You probably have heard a lot about it but do you really know what is metabolism?

In simple words, metabolism is the process in which the body converts food into energy. And why does it matter? Well, for starters, your metabolism determines how fast you burn up the calories you consume. The higher your metabolic rate, easier it is to burn calories.

The amount of energy your body needs to survive, aka basal metabolic rate, is determined by your age, gender, body size (height and weight) and body composition. Let’s face it, most of which we can’t change.

But do not despair! With a little help, we can fine-tune your metabolism and transform your body in a calorie-burning machine.

1.      Be active every day. Keep in mind that exercise uses calories for fuel. The more you move the more you will burn.

2.      Establish a regular eating schedule. Skipping meals makes your body believe that there is no food around, putting your metabolism into conservation mode. To keep you metabolism happy try getting your meals at the same times most days of the week.

3.      Catch some ZZZs. Not getting enough sleep makes your hunger and fullness hormones go crazy which impairs your ability to judge when to eat and when to stop. Sleep deprivation also contributes to the release of stress hormones which increases cravings for junk food.

4.      Do NOT go on a very low calorie diet. Cutting calories too low puts your body into starvation mode which slows down your metabolism,  affects your mood, and your ability to exercise. A much better approach is to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, lean meats, eggs, dairy products, nuts, seeds and whole grains. Focus on unprocessed high quality foods and you won’t need to count your calories.

5.      Build some muscle with a strength training routine. The higher you lean muscle mass, the faster your metabolism (and calorie-burning capacity) will be, even at rest. Doing only cardiovascular activities and skipping strength training can lead to muscle loss. If you lose muscle, you will also be decreasing your ability to burn calories.

6.      Break long hours of sitting. Sitting for extended periods of time put you into an energy-saving mode (pretty much like an inactive computer). Therefore, it is important to move as much as possible and get up every hour or so to walk around and stretch.

7.      Drink up. Dehydration can decrease dramatically your calorie burn ability. So, keep a water bottle with you at all times and drink at least 2 litres of water per day.

8.      Consume more dairy products. Researches show that not getting enough calcium can affect your ability to burn calories. Also, dairy products such as yogurt, cottage cheese and milk contain valuable proteins (whey and casein) that assist muscle growth and prevent muscle breakdown.

9.      Find ways to unwind. Stress increases appetite for less desirable foods (high calorie low nutrient types), reduces the desire to exercise, disturb restful sleep all of which have a negative impact on metabolism.

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