The most common question from guests is “How do I increase my metabolism?” They usually want to find some culprit that they could easily give up or a magic food to add here and there. Increasing metabolism comes down to doing a few things consistently, and you have probably heard them from me before.
- Eat consistent meals. How many of you know someone who says, “I don’t know why I am overweight, I only eat one meal a day.” The fastest way to gain weight is to eat one meal a day. You set yourself up to store calories rather than use them. If your body knows it will be getting breakfast around the same time every day, and then a few hours later it knows it will be getting lunch, it will use those calories from breakfast for fuel because it knows it will be getting more later. But if you aren’t eating consistently and meals are sporadic, your body will want to conserve as much as possible. As I say often, Food = Fuel. Don’t go longer than 4-5 hours in between meals and add snacks if needed.
- Balance meals. Remember the plate? How could you forget! Half fruits and veggies, 1/4 whole grain and 1/4 lean protein. This will give you energy, protein for building lean body mass and fiber and nutrition to keep you full and satisfied. Balanced meals are essential for optimal performance and metabolism.
- Exercise. Use both aerobic exercise and strength training to build lean body mass and burn calories. This will allow you to burn more calories than you would otherwise. Metabolic rate does decline with age but the bigger issue with most elderly Americans is that they have become less active. Fitness can be achieved at any age and will help to maintain metabolic rate. Exercise will also give you a healthier mindset which encourages healthier behaviors.
There you have it. The same principles that help you lose weight will help you keep it off. The point is that this has to become a lifestyle instead of a diet. There are no quick fixes for weight loss or metabolic rate. You will see results being consistent 90% of the time. Commitment to a healthy lifestyle is essential.
Emily Fonnesbeck RD,CD