The big ‘M word’ and why you might have it all wrong
Metabolism is simply the process in which the food you eat is broken down and used for energy. As much as we like to think so, there isn’t an on and off option, our metabolisms are constantly at work to power each and every movement.
We’re drawn to articles and blogs that claim they’ve found the perfect solution for ‘boosting’ a slow metabolism. I don’t think I can scroll through Pinterest’s health section without seeing at least five new and improved metabolism tricks. During last week’s lecture, my professor seemed to share the same mutual annoyance and decided to dedicate an entire lecture on the misconceptions of the metabolism process. I couldn’t wait to share them with you.
Small Meals Often
Move over breakfast, lunch, and dinner – eating 5 to 6 small meals throughout the day is the key to upping a slow metabolism. WRONG! While this may help fight off cravings and of course, it’s fun – eating many small meals a day will not speed up your metabolism. Like I said before, there isn’t an on and off switch – eating more frequently has little to no effect on the rate in which your body metabolizes something. Studies show that snacking or consuming these small meals actually contribute to 30% of overeating.
The quantity and quality food is the true key to a healthy metabolism. Your body needs good quality calories to function and just the right quantity. Over eating anything is going to cause weight gain, whether you choose to do so by eating 6 meals a day or 3 meals a day. I aim to eat four meals a day that include protein, grains, and vegetables.
Lots’ of Spicy Foods
BRING ON THE FLAMING HOT CHEETOS! Sorry spicy lovers – this one’s also a myth. Though it would make sense on paper – spicy = higher body temp = faster metabolism – eating spicy foods doesn’t boost that metabolism like you would hope. Weight loss comes from portion control and nutrient rich meals, not from dousing every meal in hot sauce.
There aren’t any foods that strictly ‘boost’ or speed up your metabolism. How your body metabolizes foods and uses them for energy is based off of the nutrient values and energy needs.
Eating Late Slows the Rate
How many times have we all heard, “don’t eat after 8 p.m.!” or “the food will just turn to fat while your sleep!” Just as we talked about above, its not the timing of your meals but the food you are consuming! Snacking in front of the tv with a big bag of chips isn’t the best idea whether its in the morning or at night. It’s the extra calories that make the biggest difference, not whether it’s half past eight on a Tuesday night.
There are many nights that Chad and I don’t get to eat dinner until 9:30 and after a long workout and an even longer day of working – you bet I’m about to eat a huge, delicious meal. Skipping dinner, or any meal for that matter, does way more harm than good. Focus on choosing the right foods and healthy portions, even late at night.
One of the most talked about and tested ‘diet’ related topics – the metabolism. We’ve all heard the old ‘well she has a fast metabolism!’ and looked into the ‘speed up your metabolism and burn fat fast!’ The tricks and gimmicks in every aspect of the diet world will never compare to a healthy and nutrient based diet.
Things to Keep In Mind
- Lean muscle burns more calories than fat which means people with lean muscle need more calories than those with a high percentage of body fat. Exercising regularly, especially weight training, and maintaining a healthy diet are the most important factors.
- The path to healthy weight loss is solely based off of the quantity and quality of food. The secret everyone wants to know – don’t eat too much and eat the right foods.
- Drink your water! We obviously need water to survive but don’t forget about functioning properly. Our metabolism, like every other system in our bodies, needs water in order to digest and use calories efficiently.