The Truth About “Slow Metabolism”

Stop making excuses... you CAN do something about your slow metabolism!It’s a new year! That means hundreds of thousands of people in this country are trying to lose weight. ‘New Year, New Me’ is the mantra.  For others though, a new year means more excuses. ‘I can’t lose the weight because…’ and they fill in the blank.

Surely you’ve heard this old excuse: ‘It’s my metabolism.’ It’s a favorite for many of us. We’re convinced that our slow metabolism is sabotaging us – that no matter what we do, it’s just going to be harder, take longer, bring less results. So for now, let’s just have fries with lunch. And a soda. Oh, and that piece of cake, too.  After all, what’s the point of trying? ‘I have slow metabolism. I’m going to be fat anyway.’

The fact is, many people are looking at metabolism in the wrong way. Today, we’re going to set you straight. The good news is, you’re not going to need diet pills, energy pills or special supplements to be at peace with your metabolism. Are you ready to learn the truth?

Extra Weight? Then You’ve Got Higher Metabolism

Many people think that thin folks must have higher metabolism. After all, they can “eat whatever they want” and never gain a pound. The truth is though, that if you’re heavier, your resting metabolism is naturally higher. Dr. Yoni Freedhoff, assistant professor at the University of Ottawa says, “Skinny individuals almost invariably have slower resting metabolisms; there is literally less of them to burn while at rest.”

Muscle Matters

Metabolism is, of course, the process that your body uses to convert what you eat and drink into energy. Put simply, muscle requires more energy to function than fat. So if a person has more muscle in his or her body, they’re going to consume more energy from food before it is stored in the body as fat. So muscle has a tremendous effect on how many calories are burned in one day.

So if you’d like to improve your metabolism, here is one key factor: begin a strength training plan. Building muscle is proven to help you lose weight faster than dieting alone.

Grazing Does Not Improve Your Metabolism

“Eat frequent small meals and snacks.” We’ve heard that advice for years. Many people think that this advice is good because your body will burn these meals more effectively than fewer larger meals. But our bodies’ metabolism is not really affected at all by timing of meals. What is most important for efficient metabolism is the total amount and the quality of the food we eat.

Go Ahead and Eat at Night

Think you have an internal clock that throws your food into a “fat closet” after 6 p.m.? The truth is, it’s not that simple. Dr. Freedhoff explains, “The time of day you fill your car with gas isn’t going to impact how far you’ll go on that tank.” As long as you’re eating high-quality food in a reasonable portion, most people will not notice a difference in weight gain if they eat later in the evening. That pint of deluxe ice cream does not make a great late-night snack. But if you want to go for a few tablespoons of of hummus with sliced bell peppers, you won’t see a difference in your gut.

Metabolism Has Two Parts

Many think that metabolism is the speed at which a person burns calories. But metabolism, in our intricate bodies, is more complicated than that. There are two parts to metabolism:

  • Catabolism:  This is the process that breaks down the chemical bonds of food to release energy. It is the more well known part of the metabolism process.
  • Anabolism:  This second part of metabolism stores energy in different forms of chemical bonds, including carbohydrates and fats.
A proper metabolism has a beautiful balance of both processes: this system breaks down and builds up – both processes are important.

You Can Control Your Metabolism

Don’t give up; your hands are not tied. Here are a few ways (in addition to the strength training we mentioned above) you can improve the speed at which your body metabolizes food.

  • Have a good night’s rest. You’ll have a better mood, be more productive, and have a higher metabolism. As it turns out, sleep-deprived people have a decreased ability to manage blood sugar levels and often find themselves hungrier.
  • Drink water.  Forget soda. Drop the juice and the sugar in your coffee. If you’re thirsty, drink pure, cool water. Researchers find that drinking water likely impacts how many calories you burn in a day.
  • Have a little caffeine. Some studies have shown that coffee drinkers burned more calories than those who drank decaf. So a moderate amount of caffeine may improve your metabolism. Just be sure to check with your doctor to make sure a cup or two is safe for your personal situation.
  • Enjoy the punch of protein. More and more research shows that what effects our metabolism the most is the type of fuel we put into our bodies; those who take in a sufficient amount of protein have a higher resting metabolism.
  • Try a little tea.  Green tea has been shown in some studies to have significant health benefits, including increased metabolism. A paper published in the Journal of the American Society of Clinical Nutrition demonstrated that green tea has thermogenic (i.e. metabolic-boosting) properties. As part of a healthy diet and exercise program, a green tea supplement may be helpful in boosting metabolism. Check with your pharmacist or physician before you start taking any supplement.

So the power is indeed in your hands to improve your metabolism. What will YOU do this year?


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