, gender, body size, and body composition. Seventy percent of the calories you burn are from the basal metabolic rate.  Digestion and physical activity account for the other 30% of the calories burned throughout the day. The minimal amount of calories your body needs to survive does not change, but the amount of physical activity you do is the most variable to determine how many calories are burned daily.

Metabolism isn’t the villain when it comes to weight management.  Several factors go into weight loss, including calories in vs. out, hormones, genetics, physical activity, and stress. Even though some people seem to lose weight quicker than others, it all depends on the energy deficit.

What Can Increase Metabolic Rate?

Physical Metabolism Boosters

Regular Aerobic Activity

At least 30 minutes a day, five days a week. For weight loss, try to go for 60 minutes. If you are unable to set aside 30-60 minutes for activity, try separating it into 10-minute bouts throughout the day.

Strength Training

When you have more muscle, your body requires more calories to maintain it. Strength training will increase your basal metabolic rate. Try strength training at least two times a week for positive effects on your metabolism.

Increase Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT):

Non-exercise activity thermogenesis accounts for 10-20% of the calories burned through regular activities of daily living. For example, taking a shower, cleaning the dishes, or folding clothes help you burn more calories. A study suggested that you can burn 800 more calories daily just by increasing your NEAT.

Find sneaky ways to move around when you’re not doing organized physical activity. If you work at a desk, get up every 20 minutes, or tap your feet at your seat. Park farther away from the door and take the stairs. The more activity you get daily, the better.

Dietary Metabolism Boosters

Eating more food helps to boost your metabolism for a few hours. This is due to the thermic effect of food, which is the calories your body uses to break down the food in the body. Here are tips to boost your metabolism through dietary interventions.

  • Eating less processed foods. Your body is using all the energy to break down the crap found in processed foods before it gets to the nutrients. Think of those obstacle courses where you have to cross a pool of thick mud to get to the finish line. The mud holds you back from going at your best speed, therefore slowing down the process and tiring you out.
  • Get more vitamin D: naturally by getting more sun or through food sources like eggs. Vitamin D helps to decrease thyroid-related deficiencies.
  • Eat lean meat and proteins. Lean proteins contain iron, and iron is essential for thyroid functions for the metabolism. A study found people ate 441 fewer calories daily when their diet consisted of 30% protein.
  • Consume Selenium. Selenium is another nutrient that is important for thyroid health. Sources high in Selenium include Brazil nuts, tuna, crab, and lobster. In addition, you can consume Selenium through supplementation.
  • Stay hydrated by drinking water, particularly cold water. Cold water boosts the metabolism because the body uses more energy to heat it. In addition, mild dehydration can slow your metabolism.
  • Spicy food. Spicy food is mainly made with chili peppers. Chili peppers consist of capsaicin, which is found to help rev the metabolism.

The Takeaway

Understanding your metabolism is just one helpful tool in your health and fitness journey. By supporting it with proper physical activity and nutrition, you can control your weight. We all have a metabolism, and we need to take care of it to have lasting health benefits.

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