Understanding Metabolism and Heart Disease
When we look at what causes heart disease, weight is a significant factor. And, when it comes to burning fat and losing weight, your metabolism has to be active to burning calories. While a “slow metabolism” is rarely the cause of excess weight gain. Your metabolism does influence your body’s basic energy needs as it is the process by which your body coverts what you eat and drink into energy. Essentially, metabolism takes the calories you consume and uses that to fuel your body. So, when you take in more calories than what your metabolism uses for energy, you will gain weight. Conversely, if you take in fewer calories than your metabolism uses to create energy, you lose weight as then your metabolism starts to burn stored fat.
So, when we talk about jump-starting your metabolism, it really more about using your metabolism rate more effectively to burn more of the calories you intake and help reduce fat cells. To that end, we have five key tips to help you “jump-start your metabolism.”
1. Eat More Frequently – When you starting dieting and working out (yes, you will want to do more physical activity to boost your metabolism), the body naturally goes into defensive mode and thinks you may be starving it. As a result, the body then decides to actually store fat. That, obviously, is not at all what you want. To combat that this, you will want to eat smaller meals, while eating more frequently. Do a smaller breakfast and then add in a mid-morning protein-rich snack. Again, have lunch, but make it a little smaller and then have a mid-afternoon snack. Again, with dinner, just have a smaller portion. Doing this will help with portion control as well as send signals to your body that it is not starving.
2. Hydrate – Drinking more water throughout the day not only helps keep you from feeling hungry, but it also helps your body burn more calories. A study from the University of Utah found those who drank eight to 12 glasses of water a day burned more calories at rest than those who only drank four glasses. So, when you are bored and feel like a snack, instead of reaching for some potato chips, reach for a glass of water instead. You will kill the hunger pangs while burning more calories.
3. Weight Resistance Exercise – Do more weight resistance and strength building exercises, especially if you are over 40 years-old as that is when your body begins to lose muscle and turns it into fat. After all, weight-lifting (hand weight / dumb bells) or using resistance bands will build muscle, and the more muscle you can develop and keep toned, the more calories you burn. In fact, a study from Southern Illinois University found that people who did a 15-minute resistance routine burned 100 extra calories a day for three days after the routine! After you do strength building, then transition into doing cardio such a biking or treadmill. Studies have found that those that do strength training first and then move immediately into cardio exercise burn more fat than those that waited longer between weight training and cardio.
4. Snack after Exercising – Have a quick protein and carb rich snack within 30 minutes of your workout. This will help aid with muscle building and fat loss. In some studies on this it was found that people lost about four pounds more fat and created about one and a half pounds of lean muscle within six months versus those that did not properly snack after the workout. The perfect snack for this can be as simple as a banana with a spoonful of peanut butter.
5. Protein – Add more protein into your diet and vary up the sources. Protein is the building block of lean muscle mass as it has more calories than carbohydrates. Aim for about 20 grams of protein at each of your main meals, which is the equivalent of about 3 eggs or one cup of lentils. And, when you seek out protein, look beyond only animal meat as animal protein can actually speed muscle loss. So, alternatives could be vegetables like asparagus (4 grams of protein per cup), beans or lentils. But, when you do eat things like eggs, pork, poultry or even a steak, make sure you eat more fruits and vegetable which can offset the muscle-robbing effect.
How to Use This Information
Keeping your metabolism going and running effectively can really help you shed pounds and prevent heart disease. Not to mention, you will feel a lot better and healthier. If you have questions about great nutrition to keep your heart healthy, please give us a call or even seek out some of our classes. We have classes on nutrition as well as many fantastic workout classes.