Tag Archives: metabolism

What exactly is ‘metabolism’?

Author: Liam Taylormiley-cyrus-justin-gaston-running

Most people think they have a slow one.  We all wish ours was a lot faster.  The slimming industry has made a fortune selling pills that supposedly boost it… Even my local curry house is claiming that eating spicy food will make it sky rocket!

But what exactly is ‘ metabolism ‘?  Why is it important for weight loss? And how can it help us in our quest to fit back into our favourite jeans?

Your body is a made up of trillions of cells.  Within each of those cells are chemical reactions that burn up the calories in the food you eat.  The name given to all of these calorie burning reactions is ‘metabolism’, and the speed at which this process happens is called your ‘metabolic rate’.  The faster a person’s metabolic rate, the more calories they burn each day.

Try to think of your metabolism like an engine burning up the fuel you consume.  Put in more fuel than your metabolism can burn, and the excess gets stored as fat.  Put in less fuel than your metabolism burns and you will burn off your fat stores to make up for the shortage.  Long term fat loss only occurs when you eat less calories than your metabolism burns.

So if your metabolism is like an engine, how much fuel do you need each day to run it? The government recommends 2000 calories a day for women and 2500 for men, but this is guesswork.  To find the real figure we need to look at the three factors that make up your metabolism -   Resting metabolism, Movement and Digestion.

• Resting metabolism is the amount of calories your body burns at rest.  It is the energy required to sustain your organs and muscle tissue, even while you are sleeping.  The bigger you are, and the more active muscle you have, the more calories your body burns at rest.  Someone with lots of muscle will have a faster resting metabolism than a skinny person.

• Movement metabolism is the amount of calories your muscles burn when they are working, that is if they are working at all!  The more you move the more calories your body burns, so even chewing gum or fidgeting is proven to increase the amount of calories you burn each day, albeit not much!  Someone who exercises daily will have a faster movement metabolism than someone who is sedentary.

• Digestion metabolism is the amount of calories it takes for the food you eat to be broken down and pushed from your mouth to your backside.  High protein, unrefined foods require more energy to digest than high sugar, refined carbs.   Someone who eats healthy food little and often will have a faster digestion metabolism than someone who binges on junk food.

The internet is swamped with slimming and weight loss pills that claim to speed up metabolism.  I’ll make this simple.   There are only three ways to speed up your metabolism – increase your resting metabolism, increase your movement metabolism, or increase your digestion metabolism.  If you want a faster metabolic rate, you have to either 1) build more muscle to increase your resting metabolism, 2) exercise more to increase your movement metabolism, 3) eat better quality meals to increase your digestion metabolism.

No slimming or diet pills can do this for you, so it’s time to put an end to that little fantasy!  To boost your metabolism you have to start eating healthier and moving more, but you knew that already.

Role of Weight Management in Weight Loss

Author: Jen Pagebefore & after

With over 60% of the North American population currently overweight there has been much emphasis lately on the ways and means of healthy weight loss. If you have just successfully dropped a hundred (or even 10) pounds, congratulations – you did it! Now here comes second part of the challenge – weight management.

Research has shown that approximately only 20% of dieters keep excess weight off long term once they have reached their target goal. In fact one of the richest most powerful women in the world, Oprah Winfrey, has recently shared with the public her frustration and deep disappointment at unsuccessfully being able to maintain her ideal weight. So the woman who has everything; the guy, the job, the homes, the cars, a stellar career, fame and fortune still can’t buy thin and has to somehow muster the strength and courage to start all over again.  Good luck Oprah, you can do it, you really can, and so can any one else who has a solid weight management plan.

To begin developing your own plan for weight management, you will need to figure out what the ideal weight for your height and build is so that you know what healthy weight to set your weight loss goals by. Determining an estimate of your ideal body weight can be done by using a Body Mass Index Calculator or through a consultation with your doctor.

There are many weight loss options available that can aid you in reaching your ideal body weight. You can choose from a multitude of different diets, such as low-calorie or low-carbohydrate diets. There are fad diets such as the Cabbage Soup Diet and the South Beach Diet. There are prescription diet pills and OTC diet pills that can provide a multitude of benefits including lessening your appetite, increasing your metabolism and blocking fat absorption from the foods you eat. There are also exercise programs and bariatric surgeries. Carefully consider the risks and benefits of each option, do your research and enlist a medical doctor to help you make an informed choice.

All of these methods to lose weight, however, are only tools to assist you as you ‘battle the bulge’. Nothing, not even the best diet pills or most costly surgery will do all the work of losing weight for you – you still have to do your part. Your responsibility as someone who not only wants to lose weight, but wants long-term weight management is to make healthy adjustments to your lifestyle. This may include educating yourself about healthy eating and nutrition, learning how to exercise safely and effectively, and addressing any emotional aspects of your relationship with food and eating that may have been a contributing factor to your weight gain.

