I was talking a friend of mine the other day who is trying, to lose weight. (Long term readers will know that I consider this ‘wrong thinking’ we should be focussed on losing fat, not weight…)
The amount of weight in question is only 7 kilos (about 15lbs) so my friend is not obese yet she has been struggling with this same 7 kilos for years now…losing most if not all of them only to have them come back often with extra ‘friends’…I’m sure that this sounds familar to many of you – it was certainly my experience in the past.(For my story and why this happens to so many of us sign up for the free report at the top right of this page)
You know the situation Lose 5kg. Gain 4. Lose that 4. Gain 6. And so on.
From our chat it was obvious that this pattern had been repeating over & over since her early 20’s. Having 3 kids in her late 20’s may have made it a bit worse, but nonetheless this weight has become a decade long issue. Her husband, a big athletic ex-kickboxer has also been fighting the same fight since he hit his late 30’s. This is not just a female or male only issue – we all want to look and feel healthy and the older we get the harder it becomes to get into and then stay in shape.
This is because our metabolism becomes de-conditioned. It is just not a matter of it slowing down – it actually becomes less efficient in a whole lot of areas all of which impact our health & well being.
Now my friend & her husband are example so this. They get in shape about once a year through an all out campaign of huge exercise increase and dietary restriction. They drop weight (though not necessarily fat) look slimmer for a period of time and then the slow (or not so slow) weight regain happens and they end up being the same size as before if not larger. Even worse it takes more & more effort to get into shape each year and once there they are staying ‘slim’ for shorter & shorter periods of time.
Accepting a future of becoming ‘comfortably chubby’ is on the cards as far as they are concerned…My friend is concerned about this and wanted to know how she can speed up a slowing metabolism.
So how do you speed up a “de-conditioned” metabolism?
The bigger you are the faster your metabolism will be – this is simple fact. However if you took 2 people the same size and weight – the one with the lower body fat would have the faster metabolism and the easier time of it when it came to losing fat and getting healthier.
Why? Well because muscle – lean tissue – does increase metabolism more than fat, so less fat and more lean tissue keeps your metabolism running faster. A faster metabolism burns more calories and this means decreased fat.
Build muscle. The more muscle you have the faster you metabolism, the lower your body
fat and the better you look naked – pretty good reasons to strive to get more lean tissue onto your frame don’t you think!!??
Muscle is more metabolically active at rest and when moving. Now some folk will tell you not to get too excited about this because for every 1 lb (500 grams) of muscle, research shows its only about a 9-15 calorie/day increase in metabolism. But as you know losing fat and looking better and being healthier is a game of synergy and incremental gains What you eat, when you eat, how often you eat; when & how you work out, how much sleep you get, your stress level, your DN – all of these things work synergystically for or against your fat loss. So in the scheme of things burning an extra 9 or so calories a day at rest is not exciting BUT fat loss is a game of increments not huge differences!! It all adds up – so while 1 lb of muscle doesn’t offer a huge calorie benefit, adding on more muscle than that does. Plus working out to gain that muscle has a ton of other health related benefits – including better calorie burn! If you work out properly you can be burining extra calories for hours afterwards.
Eat More.Unprocessed carbs and protein that it. It sounds contradictory but the other way
to speed metabolism is to eat more. I have spoken about the Thermic Effect if Food (TEF) here: Metabolism-what-it-is-how-you-can-make-it-work-for-you-part-6
When you eat, especially if you eat protein and fibrous vegetables & fruits, your body has to use energy to digest & process your meal so your overall metabolism increases. Protein, of course, does more to boost metabolism than either carbs (even unprocessed ones) or fats because it takes more energy to break it down & process it. So make sure each meal includes a little protein — fish, eggs, chicken, turkey – skip the nuts, beans or soy their protein is not complete (they have to be eaten with foods containing a complete amino acid profile – ie flesh based protein) are less bio-available and does not have a) the same thermogenic affect and b) confer fewer health benefits.
Eat breakfast. Eating a good solid breakfast after what is effectively at least an 8 hour
fast gets the metabolism rolling in quick order. Again though it is protein and fibrous carbs that do the trick. That oatmeal, boxed muesli or buttered toast are marginally better than skipping breakfast entirely but only just.and is likely to be causing a lot of other less desirable health effects. (Mmm – insulin spikes for breakfast just what I need to stay fat!!)
The best breakfast to rev up your metabolism is eggs with spinach, mushroom, onions and capsicum as an omelette, along with some cheese, some fruit and a small handful of nuts. (Colby cheese and pear is one of Nature’s great duos – right up there with tomato and onion, bacon & eggs, cauliflower and cheese sauce..)
There’s now some solid data suggesting eating eggs in the morning boosts weight loss above and beyond choosing toast, cereal or a bagel.
Do HIIT for your workouts. I’ve said it before (Interval-training-the-1-not-so-secret-fat-loss-tool) – long, slow cardio sessions do next to nothing in terms of creating a post
exercise calorie burn (EPOC) when the workout is done. On the other hand, shorter, harder intensity exercise bouts cause a much longer increase in metabolism, even hours after your workout is finished. In fact, a number of studies show s much as a 14+ hour increase in metabolism after a high intensity bout of exercise. This boost burned an additional 190 calories! Again it is a game of increments so this will add up.
There you have it — 4 simple strategies to boost a slowing metabolism. If you’d like to know more about speeding up and reconditioning your metabolism go here and read the series. How-you-can-fix-a-broken-metabolism-part-1
PS My firend & her husband have adopted the above and in addition have gone ‘paleo’. They’ve never looked or felt better. I’ll write about Paleo soon.
See you next week – be well.