You might begin to wonder if your metabolism is slow if you: A – can’t seem to lose any weight despite the increased amount of exercise you do, B – either stay the same (i.e. stall) or gain weight after cutting calories, or C – both. To get to the root of the problem, you may need to have your thyroid checked, because it regulates your metabolism. There is a minimal possibility that you could have a thyroid disorder (i.e. goider, hyperthyroidism, hypothyrodism). Approximately 10% of women in the U.S. have some type of thyroid disorder. Sorry guys. I couldn’t find your numbers. Most insurance plans cover at least one thyroid test a year, so getting an Endocrinologist referral is one option. If you don’t have insurance, you can go the DIY route. Click HERE to get the thyroid self test. I’d rather just go to the professional though lol.
What Is Your Metabolism?
Your metabolism changes the food you eat into “energy” your body can actually use. The process of those changes is a collective of metabolic interactions. If your metabolism is working properly, then it is very efficient at changing your food into energy. If your metabolism isn’t working properly then it is really inefficient at changing your food into energy.
Here are key metabolic processes
- Basal Metabolism (i.e. BMR, Harris Benedict Formula) – About 60-65% of the calories you eat are spent keeping all of your basic bodily functions working properly. For example, your BMR tells you how many calories you need just to be a couch potato all day.
- Exercise – (i.e. ADL, Strength Training, Cardiovascular Training, Flexibility Training) – 25-30% of your calories eaten are used for moving around (i.e walking around at work), doing chores and actual workouts.
- Thermic Food Effect – 10% of the calories you consume are used to break down your food into energy (i.e. digestion).
How To Increase Your Metabolism
- Exercise – Cardiovascular training (i.e. walking, running, biking, swimming) increases your heart rate during exercise and strengthens your heart. This increases your metabolism during the activity. Strength training develops your muscles, making them stronger and hungrier! They require more energy. The more developed your muscles are (either strength or endurance), the higher your metabolism increases during AND after the activity. This is why you see fitness enthusiast and athletes eating what seems like all of the time. That’s because they have to eat a lot to give their muscles energy.
- Thermic Food Effect – The body has a harder time breaking down protein into energy than say simple sugar. This is why you see the mainstream protein craze going on right now. The body also has a harder time breaking down complex carbohydrates like whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables because of the high fiber content. This is why it’s better to eat those types of foods. An apple a day really does keep the doctor away! Reduce your simple sugar foods like candy bars and other sugary treats, because the body barely does anything to break the food down. Sugar rush!
HINT: Some foods have sugar in them even when you may not think so. See the Yoplait Greek 100 below vs the Fage 0%. The Fage has almost twice the protein and a tad less sugar. Plus a serving of Fage is 170g vs the 150g of Yoplait. I’m all for more food! A good way to increase your thermic food effect in this case would be to switch the Yoplait Greek 100 out for the Fage. Try it with your other favorite foods!
- “ACSM’s Resource Manual for Guidelines for Testing and Exercise Prescription (4th Ed.)”; J. Roitman (Ed.); 2001