Weight management following weight loss is not complicated – all you need to do is consume a calorie-controlled diet and get regular exercise. It sounds pretty simple, so why is the success rate of weight management so low? The two main reasons are the inability to stay motivated over the long term, and a belief that dieting has an end goal rather than seeing it as a permanent lifestyle change. Weight management requires modifying behaviors around food and activity. The good news is that it takes less calories to lose weight than it does to maintain it and you can adjust your diet accordingly. Clinical studies have proven that the common denominators found amongst those who have successfully lost weight and have kept it off for a period longer than five years are:

–         high levels of activity

–         low-calorie, low-fat, portion-controlled meal plans

–         eating breakfast

–         developed and consistent eating patterns

–         they stayed motivated and did not cheat or fall off the wagon

The only truly good reason to lose weight should be to gain health despite social and cultural mores that would have you believe otherwise. Losing weight and achieving your weight loss goals is only half of your journey to a healthier you completed. The other half of your journey is weight management and keeping the weight off once it’s gone.

Men’s Weight Loss Quiz

Author: Deidra Garciafruit_veggie_image

1. Beverages can cause you to gain weight.

•    True

•    False

TRUE: Many men don’t realize that beverages are often loaded with empty calories. Even fortified waters can contain as many calories as a can of soda. In fact, a recent study found that most men don’t accommodate for these extra calories with their meals.  A better bet is to stick to drinking plenty of water, as it keeps your system well-hydrated, helps food break down easier and doesn’t pack on the pounds.

2. Fasting is a good way to drop a few pounds.

•    True

•    False

FALSE: By skipping meals and then playing catch-up, you could end up promoting more fat storage and lowering your metabolism due to fluctuating insulin and blood sugar levels.  You also lose more than fat when you don’t eat…you lose muscle and tissue mass. A better bet is to follow a moderate diet and continue to exercise regularly.

3. Eating more produce reduces the pounds.

•    True

•    False

TRUE: This seems like it should go without saying, but most men don’t get their allotted five servings a day. In addition to containing vitamins, fiber, antioxidants and protein, fruits and vegetables are a low-calorie option that can help you lose weight and improve health tremendously. A few ideas for consuming more are eating a vegetarian meal at least once a week, keeping fresh produce on hand for snacks (even canned vegetables and fruits are valuable as long as they don’t contain heavy syrup or preservatives), and adding more to salads, sandwiches and as side dishes..

4. Drinking a lot of water causes you to lose weight.

•    True

•    False

FALSE: Water is key to fending of dehydration and it helps the body processes. It even helps provide a “full” feeling. But drinking water does not burn off calories, and drinking an excessive amount of water can also add to temporary water weight and make you feel bloated.

5. You need to exercise as well as diet to lose weight.

•    True

•    False

TRUE: Many men think if they eat right they can skip exercising altogether. Or vice versa. Wrong. If you are actively looking to lose weight, you are going to have to regularly exercise as well as follow a nutritious diet. Exercising 3-4 times a week not only improves cardiovascular and overall health, it also helps you burn calories as you build muscle.

6. You can keep your weight down by skipping meals.

•    True

•    False

FALSE: Although experts are divided on how many meals you should eat (3 moderate meals, or several small ones throughout the day), mealtimes need to be kept at the same time every day so your body knows when to feel hungry. Skipping meals can cause you to overeat at the next meal as your body tries to make up for the meal that was missed.

7. Diets that focus on adding or removing only one type of food are the most effective.

•    True

•    False

FALSE: Many fad diets rely on eating a large quantity of or removing one substance or food from your diet (for example: low-carb diet, the cabbage diet, etc.). But the fact is that eating too much of one thing can cause you to miss out on valuable nutrients in other foods (how many fruits contain protein?). And your body needs many components to function well (carbs provide energy, etc.). Instead of drastically cutting or adding an ingredient, try reducing “bad” foods and eating moderate servings of more varied foods.

8. You can still snack and eat your favorite foods as you diet.

•    True

•    False

TRUE: The reason many men fail at weight management is because they try to deprive themselves of their favorite foods…which may not be the healthiest. Unfortunately, when deprived like this, many guys tend to overeat or binge at the slightest waver of willpower. There’s no need to give up desserts or less-than-healthy options…just eat them in small servings and restrict them to only once or twice a week. Even restaurant meals and fast food options can be conquered if you keep the portions small (take half home as leftovers) and you’re aware of what exactly you are consuming, nutrition-wise.

9. How you eat is just as important as what you eat.

•    True

•    False

TRUE: Ever wolf down a huge plate of food and then realize that you weren’t even that hungry to begin with? This happens more frequently than most men think. Men who overeat tend to eat very quickly. This does not allow your stomach time to process food and does not allow your brain time to realize you’ve had enough. A better option is to take your time as you eat: you’ll be able to recognize when you fill full (and then stop) and it will also help with digestion. Not to mention that you’ll be able to savor the flavors much better this way!

10. Nutritional supplements don’t help you lose weight.

•    True

•    False

FALSE: While you cannot rely on a nutritional supplement for all of your dietary needs, they can help you attain significant weigh loss results when coupled with a healthy diet and regular exercise. Just make sure they contain high concentrations of natural ingredients from a trusted source.

11. You always gain weight when you quit smoking.

•    True

•    False

FALSE: Although some men gain weight when they quit, the benefits of quitting smoking far outweigh the risk of putting on a few pounds. And you can avoid that altogether by avoiding snacking on fattening foods. Instead, keep healthier options available (such as veggies, fruit or even sugar-less gum) for when a craving occurs. Exercise can also work out anxiety.

ANSWER KEY:

9 – 11 correct: Fitness guru

6 – 8 correct:     A healthy mind set

3 – 5 correct:     Need some coaching

0 – 2 correct:     Get off the couch!