Your metabolism is complex. It is responsible for how fast your body burns calories and how often you can eat without becoming overweight. Scientists still have a lot to learn about the factors that control your metabolism.

They know that being healthier and stronger can boost your metabolism, which will lead to better health, improved mood, slower aging, and possibly even weight loss.

Experts share the most recent findings with you, and everything else you need to know in order to make that great stuff happen.

Certain parts of your metabolism may be out of your control

Many people talk about “metabolism,” but it is actually three distinct bodily processes. Each expends energy (or calories), at a different rate. Your resting metabolism rate is how much energy your organs require to keep you functional while you sit around. This makes up around 60 to 75 percent of the metabolism on a typical workday that includes a minimal activity. There is little you can do.

Contrary to what many people believe, those who are thin have slower resting metabolic rates. Martica Heaner is an adjunct associate professor of nutrition at Hunter College. She says, “The larger you are regardless whether that weight comes out of muscle or fat-the higher will your resting metabolic rates be.” An active metabolism is responsible for approximately 10 to 15% of all calories you consume in a given day.

It determines how much energy your body uses when you are running, walking, exercising, or even fidgeting. This is the type that you have the most control over. The more you move, you will burn more calories. There’s also diet-induced thermal genesis, which is the energy that your body uses to digest and consume food. Yes, you can get a bonus burned–8 to 12% of your daily calorie intake–for food!

Try THIS TIP: You will love spicy food, believe it or not. Green tea can help to increase diet-induced thermogenesis. You can make hot sauce or brew tea. “You will notice a slight increase in your metabolism rate, about 1% per hour. These small changes can add up over time,” says Polly de Mille who is the clinical director of Tisch Sports Performance Center at New York’s Hospital for Special Surgery.

Your muscles are in charge

A pound of muscle burns 7-10 calories per day while a pound of fat burns only two to three calories. Our muscle mass decreases as we age starting in our 20s. As this happens, our calorie-burning ability also declines. De Mille states that by your 70s your resting metabolism could be 15 percent lower than in your 20s.

“That’s 15 percent less food you could eat without gaining any weight,” de Mille says. Wayne L. Westcott is a professor of exercise science at Quincy College, Quincy, Massachusetts. You can challenge your muscles with strength training. Your muscles go through a break-and-repair or remodeling process each time.

This is how you can burn calories while you work out, and then continue to burn calories after you’ve lost weight. If you continue to do this, your resting metabolism will increase even if the muscles are the same size.

TRY THIS TRICKTwo to three sessions of resistance training (from 12 to 20 sets) every week for 20 minutes each. Within three months, your resting metabolic rate will be approximately 6 percent faster. Concentrate on your major muscle groups while you exercise. Do not be afraid of lifting heavyweights.

Begin with one that’s half the weight of the largest weight you are capable of lifting. As you get more skilled, move up to weights 60 to 75 percent of what your maximum lift is.

Low protein intake can cause a slowdown in your metabolism

You should get on board the protein bandwagon if you aren’t already. While the USDA recommends 5 ounces per day of protein as part of a 1,600-calorie meal plan, experts disagree with this recommendation, especially for older adults. For your body to be functional, amino acids are essential.

Wayne W. Campbell Ph.D., professor of nutrition science at Purdue University West Lafayette, Indiana says, “If your diet isn’t rich enough in amino acids, your body’s forced a tap on your muscles which have a great reserve.” You pay the price for losing valuable muscle.

TRY THIS TRICKProtein is important in every meal and snack. Aiming to eat 15 grams of protein each day (about two eggs) would be a great start. Whey is also one of the proteins found in milk. It’s high in the amino acid that your muscles need and can aid you with recovery after a workout.

You can’t eat too much

Even if the diet seems sensible, any weight-loss program will make your metabolism work harder than it did when you were weighing more. Because you lose weight and muscles every time you lose it, but the weight you gain back when you eat less and start over, your metabolism will slow down. To maintain your weight, smaller people will have a slower metabolism than those who are larger.

This means that you will have to eat fewer calories than before you started your diet. Unspeakable news: The part that regulates your metabolism pills cares less about your appearance and more about your ability to sustain your energy needs. You can cheat your body by removing calories from your diet and your metabolism will drop.

TRY THIS TRICKIt is best to take things slow if your goal is to lose weight. Laura J. Kruskall (UNLV Dietetic Internship & Nutrition Center director), says, “It’s best that you lose around 10 percent of body weight. Keep that weight for three- to six months and then lose more if necessary.”

This allows your body to adapt to physiological adaptations such as a slower metabolism and gives you time for healthy weight-maintenance habits. This is the easiest way to calculate that magic number. Take your body weight and multiply it by 10.

Your metabolism loves to sleep

Recent research by Uppsala University, Sweden shows that one night of sleep loss can lead to weight gain. De Mille says that people who don’t get enough sleep tend to have a slower metabolism. This is partly because it’s when the body repairs itself and thus burns calories.


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