If you’re someone who struggles with weight loss because you were unfortunate enough to inherit your mother or father’s slow metabolism, then you can breathe easily in knowing that there are ways to “trick” your body into boosting its metabolic rate.
Metabolism is the process by which the body breaks down food to produce energy. When you’re young, your body stores muscle mass to convert to energy ⎯ preventing weight gain.
But as you get older ⎯ usually around the time you turn 40 ⎯ your metabolism begins to slow down roughly 5 percent every decade, according to MayoClinic.
For the most part, our bodies' metabolism is predetermined at birth by genetics and gender, but that doesn’t mean you can’t beat the odds and create the body of your dreams.
“You can’t affect how many calories it takes to keep your heart beating, but you can burn an extra 500 to 600 calories a day by exercising properly and eating right,” says John Berardi, Ph.D., and author of The Metabolism Advantage.
If you are one of those individuals who can’t find the time in the morning to “squeeze in” a good breakfast, then there lies your first mistake.
When you skip breakfast, your body goes into starvation mode, which causes your body’s metabolism to slow to a snail’s pace in order to conserve energy, says Berardi.
In a study published in the American Journal of Epidemiology, volunteers who received 22 to 55 percent of their total daily calories at breakfast gained 1.7 pounds on average over four years. Those who ate zero to 11 percent of their calories at breakfast gained nearly three pounds.
In another study published in the same journal, volunteers who reported skipping breakfast on a regular basis had 4.5 times the risk of obesity as those who took the time to eat.
When considering your morning feast, you want to eat foods that are slow to digest and will leave you feeling fuller longer.
An example of this is mixing lean protein, complex carbohydrates, and healthy fats:
• An omelette made with two egg whites and a half-cup of mixed peppers and onions. On the side, add a half-cup of cooked steel-cut oats mixed with a quarter cup of frozen berries and a teaspoon of omega-3 fish oil.
In addition to a healthy breakfast, consider following your morning coffee or hot chocolate with a tall glass of water. Researchers at the University of Utah found that volunteers who drank eight to 12 eight-ounce glasses of water per day had higher metabolic rates than those who imbibed only four glasses.
When you take a step back and look at the grand scheme of things, there isn’t a right or wrong answer to go about boosting your metabolism. There are only options. And suggestions.
A person can’t change his or her genetics any more than a leopard can change its spots. But a person does possess the power to take charge of their body and search for ways to not only better their health, but also their life.
Get to work.